How to Determine Which Loft You Should Get on Your Driver
The loft on your driver is a key factor that helps determine the success of your tee shots on longer holes. All else being equal, the more lofted your driver, the higher and straighter your shots will fly. At the same time, balls don’t tend to roll as far when they’re hit with a high trajectory. Ideally, a professional club fitter will assess several different aspects of your swing to determine the type of driver you should purchase and what is the optimal loft. If you must decide on your own, use your swing speed to determine your driver’s loft.
Determine your swing speed. You can have it measured by a golf pro, or do it yourself with a smartphone app. Alternatively, estimate your speed based on how far you hit the ball. If you drive the ball 155 yards, your speed is roughly 60 mph. If you reach 181 yards with a driver your swing is about 70 mph. You’re swinging approximately 80 mph if you drive the ball 206 yards, 90 mph if your drives reach 232 yards and 100 mph if you drive the ball 258 yards.
Match the optimum loft to your swing speed. If your speed is between 60 and 80 mph, use 12 or more degrees of loft. At 80 to 100 mph lower the loft to about 10.5 degrees. Use less than 10 degrees of loft if you swing faster than 100 mph.
Try a variety of clubs to find the best loft for your swing. Go to a pro shop that lets you try clubs on a driving range, or attend a retail store’s demonstration day. Hit drivers with several different lofts and see which club produces the best result.
If possible, go to a pro shop and have a professional club fitter determine the best loft for your driver. The club fitter will analyze your swing speed and angle of attack to help determine the optimal loft for your driver. Given a choice between a longer ball flight and a longer roll, remember that the roll is less predictable. When the ground is soft, for example, the ball won’t roll as far. Your ball can also hit uneven spots on the course and take unpredictable rolls. As a result, a higher-lofted driver that produces greater carry in the air is preferable to a less-lofted club that might give you a few extra yards of distance with a typical roll. Higher-lofted clubs place more backspin on the ball, making it harder to hit a hook or slice. Adjustable clubs let you change the driver’s loft before a round begins. For example, you can use a bit less loft on dry days when the ball is likely to roll farther, or slightly more loft when the ground is soft.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.