9.5 vs 10.5 Driver – Which Should You Be Using?

The driver is the most difficult club to hit in the bag. It has the longest shaft, and swing arc, which allows us, amateur golfers, to get all “twisted up” during the backswing and the downswing through the ball. Added to this, the tendency is to swing too hard at the ball, which causes all kinds of problems. This is the Big Dog that needs to be hit hard and far, Right? Wrong!!

Loft

Loft is a player’s friend, and especially when it comes to hitting the driver. The more loft on the driver, the easier it is to get airborne with any consistency. Accuracy will improve and scores will tumble. Sound too easy? Let us look at it another way.

Most beginners or mid-handicap players are capable of hitting a 3-wood fairly consistently off the tee. The reason is a 3-wood carries loft of anything between 13 to 15-degrees.

Accepting Your Skill Level

One of the hardest things to do is to accept your playing capability and skill level. Drivers can carry lofts of up to 12 degrees, and many senior golfers and beginners would be well advised to start with similar lofts.

Confidence is crucial when hitting a driver, and finding fairways during a round will build this and improve scores.

Who Should Hit a 9.5-Degree Driver?

Swing speed is an important factor when deciding on the choice of driver loft. Too little speed will not get sufficient compression and spin on the ball to launch it at a decent trajectory. Carry through the air, equals distance.

Skilled golfers with a swing speed of around 100mph will generate enough compression and spin to launch the 9,5-degree driver high and far. It is always worth considering playing conditions when deciding on a driver loft. If playing in coastal or windy conditions is the norm, then try hitting a driver with 9-5degrees or 9-degrees to keep the ball out of the wind.

Links-style courses allow for low running shots, so the low flight will be an advantage. Conversely, inland conditions require a high ball flight and trajectory to maximize carry through the air for increased distance.

Spin

The dimple pattern on the ball helps lift the ball into the air, accompanied by spin. Spin controls the flight trajectory and the curvature of the ball. Sidespin will move the ball either left or right in the air, and this control is extremely important.

Too much backspin on the ball will make it balloon into the air, and fall short of the anticipated distance. The type of ball put into play will affect the above.

Angle of Attack

The driver is the one-shot where contact should be made on the upswing. Played from a tee, the ball height should be sufficient to allow the driver head to sweep through contact, without taking a divot.

If the swing path is negative at impact, ie still on the downswing, the ball will pop up high into the air without achieving too much distance.

This is another factor to consider when selecting the loft on a driver, but I suggest the swing path be corrected rather than through loft on a driver.

Who Should Hit a 10.5-Degree Driver?

Possibly the most popular driver loft used by skilled and unskilled amateur golfers. The reasons being it is forgiving, hits the ball with a medium to high trajectory, and has sufficient spin to obtain a decent distance off the tee.

Accuracy off the tee is enhanced which leads to lower scores and an improved handicap. Could a player want any more proof to use this loft?

It can be controlled by most players with slower swing speeds and the added loft gets the ball airborne easily. Faster swing speeds will also benefit from the improved accuracy off the tee, and a change in the ball type can decrease the spin factor if required.

On the subject of the ball, the latest ball technology reduces spin on the long irons and the driver for more distance, control, and accuracy.

Skilled players can work the ball both ways in the air more easily with the 10,5-degree loft.

Shafts

The last word on shafts. Selecting the correct shaft for the driver can increase clubhead speed and improve accuracy and consistency off the tee. Various lofts can be tested and players will be surprised to find how easy the driver can be controlled provided the shaft suits the swing speed.

Final Thoughts

Selecting the correct loft on the driver will make the game more enjoyable and build confidence on the tee. No need to get the “jitters” on the 1st tee when your mates are watching. The driver starts the game and will be used 14 or 15 times during the round, and once mastered will become the favorite club in the bag. Hitting it far and straight is every golfer’s dream.

Let the Big Dog Loose!

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