Should You Ever Adjust Your Driver?

In this article, Martin Hopley asks should you ever adjust your driver? And offers his expert analysis of the interrelated nature of driver adjustability

Should You Ever Adjust your Driver?
(Image credit: Future)

I could make the answer to this question a very short one word article. However, seeing as you’ve come to this page now, let me make it worth your while with an explanation for this potential brevity.

Adjustability in golf clubs was permitted by the governing bodies in 2005 following restrictions that were introduced on the speed of club faces. This brought smiles back to the faces of golf club designers worldwide who now had more options to improve forgiveness, and also ironically the speed of the ball coming off all areas of the face. 

Since then we have had weights you can move manually, weights that slide back to front and side to side, and adjustable hosels that can vary loft and lie. The real benefit of all this was that any golfer could now get the same level of customisation in their local store as a tour player on a tour truck. 

Custom fitting shaft options

(Image credit: Future)

Before adjustability came in, most retail drivers had a choice of one shaft in stiff or regular. Now with adjustable hosels, swapping in a new shaft, or head, is simple and most manufacturers launch a driver with at least three stock shafts, sometimes more. The fitter can work through a range different options with a player looking at things like weight, kick points and shaft length. Specialist fitters now offer over 200 options, all of which can be easily slotted into the same head to easily compare and create the best golf driver possible.

Usually the driver fitting process starts with head type, then head loft, then shaft. Then a fitter will use the adjustable loft and finally any adjustable weights to fine tune the club to your game. This affects parameters on spin, launch, face angle and speed at impact and it is tempting to sometimes adjust these yourself, so if you want to do that then here is a quick guide.

Driver fitting launch data

(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

Adjusting Your Driver: Quick Guide

The straighter the face, or the lower the loft, the faster the ball will come off it. Adding loft will close the face and de-lofting the face will open it. So if you like a closed face, you may want to start with a lower lofted head and adjust the loft up and vice versa for an open face. 

However, in most cases changing the loft will also affect the driver lie angle by up to 2° up or down. This is because most adjustable hosels have loft and lie locked together because the hosel is bored into the head off-centre to facilitate the adjustability. Decreasing the lie will lower your hands and encourage a fade and increasing your hands will raise them to encourage a draw.

Adding or moving weight to the rear will add spin and launch, but probably cost distance. Moving weight to the front will reduce spin, but decrease launch. However combine the right speed and spin with the right loft and bingo. 

Moving weight to the toe will slow down the rotation of the outside of the face and keep it more open at impact. More weight in the heel side will promote a draw as it encourages more rotation. This can be useful if you are temporarily struggling with your accuracy and is the one variable that you could justifiably fiddle with post fitting on a temporary basis. 

However moving weights and adjusting loft will change the position of the centre of gravity relative to the face, so it is not a black and white relationship - more like pulling one of many strings on a puppet.

TaylorMade Adjustable Drivers

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Should You Ever Adjust Your Driver?

So yes, go ahead and adjust your driver yourself and it will give you a great insight into your swing and how the physics of golf clubs work at impact. However, as you can see, the relationship between all various settings and how they determine flight is so interrelated that you are unlikely to stumble on the optimum setting by yourself. Therefore use the services of an expert fitter to configure these high tech pieces of equipment to deliver the best performance for you and then leave well alone.

So, the short answer to should you adjust your driver is NO. I hope that was worth the wait.

Martin Hopley

Martin Hopley is one of the foremost UK equipment reviewers with over 20 years' experience. As the former founder of he was an early pioneer of online reviews and has also been a regular contributor to other titles. He is renowned for his technical knowledge and in-depth analysis, which he now brings to Golf Monthly.