Saturday, April 28, 2012

Adjustable Drivers

Adjustable drivers are all the rage these days; golfers can adjust various attributes of the club to suit their swings and help correct ball flight errors. My Nike SQ Machspeed driver is a square-headed, thud-making monster; I keep it adjusted to a flatter lie with a slightly closed club face position (because my ball flight error tends to be a slice).

However, I've noticed that on days when I'm making a good turn behind the ball and using a reasonably strong grip (slightly more than neutral), I can start pulling, hooking, and hitting really low shots off the tee with it. This is why it's important to be able to diagnose what's going on while playing. Two primary components of ball flight are swing path and club face; the two are joined at the hip and synergistic.

When I know I'm making a good turn behind the ball (full shoulder turn) and getting an inside-out swing path and the ball is hooking, pulling, or going low, I know that my club face is too closed to match that swing path. Suddenly, my adjusted driver becomes an enemy. True, I'm not slicing…I'm just doing the opposite, which can be disastrous too.

In those situations, a slight grip change may be all that's needed to correct the ball flight. I've noticed that the stronger grip I use for my other lower lofted clubs (like the 3-hybrid or 5-iron) can produce low and/or left ball flights with my adjustable driver, if I'm swinging on a good inside-out path. So (and every day on the golf course is different), I will slightly rotate my grip to the left (V's pointing between my neck and right shoulder as opposed to directly at my right shoulder) as a fix. Usually, this small change will straighten my ball flight and produce a higher draw shape.

However, go too far with the grip (or start making an incomplete turn) and the ball will start fading or slicing again. Golf is great, huh?

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