+3 degrees of loft please!
What Loft Driver Do You Use?
By Kickntrue on 12/30/09
I play a 10.5 degree driver. So does Tiger. I figure that makes me "right" but a know a lot of amateurs are still using 8-10 degree lofts on their big stick. Time to fess up.

This article is from 2008 but gold old fashioned data is timeless.
Our conclusion: More loft is good, but too much seems to be much worse than too little. Our testing featured players with swing speeds of 75 and 95 miles per hour using Tour Edge GeoMax drivers with lofts from 9 to 16 degrees. The slower swinger benefited almost equally from the 12- and 14-degree drivers, which carried about 15 yards farther than the 9-degree driver. Although the highest loft showed a 20-yard benefit in carry distance, the difference in total distance was only a yard because the 9-degree driver shots rolled an average of 32 yards because of a much flatter landing angle.
The crazy thing is that they tested up to a 16 degree driver loft- and for slower swing speeds it wasn't all that bad. The truth is I use a 10.5 and should probably be using a 12 and that's swinging at 103mph.

GolfDigest.com


photo source


[ comments ]
mjaber says:
I've got a 10.5 TM R5 Dual. I tried a couple lower lofted drivers and I couldn't even come close to producing the results I got from the 10.5
12/30/09
 
bknapp45 says:
I swing a 9.5 R9. My ball flight is pretty high overall though and still carry the ball about 310-320yds with a 115-120 swing speed.
12/30/09
 
JDoughMO says:
The driver I've been the best with was a Nike SUMO with the Lucky 13* loft. For some reason I decided to trade for the Diablo in 9.5*. If I can find another lefty with 12-13 degrees of loft I won't hesitate to pick it up.
12/30/09
 
perlguy9 says:
10.5 Cleveland HiBore XLS with a ProLaunch Blue shaft.
12/30/09
 
bducharm says:
My driver is a Titleist 909 D2 with 8.5 degrees of loft. I also have the Aldila VooDoo shaft, which is a little heavier than my previous shaft to bring down my ball flight.
12/30/09
 
mbills1015 says:
I'm trading in this year a TM 580xd 9.5 for a TM R9 10.5 hoping to get more carry and more control with the higher loft.
12/30/09
 
eventHorizon says:
The theory on optimum loft to distance fluctuates. While I was growing up the push was for a more low piercing drive and currently the guys on tour are pushing for a very high boring trajectory (which will probably change again as they become disgusted with dealing with the wind, no roll, etc.). The real question isn't just loft but the combination of loft and shaft. Anyway, to answer the question!... I use a 9.5 Adams Insight BTY 4350 with 85g Graphite Design Pershing shaft.
12/30/09
 
KVSmith59 says:
The higher the loft, the less side spin and hence less slicing from what I've read. Some people also tend to lose some distance but would you rather be 240 in the fairway or 250 in a grove of trees?
12/30/09
 
mmontisano says:
i'm a high ball hitter, so i needed something to get me into that mid-trajectory range so i could benefit from some roll out. so i got a 9 degree Ping G10 with the Grafalloy ProLaunch Red shaft. first hit, the launch monitor said 292 yards....to which my response was "SOLD!"
12/30/09
 
TeT says:
Like 10.5, but use a 10 cause that is what my favorite driver comes in... Always seems to be something that needs a compromise in golf!

10 MacTec NVG2 Tour with 85S Aldila NVS
12/30/09
 
Bryan K says:
Is loft as important as shaft? I play two 10.5* drivers, one with a flex staff and one with a stiff shaft. When I'm not swinging that well, I have trouble getting the ball in the air, and I have a problem with a draw that hooks right into the ground. That's when the flex staff comes in handy. I tend to hit just over 200 yards on a good shot under these condidtions. However, when I am hitting the ball well, I get way too much loft on the flex staff. That's when I change to the stiff shaft, and I get a ton more distance. Under those conditions, I tend to hit around 235 to 250 with an all time long of 291.

I've never tried any other loft before.
12/30/09
 
Agustin says:
Driver carry distance depends more on the shaft than the head's loft. You may play a 10.5 driver with a high kickpoint shaft and carry it much less than with a 8.5 driver with a low kickpoint shaft.

Optimal results depend from the combination of loft and shaft. You can't ignore one of the two when getting fitted for a driver.
12/30/09
 
jeremyheslop says:
I have no clue what the loft is on my Hippo 370cc John Daley driver my friend gave me. It doesn't say on there, but I suspect around 10* Other drivers I have tried have been 10 or 10.5 though.
12/30/09
 
aaronm04 says:
10.5 Cleveland Hibore XLS here. Stock regular staff that I balloon at times. Tried some 9.5's but what seems nice is a 10.5 in a a stiffer flex and heavier shaft. Will probably trade it in this year.
12/30/09
 
TravisMiller says:
I have a 10 degree with a semi stiff graphite shaft and an 8 degree with a stiff steel shaft. I have not done a side by side comparison yet but I seem to be hitting them about the same distance. Next time I go to the range I am going to a comparison.
12/30/09
 
Ward says:
the loft stated on the club is very likely 1-2 degrees lower than the actual loft

tons of us who think we have 9.5 degree drivers are carrying 11 degree sticks
12/30/09
 
Virtuaframax says:
ive been using a 10.5 TM Tour Burner, but just bought a 9.5 Hibore XL that i still need to take to the range and see how it performs...
12/30/09
 
Bernie Duffer says:
I have been playing Ping and Cleveland drivers with 10.5 degrees of loft and the results have been okay. After reading the blog regarding the Louisville Golf putter in the movie, I checked out the company. Now I have an 11 degree persimmon driver with a steel shaft on order. I wanted one when they were considered the best drivers. By the time I could have purchased one, they were no longer being made. Now I'll have one because...well...it is like purchasing art. I'm not expecting the driver (or the two fairway woods I purchased with it) to help me improve my game. I do expect to have lots of fun showing them off and hitting them.
12/30/09
 
Banker85 says:
@WARD: so do you mean if i have a 10* driver it really is a 11-12 or is it really a 8-9? your comment is confusing. And what is your source?

I have a 10* stiff and have lower boring trajectory that gets good roll. I am a high ball hitter too so i tried a 9* reg shaft and it was way to low. The 10* i can get up in the air if i want to but usually flies a lot like the king's trajectory.
12/30/09
 
Ward says:
@Banker
actual loft is generally 1-2 degrees higher than what it stamped onto the clubhead

it's pretty common in the industry because us men think a 9.5 is more manly than a 10.5, but many of us would actually get better results with more loft (so the companies lie to us to protect our egos)

I've had a cleveland hibore XL 9.5 degree that was every bit of 11 degrees if not more (I would find my ball in a pitch mark in the fairway..) , and a Ping G10 7.5 degree that played more like a 9 degree

Some of the more "player" type drivers will be more accurate with lofts, and some companies offer a service to verify the loft you're purchasing (from another golf board, a guy wanted a verified 9 degree head from Ping, and Ping told him that the clubhead would be labeled 7.5, but not to worry, it would be 9 degrees)
12/30/09
 
eventHorizon says:
There are manufacturing tolerances that are met but I can't seem to find any specific numbers listed for a particular company however the numbers I've heard kicked around are +/- 1 to 1.5 degrees. Some drivers are notorious for this in which you can apparently expect your driver to be +1 degree higher loft than the labeled loft on the clubhead. Other issues that could drive this though are the differences in how people measure loft, etc. If you are sensitive to the loft of your driver you should get it checked (and all your clubs). That will give you a basis to compare clubs... and to see if any of your irons aren't appropriately spaced.
12/30/09
 
Trav says:
These comments about actual v. listed lofts make me wonder - when you use a driver on a fitting monitor, does it use the nominal loft, or does it add compensation to match the supposed "actual" loft?
12/30/09
 
blake_p says:
I started playing golf with a 10.5 and I could only hit the fairway about 10% of the time and my distance was around 150 yards. I switched to a 14.5 and now I am up to about 50% fairways and average just under 200 yards. As my swing mechanics get better I hopefull that I can move down to a lower loft and get a little more distance.

@Banker
I was taught (and shown) during a clubmakers training the same thing Ward is saying. In addition, most drivers have roll built into the face. Making the angle at the sweet spot say 10.5 degrees, the angle at a spot 1/2 lower 8 deg, and a spot 1/2 higher 13 degrees.
12/30/09
 
gdouglas says:
I switched from a 10.5 Cleveland HiBore XLS stiff shaft to a 9.5 TM R9 460 stiff. I have the same ball flight and carry, but better accuracy.
12/30/09
 
Mjw71772 says:
Wow I have a vast array of drivers, I have a Clevelnad launcher 400cc at 10d, a Launcher COMP 460cc at 10.5d, a super duper old Callaway Steelhead with a steel shaft 10d, and my latest driver is the TM r7 Limited, (weighted for draw) 9.5d. Depending on the course I want to play depends on the driver(s) I bring to the course. My newly found home course I bring the TM out but if I am not hitting it straight come the turn I head to the golfazine and trade it in for the much shorter distance Callaway.

My Question for the guys who say they are crushing it over 300 yds, are you using GPS to determine that or tee marker to sprinkler head? If it is marker to sprinkler head, I hate to tell you but you are anywhere from 10-70 off the true distance. I used to think I was bombing the ball in the 300yd range until I got my SG5, wow what a rude awakening. It is like waking up one morning and half your manhood is missing haha.
12/30/09
 
SweetJazz says:
For all of the reasons stated above. I will always use a clubmaker to make my clubs. Both he and I know every specification for my clubs and they are built specifically for my swing. Let's face it. Most of us will benefit more from using a higher loft driver. Mine is a 11* that plays more like a 12*.
12/30/09
 
georgelohr says:
short answer: 10.5* long answer: Cleveland HiBore XL, Fujikura Golf 55G Regular Flex.
I bought this driver when I started golfing (almost 2 years ago). It has taken quite a bit of practice to swing it properly. When I got it my club head speed was about 88-92MPH. I've learned to hit it pretty well, my best round had me miss only two fairways. Anyways...I had my clubhead speed measured the other day and found that it has risen to 98-102MPH. Better swing mechanics I suppose...Now I find myself wondering if I would benefit from a stiffer/heavier shaft. Maybe I should take this question to the forums.
12/31/09
 
Matt F says:
I used to play a Ping G5 10.5* stiff shaft. I benched that this year and got a Burner 9* Regular shaft and had mixed results with it but I seemed to hit it better than the Ping. Now that I'm starting to use the S&T swing, I hope to see a lot more improvement.

Matt
12/31/09
 
mmontisano says:
@ georgelohr - yes. if your swing speed is indeed in that range, make a switch. but try out different shafts and use a launch monitor. 99.9% of the time, the shaft will make the biggest difference to your launch angle and accuracy, not the club head.
12/31/09
 
windowsurfer says:
Wow. A lot of interesting technical "didyaknows" here. I play a Mac NVG 10.5*, but judging from ball flight and comments here, it may be more like 12* (?). Shaft is Quad Action Macgregor stiff graphite. I hit a high draw most often. At Meadowlands, where I play lots in winter, #15 is a 260 yd par 4. To hit a draw, I have to hit over a pair of trees - a big cedar and an even bigger Douglas fir. They are maybe 210 yds out. These species go as big as 200' around here, but these are likely more like 150'. I often clear them and find my ball (on wet days) plugged or near a deep ball mark at about 250. I can hit it about half as high by teeing it down low and maybe a bit more back in my stance. My paced-off distance with this club is 230-270 (yeh, big variance). Wish I knew my swing speed. Oh yeh, also, I'd say this club has both face roll & bulge (don't most drivers?)
12/31/09
 
k-von says:
@mjw71772: Feet don't lie.
12/31/09
 
k-von says:
To quickly digress: I'll routinely walk off 255 yards when sprinklers would suggest something like 285. I see the two numbers signifying the raw yardage vs. the yardage accounted for, since it's rare that you'll have a tee and green laid out in a straight line.
12/31/09
 
Bryan K says:
Can anyone provide a cite on the discrepancy between what a driver advertises as it's loft and what the loft actually is? My google-fu is coming up blank, and both of my local pros that I speak with on a semi-regular basis just give me blank stares when I ask them about it.
12/31/09
 
Bryan K says:
After reading a lot of these responses and doing some searching on other sites for more information, I've become convinced that I need to be fitted for a driver. My driver is the only club I really consistently struggle with, so I'll go this route and see what happens.
12/31/09
 
aaronm04 says:
An odd game we play .... making driver lofts HIGHER to accommodate egos and making iron lofts LOWER for the same reason. I guess the difference is that the loft on a 9-iron can be dropped a few degrees without the golfer knowing (w/o looking at the specs that is). You change that number on the bottom of a driver and it's easy to spot.
12/31/09
 
windowsurfer says:
aaronm04: An odd game we play .... making driver lofts HIGHER to accommodate egos and making iron lofts LOWER for the same reason.

How true. I have older Macgregor irons that likely have more loft than contemporaries. But I play much more recently-made woods where the loft is apparently greater. These clubs are waggling me.
12/31/09
 
georgelohr says:
I'm not so sure I buy this "companies change the specs for our egos" stuff. Wouldn't the guys that close the face of their driver (to fight the slice) at address, effectively be "de-lofting" the club? And in turn robbing themselves of some carry? While a guy that sets up a little open (clubface rolled open, not body) be increasing loft and gaining some carry?
12/31/09
 
windowsurfer says:
That could be, georgelohr, but isn't the difference that the player chooses to alter loft to shape shot, but clubmakers do it for us, whether we ask them to or not? I guess the btm line is either a club works for you or not, but knowledge is power, right? BTW, I've often heard the "new clubs have less loft" claim, but this thread is the first i've heard of understated driver lofts.
12/31/09
 
bashngouge says:
I went the other direction, Ping G5 10.5 blue gaffaloy shaft to a Taylormade TP 8.0 Diamana shaft. I disagree with the higher loft exchange as I'm hitting longer drives with the lower degree driver. I believe the higher quality shaft is playing a role in the distance but for what ever reason I'm confident with it in my hands. I think the confidence part is the important consideration to take from my comment.
12/31/09
 
k-von says:
Club manufacturers don't futz with lofts to appease hackers' egos so much as shaping the perception of their clubs being easier than others to hit. If I'm swinging a 9.5* driver whose actual loft is higher, I'm going to attribute the ease of hitting towering drives to the club and its superior design. Same idea with irons when you compare multiple sets according to club number rather than loft. If I hit my old 7 iron this far and hit this new 7 iron further, I'm going to assume the latter iron is superior and opt for it, even though the # of the iron is irrelevant. This also perverts "club fitting systems" that simply ask 7 iron carry distance to lazily determine swing speed.
1/1/10
 
cvargo says:
i hit a TM 10.5* Burner reg flex. Was fitted at local golf shop and well couldn't be happier. But golf buddy does hit a Nike SQ 12* he upgraded from a 10* and says he notices a big difference.
1/2/10
 
joepro23 says:
When Tiger started on tour he used a 6.5 loft and now he is up to 10.5. Interesting actually, i would guess it is a combo of age and the changing of club technology. ( blogs.golf.com/equipment/2009/06/tiger-woods-tal

I have an 8.5 loft on my driver because i was really ballooning the 9.5 as my club-head speed got faster and i outgrew the last one. Maybe a 9.5 or 10.5 would get me more with the right shaft, but all that matters to me at this point is that the ball ends up in the short-grass.
1/3/10
 
joepro23 says:
hopefully this link works...

blogs.golf.com/equipment/2009/06/tiger-woods-tal
1/3/10
 
Bryan K says:
well...I had myself fitted today....ordered a Ping G15 which has a 12* loft with a regular shaft.
1/3/10
 
Tim Horan says:
I have two drivers with differing shafts...8.5 Titleist 983 Harrison Shaft, 9.5 Kane Missile Launcher 2 with Harrison Striper Tour shaft and am currently toying with a 9 degree Wishon 919THI with an Irod shaft. All three get mid to high launch. The Irod is not ideal with it's low kick point but this is compensated by the stiff tip. The feel is great at transition and the low torque (2.6)through loading area builds confidence but the stiff tip just gets no action through release. I am looking to lower the trajectory and really need a mid or high kick point shaft as my angle of attack generates a high launch.
1/4/10
 
Panerai111 says:
9.5 9015d and sumo2 tour.
1/4/10
 
SingleDigits says:
I play the '07 Cobra LD F Speed driver in 10.5d with a regular flex Tour AD 55g shaft. While my swing speed is 100 - 102 mph, I get a lot more forgiveness with a reg flex vs. stiff flex shaft.

I agree that the shaft makes as much difference as the loft. Moreover, your actual launch angle is hugely affected by your actual swing. Do you generally swing up into the ball or down into it?

I think I read in Golf Digest or Golf Mag that a typical way to achieve a 300yd drive (carry & roll) is with a swing speed of 110 mph, 14 degree launch angle and a ball speed of 155-160mph.

Bottom line: getting fitted on a launch monitor with a certified pro is the best way to find the right driver for your particular swing.
1/4/10
 
joowen says:
i was fitted for a Henry-Griffitts driver with regular shaft and 13 degree of loft.Best move i ever made,i hit the ball a ton out driving youngsters half my age and size.
1/4/10
 
Bryan K says:
Well...I'm hoping that my new Ping driver (which should arrive in about two weeks) will be the trick for me. I'm not concerned with outdriving anyone. I just want to be able to get the ball in the fairway consistently at 200+ yards. The old Ping G5 I traded in topped 290 once and 250 quite a few times, but it had an aweful hook that would oftentimes hook right into the ground short of the fairway.
1/4/10
 
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