Can You Still Golf with a Dented Driver? Here’s What to Know

There is no feeling more painful for golfers than inflicting damage on your clubs.

Unless you got mad and intended to do it, then go ahead. However, despite their Frankenstein appearance, does it impact your performance? In this post, I answer the question of if you can still golf with a dented driver.

I will explain everything you need to know to save you from a heart attack the next time you accidentally scar your club head.

 

Will a Dented Driver Head Affect Your Shot?

According to golf coach Mark Crossfield in the video below, clubhead dents have no bearing on your performance. I can attest to that, being the disorganized golfer I once was.

I hardly used wood or iron covers, and when I did, I would be annoyed with them after the first hole and throw them into my bag. That meant that I owned a few chipped and dented clubs, and they worked well enough for me to end my teen years as a low handicapper.

However, my clubs only had minor damage. In a video by Conan Elliot from Camas Meadows Golf Club, he makes a different case to Crossfield. He explains that deep indentations on the clubhead affect the aerodynamics and center of gravity (CG) of a driver:

If the indentation is severe, it can damage the weighting of your clubhead and increase the risk of instability through impact. However, it takes extreme events to damage your club that badly. I have seen many snapped driver heads, but never one that is dented beyond playability.

The most common result of a dented driver is its hideous cosmetics. Every time you address your golf ball on the tee, your driver’s head will remind you of your abusive actions. It will fill you with guilt for a few months, but then you get used to it.

 

Can You Fix a Dented Golf Driver?

When your driver contains a crater the size of Diamond Head and it impacts your game, you have 3 options (detailed below). In short, good luck to those hoping to fix it on their own. The damage is near impossible for even your local golf club repair shop to execute.

Option #1: Send It To The Manufacturer

Contacting the manufacturer is your first port of call to repair a dented clubface. If the driver is from a major brand, you may have a local rep you can reach out to. Alternatively, you can talk to the person you purchased the driver from.

The manufacturers are the only ones who can repair the head. That is because of its complex one-piece design that requires precise care. They will assess the depth of the dent and may charge you extra for the repair. The manufacturer may find that the head is irreparable and send you a new one instead.

Option #2: Keep Using Them

Significant concavity may impact CG and aerodynamics. However, result variations are typically minimal. Lower handicappers and professionals may notice the slight difference in clubhead speed, coefficient of restitution, and accuracy. However, the average golfer will not suffer significant setbacks.

Therefore, those players on a budget or who play infrequently can keep using the battered driver.

Option #3: Buy A New Club

Should your driver be ancient and belong in a vintage sports auction, you might consider purchasing a new club. There is no point in going on a mission to fix it when you could snatch up a new big stick. You do not have to purchase one of those expensive drivers. There are plenty of affordable options on the market.

 

How to Tell If Your Driver Is Too Dented to Continue Using

Appearance

The first way to determine if your driver is too dented to continue using it is to inspect it with the naked eye. If you see a cavity on the clubhead or face, run your finger across it. Should your finger drop significantly into the indentation, the severity of the damage may be enhanced.

Identifying a dented club is only part 1 in accurately determining if your club is fatally damaged.

Take It To A Club Fitter

When you spot a dent in your driver, I suggest taking it to an expert before panicking. Visit your local club fitter or golf repair workshop and get their opinion on the matter.

They may find that the head can continue, saving you hundreds of dollars. In addition, your local fitter may have the contact details of the relevant representative to contact about fixing it.

Sound

This is not an accurate test to identify if your driver is severely beaten up. However, you know how a normal strikeout of the sweet spot sounds and should listen for that at impact. Should your club produce a clicking sound, parts may be loose inside the head.

Clubhead Speed

You should use a launch monitor to accurately determine whether the condition of your driver impedes your game. These devices provide precise data on various elements of your launch, velocity, and yardage.

Some models are excessively priced, but you can find moderately priced options that the average player can afford. A reliable and accurate option is the FlightScope Mevo.

If a personal launch monitor is out of the question, strike a deal with your local pro shop or club fitter to use their device.

Set up your launch monitor and hit 5 to 10 drives to receive insight on your clubhead speed. If you are consistently lower than your average, then the dent may have hurt the aerodynamics of the driver. That means it produces increased drag and slows down through impact.

Ball Speed

Employ the launch monitor again to determine your ball speed data. Tee up a few shots to ensure that you are warmed up. You must swing the same way you would before the club was damaged. If you generate less ball speed than average, your driver may be injured.

On the odd chance, you find that it produces increased ball speed, I would stop complaining and keep using the driver.

Launch

Another way to tell if your dented driver has impacted your game is to assess your degree of launch. Look at whether you are launching it higher, lower, or the same as before. Any variations from your usual results might be induced by your golf club.

Distance

Like you did for your launch and velocity tests, use the launch monitor to assess your driving distance. If your yardage is less than before, I would take a few extra swings to ensure I am striking the ball cleanly.

When you are happy with your ball striking, analyze the results again. If it is still shorter than before, the driver could be hurting your distance game.

Accuracy

If you start hooking or slicing shots like never before after denting your driver, you may pin the blame on the damage. These results should prompt you to get the clubhead checked out and replaced if necessary.

Matt Stevens

Matt Callcott-Stevens started playing golf at the age of 4 when Rory Sabattini's father put a 7-iron and putter in his hand. He has experienced all the highs and lows the game can throw at you and has now settled down as a professional golf writer. He holds a Postgraduate in Sports Marketing and has played golf for 28 years.