How to Adjust Your Driver

The Most Frequently Asked Question

If you read through the thousands of comments that have been posted on PluggedInGolf.com, you’ll notice a few themes – people thanking us for our informative reviews, people telling us our reviews are crap, and people asking for recommendations – but the most frequently asked question is, “How do I adjust my driver?”  With that in mind, I thought I’d write a full length explanation of how adjustable drivers work and how you can get the most out of them.

This Lesson Is For You If:

You have an adjustable driver

You aren’t sure how to adjust it

Hosel Adjustments – Loft, Lie, and Face Angle

Loft and Face Angle

When TaylorMade launched the R9 family of drivers, they talked about hosel adjustments in terms of left and right, i.e. closing or opening the club face.  Six years later, the conversation has changed to adjusting loft.  Here’s what you need to understand: adjusting the loft means changing the face angle and vice versa.

Here’s the simple version of the loft/face angle relationship:

When you add loft, you are closing the face.  When you remove loft, you are opening the face

This is counterintuitive, but if you experiment with your own adjustable driver you’ll see that it’s correct.  Set the driver to the highest loft and you’ll see a closed face.  Set it to the lowest loft and the face will be open.

For those interested in the “why,” here it is: the driver you bought only has one loft.  If it’s a 10 degree driver, it will always be 10 degrees, no matter how you twist it.  By twisting it (changing the face angle), however, you are taking what was a 10 degree driver with a square face and making it a 10 degree driver that is, for example, 2 degrees closed.  Now, to get that face square at impact, you need to open that 10 degree driver a couple degrees, thus adding loft.

Lie Angle

The adjustment that most manufacturers have, but few talk about, is lie angle.  Instead of calling it a lie angle adjustment, most manufacturers talk about fade, neutral, or draw settings.  This is code for making the lie angle flatter, neutral, or more upright, respectively.

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PING

Ping’s G30 adapter is fairly straightforward: there’s a circle which indicates that the club face is square and has the stated loft.  Then there are big and small plus and minus signs indicating that you can add or subtract 0.6° or 1.0° of loft.  Remember, when you add loft, the face closes; when you subtract loft, the face opens.

Adjustable Drivers_0207Adjustable Drivers_0209

Cobra

True to their “golf should be fun” ethos, Cobra has the simplest, best-labeled adapter on the market.  Each loft is clearly labeled, and the one you select shows up in a window on the hosel.  The “Draw” settings indicated a more upright lie angle.

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Titleist

Titleist has used the same adapter since they got into the adjustable driver game (yay!), but it requires a reference card to use it (boo!).  It’s a two-ring adapter with four positions on each ring – 1,2,3,4 and A,B,C,D – allowing for a total of 16 settings.  The loft adjustments range from subtracting 0.75° to adding 1.5°.  The lie angle adjustments follow the same pattern.

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TaylorMade

No one has created more different adapters over the years than TaylorMade.  Their current generation of drivers strive for simplicity with their “Higher” and “Lower” labels.  This sleeve allows you to add or subtract 2° of loft.

Adjustable Drivers (1)

Callaway

Callaway, like TaylorMade, has run through a number of different adapters over the last few years, but they seem to have settled on the Opti-Fit+.  This is a two-ring adapter, much like Titleist’s, but using it is much simpler.  You can use the two rings to select a Neutral (N) or Draw (D) lie angle, and subtract 1° of loft or add 1° or 2°.

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Nike

Nike is second only to Cobra in making hosel adjustments easy to understand.  Their STR8-FIT adapter has two rings: one for selecting loft, the other for selecting face angle (left, right, or straight).  The loft is adjustable across five degrees.

TaylorMade R15 Driver_0019Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815 Driver_0006

Adjustable Weights

When it comes to adjustable weights, there are essentially two types of systems: sliding weights and removable weights.  Both of these systems are governed by the same rules, so I’ll focus on the types of movements/adjustments you can make and the effects they will have.  If you have a good grasp of Gear Effect, all of this will be very simple.  Also keep in mind that any of these changes can also affect the way the club feels during the swing.

Moving Weight Towards the Toe or Heel

This is the easiest adjustment to understand: the ball will go towards the weight.  If you move the weight toward the toe, the ball will be more inclined to fade or slice.  If you move the weight toward the heel, the ball will be more likely to draw or hook.

Also realize that when you move a significant amount of weight toward the toe or heel, you will move the sweet spot.  If you consistently hit the heel or toe of the driver, you might adjust the weight to move the sweet spot towards your normal contact point.

Moving Weight Forward or Backward

This is the hot adjustment of 2015 – Cobra’s FlipZone and Nike’s FlexFlight are both good examples of it.  According to the manufacturers, when the weight moves back, the driver becomes higher launching and lower spinning, and with the weight forward, the ball flight is lower with more spin.  I also think that moving the weight forward and back has the biggest impact on feel.  Finally, realize that with the weight further back, there’s more gear effect.

Moving Weight to the Perimeter or Centering It

When you move weight toward the perimeter, the MOI increases and the driver becomes more forgiving.  When you center the weight, the MOI shrinks and it becomes less forgiving.

Moving Weight Up and Down

When you move weight up, you make the club lower launching and higher spinning.  Conversely, when you move weight down, you make the club higher launching and lower spinning.

Just as when you move the weight toward the toe or heel, you’re also moving the sweet spot.  If you tend to hit the ball low on the face, moving weight down might make sense so you can have a more “pure” strike.

Conclusion

Hopefully with this information you’ll feel empowered to take full advantage of your adjustable driver.  It is important to keep in mind that while adjustability is a great tool, it’s one that you should use sparingly.  Set up your driver to fit your overall tendencies, then practice with it.  If every missed fairway has you reaching for your wrench, you’re setting yourself up for trouble.

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Matt Saternus

Co-Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is a golf instructor, club fitter, and writer living in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Matt's work has been published in Mulligan Magazine, Chicagoland Golf, South Florida Golf, and other golf media outlets. He's also been a featured speaker in the Online Golf Summit and is a member of Ultimate Golf Advantage's Faculty of Experts.

43 Comments

  1. Randall J Johnson

    Great Article on Driver adjustments!!! as far as other people calling your articles crap..they themselves are full of it. Thanks & keep up the great reviews!

  2. paul fleming

    I have a Taylormade R-15. I hit all over the face. where do I place the weights? do i put one on the heel and one on the toe? just double checking. sincerely, paul

  3. Just purchased a Cleveland Classic XL… Does anyone know how to adjust it?

  4. I just bought the nike vapor with flex loft and want to adjust to the left. It appears that both rings are supposed to be moving to make an adjustment but only the one sleeve for loft rotates….does the other one rotate with the shaft?

  5. Have a Callaway XR driver with adjustment ,also have a bad fade . What way should weights be set to help ,to fade or draw setting ? Thanks.

  6. Graham Kelly

    But the XR does not have a weight option to adjust ???

  7. Mark Mesenko

    Silly question, but you say moving the weight moves the sweet spot. Which way does the sweet spot move relative to moving the weight? I have the M1.

  8. I have a Nike Vapor Pro driver with flex loft. If The neutral face angle is 1degree open. How much does the face open or close with the right or left settings. If it is only 1-2 degrees, I don’t mind using it but if is more than that I’d rather just change my swing. Right now my swing gives a pretty straight ball and I’d like a little draw spin for added distance but when I try to hit a draw I usually start to lose control and hook the ball. Closing the face a little and keeping my swing the same seems to be the better option!

    • Matt Saternus

      Adam,

      I don’t know exactly, but I would be very surprised if it’s more than 2 degrees.

      Best,

      Matt

  9. john northup

    I am look for a driver I can use in the fairway with a higher loft, I am over 70 and on longer par 4s I need some more distance. thank you

  10. Great information! Exactly what I needed. Thanks.

  11. James Mertens

    On the M2, how many degrees of loft is each hash mark?

    • Matt Saternus

      James,

      I don’t have an M2 in hand right now, but there is +/- 2 degrees, so I would guess each mark is 0.5*.

      -Matt

  12. I have an R 15 to stop a slice should I increase loft and close the face all the way down? Also where should the weight be set

  13. Gary Taylor

    I hit my r9 driver great for ego purposes bought a M2 , can not hit nearly as good, can u explain, do not like the M2, thinking of trading for the R16

    • Matt Saternus

      Gary,

      Sounds like the M2 is a bad fit. I would suggest going back to the R9 or getting a fitting for something new.

      Best,

      Matt

  14. I have the Adams XTD. Do I rotate the dial clockwise or counter-clockwise to adjust the weight toward the heel?

  15. Hi Matt, I have an RBZ Tour 9 degree driver with 4 settings : N NU R L. I want to fade the ball so what setting should I use . Thanks, Adrian

  16. I’m confused about your comment on moving the weights forward or back. Doesn’t moving the weight forward create lower launch with less spin and more run out and moving back creates higher launch with more spin with less run out?

    Here is your comment:
    Moving Weight Forward or Backward

    This is the hot adjustment of 2015 – Cobra’s FlipZone and Nike’s FlexFlight are both good examples of it. According to the manufacturers, when the weight moves back, the driver becomes higher launching and lower spinning, and with the weight forward, the ball flight is lower with more spin. I also think that moving the weight forward and back has the biggest impact on feel. Finally, realize that with the weight further back, there’s more gear effect.

    • Matt Saternus

      Al,

      It’s correct as written. Look at my explanation of gear effect to understand this further.

      Best,

      Matt

  17. I am left handed. Someone told me I have to do the opposite as right handed golfers (aka if i adjust it -1 it would really be +1). I have the callaway xr 16. That seems a little silly with all the technology today and if they make left handed clubs wouldn’t they just make the adjustability to fit them? Can you please confirm this is not true. Thank you

    • Matt Saternus

      Bryan,

      I don’t know the answer to your question, but my inclination is that it may vary by manufacturer. I recall that some of the old TMAG adapters were labeled RH or LH, so in that case you would just follow the directions as normal. I’m not sure which manufacturers make LH adapters (or more correctly, adapters labeled for LH), and which just use RH universally.

      The way to check would be to look at what happens to the face angle when you turn the adapter to maximum increased loft. If the face ends up very shut (for you, the LH player), then it’s labelled for LH. If increasing loft opens the face, you will need to reverse it.

      Best,

      Matt

  18. Thanks for the info Matt! I recently bought the M2 because I had the R11s with aldila rip’d 65 3.2toque x-stiff and I felt it was time for an upgrade. I asked our pro to order the M2 with the same shaft specs as my r11s. I now have the M2 aldila rogue 110 msi 70-2.8-x.
    My r11s is 9 degees set to standard loft i have the heavy 10 gram weight in the toe 1 g in the heel and have it set to open. To get my M2 tuned so far I have gone 4 clicks lower to get the ball flying the best.
    So far with the m2 I’m not super impressed for the $400 i spent. Matt knowing what you know from my r11s what would you have put me in for a shaft in the m2, i love my r11?…Thank you for time Matt!

    • Matt Saternus

      Zac,

      We don’t give any shaft recommendations here because there’s no accurate way to do so. I would recommend taking your M2 to a qualified fitter like Club Champion and letting them help you.

      Best,

      Matt

  19. I forgot to give you my loft “lack of f____ing talent to you for my m2, it is a 9.5. I also hit midsized grips if it makes a difference, i know they inhibit your release a bit.

  20. Hi Matt,

    I have a Great Big Bertha 2015. I cut about 3/4 of an inch off shaft. The head has a center screw weight. I was thinking of buying online a 15 gram weight to screw in to make up for the lose of weight after cutting. Will this make a big difference in the spin and launch of the driver or sweet spot? Callaway does not speak of changing this screw weight in any of their spec sheets.

    • Matt Saternus

      Joe,

      “Big” is a relative term, but I do think that there will be a noticeable difference in the way the club feels (heavier towards the back) and this could increase launch and lower spin.

      Best,

      Matt

  21. Tom Henderson

    Taylor Made Rocket Balls driver has 5 adjustments; standard, with 2 higher and 2 lower. How much is each adjustment worth? My “standard” is 9.5 if that makes a difference.

  22. Which ajustable driver can fix my hook. I cannot drive over 100 yards. I am looking for a driver with an open angle, thanks
    Claude

    • Matt Saternus

      Claude,

      Any driver with an adjustable hosel should be able to reach an open position. If you find one with moveable weights also, put more weight in the toe to combat the hook.

      Best,

      Matt

  23. Nathan Poole

    Can I use a shaft out of a right handed XR16 in a left handed XR16 head?

    • Matt Saternus

      Nathan,

      Yes, you can use it, but I believe all the settings will be reversed. To test this, set the head to the most closed setting (per the markings) and then the most open setting. If my guess is right, the results will be the opposite of what the markings indicate.

      Best,

      Matt

  24. Frank Hair

    I am trying out an Adams XTD 9 degree driver. With my old driver, I hit the ball so high that I was losing a lot of distance. I bought the driver from a friend and have no instructions about how to adjust the club to get the lowest possible trajectory. I also have a natural fade to my swing. The instruction that I found online seem to contradict what I thought was the correct way to adjust the club. Any help would be appreciated.

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