A Pair of Game Hacks to Find the Right Loft for Your Adjustable Driver
By Keith Stewart, PGA
Adjustable drivers have been a game-changer when it comes to improving launch conditions for all players. The ability to change the loft will dramatically help straighten and lengthen your drives. How do you know what to do?
Let’s say we don’t have immediate access to a PGA Professional. Here’s a quick “game hack” you can do to figure out the best loft setting for your adjustable driver.
Ideal launch conditions take place when we hit up on the ball at impact with the driver. In number terms, we want to initially launch the ball greater than the loft of the driver. If your driver has 11 degrees of loft, your launch angle should be a couple degrees higher depending on your swing speed. This is very important because so much is written about hitting down and when it comes to the driver that’s just not relevant.
To know you’re hitting up, try this quick test.
- Take an empty sleeve of golf balls and place it one grip length in front of your teed up golf ball. The box will be laying on the ground on the target line. For safety’s sake, please make sure the box is empty. Now try to hit your drive without hitting the box.
- Very quickly you will realize what it feels like to be swinging up through impact. Some of you will miss the box and launch a beautifully flighted drive. Many of you will hit the box. If you hit the box, try this setup change, and swing again.
- Make sure your trail shoulder is lower than your lead shoulder. Too many players make their shoulders level, and this can cause a steep angle of attack. Making it impossible to swing up and through with the driver. Get that trail shoulder lower and keep trying the empty box drill until you get a good feel for launching the ball correctly.
Once you feel a consistent upward swinging motion and those drives are getting launched over the horizon, it’s time to determine the correct loft.
- Not everyone has an elaborate launch monitor so here comes the “game hack.” One of the most telling traits the average golfer doesn’t consider is the descent angle. The angle the ball lands. Think of landing a plane on a runway. There’s only one correct way to do it!
- If you’re swinging up and through and the drives are landing like a helicopter, straight down, let’s lower that loft. Conversely, if we create those great launch conditions and we see a smooth approach to the ground like a plane then your loft is correct. If you hit up and the ball doesn’t seem to take off and looks flat and struggles to stay in the air, it’s time to increase that loft.
Loft is your friend. When going through this experiment, try to add as much loft as you can. More loft will decrease dispersion and help you hit better drives more often. Many players incorrectly believe too much loft leads to a loss in distance. The modern golf ball and driver complement each other best when flighted high with little spin.
You can get there and know with great certainty if you follow these simple steps.
1. Make sure you swing up on your drives. (This is imperative for determining the correct loft.)
2. Follow the descent angle.
Land that plane safely and you’ll be more self-assured when you step up to the tee. The added confidence from knowing one of golf’s endless details is correct will free up your swing and add distance you haven’t experienced before.