Today’s drivers, fairway woods and hybrids all have more technology than ever before. In the last five years, almost every brand has gone to models that are completely adjustable. This gives everyone a chance to be better at the distance clubs than they’ve ever been! Strangely, when I give a lesson and I look in the players bag, 8 out of 10 times I see the club set on neutral.
Failure to adjust an adjustable club is one of the most frustrating things I see as a coach.
When I watch my student hit drivers, I observe the ball flight and usually see a pattern; either most go left ,or most go right. OR, some balls go left, some go right, some go straight. That last pattern happens because the student is trying to manipulate the clubface with the hands—an attempt to compensate for natural tendencies—which of course is very difficult to do with any degree of consistency.
Generally at this point I ask, “What do you have your driver set on?”
The student answers, “Neutral” (or “A-1” or some equivalent).
I ask, “Why?”
The student answers, “That’s what it was set on when I bought it.”
I then bite my tongue before answering something like, “Most every ball you have hit sliced. Wouldn’t you like to hit it straighter?”
At this point over the years I’ve gotten some pretty insane answers. The craziest responses come from students who are my strongest players. Mere mention of the idea of changing the setting is almost always met with resistance and skepticism. Many stronger players view changing the setting as a sign of weakness.
I’ve heard this ridiculous comment more than once: “I don’t want to use that as a crutch.”
This is my cue to point out that there isn’t a guy on tour whose driver is set on neutral—and they make MILLIONS.
So the question is, why would you want the game to be harder for you than it is for the pros? Why aren’t you taking advantage of technology like they are willing to do?
Everyone having their driver set on neutral is like saying that everyone is the same shoe size, or the same pant size.
If I put you in my clothes, XL shirt, pants (38×32) or my shoe (11.5), how would it feel? How would it look? Could you run in my shoes? Would my pants look really big on you?
I have a son who is about to be 14 who wears a size 9 shoe and has a 28 in waist. He would look ridiculous in my things. I would look equally ridiculous in his.
You get the point.
Your assignment: go to the range. Chart your drives. (Most of you already know your tendencies, but a session on the range for this purpose will prove them to you.) Then adjust your driver to to the opposite of your most common miss. If your miss is a slice, set it for draw, if your miss is left, open the face.
If you’re already awesome, adjust your driver to take one side of the golf course out of play. If your home course has a lot of trouble on the left, adjust your driver so that it’s almost impossible to hit it left. There is nothing more liberating than standing on the tee on a really important hole and having no fear. Fearless is what you achieve by adjusting the setting on your driver. Hitting the fairway is fun! Don’t be afraid. You’ll only get better.
After you do this you’ll be able to swing your natural swing and not try to manufacture a swing. Your move will get less handsy over time and your drives and scores will improve.
You’re not neutral. There is no one else like you. Use technology to your advantage. Club manufacturers spent millions and millions of R&D dollars developing this technology, so use it! You will improve, enjoy the game and feel good about yourself.