Are The Adjustable Drivers The Same As Being Custom Fit?

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Plain and simple, NOT EVEN CLOSE.  Well maybe a tiny bit close, but if we can make an analogy of buying an adustable hosel driver versus a fully professionally custom fit driver, it’s akin to an iceberg floating in the ocean.  As you know, 90% of an iceberg lies out of sight under the water.  Buying an adjustable hosel driver is like the 10% of the iceberg you can see.  Being professionally custom fit for a driver is like getting the whole thing.

Seriously, I know what I am talking about because I designed the golf industry’s first adjustable hosel driver and woods back in 1995.  Like the modern hosel sleeves you see today, the AHT Woods (AHT was an acronym for Adjustable Hosel Technology) employed the use of a hosel sleeve to change the angle of the shaft into the head to allow a variety of certain specifications to be customized within a relatively narrow range. 

In the case of the AHT Woods, I knew from my experience drilling the hosel bore of wooden woods early in my career that changing the angle of the shaft into the neck of the head results in a change of the LIE ANGLE and/or the FACE ANGLE. Not the loft. 

The reason the modern adjustable hosel sleeves say they change loft is because the golf companies decided to change the way they define and measure the loft of a driver or wood from how it has been done ever since the first protractor touched the face of a woodhead many decades ago.  From day one of when club designers became aware of loft, it was measured by resting the woodhead on its sole so the angle of the tilt of the face could be measured. 

With the advent of the modern adjustable hosel sleeve, to get the loft stated for the specific position of the sleeve, the head has to be rotated into a square face position with the sole off the ground or base of the specs measurement machine. Once again this is a situation in which it would be nice if the golf industry had adopted standards for the measurement of the various specifications of clubheads.  With no such standards, we lose the ability to accurately know what loft a golfer is using.  “Did you square the face before you hit the shot or did you sole the head before you hit the shot?” 

But not only do the modern adjustable hosel sleeve drivers create confusion about what loft a golfer is really using, there are other Clubfitting problems associated with golfers buying such drivers online, in a retail store or pro shop. 

With the modern adjustable hosel drivers, you can only perform a minor adjustment for TWO of the 12 key fitting specifications of a driver.  TWO.  Not 12.  That adjustable hosel driver is still 45 1/2″ or more in length, which is TOO LONG for at least 80% of all the golfers who play this game.  The driver comes with one model of shaft in a handful of flexes for which there are no standards for how stiff or flexible they really are.  It is built to one swingweight.  You have to buy the adjustable hosel driver in the loft version you need, but with the +/- tolerances on loft in the normal production of driver heads combined with the fact few companies clearly teach golfers to hold the face square to get the loft stated for the position of the sleeve, most golfers really don’t know what actual loft they are using. 

In addition, the driver off the rack comes with one type of grip and in one grip size.  Since the driver has to be manually held in a square face position to achieve close to the loft stated for the position of the sleeve, face angle is completely eliminated as a possible fitting spec for improving accuracy. What are golfers to do if they need a more closed or open face to reduce their slice or hook? 

And what about the other 13 clubs in your bag?  Don’t they need to be custom fit to you and your swing too?

Sorry, but the adjustable drivers are just an example of the big golf companies realizing they should be offering custom fitting to all golfers, but having to stop WAY SHORT because they cannot offer all the key fitting specifications in all their variations to help all the golfers really play to the best of their ability. 

Only working with an experienced custom clubfitter can bring about 100% potential for full game improvement for you and your game.  So if the marketing behind the adjustable hosel drivers makes sense to you because you do realize custom fitting could help you play better, don’t stop short and go for only 10% of what you could get to really help your game.  For the same money you can get fit for ALL of the key fitting specifications and really experience the most game improvement professional clubfitting can offer for you.

Tom