Jonathan Wall / Golf
Will Zalatoris made his long-awaited return to training two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions after a five-month absence due to two herniated discs in his lower back. Much of my back rehab’s downtime — and marriage — was spent outside of the trip to the Titleist Performance Institute in December to work with Dr. Greg Rose on possible ways to prevent a future injury.
Conversations with Dr. Rose eventually led to unofficial swing changes that he implemented for the first time in competition in Hawaii.
“[T]”The important thing for me is that we spent a lot of time understanding the pressures of my golf swing and understanding how to drive my right side,” Zlatoris said. “And I do that after a lot of men, so what that does for someone who has a lot of side bending is it lifts the right hip higher and tilts the back, and so like Dr. Rose said, no wonder I have a back problem.”
In conjunction with the swing changes, Zalatoris also made a slight tweak to his Titleist TSR3 driver that was hidden in plain sight—outside a number written in black permanent marker on the head: 44.75.
The number is the current length of the Zalatoris Games, which just so happens to be an inch and a quarter shorter than its predecessor’s 46 inches. During an interview with the latest issue of golf Fully equipped for his podcast, Zalatoris revealed that the shorter length has used up some of his distance, but not so much that he’s ready to go back to his previous 46-inch version.
In fact it is she has Improve a valuable area of the driver game.
“The beautiful thing is that I actually go a mile an hour slower because I’m more efficient,” said Zlatoris. This will come back to work with [Dr. Greg Rose] for everything.”
At 46 inches, Zalatoris boasted one of the tallest drivers on the Tour last season. At his current length, he’s well in line with the average driver’s length on the PGA Tour, a figure that might seem short at 45.5 inches in retail today.
Obviously, there are pros and cons to being short, and it depends largely on whether the driver is a weapon or one of the weakest batons in the bag. If slide is the most common mistake, going short can make it easier to adjust the head on impact, thus improving your chances of a center-face contact.
In most cases, defaulting for accuracy is the way to go, even if it means sacrificing carry distance.
For Zalatoris, who placed 11th last season in SG: Off-the-tee, he’s been able to give up the extra length and not skip a beat. (During the Tournament of Champions, he ranked fifth in driving distance.)
While the shorter driver length seems to suit Zalatoris for the time being, he’s not sold on sticking to the long-term build.
“I am glad to [go back to 46 inches]Especially after touring [PGA West]Zlatoris said. “I look at some of the bunkers where it’s 325 yards and I say, ‘Damn it.’ I probably will.” [go back] At some point, but I still felt wet in my feet. I just want to see how my body reacts.”
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