Driver Head Adjustment: Maximizing Your Driver Settings
If you're like most golfers looking to lower your handicap, Golf Expert Michael Schmitz explains when you should adjust your driver head to help your game.
Golf clubs can get pretty complex these days. But above all, are you trying to lower your handicap as quickly as possible? Of course! We all are! To do so, start with the driver.
Buying new golf clubs—especially a new driver—is exciting! Modern drivers offer tons of ways of adjusting them to fit your swing. So, where to begin? And is this going to provide an immediate fix to any swing issues you might be facing (you know...the dreaded slice, hook, etc.)? Well, read on!
The first thing you should focus on with your driver is eliminating mishits. You thought I’d say hitting it longer and straighter, right? Of course, that’s important, but nine times out of ten, golfers do not hit a perfect golf shot. Good golfers learn how to eliminate mishits. Luckily, over the past ten-plus years, the golf industry has decided they want to help you do so by giving you the power to fix that slice, fade, pull, hook, overspin, low spin, trajectory, bounce, etc. all with the same driver!
With ball speed, ball flight, face angle, center of gravity, swing speed, and more, there's so much to think about, right? I will say up front that the adjustable driver is a great thing and can help with many of these issues all at once! The technology that today’s drivers have integrated into them is really quite phenomenal. In the past, if you wanted to adjust your driver, you basically had to buy a new one. No longer...today’s drivers offer tons of options with just the simple twist of a golf wrench.
There is so much that can be adjusted on a driver now. You can change the loft, lie, weight distribution, and even the center of gravity. So what does this mean for beginning golfers or even the average golfer? It means you can make the club fit your swing, instead of having to adjust your swing to the club’s design. It also means you can adjust your shot shape, distance, and accuracy without even changing your golf swing.
And what brought this all on? It’s all about the manufacturers looking for that next great breakthrough to help the everyday golfer improve their game. Callaway, TaylorMade, and Titleist lead the way in adjustable drivers that are truly meant to help improve your game. But most major driver manufacturers offer this technology these days.
Okay, but should you adjust that driver head, and is that the answer to whatever is wrong with your current drivers? Should you adjust that lie angle, that shaft flex, that shaft weight, that face angle, or that weight distribution via movable weights—or is this all just a big selling gimmick from the manufacturers? I’ll help you answer that question here. Will this fix that dreaded slice, fade, pull, hook, toe hit, or whatever else ails you? Maybe! Let's get you dialed in on the desired setting for your game.
Ah, adjustments...there are so many options all offering a different fix for the common golfer. Even today's grips will make a difference. I’ll be honest upfront and tell you that I play the Callaway Epic Flash and I have made multiple adjustments to my driver and my shaft which has helped me a ton. However, I was patient! A neutral setting is always the way to go at first. So don't just go buy a new TaylorMade M6 and start turning screws and dials. Think about what will really save your game shots. Where is it that you’re losing shots on the course? Is it your dreaded slice? Is it the mishits in general (and in both directions)? Is it your launch angle? Are you hitting it off the toe? Are you hitting the ball off the heel? Do you have a fade bias? Maybe it’s your swing speed? Maybe you have the wrong shaft? Maybe you need more spin or less spin? You get the idea.
Let’s start out with my favorite line from Jurassic Park. One of the characters talks about how “You got so excited with the idea that you COULD build a dinosaur that you didn’t stop to think if you SHOULD build a dinosaur!” How does that related to golf drivers today? Let’s get into it!
When starting out with an adjustable driver, the first step is to keep everything at standard settings for your first ten rounds with the club, at least. Don’t start adjusting things too quickly. Learn your most common shot shape first and your most common mishit. Most often, golfers find that leaving the settings alone is the way to go. After all, today's drivers are already built for max distance, max forgiveness, and max accuracy. And sometimes your issues may be in your downswing, in having a closed face, in having an open face, or something totally different. In other words, check where that club face is at address as well as where it is on the backswing, the down swing, and pretty much the whole swing path relative to where you are aiming. All that being said, there are times when adjusting the settings can really improve your results.
Let’s go through a few of them (keeping in mind that "forgiveness" and "accuracy" are the two most important results we are looking for):
- 1Hitting the ball too high off the tee: If this is your problem, simply adjust the loft down. For example, if you are at a 10.5-degree angle on your clubface, move it down to 9.5 degrees. Be sure not to adjust more than one degree at a time.
- Hitting the ball too low off the tee: A simple fix here too...adjust the loft up (again, no more than one degree at a time).
- Slicing or fading the ball too often: This is where you can start to move it more towards a “draw” setting, which will correct that left-to-right flight path. Some drivers have two different draw settings—one in the shaft and one in a weight on the bottom of the club. I can tell you that having a draw bias is what most golfers are striving for. Does that mean it’s right for you? No, it just means that most golfers want to be able to draw the ball.
- Overdrawing the ball: In this case, reverse what I said in #3 and set it towards “fade.” Remember that most drivers today already have a bit of a draw bias to them.
I can’t stress enough how important it is that you first do those ten rounds with the club as-is. If you make one of the above adjustments, remember to use the driver with that setting for another ten rounds before changing it again.
Let’s talk about adjustable weighting, sometimes referred to as the "sliding weight.” While this is something that can also help with mishits, please understand we are now getting into some pretty deep adjustments and you’ll want to proceed with caution. But if your trajectory is too high (losing distance) or too low (no spin), many clubs give you the ability to adjust the weight to the back of the club. Again, I want to stress the importance of not over-adjusting just because you had a bad ball-striking day on the course.
Please keep in mind that it’s not just about the adjustments in the driver. It’s about having the correct length shaft, it’s about having the correct flex shaft, it’s about having forgiving clubs (especially for high handicappers), it’s about having a larger sweet spot (for the higher handicappers), it’s about how much spin you put on the ball, it’s about playing the right kind of golf ball that best suits your game, it’s about having a proper swing! You get the idea, right?
Okay, so that’s a lot of information. So how do you know what’s right for you? Simple...go see a pro or club fitter and let them analyze your swing! They know what they’re looking for. If you don’t have time to do that, please use the club “as-is” until you get the chance to have a professional look at your swing. Remember, golf is complicated enough the way it is. Let’s simplify the things we can control. Use the equipment that is appropriate for your skill level. Everyone wants to be a better player and the club manufacturers are trying to help us to do so. They want us to hit it longer and straighter. Just be careful to not overcomplicate things.
Bonus for you! While you need to find the driver that’s right for you, I will share some of what I consider to be the best adjustable golf drivers on the market today. Most of these have at least somewhat of a "draw bias" (fewer hooks and slices) and are going to help with increasing clubhead speed, creating more consistency, offering more forgiveness, providing max distance, creating a better launch angle, and creating a more "pro-level" ball flight off the tee.
These are not automatic fixes, but these drivers will help most golfers: 1. Callaway Epic Flash: The “Jailbreak Technology,” the two internal bars that promote stability, that the commercials emphasize is the real deal! If ever there was a driver that pretty much guaranteed you'll be a better player right away, this is the one! 2. TaylorMade Sim 2 Max: The whole line of Sim Drivers are flying off the shelves these days. 3. TaylorMade M6: TaylorMade loves their “Speed Injected Twistface Technology” and so do many everyday golfers! 4. Cobra Speedzone: The “Cobra Connect Technology” is hot off the press! All Cobra Drivers are really forgiving these days and are good for golfers of all skill levels.
I encourage you, fellow golfers, to grab that adjustable driver and head to the golf course! Make testing it out a fun part of the learning of the game. Do a little adjustment here and there to see what happens! But, most importantly, reach out to the Golf Experts here on Curated for assistance. We can help you with finding the right adjustable driver and can also assist with the proper driver settings for you so that you can get maximum enjoyment out of the wonderful game of golf.