Did you get a new adjustable driver for the holiday season? If so, congratulations, they are absolutely the best tools for the average Joe. But here is the thing, if you don’t play a bunch of rounds, or have that week to just pound buckets of balls everyday to get it setup, like tour pros, it may be a bit frustrating and intimidating.
However, if you take it slow and work on a few fundamental concepts, you can get your driver tuned up and on the way to being your favorite club. I still play my Taylormade R1 because I have it setup perfect for my swing, and it is indeed my favorite club in the bag.
So I started with a simple question, what ball flight did I want? In other words, did I want a draw or a fade, high ball flight or low? That is really about it, sounds simple, but there is one more variable to take into account, the club is also new. Yup, newness, in any piece of golf gear requires time, and reps. I just bought a new Wedge for the holidays, and I know it is going to take me at least half a dozen rounds with it and a few buckets on the range before I am 100% confident in it.
When I got my new R1 on the range for the first time, I set it in the factory neutral position. 10 degrees loft, face angle zero, and weights neutral. I had an adjustable driver before, but the R9 did not have as many different settings as the R1, so going with factory settings gave me an idea of what this new club was like with no adjustment. Out of the gate, the answer to my two previous questions were, I want a slight fade, and a mid-high ball flight. I want to aim at the let-center of the fairway, and have the ball move about 5 yards left to right total. That way I can eliminate the left side of the fairway on tee shots.
So, out of the box the R1 produced too high a flight, and too much left to right on my fade. My old R9 was 9.5 degrees of loft and I had the weights set for draw bias. The new R1 sent the ball quite a bit higher, so I set it to 9 degrees loft. The R1 has an additional adjustment that I can make to the face angle. With the weights set to draw and the face neutral, I had successfully created a slight draw shot with my driver, so I set the face angel to one degree open, and bingo, I had produced my slight fade, with a mid-high launch. I played my driver with that setting for the first part of the 2014 season. But as I got used to the driver, I found that it just wasn’t as consistent as I wanted, some times my fade would not happen, and I would end up left. That started to happen more and more, as I began to get more confident in the club. It is natural, I was getting used to the club and hitting it harder. So mid-season, I made a slight change and this is important, I don’t make radical changes, or it can be like having to break in a new driver all over, instead, I want to make subtle changes and play with them a bit before I go further.
I set it up this time with the weights set to neutral, and the face angel this time 1 degree closed, and the loft set to 9.5 degrees. That absolutely did the trick. I have been playing the club like all of 2015, and it was my best driving year by far. In my last round of the year, at The Reserve at Spanos park in Stockton, I missed only two fairways with my driver all day, and I was averaging 252 yards on a 51 degree day. At 52, I will take that all day long. Hopefully you will have days like that in your future with your new adjustable driver, with a little patience and small adjustments as you go, it is definitely possible.
Drive on, the Shankster!