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Most golfers are shockingly unaware of the effect that driver loft has on their tee shots. If you’re using the wrong loft on your driver, you may be losing yardage and accuracy that could easily be fixed by increasing or decreasing the loft angle.
Drivers range in loft between 4 and 20 degrees in the most extreme cases, but the average loft is about 10.5 degrees. Finding the right loft for you is crucial, and we’re going to talk about how to find the right one.
The angle of the clubface in relation to the ground is the loft. In other words, a perfect right angle with the ground would create a 0-degree loft. Every degree separated from this right angle increases the loft of the driver.
Although most driver lofts are between 9 and 12 degrees, the best driver loft will differ for each player. It comes down to swing speed, attack angle, and ball flight tendencies.
Driver loft differences can make a massive impact on driver shots, and even tweaking it by half a degree could prove beneficial or harmful to your game.
Driver loft can play a huge role in helping or hurting your effectiveness off the tee. Players with slower swing speeds should be increasing their loft, while fast swingers can lower their loft. The majority of tour players use drivers below the 10.5 mark.
If a player with a slower swing speed uses a low loft driver, their tee shots will stick pretty close to the ground.
This results in shorter distance off the tee, and sometimes, decreased accuracy. They simply aren’t getting enough ball speed off the tee to achieve the necessary carry.
With fast swing speed players, too much loft on the driver will cause the ball to spin too much. The combination of fast swing and ball speed and high spin will result in a loss of distance and potential accuracy.
Using basic swing speed guidelines, you can figure out which loft is best for you. As we mentioned earlier, if you swing fast, your driver angle should be lower, while if you’ve got a slow swing speed, you can benefit from a higher loft.
The best way to find out what your loft should be is to go to a golf shop or testing facility and have your swing measured.
Many large shops that fit and service clubs can measure swing speed. However, if you can’t find a place that measures swing speed, you can use these basic guidelines:
While handicap is a general indication of a player’s overall ability, it may not be the most accurate indication of swing speed. There are many golfers with slower swings that collect scorecards in the ’70s and low ’80s.
However, if you’ve got a higher handicap and you’re taking extra strokes from lost distance, penalty strokes, or tough lies after your tee shot, then you may benefit from increasing the loft on your driver. Doing so can add yards and accuracy by giving the ball a higher launch off the tee.
If they have a fast clubhead speed, low handicappers should be going with a lower loft driver. The quicker swing speed will create enough backspin and launch off the tee to get the ball high and produce yardage.
However, not all low handicappers have a fast swing speed, and you should take that into account as the most crucial factor. If you’re having trouble getting distance off the tee, or you’re hitting your drives consistently low, you may benefit from trying out a higher loft on your driver.
Most seniors could benefit from a higher loft driver. Considering that, when we age, our swing speed naturally slows down, a senior could benefit from a driver with a loft above 10.5 degrees.
This could result in more distance and less slicing and hooking off the tee.
So who should be using which level of loft on their driver? Here are some of the criteria you should consider.
High Loft Drivers:
Low Loft Drivers:
There are some things you need to keep in mind when picking the loft of your driver. Even though the club may have a particular loft, the way you swing, stand and hit the ball are also factors.
A few different elements will determine the dynamic loft of your club. The position of your hands in comparison to the ball, the angle at which the ball is attacked, where the ball is along the swing plane at impact, and the clubface’s openness.
The dynamic loft changes any time one of these factors is adjusted, changing the driver’s loft angle at impact.
Some clubs come with the option of adjustability. This can be a good thing because it allows you to make tweaks to the driver’s loft depending on your typical flight path.
If you’re not getting much carry distance, increasing the loft will give you more height and reduce dramatic slicing.
On the other hand, decreasing the driver’s loft may be beneficial to players who are hooking the ball too much or tend to hit the ball high off the tee naturally.
Adjustability is all about finding the right loft angle for you.
Here is a chart that you can use to help visualize what types of changes you could expect by changing the loft on your driver.
As you can see, there are massive driver loft differences and effects on the ball off the tee when the loft is adjusted. The average golf driver loft is 10.5 degrees.
Many players are likely to use a driver with a loft od 10.5 degrees without knowing it. It is the middle ground when it comes to the loft of a driver and therefore produces less drastic changes in ball flight.
Keep in mind that even a slight adjustment to a driver’s loft can have a massive impact on the outcome of the drive. If you’re a fast club swinger and use a driver with a loft angle of 10.5, you may notice decreases in hooks, and gain more distance if you switch to a 10-degree or a 9.5-degree loft.
Comparatively, if you’re having trouble launching the ball up in the air off the tee, then increasing your driver to an 11 or 12-degree loft can make instrumental improvements to your tee shots.
The majority of pros use drivers with lofts around 9.5 degrees. This is because professional golfers have swing speeds that exceed 110mph. However, depending on the swing style, hand position, ball position, and other factors, a pro may increase the loft to get more accuracy and distance.
Some professional players use excessively low loft drivers around the 7-degree mark. Bryson DeChambeau, who typically uses a 6.5-degree driver and swings the club at 125mph, adjusted his loft to 4.8 degrees in 2019, giving him an extra 15 yards.
He even had to ask permission to continue hitting his driver on the range due to clearing the protective netting.
That is an extreme case but shows the importance and effect of driver loft vs. swing speed.
Changing up the loft on your driver can potentially fix some of your problems off the tee. If you have any comments or questions about driver loft, please leave them in the comments section below.
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