What Loft Should My Driver Be?

driver loft on a golf ball

When it comes to the driver, every golfer gets excited. It’s the biggest club in the bag and lets you hit the ball the farthest. In golf, there’s nothing like catching a drive out of the screws and watching the ball sail down the fairway.

However, beginner and even experienced golfers often overlook their driver’s loft. That’s a big mistake, though. It could negatively affect your performance on the golf course, costing you yards with the big stick.

Every player needs to consider this question: What loft should my driver be?

We’ll break this down and cover some other questions to get an answer. So, let’s get started.

Why is Driver Loft Important?

Driver loft is essential because the optimal driver loft for you will maximize your performance off the tee. Carry distance, roll, and forgiveness are some things the correct driver loft can help you with.

A higher loft can help you launch the ball into the air and maximize your carry distance. Also, this higher loft may help you optimize your launch angle, leading to more roll when the ball lands. Both will lead to more distance off the tee if you can dial them in.

Furthermore, a higher-lofted driver tends to be more forgiving than a driver with a lower loft. The higher loft gives you more control over the ball.

You may have noticed that we’re focusing on higher lofted drivers here. That’s because most golfers will benefit from a driver with a higher loft.

Of course, various factors help determine who needs a higher-lofted driver and a lower-lofted driver. So let’s jump into these questions now.

Who Needs a Higher-Lofted Driver?

Players with slower swing speeds and downward attack angles need a higher-lofted driver. To clarify this, we can look at swing speed and attack angle in a little more detail.

Players with slower swing speeds and a downward (negative) attack angle need a higher-lofted driver.

Swing Speed

In general, golfers with slower swing speeds benefit from a higher-lofted driver. The speed you swing the club affects how you launch the ball.

Slower swingers tend to launch the ball lower compared with faster swingers. That lower launch can negatively impact your distance when hitting the driver. Why? Because a suboptimal launch angle leads to less carry distance and affects roll.

If your swing speed is 85mph or less, you should benefit from a driver with a loft between 12-14 degrees. But swing speed is only part of the equation regarding driver loft.

Attack Angle

Your attack angle is also a factor in determining who needs a high-lofted driver. Attack angle is the angle that the sweet spot of the clubface is moving at upon impact with the ball.

You have a steeper attack angle if you tend to hit down on the ball with your driver. Such an attack angle is said to be negative. For instance, your attack angle might be -2 degrees if you hit down on the ball with your driver.

A downward attack angle can present slightly less loft to the ball on impact. It lowers your dynamic loft. Therefore, you can essentially deloft your driver if you have a negative attack angle.

Now, combine that with a slower swing speed, and you will have problems getting the optimal launch with your driver.

So, players with slower swing speeds and a downward (negative) attack angle need a higher-lofted driver.

The higher loft will counteract the slower swing speed and help you launch the ball higher. Also, it’ll ensure you present more loft to the ball on impact when you hit down on it. This, too, gives you the best chance of achieving your optimal launch when you hit the driver.

Who Needs a Lower-Lofted Driver?

To answer who needs a lower-lofted driver, let’s look at swing speed and attack angle again.

Players with faster swing speeds and an upward (positive) attack angle need a lower-lofted driver.

Swing Speed

Golfers with faster swing speeds tend to launch the ball higher. If they use a higher-lofted driver, this can result in a launch that’s too high.

Like too low of a launch, too high of a launch is also suboptimal. Hitting the ball too high can mean you get less carry distance and less roll, affecting your overall distance.

For instance, a fast swinger using a 14-degree driver may launch the ball way too high. The trajectory won’t be piercing, and the ball won’t be moving forward efficiently. That can lead to a significant loss in distance.

If the faster swinger switches to a lower-lofted driver, he can achieve a more optimal launch. Such a launch will ensure the ball carries farther and rolls out more, boosting the overall distance.

Attack Angle

As stated, attack angle is the angle that the sweet spot of the clubface is moving at upon impact with the ball. If you hit up on the ball with your driver, you have a positive attack angle.

Just as a negative attack angle presents less loft to the ball, a positive attack angle presents more loft to the ball. It increases your dynamic loft. If you imagine the driver’s head moving upwards as it impacts the ball, the face won’t be square to the target line but pointing slightly upwards towards the sky.

Therefore, you can essentially give your driver more loft if you hit up on the ball. When using a driver with a higher loft, this can mean you’re presenting too much loft to the ball.

In that case, a lower-lofted driver will benefit you. It’ll help you achieve the optimal launch angle with the big stick.

So, players with faster swing speeds and an upward (positive) attack angle need a lower-lofted driver.

The lower loft counteracts the higher swing speed and stops you from launching the ball too high. And it helps you to present less loft to the ball when you hit up on it. So, the lower loft enables you to get the optimal launch off the tee.

Related: 8 Best Personal Golf Launch Monitors in 2022

Will Most Golfers Benefit from More Loft?

Yes, most golfers will benefit from more loft. That’s because most golfers don’t swing fast enough to get the optimal launch with a low-lofted driver.

Also, most golfers hit down on the ball with their drivers. As we’ve explained, players who hit down on the ball (negative attack angle) benefit from more loft.

Is a Higher-Lofted Driver Easier to Hit?

Yes, a higher-lofted driver is generally easier to hit. For instance, let’s say you’re an average male golfer with a swing speed of about 94 mph. Also, let’s say you have a neutral attack angle (zero degrees) with your driver.

If you hit 10 drives with a six-degree driver and 10 with an 11-degree driver, we bet you’ll find the latter easier to hit. Also, the 11-degree driver will very likely give you the best results.

It’ll be easier to launch and give you a better carry distance, while the six-degree driver will be super hard to launch. You just won’t have the swing speed needed to get the optimal launch with that loft.

Therefore, the higher-lofted driver is easier to hit in this scenario.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Driver Loft

When choosing a driver loft, it’s a good idea to consider adjustability, swing speed, and attack angle.

Adjustability

These days, most drivers on the market have an adjustability feature. They have a standard loft, and then you can either lower it by a degree or two, or you can put it up a degree or two higher.

If you’re unsure of what loft you need for your driver – and don’t have the option of getting fit – you should consider adjustability. Adjusting your driver’s loft allows you to experiment with different lofts and find the best one for you.

Swing Speed

When it comes to choosing a driver loft, swing speed is crucial to consider. As a general rule, go for a higher loft if you swing the driver slower.

If you swing the driver faster, it’s a good idea to go with a lower loft. For instance, you might be best served to choose a nine-degree driver if you swing around 110 mph.

Attack Angle

If you hit down on the ball with your driver, you may be decreasing your dynamic loft. Essentially, you’re delofting the driver when you impact the ball.

That can lead to a suboptimal ball launch and impact your distance. Therefore, choosing a higher-lofted driver might be the best option for you.

Conversely, you may be increasing your dynamic loft if you hit up on the ball. That’s basically putting more loft on your driver as you hit the ball.

Increasing dynamic loft may lead to below-par launch conditions. It’ll likely affect your carry distance and overall distance.

So, choosing a lower-lofted driver might be best in that case.

Conclusion

Now when you ask yourself, what loft should my driver be, we’re confident you’ll be able to answer that question. Of course, you must have an idea of your swing speed and your attack angle with your driver.

Getting on a launch monitor is a sure way to get that information. It’ll give you metrics such as swing speed, attack angle, and much more. Plus, it’s a lot of fun finding out the data around your golf game.

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Joe Morelli

Joe's been playing golf for 25 years, starting as a junior golfer in his early teens. He loves getting out on the links with his dad and friends -- whether an early weekend foursome or his weekday, afternoon league.