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How much does Driver Loft Matter?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hey all, I was just wondering how much the loft of the driver plays an impact on my ball flight. I've heard that lower loft creates more spin to the side, which makes sense because I have a 9.5 degree and I dont hit it nearly as well as i hit my friends 11.5 degree. 


Thanks for taking the time to read my post

post #2 of 13

I'd like to know as well. I have a 9.0 degree and am getting into serious mode for a new driver this year. I can hit my 9.0 degree high enough but it takes a concerted effort, otherwise its a dart. That's probably down to my mechanics though.

post #3 of 13

Considering there's typically a 4 to 5 degree difference in each iron, 1.5 degrees from say a 9° to a 10.5° isn't much.     I think shaft selection makes a bigger difference than one step up or down in driver loft...

post #4 of 13
Originally Posted by inthehole View Post

Considering there's typically a 4 to 5 degree difference in each iron, 1.5 degrees from say a 9° to a 10.5° isn't much.     I think shaft selection makes a bigger difference than one step up or down in driver loft...

Bingo.  You've got to find the right combination for you.  I play an 8.75* setup and hit the ball a mile in the air; others with a 10.5* might be hitting the ball much lower than me.  I'd say 90% of golfers will fall out in the 9-11* range, so if you find a 10* driver that adjusts +/- 1-degree, you should be able to work it out.


However, the shaft will also have a massive impact on ball flight and launch angle.  When you're judging driver models, I'd say finding the manufacturer whose stock shaft option best suits your needs is much more important than whatever they're claiming about the clubheads.


post #5 of 13



For this guy, 1° more loft meant 36 yards more carry:




Dick Piretti

Lenox, Mass.

Handicap: 6

Swing speed: 97 mph


I tried it: I had seen tests like this before, and I was eager to see how it related to me. I didn't notice too much change in my ball flight with more loft, but I could really see it where my shots landed. I always thought I hit the ball too high, so I went to an 8-degree driver. I'll have to find a 9-degree driver I'm comfortable with.


What we think: Dick has a great swing--and a good launch angle and spin rate with his Callaway Biggest Big Bertha. By adding 1 degree of loft, he increased his launch angle and slightly decreased his backspin, which translated into a whopping 36 more yards of carry.

DRIVER                    LAUNCH   SPIN   CARRY

Callaway BBB

8[degrees] S-flex           14.4   3103     206
9[degrees] R-flex           13.7   4299     202
9[degrees] S-flex           14.7   2947     242
11[degrees] S-flex          14.7   4450     212

Edited by glock35ipsc - 3/2/12 at 11:36am
post #6 of 13

Well i think of it this way, you get a 10.5 degree driver, now the golf shaft is probably going to give you 1.5 degrees in either direction depending on shaft specifics. So you want to set the loft in the range of which your maximum distance can be achieved.


For me i play a 10.5, i use to play a 9.5 driver. I am going back to a 9.5, the reason is, i play a V2 80 X-stiff shaft in my driver, ths thing is low spin, and low launch, and i fricken hit the ball a ton in the air. I get huge carry, but zip on the roll. I mean it could be a drought in summer, and i don't get much roll. If i go down to a 9.5, i can get some roll on it, and switch to a different shaft. Bsically that 10.5 hamstringed me into a very specific range of golf shafts...




post #7 of 13

Its pretty important because your swingspeed and how well you square up the clubface determine what loft you should use.  IMO, its not quite as important as having the right shaft but its a close 2nd.

post #8 of 13

i used to hit the ball very high in the air with lots of backspin - it would essentially land and stop.   i went to golfsmith and got on a monitor, and got fitted for a driver with a lower loft (9.5 to 8.5) and stiffer shaft.   now i hit the ball more like a line drive.. it carries further than my other driver, and rolls out quite a bit.   i'm still getting used to it, but am very happy so far.

post #9 of 13

I went to a 12* from a 10.5* degree driver with the same shaft. I hit the ball with a considerable bit more carry with the 12*.


Total length favours the 10.5* driver as it will run further in the right conditions but average distance goes to the 12* handily.

post #10 of 13

I've wondered these things for a while.


I struggled awfully with a 9/10.5* driver.  I switched to a 13* with a low tee and preseting my hips way forward (with swing thought to get hips forward with really loose hands) and it is 10x better.  I swing about 98-102 mph, but I hit my Nike 13* SQ Driver from 2005 with a senior flex shaft better than any driver I've ever hit.


I'm not sure why.  With the ball tee'd up low (and after reading Clampett's "The impact zone") I drove a 282 yard par 4 on Saturday - using a driver with a 13* head and a senior flex shaft.  I've tried and tried to buy what I "should" be hitting - Burners, Clevelands, Callaways, got fitted, etc... but I can't get better results than the 13* with the senior flex shaft.  I don't know why but I hit it really far and pretty straight.


Who knows.  I wish there was something like the ball flight laws for stiff/reg shafts (i.e. if ball goes left, its too stiff) but that doesn't seem to exist.  It seems to be totally different for each individual player.  I can hit the ball really far with my 13* driver, but with my 10.5* I either hit popups or low (little above head height) fades that roll way out.

post #11 of 13

A couple things probably play into that which doesn't get talked about a lot.... angle of attack (AoA), and the roll radius of the face.  If one has a really positive angle of attack with the driver (say a 9* driver for example), and impacts a ball that is teed up high with a high AoA, and lets say hits it above the middle of the face (depending on the actual roll radius, loft toward the top of the face could be around 11*-12*), it's easy to see how people with a low lofted driver think they need to go with a lower lofted driver to get their ball flight down. 


People with a sweeping driver swing, or even a negative angle of attack will almost always do better more loft.  Tiger's current driver is...... 11.25*! 


I think people sometimes don't take into account the AoA and the roll radius of the face of their driver, and jump to the shaft as the root of their height/trajectory issues.  The thing about the roll radius is (using a driver measured at an actual 10* as an example again), depending on the radius, the driver could be 10* at the dead center of the face, 7*-8* towards the bottom, and 12*-13* towards the top.  Now factor in a manufacturing tolerance that is almost always at +/- 1*, and that "advertised" 10* driver can have a face with loft ranging from 6* to 14* depending where on the face the ball is struck.  I've even heard many stories of Ping drivers measuring 2*-3* higher of actual center of face loft than what is on the sole.  I've also heard that it might be done on purpose..... but I'm not going there!  f3_laugh.gif


As far as the shaft flexing enough at impact to add a little extra loft... if you have an early or even maybe a mid release, you have already thrown out the power, or lag, and the shaft wont do much for you then.  If you have a mid to late release of the lag, then the shaft definitely comes into play. 


Johnclayton - I'm guessing that you have a negative angle of attack?

post #12 of 13

I think you've told the ultimate secret.  I hope you realized it while you were saying it.  You used a loft and shaft that weren't "from the book"  and you kill it.  That's because there is so much more to a swing than speed and spin. Do you think the machine takes into account your angle of attack? Your degree of lofting or de-lofting  needs counting in as well.  Sure it tells you how much backspin and 

side spin you put on the ball, but does it match with the change from swing to swing the angle your club face is open or closed to square? Does it take into account how much your wife nags you to give up the game?  Were you using the balls with your mother-in-law's picture grinning at you from the backside of the ball when you went to whack thebejesus out of it?


    More simply put, you found by accident the right club for you to hit.  You need to right down the exact loft and lie and length.  Get a good club maker in your area to test the exact flex.  Do not trust what is on the shaft!!!  Oh, and finding a really good club maker,, lots of luck with that.  They are out there... it only took me 25 years.  I recommend everybody I know to go to this guy.  It hysterical how few actually do.  Remember that flex board has quite a few lines on it... write down ..or better yet .. take a picture of where it falls on that board.. then pay the club maker a bundle.. and steal the board.  Ok... maybe .. just maybe that is a bit much.  But when you spend 25 years finding the right guy to make you the right clubs  you tend to get a little over protective about getting it right.


    Lot's of luck..to any future readers of this post .. I didn't write this to answer this guy .. I'm sure he is long since gone.  I wrote this for anybody in the future that, just as I did, happens upon this post.

post #13 of 13

If you're having driver problems but hit the ball well otherwise, get a fitting.


This spring, I got to talk to both Callaway and Wilson tech rep at different demo days. Both suggested this path to driver solution:

  • Determine your driver swing speed.
  • Start with shaft flexes that match your swingspeed.
  • Do initial refinements with different head lofts.
  • Complete fine-tune with kick-point/flex-point adjustments (can slightly lower or raise the launch angle).
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