This post was most recently updated on January 22nd, 2022
You probably haven’t put much thought into what loft your driver has. The driver is meant to give you the longest distance of any club in your bag. The loft of drivers usually sits somewhere between 7 and 20 degrees, in extreme cases.
A 12-degree loft driver can help the average player gain slightly more distance off the tee while also increasing control. Let’s take a more in-depth look at the 12-degree driver.
WHAT IS A 12 DEGREE LOFT DRIVER
A 12-degree loft driver has a loft angle of 12 degrees, to put it simply.
It gives players a little higher launch off the tee so they can get more distance. However, it is not suited for all players (which we will cover later).
It is also possible that a 12-degree driver could help players hit the ball a little more straight, given that the higher the ball goes, the less likely it is to have drastic side spin.
Think of the high lofted wedges and how easy they are to hit straight. It is not a direct comparison, but similar physics.
A 12 Degree driver has slightly more loft than the average driver used by most amateurs and pros.
In fact, many pros use drivers at or below the 10.5-degree mark. That being said, the vast majority of PGA players have fast swing speeds, to which lower loft drivers are better suited.
Based on your swing type, you may benefit from a 12-degree loft driver because, for some players, it is easier to hit it more accurately and gain more distance.
BENEFITS OF A 12 DEGREE DRIVER
Some of the benefits of a 12-degree driver include:
Higher Launch Off The Tee
With greater loft, the ball naturally comes off the face of the club with a higher trajectory.
Increased Drive Distance
If your swing speed is a little slower, it can be tough to get the carry necessary to achieve greater distance with a low loft driver. A 12-degree loft driver gives you that extra carry you need, which could equate to 10 to 20 more yards off the tee.
When a ball is hit higher, it is less likely to have a drastic slice or hook. It will not entirely cure a slice, but it can cut down on the dramatics of it.
DOES THE 12 DEGREE DRIVER HAVE TOO MUCH LOFT
The 12 Degree loft driver may be considered by some to have too much loft. But they are not likely the right golfers for that type of club.
12 degrees is not unreasonable, considering that the average driver sits at 10.5 degrees in loft.
However, when you compare it to the loft angles of most pros on the PGA tour these days, 12 degrees tend to be a little high, and it may be a rare occasion to see a 12-degree loft driver at a major championship.
That being said, 1.5 degrees can make a big difference. For instance, if a player has a high swing speed, the higher loft will create more spin, potentially causing the ball to fly too high and not as far.
Comparatively, players with slower swing speeds can get more carry and spin on the ball, allowing for more distance.
There is an interesting crossover point when a particular swing speed is no longer suited for a higher loft driver.
If you’re having trouble keeping the ball straight or think you may benefit from higher launch, it may be worth testing a 12-degree driver to see any immediate differences.
BEST 12 DEGREE DRIVER - TAYLORMADE GOLF M5 DRIVER
The TaylorMade M5 Driver is an optimal 12-degree option with unique tunings that offers faster swing speeds, a larger sweet spot, and moveable weights.
Each driver is speed tested individually to give players optimized COR, (which is the ratio of the final and initial velocity of the club at the point of impact) across the entire face.
That means you should have fewer miss-hits and more consistency.
It is also designed to cut down on sidespin when the ball is hit off-centre. With moveable T-weights, you can move the center of gravity to suit your swing and tune it for more distance and control.
Overall, the TaylorMade M5 seems to be one of the best 12-degree drivers that could offer more consistency and distance off the tee.
WHO SHOULD USE A 12 DEGREE DRIVER
Any player struggling with getting enough height and distance off the tee may benefit from a 12 Degree driver.
Since it may also provide more control because of a higher flight path, players who deal with persistent slicing could also benefit.
Other players who may benefit from a 12-degree driver are those who impact the ball with an upward attack angle.
Generally, these will be players who hit the driver with the ball in front of the leading foot. Less spin is also created at this attack angle, doubling down on the decrease in ball spin.
Comparatively, a player who has a more neutral attack angle may get more distance from backspin, creating a loftier trajectory. This would be possible with slightly less loft.
Players with front weighted drivers may also benefit because less spin is generated using clubs with a forward center of gravity.
Thus, a higher loft driver can help create more lift where there is less spin present.
If you can get your swing speed tested, the sweet spot of where a 12-degree driver becomes less effective is around the 110mph mark.
That leads to the point that if you have a swing speed above 110mph, your main problems may not lie in your driver’s loft and a different mechanic of your swing.
As with any fix in golf, it is always best to test it out for yourself and do your own 12 degree driver review.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A 10.5 AND 12 DEGREE LOFT DRIVER
1.5 degrees may not seem like a lot, but when you consider golf’s micro-mechanics, it can cause dramatic changes.
10.5 degrees is the median loft of drivers used by most golfers. They are suitable for many players, and if you’re not experiencing detrimental issues to your game, then 10.5 may be just right for you.
12-degree loft drivers will create less spin and height naturally, without faster swing speeds.
You may get more distance, control, and consistency, but you will lose a little bit of roll compared to a 10.5-degree loft.
WHAT HITS FARTHER, A 7 DEGREE, OR 12 DEGREE LOFT DRIVER
That will depend on a wide variety of factors. Firstly, 7 degrees is an extremely flat loft angle compared to even a 10.5-degree driver.
7-degree loft drivers were more prevalent when balls were designed to create far less spin.
With a lower loft angle, spin is much harder to control, so having a mix of balls that spin high with a driver that helps generate spin is not an overly effective combination.
However, a player with manically fast swing speed and a ball that hits with low spin may blast a ball incredibly far, comparatively.
There are still examples of players using low loft drivers. Yet, they are the outliers and they are utilized by swing styles that lend themselves to the lower angle. The 7-degree driver angle is not the most suitable for the average golfer on the course, therefore.
Golfers with slower swing speeds would struggle significantly to match the distance a fast swinger would achieve.
Therefore, a 12-degree driver would hit further for a slower swinger than it may for a quicker swing speed player.
It all depends on your clubface’s speed at the impact point and the swing style that you employ.
If you have any other comments or insights into a 12-degree driver’s effectiveness, please leave them in the comments section below.
The Editorial Staff at Golfible is a team of golfing geeks and enthusiasts led by founder Alec Rose. All have the same obsession with golf tech, equipment updates and avoiding rain on the course.