Most experienced golfers agree that driver loft is a very important factor in determining shot distance. A beginner of average golfer wants to know which loft is right for them.
There are three main types of driver lofts. In this guide, I’ll compare 9 vs 10.5 vs 12 degree lofts and tell you which one is right for you.
To determine which loft is best for you, you’ll need to consider several factors, such as:
- swing speed
- ball launch angle
- club head speed
Below, we’ll go into more detail about all of this. We’ll also teach you about some clubs with adjustable driver heads that can help you adjust your swing and get more distance:
What is Driver Loft?
Your loft determines how high your shot will go when the club strikes the ball at impact. There are also other factors to this such as your swing speed, angle of attack, and how high you are teeing the ball up.
But, in plain terms, the loft is the degree of angle formed from the ground and the club head when you set the clubsquarely on the ground.
In most case, the ideal driver loft depends on how fast your swing is. The faster the swing speed, the lower loft you will want in order to increase distance in your golf ball. The slower the swing speed, the higher lofted driver you will want as it will increase carry and roll.
One of the most important clubs in your golf bag is your driver. The reason it is important is because on most par 4s and 5s, this is what you are using off the tee in order to get yourself in a good position for your next shot towards the green.
It all comes down to personal preference but if you are wanting to take your golf game to the next level, you will need a solid driver to do so.
The 3 main options for loft are 9 degrees, 10.5 degrees and 12 degrees. I will go over these below. While you read, run the following video which goes over driver loft which is a great resource as well!
9 vs 10.5 vs 12 Degree Loft Comparison
9 Degree Loft
When it comes to hitting a driver, there are a lot of variables to consider when choosing what loft is best for you. Things to consider are swing speed, launch angle as well as hitting up or down on the ball.
A 9 degree driver loft would be best for intermediate or advanced golfers who have a swing speed over 105 mph. This means that beginner golfers with slower swing speeds should not be considering a 9 degree golf club.
Players who are able to maintain a higher launch angle will benefit from using 9 degrees. The trajectory of the ball will be lower than at 10.5 degrees, so it will also benefit those who hit down on the ball.
Another reason amateur golfers should not have a 9 degree driver is that is diminishes the backspin of the ball and can create a lot of sidespin. Most average golfers already have a slice, which will be amplified if they were to use 9 degrees.
Mid to low handicap players that can maintain a straight shot will benefit from the added distance a 9 degree loft drivercan bring. The 9 degree driver will produce less backspin at impact as it moves at a lower angle of attack, which will allow the ball to carry a longer distance.
Most PGA professionals with a very fast swing speed, like Bryson DeChambeau, use a 9 degree loft (or even lower)!
Related: Check out the best golf drivers you can buy today.
10.5 Degree Loft
A 10.5 degree driver loft is suited to the recreational golfer who has a slower swing speed or doesn’t hit the ball on an upward launch angle. Most golfers tend to hit downwards on the ball and a 10.5 degree driver will help you get the ball into the air even without the fastest of swings.
If you were to look at most stock drivers in a golf retail store, the majority of them would be 10.5 degrees. The reason for this is that recreational and higher handicap golfers make up a majority of the sport.
A 10.5 degree driver has a more positive attack angle than 9 degrees, which will give you a more optimal launch and less spin if your swing speed is lower.
If you are an average weekend player with a medium swing speed, I would definitely recommend going with a 10.5 degree driver. With the added loft, it will help you get the ball into the air and give the majority of average golfers more distance off the tee.
12 Degree Loft
Just as I went over for 10.5 degrees, 12 degrees is much the same. A 12 degree driver is more suited for beginner and higher handicap golfers as it gives you an even higher launch off the tee to add some more distance.
A 12 degree driver loft is suited for golfers who have swing speeds under 95 mph and are looking for a little added distance off the tee.
Another benefit to a 12 degree club is that it allows you to hit the ball straighter due to an even more positive attack angle. The reason for this is that the higher the ball goes due to the loft of the driver, the less likely it is to have sidespin on the ball. When sidespin happens, it causes the ball to slice off to the side and most likely end up off the fairway in the rough somewhere.
A launch monitor sometimes calls this “smash factor”, which decreases with a higher driver loft angle.
If you were to use a 12 degree driver with a high swing speed, the higher loft of the driver will create more spin on the ball, which is a drawback. This will cause the ball to fly too high in the air and not as far distance.
That is why it really depends on what your swing speed is when deciding the correct loft.
What is the Best Loft for a Driver?
This question is quite tough to answer because it is very subjective and ultimately comes down to personal preference for each player. The best way to determine which driver loft is best for you is to head into any golf retail shop and hit a few variations into the screen. The launch monitor there will tell you what kind of club head speed, ball speed, spin loft and launch angle you are working with. This will then give you the best idea on what degree will work best for your swing.
Once you have that information, you can hit a few different brands with different lofts to see what works best with your swing. Golf is a game of feel, so whatever feels best will work the best.
In our opinion, the best and most common loft is 10.5. It seems to be the sweet middle of not too much loft, but enough to get the ball into the air while maximizing the most distance.
Why is Loft Important?
Driver loft is important because having a club that you are comfortable hitting off the tee is important to succeed. Loft is also important because it dictates how high your ball fly’s into the air off the face of the club.
If you can consistently hit straight off the tee, you will give yourself easier shots after that to get a nice score and have a good day on the golf course.
Driver Loft Chart
A great way to see what degree loft is best for you is to look at the above chart. This chart does a great job showing optimal distance off the tee with different lofts, depending on what your swing speed is.
You can see that the slower swing speeds near the bottom of the chart trend upwards in distance the higher lofted they go. The high swing speeds at the top of the chart actually start to lose distance the more lofted they go because spin rate in the air actually causes a decrease in average driver distance.
Adjustable Drivers: Overview
One other great thing that ties into loft is the fact that some clubs come adjustable instead of having a static loft. What this means is that there is a screw on the head of the driver that you can unscrew and adjust the loft, lie and center of gravity on the fly.
Having a dynamic loft is a big perk for new golfers who are just learning the game.
You can purchase a 10.5 degree driver, but then adjust the head to have it play as a 10, 9.5 or even 11.5 degrees. If you want to try something new or you have an increased swing speed after a few rounds of practice, this is a great option.
Next, we’ll show you you some clubs with dynamic loft that you can adjust the launch angle on.
Best Adjustable Golf Clubs
Cobra King Speedzone
The Cobra King Speedzone comes with an adjustable hosel that will allow you to choose from seven different lofts apart on the club. You adjust this using the wrench that Cobra provides you. You use the wrench to unscrew the head from the hosel and then spin it to where you want to use. You can either increase or decrease the loft, depending on what you are looking for.
Another thing that you can adjust is a draw or fade bias setting. Doing this will turn the clubface slightly to produce a draw or fade, depending on what you choose. These features sound advanced for average golfers, but are quite useful as you find the right golf swing.
Overall, the Speedzone has a very forgiving driver design that is made for the average golfer.
The other great thing about the Cobra King Speedzone is you get access to the Cobra Connect app on your smartphone. The app then tracks all of your hits, so you can actually see and compare how you hit the ball with different lofts. This will help you decide on the optimal loft.
- CNC Milled Infinity Face-The Power Zone-The face is the engine of the driver and foundation for speed.
- Titanium Speed Chassis-The Strength Zone-A Newly designed T-Bar Speed Chassis is lighter and stronger to withstand high speed collisions and deliver excellent stability and feel.
- 360 Carbon Wrap Crown-The Light Zone-A 360 Carbon wrap crown covers 50% of the club body, adding stiffness to the chassis while saving 25 grams of discretionary weight that we moved low, back, and to the perimeter.
- Speed back Weighting-The LOW CG Zone-69 grams of mass is positioned as low as possible, creating the most efficient transfer of energy to the ball and speed that you can relish every time you step on the tee.
- Speed back Shape-The Aero Zone-A streamlined shape with milled perimeter leading edges harness airflow with ultimate precision for maximum acceleration power.
TaylorMade Stealth Plus
Best For Experienced Players
The Stealth Plus is the newest release from TaylorMade and it is taking the world by storm on tour. The all new carbon face on the club is completely different from normal titanium. It is 44% lighter than a titanium face and the carbon layer delivers incredible ball speeds for maximum distance.
The Stealth Plus also has an adjustable hosel much like the Cobra King Speedzone. You can unscrew the head using the included wrench and adjust the loft up or down depending on what you are looking for.
Another cool new feature of the Stealth Plus is the sliding weight track. As the carbon face of the driver is lighter than usual, TaylorMade takes that weight savings and puts it into the sliding weight track. This allows you to unscrew the weight track and shift weight around to create your desired ball flight, draw or fade. Once you have the weight where you want, you just screw it back into place and start hitting!
The Stealth Plus is made for more experienced golfers with a faster clubhead speed. If you want modern drivertechnology though, it is the top of the pyramid. It is the club used today by Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods, Scottie Scheffler, and more.
Click here to read our full review on the TaylorMade Stealth driver.
- The 60X Carbon Twist Face is encased by a polyurethane cover, featuring a revolutionary new nanotexture technology. The nanotexture cover is used to fine tune launch and spin to optimize total distance regardless of playing conditions.
- The weight savings of the 60x Carbon Twist Face has allowed more weight to be positioned low and deep in the head, this will add 15% more MOI compared to Stealth Plus+.
- The Inertia Generator remains the foundational source of refined aerodynamic properties. The result is a slippery-fast head shape that aids in swing speed generation on the downswing for golfers at every level.
- Our most flexible Speed Pocket design engineered to maximize ball speeds and produce additional forgiveness on low face strikes.
Tour Edge Exotics C721
Best For Budget
The last adjustable driver I am going to go over quickly is the Tour Edge Exotics C721. This is a budget club that is perfect for a beginner player who is new to the game. It isn’t as expensive as other premium clubs, but can provide you with the same specs and flexibility.
The Exotics C721 has an adjustable hosel that allows you to adjust the loft up to 2 degrees up or down and also change the lie angle through a range of 3 degrees. It works the same as the others where you unscrew the head, twist the hosel to whatever loft you are looking for, click it back in and screw back in.
This club also includes adjustable sole weights much like the TaylorMade Stealth Plus. It is a 10 gram adjustable back weight that you can position to adjust the center of gravity setting on the club. You can optimize your hits and MOI on the club.
I would definitely recommend checking this out if you don’t want to spend a lot of money, but are looking for adjustability.
What Factors Affect Driver Launch Angle and Distance?
The loft is only one factor for a player to consider when trying to get longer distance.
Swing and Clubhead Speed
How fast you swing the club will affect your performance on the course. A faster club speed will introduce spin on your golf ball. This is why professional golfers with fast swing speeds want a lower driver loft.
An average loft of 10.5 degrees with be suitable for a wide range of golfers.
DID YOU KNOW: You should also match your golf ball to your swing speed too.
Angle of Attack
The actual angle you make contact with the golf ball at will effect ball flights greatly. Having a high loft means nothing if you are swinging down on the ball at a negative angle. This is why having a dynamic loft could be big – you can adjust your loft to match your swing style.
When you make solid and straight on contact with the golf ball, you also minimize your ball spin. This will allow your ball flight to make a consistent and straight ball flight. When you swing inside-out or outside-in and make indirect contact with the golf ball, you add spin to it.
Spin introduces a slice or a hook and takes away distance from you.
Age of Club
Advancements in driver technology have really comet a long way in recent years. Modern clubs have tungsten weighting which lower the sweet spot and reduce the change of a mishit. It has allowed even the slowest swingers and senior golfers to play 10.5 degrees and has pushed 12 degree clubs nearly out of the market.
If you are buying an old club second-hand, then you could consider a higher loft to help you out.
Hopefully this loft guide helps you pick the right club for your skill level. The majority of clubs you will see are 10.5 degrees and are best for every golfer.
If you aren’t sure what to pick, measuring your average club head speed with a launch monitor will help you pick the right driver for distance.
Remember that the club angle is only one factor to how well you will hit the ball. Your actual loft, created by the upward attack angle of your club against the ball, is another factor that will effect the driver launch angle. Different driver shaftscan also effect your swing path too.
An adjustable driver can help you match your hardware to your golf swing type. Our picks for the best adjustable driversare:
These clubs can help you adjust loft at impact on the golf ball and allow you to play around with higher or lower-lofted drivers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the average driver loft?
The most common loft that you will see is a 10.5 degree driver. This is right in the middle of most lofts available and will be tailored to the most golfers.
What loft do PGA Tour Pros use?
If you were to do a survey, you would probably find that most PGA Tour Pros use a 9 degree driver. PGA Tour golfers have some of the fastest swing speeds on the planet and they want to hit the ball as far as they can. Professional golfers will use a 9 degree driver loft in order to decrease spin for their faster swing speed.
Who is a 9 degree loft best for?
A 9 degree driver is best for low to mid handicap golfers with swing speeds over 100 mph. They are also good for golfers who are able to hit down on the ball with a downward angle because the lower loft will add backspin and increase distance off the tee.
Who is a 10.5 degree loft best for?
A 10.5 degree driver is an effective loft for recreational golfers who have swing speeds lower than 100 mph. The higher lofted driver will provide you with increased launch off the tee, which will provide more distance.
Who is a 12 degree loft best for?
A 12 degree driver is best for very slow swing speed golfers. The high loft will allow them to get lift on the ball off the tee in order to provide more distance.
Last update on 2023-06-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API