Lofts And Lies (Yes, THAT Kind)
One of the most frustrating things about working with golf clubs is that you can't trust the numbers most of the time. Of particular interest today is the subject of lofts on drivers, resulting from a question from Krishnan, who asked:
"I have been seeing a lot of discussion about the real loft of the drivers versus the label put on the drivers. To make things complicated, I have come across discussions where it is mentioned some manufacturers are notorious to give lower lofts. What i would like to know is what exactly is happening here? Is it something people need to know and be aware of?"
Well, Krishnan (aka Ironman), you have become aware of another of the industry's misleading tactics. In my experience, almost all drivers have more loft than what the graphics claim. And it’s no secret why they do this – because the marketing “experts” believe your testosterone is so out of control, it makes you feel better that you are swinging a 9.5* driver, when in fact it probably is closer to 11*. I’ve rebuilt a number of drivers of all models for golfers at our club, and almost all of them are 1-2* weaker than what the club graphics indicate they are.

The fact is that loft is not a bad thing. Most golfers need more carry and a higher launch angle on their driver, but apparently they lose their manhood a bit if that driver said “11*” on the bottom. It’s much more manly to hit a 9*, isn’t it?

To be minutely honest, no driver has a “true loft” of a single number. Drivers have roll and bulge in the face – the face is not flat, but rather a slight curve, usually a radius of 11-12”. So a typical driver might have 9* loft in the bottom third, 10* in the center third, and 11* in the top third. That’s why you tee the ball down to get a lower ball flight, and up to get a higher trajectory.

The only way to know a driver’s true loft in these “zones” is to put it in a measuring device designed for that purpose. And understand true loft is measured off the centerline of the shaft, NOT the angle of the sole.

I hope that provide a little illumination on the subject. When choosing a driver in today’s world, don’t pay that much attention to the number it’s claimed to be, but rather to the results you get from it. With more and more fitting centers having launch monitors, getting the one that is right for you is easier than ever before.

I’m off to the PGA Show this morning. See you all on Friday.


photo source
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[ comments ]
Agustin says:
A golf store wihtout Demo clubs andm at a minimum, and indoor hitting net with a launch monitor, is like a car dearleship without demo cars or drive tests... Just like with a car, never purchase golf clubs without having taken them out for a "test drive".
1/25/11
 
newrider says:
After reviewing my driving stats last year I switched from a 9.5 degree driver shafted at 46" and built a 12 degree shafted with a low spin shaft and a playing length of 44". I hit it as long or longer than the 9.5* (more consistent sweet spot contact),doubled my fairways hit and pretty much eliminated unintentional side spin. Funny, I always hit it pretty far and thought my putting was the issue. Statistically it turned out the driver was the enemy.
1/25/11
 
Shallowface says:
newrider, would you mind providing specifics on the head and shaft you used, and what your average clubhead speed is? I've been looking into doing something like this myself. Thanks!
1/25/11
 
onedollarwed says:
This is really funny stuff, but reflects the continuing emphasis of psychology in the marketplace. Not that there never was, but these folks know why now. It's like when "fear of crime" became the #1 reason people bought SUVs. Pretty soon most SUV commercials emphasized overcoming fears - often fear of urban environments. No wonder so many are sold in urban and sub-urban settings.

The golf/manhood connection has never been greater - recently, cathartically dramatized by the rise and fall of Tiger's Woods. Anyone can hit it in the woods.
1/25/11
 
newrider says:
Sure. Club head is a SMT Spectrum 12* with 10 grams of lead tape on the back of the head (bring up swing weight). Shaft is a Grafalloy Bi-Matrix Proto Fairway shaft stiff flex fully inserted un-tipped. Swing speed is between 100 and 105. The club's swing weight reminds me of my old 975D shafted with a TT Bi-Matrix but WAY more forgiving and longer.
1/26/11
 
larrynjr says:
Last year I bought the 12* Cleveland Launcher with the factory reg flex staft. My shots have become straighter (except when I swing too fast...) and I've gained distrance. With my old 10.5* driver a long drive would be 250 including roll, now it's more like 275. BUT with my new swing plane I seem to have a faster swing speed and with the added backspin I may be losing distance because the shots tend to stick and not roll when they hit. I'll wait until I actually get on the course though before I make a final determination on that.
1/26/11
 
Shallowface says:
Thanks, newrider! That sounds like a combo I'd like to try.
1/26/11
 
M5 says:
Don't blame Testosterone: I see woman grab the things when faced with a dog leg par 4, just like the guys.

I made the mistake of selling my driver when I stopped playing for a few years. Now I can't find one I can even hit in the "superstores". The joke is that I can pull a 40 year old wooden one out of a junk barrel and hit that. Somethings gone wrong. :(
3/8/11
 
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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