Adjustable Sleeves - For Loft, Lie and Clubface: Pros and Cons
Adjustable sleeves are now found in virtually every driver and you will have trouble finding a driver from the leading manufacturers without this hosel. So you could say that this solution has established itself on the market. However, you have to ask yourself if this is really an advantage from the player's point of view and what is probably the reason why this variant has become accepted. But first of all we take a look at the common customizable hosels:
The Standard Version
With this hosel, the loft, lie and clubface can be adjusted, but none of these can be adjusted in isolation. If you change the loft, the lie and/or the position of the clubface will also change. This variant is the most common and is of course a suboptimal solution. Because just because you want 1° less loft does not mean that you want to change the lie and the clubface at the same time. In addition, the shaft is always twisted in this variant. This is particularly critical for drivers. Because twisting always changes the orientation of the shaft. A driver shaft should be installed in such a way that the torque can be minimised. This is called "Spine Alignment". If you turn the shaft now, exactly this alignment is no longer given.
This variant is currently only available from one manufacturer, which allows you to make a change to the loft, for example, without changing the lie or clubface. But here too, the problem is that the orientation of the shaft changes. But at least it is an improvement on the standard version because we don't have to accept that other settings will also change.
The Non Rotating Variant of Honma
Unfortunately, even with Honma, the settings cannot be made in isolation. This means that if you want to change one thing, the loft, the lie and/or the clubface will change at the same time. The following picture shows to what extent this is the case:
The big advantage of this system, however, is that the orientation of the shaft does not change. Honma already carries out a "Spine Alignment" in the factory, which means that each shaft is already optimally installed. And it stays that way, no matter how much you adjust the driver.
The problem with many Customisable Hosels
We have seen that there is no variant without disadvantages. Either we have to adjust the shaft as well, or live with the fact that other settings change at the same time (or both). But that is not the biggest problem with these hosels, because an adjustable hosel means one thing above all else: weight. And this weight is exactly where you want to avoid it. Some hosels are heavier than others. The really light hosels, such as those from Honma, have much less influence than heavier hosels from some other manufacturers. Some of these are so heavy that they have a real influence on the centre of gravity.
You can twist and turn it any way you want: Every adjustable hosel, no matter which manufacturer, means a suboptimal weight distribution. So this is a compromise you need to make. So you buy the adaptability with weight in a very unfavourable position.
Why are there only Adjustable Sleeves?
We now know two serious disadvantages of adjustable hosels and we can ask the question why there are only drivers with adjustable hosels on the market. The problem with a driver without a customizable hosel is simply this: You would theoretically have to build heads in x different combinations. At least in 3-4 different lofts, 2-3 different lies and a neutral and open face position. That alone is at least 12 different variations. As a golf manufacturer, however, you always have to struggle with economies of scale. The less quantities can be produced, the lower the profit margin. This makes it much more profitable to offer only 2 heads with different loft instead of 12 - the rest can then be adjusted
Another problem is, of course, that for a fixed variants without adjustable hosel, a fitting must take place - precisely to find exactly this one variant that fits properly. Unfortunately, the majority of clubs are still sold without fittings. This often requires that adjustments can be made afterwards.
Driver with adjustable hosel or not?
This question can be easily answered, you basically have no other choice. What you should pay attention to, however, is to choose a driver whose hosel is particularly light and does not twist the shaft. Admittedly, this combination is currently only offered by Honma. But if you can live with the fact that your shaft is suboptimally fitted after an adjustment, at least make sure that the hosel is very light and has little influence on the centre of gravity. An expert fitter or dealer will be able to tell you which of his driver models will perform well here.