Golf is a game that has evolved over the years, as should every sport and its equipment. And one groundbreaking way this has happened can be seen in the form of golf driver adjustability. The fact that you can now tweak the loft angle to customize trajectory, spin, etc. along with also changing the position of the center of gravity is just SUPER!
But then not all golfers can benefit from this kind of adjustability. Just like every other innovation out there, pros AND cons are a given. Adjustable Drivers Explained – only when you understand how this works and what it does will you be able to decide if it’s what you NEED to take your drives higher, straighter, and longer!
Table of Contents
- What Really Is An Adjustable Driver?
- How Golf Drivers Were Back Then
- How Do Adjustable Drivers Actually Help?
- Adjusting Driver Loft to Change Ball Flight – How Much Adjustment Is Needed?
- Moving the Center of Gravity – Fade-Biased or Draw-Biased Settings
- How to Adjust Golf Driver
- The Dark Side of Adjustable Drivers
- About Driver Adjustability – FAQs
- Last Few Words…
What Really Is An Adjustable Driver?
With the help of a wrench, driver adjustability becomes possible to get the golf club to match up with your speed and style of play. More specifically, you can customize ball flight and trajectory simply by changing a few things on your driver. And these things that are adjusted are not the shaft or grip of the club because the two components are non-adjustable.
So then what really is “adjusted” when we talk about driver adjustability? It’s the clubhead that you can adjust. And here are the different ways to go about it.
When the hosel is adjustable, changing loft angle or face angle becomes possible to compel the golf ball to fly lower or higher. With face angle adjustability, the clubface goes from neutral to slightly open or close.
And then adjusting clubhead weights leads to customizing the ball flight (this is explained below).
If the weights installed on the driver clubhead are adjustable, it certainly throws the door wide open to fixing commonly hit slices/hooks. And if not that, then you can surely increase or decrease the amount of spin produced.
How Golf Drivers Were Back Then
The best drivers of today are nothing like what golf drivers used to be, the former being the more advanced choice indeed. Back in the days (and that was not so long ago by the way), choosing the loft of a driver actually meant being stuck with a loft angle of 9.5 degrees, 10 degrees, or 10.5 degrees.
So then golfers had to put in plenty of extra effort and time into deciding which of the three loft options would adjust to their swing speed, handicap, etc. And this normally doesn’t take any less than a few weeks if you want something that really works to your advantage. There’s a lot of trial, testing, and error that are a part of this process. Enter adjustable drivers!
With driver adjustability, it became so much easier to buy golf drivers. And then much easier to also gain the ball flight, trajectory, and spin you desire.
How Do Adjustable Drivers Actually Help?
If you get to adjust the driver loft angle, here are the benefits you’re really saying YES to.
They help golfers with a slow swing speed
If you’re a slow-swing player (beginner, high handicapper, senior, or female golfer), then pushing for a higher driver loft angle (through adjustability of course) results in witnessing a pretty decent ball flight even on mis-hits. Plus, the higher loft of some of the most forgiving drivers gets the ball airborne also very easily.
In the case of adjustable weighting, the outcome is also the same for those with under-average swing speed. Moving clubhead weights around – relocating them toward the back increases ball trajectory while front positioning gives you a decreased ball flight.
They fix slices and hooks
Now let’s talk slices and hooks – a common error among golfers that can be fixed to a certain extent with the help of driver adjustability.
It would be highly unlikely to find more than just a few golfers who are using adjustable drivers for reasons other than fixing a slice. The slice in golf, no doubt, is a very challenging swing fault to correct. Only with the help of proper gear, like adjustable drivers, can you even come close to partly eliminating the problem. The other half of the effort consists of being able to control the driver well.
At such times, it’s not uncommon to struggle with releasing the golf club. But then driver adjustability tends to make the club extremely forgiving. And with that, the possibility of slicing your shot reduces quite significantly.
Did you know that a draw-biased weighting fixes the ‘slice’ problem? However, if you opt for a draw-biased golf driver, then you’re only just limiting your options. Rather go for an adjustable driver that offers flexibility and versatility. So when you finally get rid of slicing the golf ball, you can then make use of the more neutral setting.
Flight and trajectory issues also pertain to hooks in golf. While a slice is left to right (caused by an open clubface), a hook is the opposite of a slice and is the result of a closed clubface. In both situations, a higher loft angle makes your driver a lot more forgiving.
They save money
Moment of truth – do you really want to buy one adjustable driver now or one driver now for your slow swing speed and then another one later when your slow swing speed, high handicap, and tendency to hit off-center, slices, hooks, etc. reduce? With an adjustable driver, you will not feel the need to upgrade to another golf driver when things improve.
With adjustability, just fine-tune the settings based on your then speed and style of play and you’ll be saving a ton of your hard-earned dough.
Adjusting Driver Loft to Change Ball Flight – How Much Adjustment Is Needed?
Adjustable drivers are hopefully understood by now. So let’s move on to how much adjustability is really needed for maximizing YOUR long-game driver performance. How much loft angle adjustability?
My U.S. Open and U.S. Senior Open trophies did not come from believing that there is a standard or universal driver loft.
As a professional, experienced golfer, I can tell you there’s no such thing as standard loft. I have tested way too many golf drivers to understand that standard is not how it works with loft. For instance, a 12-degree loft angle gives you distance and performance results that are not the same as its 10-degrees or 9.5-degrees counterpart.
The deciding factor here is mainly the center of gravity. So the myth of the right loft does not exist.
Another myth that I’m sorry to break for you is that a decreased or lower loft DOES NOT increase distance. It’s the opposite of that which is actually true.
- 12.5 degrees driver loft – 280 yards in total (251 yards carry distance, 14.5 degrees launch angle)
- 11.5 degrees driver loft – 275 yards in total (246 yards carry distance, 13.1 degrees launch angle)
- 10.5 degrees driver loft – 270 yards in total (240 yards carry distance, 11.3 degrees launch angle)
- 9.5 degrees driver loft – 259 yards in total (231 yards carry distance, 10.2 degrees launch angle)
It is very obvious from above that a higher loft in your driver gives you a farther carry distance.
Aside from the direct connection between loft angle and distance, there’s the launch factor too. For low-spin golfers, a higher launch is also necessary if you want to max out your distance potential. While high-spin players perform better with a decreased launch as it prevents distance loss of 10-20 yards often accompanied by a higher launch.
Moving the Center of Gravity – Fade-Biased or Draw-Biased Settings
The other form of driver adjustability is moveable weights in the clubhead. This can be further simplified by saying that you can move the center of gravity of your golf driver horizontally.
Left to right ball flight = fade.
Right to left ball flight = draw.
If you’re adjusting the weight more frequently based on momentary results, you’re doing it ALL WRONG. There have been times when the heel has struck the ball, thus causing a fade. With right-hand orientation, striking the heel means producing greater fade spin while striking the toe results in a more draw-biased flight.
Now what you might want to do is make sure your sidespin measurement is not too far away from zero. Because a negative number means more draw while a positive indicates fade. Only when that number is closer to zero can you expect a straighter ball flight.
As for getting the ideal slightly draw-biased flight, the sidespin measurement should be about minus 100-300 RPM.
What I’m trying to say here is that moving the clubhead weights around (that is changing the center of gravity) does indeed alter your ball flight. But then how much is changed actually differs from one player to another. And obviously, this also depends on the design/technology of your golf driver and how much weight can be moved around.
How to Adjust Golf Driver
Just buying an adjustable driver isn’t enough, have you understood how to adjust the settings?
Let me begin with loft/face angle – clubface open or close. With a higher loft, the clubface is in a closed position at impact while a lower loft opens the face.
Here’s the logic behind it. The golf driver you own has a loft angle of, for example, 10 degrees. Irrespective of how much twisting is a part of the picture, the loft remains 10 degrees. But when you twist the clubface (change its angle I mean), what you’re actually doing is changing from a squared face of 10-degree loft to a closed face by 2 degrees.
So for the sake of squaring that tweaked clubface at impact, opening the face by a few degrees is a MUST, which can only be achieved through an increased loft.
Moving on to adjusting the lie angle of your golf driver. This is nothing but those draw, fade, and neutral settings I talked about earlier. When you change the lie, you have to choose between making the angle more upright (draw), flatter (fade), or neutral.
Both removable and sliding weights have the same mechanism in a way. So let’s focus more on what effects are to be expected from the different relocations of weight.
Moving clubhead weight to the heel/toe: The easiest for beginners to make, it pushes the golf ball toward the weight. Towards the toe equals more chances of slice or fade. Towards the heel equals more chances of hook or draw.
You’re also shifting the driver sweet spot in this case, so make sure to adjust that based on your general contact point if you hit the toe or heel consistently.
Moving clubhead weight forward/backward: With back weighting, goals like higher launch and lower spin can be easily accomplished. And with forward weighting, lower ball flight and higher spin.
Moving clubhead weight to the center/perimeter: The most forgiving golf drivers out there feature perimeter weighting because of the increase in MOI. On the other hand, centering the weight reduces MOI only to make the golf club less forgiving.
Moving clubhead weight up/down: For a beginner-friendly and even high-handicap-friendly combination of more launch and less spin, move those weights down. But then if your long game benefits more from a combination of higher spin and lower launch, choose to move the weight up.
Now please note that you should absolutely consider moving the weight down if you hit the golf ball low on its clubface. Because then hitting that perfectly pure strike becomes possible.
The Dark Side of Adjustable Drivers
Enough about the sunny side of things! Let’s now also talk about what many golfers don’t like about driver adjustability.
Adjustable Drivers Are Heavier
The extra adjustability components, such as adjustable hosel, screws, etc., add more weight for sure. But then this additional weight doesn’t seem so problematic to most golfers.
However, this doesn’t suggest that all golfers are okay with it because there are indeed many non-adjustable drivers and even other super game improvement golf clubs that beginners and seniors actually prefer because of their ultra-light construction.
In fact, many brands make their drivers non-adjustable, with the weight and loft fixed, just to position the center of gravity lower to forgive and boost driving performance.
Adjustable Drivers Are Confusing to Adjust
It’s possible to get confused about the adjustment settings on an adjustable driver. You could also feel less confident because you’re not sure if the loft angle is off by half a degree or so.
But the aim here is to adjust the driver and forget about it. Know that changing the settings is something that will happen only after the round.
About Driver Adjustability – FAQs
Who Should Be Buying Adjustable Golf Drivers?
Time and again I’ve advocated for adjustable drivers because they seem to work for golfers spread across all handicaps. You could be a high handicapper or scratch golfer and still be able to make the most of driver adjustability.
Although low-handicap golfers don’t make major loft/lie adjustments like their high-handicap fellows. And the logical reason for that – low handicap automatically gives you a better feel.
Are Adjustable Drivers More Expensive?
If you’re asking whether adjustable drivers are expensive now, then the answer is no (fortunately enough!). Now the price of an adjustable driver and standard driver can be the same. But that wasn’t the case when they were first released. Adjustable golf drivers have now slowly almost become the standard or norm for many, many players.
Can You Adjust Your Driver During Your Round of Golf?
Adjusting the driver (with a wrench of course) or any other equipment between holes is not allowed. So you have to dial in the settings of your adjustable driver before your round of golf begins.
Do You Still Have to Get Fitted For An Adjustable Driver?
Surprisingly, you do have to get fitted even in the case of an adjustable golf driver. Because then the professional golf club fitter ensures your driver is well-adjusted based on your unique speed, skills, and style of play. And obviously, these fine-tuned specifications can be further changed to accommodate your future swing as well.
Last Few Words…
No denying that driver adjustability is simply amazing for golfers who want to tweak certain things, like loft/lie angle, just so that they can get a better grip on ball flight. Being able to adjust your golf driver depending on your swing speed is also very, very important if you’re a slow-swing or sub-par golfer.
Experimenting with different loft angles, moving the center of gravity (clubhead weight) around, and things like that surely have an impact on not just distance but also ball flight, trajectory, accuracy, and spin. And now that you know how driver adjustability works to your advantage, you can finally choose accordingly.