Driver Loft & High Handicap


The driver is the primary club used from the tee box on the golf course. Most drivers are manufactured with face loft angles ranging from as low as 7 degrees to as high as 20 degrees. Playing with a driver requires you to possess the ability to contact the ball at an optimum club head speed with the appropriately lofted club in order to achieve a high trajectory and straight ball flight, which will maximize distance and placement for your next shot.


Having the ability to hit a golf ball a long distance and accurately from the tee box is important to scoring low. Since notable differences in scoring ability exist among golfers, so will the type of equipment that they play with. Even though a low handicap golfer, with a 0-9 Handicap Index, may use a low loft driver to achieve maximum distance and accuracy from the tee, it is not necessarily true that a high handicap golfer, or 20-plus handicap, will achieve similar results playing with the same loft club.


To choose the appropriate driver club loft in relation to your handicap, you must know what your swing speed is. Swing speeds range from 50 to 120 miles per hour for all levels of golfers. Since many low handicap golfers generate swing speeds upwards of 100 miles per hour, they use low loft driver clubs to achieve long driving distances. Thus, it is a common misconception that a low loft driver is the proper club for a high handicap golfer to play with in order to achieve maximum distance from the tee.

Benefits of Higer Loft

It is not necessary to swing at a high swing speed to achieve maximum distance if you select the appropriate loft driver. Knowing the swing speed that you generate to contact the golf ball will influence how much side spin and backspin is imparted on the ball. By playing with a high loft driver matched appropriately with your swing speed, you will minimize side spin for better accuracy and maximize backspin for increased carry distance.


In order to select the proper loft driver, have your swing speed measured at your local golf shop. The average golfer swings the club at 84 mph, according to Golfsmith. With that swing speed, you should select a driver with between 11 and 14 degrees of loft. If you swing faster, you can choose a driver with a lower loft. When trying different loft clubs, also consider the height at which you set the ball on the tee. A higher teed ball will maximize the trajectory of the ball to achieve maximum carry distance.

Expert Insight

Many golf professionals instruct high handicap golfers to set the ball to the proper tee height with approximately half the ball showing above the top edge of the driver face. They suggest swinging through the ball on a shallow arc in order to contact the ball squarely and toward the target. This will result in the ball getting in the air more quickly and on a higher trajectory.