Does Buying an Adjustable Driver Mean You've Been Custom Fit?
Since 2011, the driver designs from the vast majority of golf companies have been made with a variety of different adjustable hosel sleeves that are said to offer custom fitting to any golfer. By adjusting a specially made device in the neck of the drivers, these companies say it is possible to offer golfers a custom fit loft, lie and even sometimes a custom face angle.
Sorry, but the adjustable hosel drivers are NOT even close to being custom fit in the sense of how professional custom fitting can tailor a driver to allow any golfer to play to the utmost of his or her ability. I know of what I speak – I made the US golf industry’s first adjustable hosel woods for changing the face angle and lie back in 1995. The principle of the hosel piece I developed way back then works on the same principle as the adjustable hosel devices of today. By rotating the hosel piece, the shaft is oriented at a different angle in the hosel to affect a slight change in the lie angle or face angle or a little of both together at the same time.
Don’t believe me? Here’s a picture of the adjustable hosel device and wood model I designed for Golfsmith as it was presented in the 1995 catalog.
Proper driver fitting involves customizing 12 different driver specifications so they best match each golfer’s combination of size, strength, athletic ability and swing characteristics. Those key fitting parameters are, 1) Length, 2) Loft, 3) Lie, 4) Face Angle, 5) Shaft Flex, 6) Shaft Weight, 7) Shaft Bend Profile, 8) Total Weight, 9) Swingweight, 10) Grip Model/Style, 11) Grip Size, 12) Driver Head Design.
The chief specification that the adjustable hosel sleeves say they change is loft. But the only way that the sleeves can change loft is if the golfer always positions or holds the clubhead in a square face position behind the ball in the address position. If the golfer soles the head on the ground in the address position, the rotation of the sleeve will change the lie and or the face angle, not the loft.
If the sleeve is used to change lie or face angle, loft cannot also be changed. And the change in lie or face angle will be greatly limited to a very narrow range of alteration. In addition, it will not be possible to change to both a specific lie and a specific face angle. As the sleeve is rotated to change the angle of the shaft into the head, the options for a lie only change exist only at the 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock positions of the sleeve while the options for a face angle only change can only be achieved with the sleeve in a 3 or 9 o’clock position.
Setting the sleeve in positions equivalent to 1:30, 4:30, 7:30 or 10:30 (in between positions) will result in a change of both the lie and face angle together.
Beyond that, the adjustable driver still has one and only one length, shaft weight, shaft bend profile, total weight, swingweight, grip model, grip size, and clubhead design.
On the other hand, if you work with a professional Clubmaker, you can have all 12 key specs fit to your swing, and each one can be fit to a far wider range of fitting options.
- From the custom Clubmaker, driver length can be anywhere between 42” and 46”
- Lie can be within +/-4 degrees when using one of the Wishon Golf bendable hosel driver heads
- Loft can be anything from 8* to 17* in half degree increments through Wishon Golf’s hand select service
- Face Angle can be from 4* open to 4* closed when using one of the Wishon Golf bendable hosel driver heads. In addition, the lie and the face angle and the loft can all exist separately of each other in the same driver head. That’s utterly impossible with any other company’s driver head design.
- Shaft Flex can be anything between a shaft for a sub 50mph golfer all the way up to a shaft for a >125mph golfer.
- Shaft Weight can be anywhere from 45g to over 100 grams
- Shaft Bend Profile can be anywhere between the most tip flexible to the most tip stiff all within a wide clubhead speed range
- Total weight of the driver can be built to be anywhere between 280 grams to nearly 400 grams
- Swingweight can be customized from low C range to upper D range
- Grip Model/Style can be virtually anything from urethane to simulated leather, to rubber to tacky synthetic rubbers in smooth to ribbed styles for feel differences
- Grip Size can be anywhere from Ladies -1/32” undersize to Mens + 1/8” oversize
- And the driver head model can come from a myriad of different size, shape, CG, MOI, face design, and color options.
In the end, it is up to each golfer to decide. But if the goal of spending money on a driver is to get the driver that performs the absolute best for every golfer, it is a no brainer to go find a good custom Clubmaker who can and will fit your swing for each and every one of the key fitting specifications. Not just a handful for a limited range of fitting options.