Is your driver lofted suited to your swing speed? Unsurprisingly, many readers do not know the answer to this question, hurting your yardage potential off the tee. I know all about the impact of incorrect driver lofts and suffered from inaccuracy off the tee when I was younger.
What’s the best driver loft for you? The slower your swing speed, the more loft you need.
|Driver Loft (Degrees)||Recommended Swing Speed (MPH)|
In this post, you’ll learn the ins and outs of driver loft, including how it impacts your launch, flight, roll, and total distance. In addition, I’ll explain how you identify the correct loft for your game and recommend where you should start.
Once you have schooled yourself on the clubface angle of a big stick, learn more about the lofts of the rest of your golf clubs.
- How Do Golf Driver Lofts Impact Your Tee Shots?
- What Driver Loft Should I Use?
- What Is The Best Loft For Driver Distance?
- What Happens If I Swing The Lowest Lofted Driver?
- What Happens If I Swing A High Lofted Driver?
How Do Golf Driver Lofts Impact Your Tee Shots?
Playing with the incorrect driver loft for your game can generate wayward shots, an inadequate launch, and unstable ball flight. I find that your swing speed provides the quickest indicator of the best driver loft for your game.
For example, if you carry a slow swing speed and use a 9-degree driver loft, you may struggle to generate sufficient ball speed and power for a high, long launch. As a result, you’ll find your ball travels low and hits the ground early, causing a loss of carry yards. Plus, the closed clubface can cause you to hook your shots frequently.
Conversely, if a higher swing speed uses a 12-degree driver, the open face may cause them to balloon their shot and slice the ball right of the target.
What Driver Loft Should I Use?
The best loft for a driver is predominantly determined by your swing speed. Typically slower swingers deliver the best consistency with weaker lofted drivers. On the other hand, higher swing speeds prefer the lower trajectory of decreased lofts.
Before we dive into the performances of different big stick lofts, I recommend bookmarking our review on the 9.5 vs 10.5-degree driver.
Higher Swing Speed
I like to divide golfers with higher swing speeds into two categories, fast and lightning fast. Lightning-fast players produce over 105 mph driver club head speed and suit the most powerful golf loft driver. You’ll find these players maximize ball speed and minimize spin with an 8.5-degree driver.
According to True Spec Golf, fast swingers are individuals that generate between 97 and 104 mph driver clubhead speed. These players are best positioned to swing a 9-degree big stick for low spin, controlled ball flight, and maximum roll.
Average Swing Speed
Moderate swing speeds produce between 84 to 96 mph of clubhead speed with the big stick. You’ll find that most amateurs fit into this bracket and require a moderately lofted driver like a 10.5-degree construction.
Employing a moderate loft leads to a more open driver face to give an additional boost at impact. As a result, you increase your chances of consistently launching your ball high and long off the tee.
If you find you are generating excess spin and lift with the 10.50-degree, consider a 9-degree driver. Alternatively, drivers with adjustable loft enable you to slightly strengthen the angle by 0.5-degrees to avoid going to the other extreme.
Slow Swing Speed
Beginners and seniors often find themselves in the slow swing speed category, where the best loft driver is weaker and higher launching. Slower swingers deliver driver clubhead speed under 83 mph and require a more open clubface to consistently get the ball airborne off the tee.
Whenever beginners ask what loft should my driver be? I suggest nothing stronger than 12.5-degrees. You’ll find that the weaker loft generates slightly more spin than its stronger peers, which elevates your launch to increase your distance gains.
If you feel the 12.5-degree is too weak for your swing and generate excess spin and launch, think about the 10.5-degree driver. The lower lofted design will reduce your spin rate, helping you produce a lower launch for a consistent flight and optimal roll.
Conversely, if the 12.5-degree loft remains too strong for your swing, you have three options at your disposal. The first is to find a 12.5-degree driver with an adjustable hosel, that allows you to weaken the loft angle of the clubface in moderation.
Alternatively, you can consider the costly approach of customization. I have seen smaller manufacturers dabbling with 14-degree driver lofts, but the drivers are. However, you’ll not find this loft from a stock driver from major brands such as TaylorMade, Callaway, or Cobra.
The final choice is to think about a strong lofted 3-wood that carries 13 to 13.5-degrees of loft. You’ll find that the only challenge with this club is that it has a smaller clubhead and sweet spot compared to the big stick.
What Is The Best Loft For Driver Distance?
The best loft for driver distance relies on your swing speed and launch ability. For example, golfers with moderate swing speed are best equipped to play a 10.5-degree driver, which encourages a neutral launch for the average player.
However, higher swing speed players may produce excess spin and launch with a 10.5-degree, resulting in a ballooned launch and a loss of carry distance and roll. Therefore, golfers in this category should stick to the decreased 9-degree loft.
Finally, slow swing speeds should steer clear of decreased lofted driver designs. The closed-face angle makes it difficult to consistently launch your golf ball. Therefore, when beginners ask what loft driver they should use, tell them nothing stronger than 12.5-degrees.
What Happens If I Swing The Lowest Lofted Driver?
When your driver loft is too strong for your swing speed, you will produce inadequate carry, distance, and erratic dispersion. Firstly, slow swingers will generate restricted spin for a promising apex and gradual descent. Instead, your golf ball flies low, hits the turf early, and stops short of the intended landing zone.
In addition, the lower lofted driver creates an open clubface angle, which can produce severe slices if your clubface is open at impact when your tempo is off. I used an 8.5-degree driver for years, and although I cherished the controlled ball flight, my misses to the right were atrocious when my swing mechanics were shambolic.
What Happens If I Swing A High Lofted Driver?
Although higher lofted drivers aid most amateurs, they can induce challenges off the tee like launch, accuracy, and spin. Weaker lofts close the clubface angle, placing the driver in a draw bias to promote high launch and straighter ball flight.
However, the open clubface causes you to generate increased spin, causing your ball to fly higher and follow an aggressive descent to land softly. As a result, it eradicates roll, hampering your total yardage potential.
Besides total distance, you’ll find that the closed face of a weaker lofted driver can aggravate snap hooks. In other words, misses to the left for right-handers and to the right for lefties.
Is A Higher Loft Driver Better?
Yes, in my experience, a higher lofted driver is better for most amateur golfers, as it is easier to consistently launch your golf ball from the tee. However, a higher loft driver can cause faster swingers to generate excess spin and a ballooned shot for a loss of roll and total distance.
What Loft Should I Use For My Driver?
Golfers with higher swing speeds should use a 9-degree driver or less. Conversely, golfers with moderate swing speeds are advised to play with a 10.5-degree driver. Finally, slow swing speeds are best equipped to strike a 12-degree or weaker driver.
Does Lowering Driver Loft Open The Face?
Yes, lowering the driver loft opens the club face angle, as shown by Mobile Clubmaker Golf in this Youtube video. You’ll notice that as he strengthens the loft, the clubface opens. Conversely, when he weakens the loft, it closes the angle of the clubface, creating a draw bias setup.
That clears up the confusion surrounding the preferred driver loft for each player. As I explained, 8.5 or 9-degree drivers are strong lofted constructions built for high swing speeds, and the 10.5-degree works for moderate swing speeds. However, weaker loft drivers above 12 degrees are built for slower swingers.
In addition, you know now that changing the driver’s loft alters the clubface angle and your ball flight. For example, lower lofted drivers feature an open clubface relative to the target, while weaker designs are closed.
Therefore, swinging a lower lofted driver can cause you to slice your golf shots and spend every hole in the right rough. Conversely, higher lofted drivers carry a draw bias, provoking snap hooks. Now that you have a broader knowledge of driver loft, which option is best for your swing?
Matt is a seasoned golf equipment writer and sports fanatic. He holds a Postgraduate in Sports Marketing and has played golf for over 28 years.