Do you really need an adjustable driver? Is it possible to hit better drives with an adjustable driver?
It’s a good question because your driver plays a big part in your total score and overall golf game. When I bought my first adjustable driver I knew that I’d never go back to a fixed setting. Since then, I’ve always used a club head that is adjustable and think it can definitely help your long game.
They can correct a swing flaw, produce more spin, make it more consistent, and hit it longer than a better center. But there are some downsides and they can’t fix all swing flaws either.
Let’s get into it…
Explained: Adjustable Golf Drivers (Driver Adjustment).
I often wonder how the best ball strikers from the past would do in today’s world.
Think about it, the ball striking legends such as Ben Hogan were able to play at elite levels of golf using very different clubs today. These guys used heavy steel shafts, some even used wooden shafts, small club heads, which were very unforgiving.
But today, golf equipment makes this complicated game a lot easier (not that it’s an easy sport by any means). The modern golf driver has seen more adaptations and upgrades than any other club. It’s double the size of the old days, extremely forgiving, and driver adjustability makes it easier to customize it to your swing.
You also have more shaft options to help find the perfect golf ball flight. Even with all the upgrades, some golfers still fear driving more than any other club.
These are the Key Takeaways
- TaylorMade R7 quad was the first to offer adjustable drivers in 2005.
- Adjustable drivers can adjust the loft, flight, as well as the face angle.
- For maximum customization, drivers can be adjusted with a sliding weight or adjustable hosel.
- A variable driver allows you to tune your driver to your golf swing.
Keep reading to learn more about adjustable drivers and learn if they’re right for your golf game.
History of Adjustable Drivers
Before getting into if you should or shouldn’t use an adjustable driver, let’s check out the history of these clubs. TaylorMades R7 Quad was the first adjustable driver, and it was released in 2005. The driver allowed players to move their weight to better control ball flight and shape shots.
Despite winning the Golf Digest award for best new driver, it wasn’t a common feature with clubs until 2011. Cobra Golf introduced a tracking device in 2017 to help you measure your drives and gain a better understanding of your game. Now almost every driver can be adjusted to suit your swing.
Many golfers do not use adjustable golf drivers, despite the many benefits.
According to Golf Digest, “The research firm Golf Datatech conducted a survey of “serious” golfers and found that more than 75 percent are interested in purchasing an adjustable driver. Two thirds of those who own one never or rarely use the adjustability functions. This means many golfers are missing out on significant improvement.”
Drivers have the option of adjusting the loft (and the lie angle) and some have sliding weights. Let’s discuss each one in detail below.
Adjustable Hosel Loft
Most golfers think about adjustable drivers when they think of changing the loft. The brand determines how much you can change or remove.
A Callaway Epic Flash driver might have a different loft/lie angle setting than a Cobra Speedzone driver. Most adjustable clubs allow for at least one degree, typically 1.5 degrees. Other brands allow you to adjust up to two degrees.
Launch is your friend. Most golfers don’t use enough loft and it kills distance!
Optimizing launch is key to maximizing distance. This can be achieved by matching your swing speed and loft. These are some guidelines to help you choose the right loft driver based on how fast your swing speed is.
- 110mph = 9 degree driver
- 100mph = 10.5 degree driver
- 90 mph = 12 degree driver
These lofts are based on swing speed. However, since you can adjust 1-2° in either direction, you may also try different settings with the driver set on the practice Tee.
Remember that adjusting loft can have an impact on your clubface.. Adding loft opens the face (more of a fade bias) while a lower loft closes the face (draw bias).
Driver Weights Adjustable
You can adjust the loft but some clubs allow you to also change your weight position. Sliding weights aren’t as common for all brands in the golf business but still quite popular, especially with drivers. Sliding weights are not available on nearly all fairway woods and hybrids (only adjustable).
Weights can help straighten the ball flight and won’t have as much impact on launch angle. It can be used to straighten the face at impact, which will result in a more consistent driving performance.
This is called a draw bias, which is when you slide weights to your clubs toe. Because more weight is on your toe, its easier to square or close the face at impact.
A fade bias is when more weight is placed on the heel of a club. As most golfers suffer from a slice, extra weight in the heel is necessary.
This can make a huge difference in your average driver shot when paired with the right loft. When testing, it’s always best to minimize variables and only switch one thing at a time.
Adjust the loft first, then hit 5-10 shots. Measure the results and adjust the weight settings. This will allow you to determine which setting has the greatest impact on your shot shape.
Example of an Adjustable Driver
There are many companies that make adjustable golf drivers such as TaylorMade Golf, Titleist and Callaway. Cobra Golf does a fantastic job of explaining how adjustable drivers work, and the impact they can have on your golf game.
Heres an example of how just a few adjustments to your club wrench can make a big difference in your shot shape and distance.
- Position A: This position places a 10-gram weight in the drivers back to help with a 5-yard draw. The adjustable weights will straighten your ball flight if you are currently playing a fade.
- Position BThis position can increase the draw distance by up to 11 yards. So if you play a fade that sometimes turns into a slice, this position can help a ton if you need to hit more fairways… which, who doesn’t?
- Position C: Finally, if you’re the type of golfer who has an extreme slice, this setting can help avoid the right side of the course dramatically. With a draw setting, you can draw nearly 18 yards with your weight in this position.
This is a great example of how adjustable drivers can have a huge impact on changing your game Without making any swing changes.
How to Change Driver Settings
It’s easy to get overwhelmed and probably why so many golfers never use these features in the first place. Using a launch monitor, try to get your launch angle to about 12 degrees so you’re hitting up on the ball and maximizing your distance potential.
This guide will show you how to modify your driver so that you can immediately improve your driver shots.
If your driver is going too low, it’s because your launch angle is too low and is likely hitting down on the shot. To increase your carry distance, you should hit the ball with the driver.
Add 1–2 degrees of loft and you can gain up to 10+ yards with every swing. Loft is your friend with a big stick!
Most golfers will be more successful adding loft than removing it. Some players may need to remove loft in order to maximize spin and launch angle. A rollout increase can help improve carry and distance by removing 1-2 degrees of loft.
Driver Going Left (Hook)
While most golfers will experience a slice, advanced golfers may experience a left-handed hook. To adjust your driver to fix the hook, reduce the loft. To straighten your drivers face, if he or she has an adjustable weight, slide it to the clubs toe side.
Adjusting one or more of these features will help you hit it straighter, and make it easier to find more fairways throughout the round.
Driver Going Right (Slice).
Finally, if you suffer from a nasty slice (due to an open clubface) it’s a good idea to tweak your driver. You can start by removing the loft, which will open the face slightly. Then you can see how it affects your ball flight and carry distance. If you’re still missing a lot of shots to the right, slide a weight to the heel of the golf club.
This can make a significant difference in your accuracy and distance with the driver. This is a temporary solution that should not be used to improve your grip or takeaway.
Why Aren’t All Clubs Adjustable? Do You Really Need an Adjustable driver?
As you can see, adjustable drivers and fairway woods offer many benefits. So why aren’t all these long clubs adjustable anyway? Why are they making non-adjustable drivers.
Because adjustable hosels require a torque wrench, they weigh more than fixed hosels. This might cause players with slower swing speeds to lose distance. They are also more expensive to produce.
These drivers are great for beginners and high handicappers.
FAQs about Driver Adjustability in Golf
Do you have questions about driving the ball, hitting more fairways, or increasing distance? If so, continue reading to learn about the most commonly asked questions and answers.
Is it legal for the driver to be adjusted during the round?
No, your driver settings cannot be changed during the round.
If your driver is at the 10° loft setting with a draw bias, it must stay there for the entire round. You can’t change it to create a lower ball flight or fade setting mid-round.
According to the USGA, “A player must not make a stroke with a club whose performance characteristics he or she deliberately changed during the round (including while play is stopped under Rule 5.7a):
- You can adjust the clubs settings or physically change it (except where Rule 4.1a(2) allows for damage repair).
- By applying any substance to the clubhead (other than in cleaning it) to affect how it performs in making a stroke.”
If the driver screw gets loosen during the round, you can still tighten it. So you can’t change the driver setting (loft/lie angle) but you can tighten it to restore to its original position without penalty or disqualification.
Are adjustable drivers able to alter loft?
You can adjust the loft of most adjustable drivers from 1-2 degrees. If you buy a driver with a 10-degree angle, you can adjust the loft from 8-12°. You must remember that the driver can also be adjusted to alter the lie angle or trajectory.
A lower lofted driver will have flatter trajectory and require greater swing speed to achieve the best launch angle. While a higher lofted driver will benefit higher handicaps who don’t have as much speed to get the ball in the air.
Can an adjustable driver help me slice?
Adjustable drivers can improve your slice and are one of the greatest benefits of these golf clubs. However, it’s more of a band-aid fix than a long-term solution to your nasty banana slice. It can help, but it’s definitely not the way to become a scratch golfer.
You might have a problem with driver slices. Read our article about the best drivers to help you.
Do increasing driver numbers bring you closer to the truth?
No, you dont open your face when you add loft. When you remove loft, you close your face.
Is it better for you to loft up or down?
In general, it’s better to loft up with your driver. If you dont, you could be losing a lot of distance (and making it even more difficult for yourself).
Trackman Golf found that the average male golfer has an average clubhead speed of 93.4mph with a total distance of 214 yards. However, they discovered that the average male player is giving up nearly 30 yards from the tee making it difficult to approach shots.
This is why it’s so important to tweak your driver and play the right shaft for your swing speed. The lighter the shaft the better it is to swing faster, and it will last longer. A driver with more loft (typically 10 to 15 degrees) can improve launch angles and make it more powerful.
Adjustable drivers should be tested on the driving range at different settings to assess how they affect flight, accuracy, and distance.
What’s better, 9.5 or 10.5 loft?
For the average golfer, more loft is generally better.
Most golfers make the biggest mistake of not having enough loft. This makes it difficult to launch the driver correctly and can result in a loss of accuracy and distance.
This is why adjustable drivers are so great – they allow you to tinker with your equipment on the range. You can measure launch, carry distance and other parameters with a personal launch monitor. It’s worth your time and money to test out different driver settings to see which is right for your swing.
You can read more about driver loft by clicking here
Final Thoughts on Adjustable Drivers for Golf
When it’s time to get a new driver see if you can find one with movable weights and/or an adjustable hosel. This will ensure a consistent miss, optimize launch and efficient carry on every drive.
Adjustable drivers can help you improve your driving performance without the need for lessons, training aids or swing changes. However, you should consider it more of a temporary solution than a long-term solution to become a consistent driver. It’s always a good idea to keep improving your swing and fundamentals on the range so you can get the most out of your game.
Adjustable drivers can be useful for testing different settings to see how they affect ball flight, distance and accuracy. These features are rarely used by nearly two-thirds (as we have already mentioned) of the players in these clubs. This can have a significant impact on your ability to score and your approach shots.
Test out different lofts and ball flight settings on the simulator or driving range. Calculate your averages for each shot in terms distance, launch angle, ball speed, and more. Use it on the green to save shots and make second shots easier.