Having trouble with your driver? Get more loft!!!

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06/07/2007 at 09:52
I tried out a couple of Ping G5 drivers at the range last night, one a 12 degree offset and a 13.5 degree one, just to see if I could iron out my power fade with them. The difference was incredible, no power fades, no slices. Obviously, I lost some distance compared to my 10.5 degree (when I hit it well!) and there was more height, but the dispersion difference was incredible. I literally couldn't hit a slice with the 13.5 degree, even when I tried!

If you're a high handicapper and you struggle with the driver you're out of your brain if you use a 10.5 degree driver, especially if you slice it. Even mid-handicappers would be much better off with a little bit more loft. The loss of distance, if any, is negligible. In fact, with more loft there'll be less side spin and with straighter shots there's a fair chance the ball will go further.

How many times do you have to hit the ball a long way from the tee anyway, most courses in this country are very short compared to the distances that modern equipment hits the ball. Swallow some macho pride and get more loft on your driver, most people's games would improve!
06/07/2007 at 10:13
Whether you gain or lose distance with a higher lofted driver is very much down to your swing speed and angle of attack.

Golfers with a slower swing speed (say less than 90mph) will almost certainly gain distance with a higher loft (12deg and above) driver. With a low lofted driver the slower swinger has less ability to get the ball up in the air and gravity pulls it down to earth a lot quicker. With the higher lofted driver the ball launches higher and stays in the air for longer hence travels further.

When a high speed swinger uses a lower lofted driver, he has the ability, due to his sheer swing speed, to launch the ball at such a speed that even on a lower trajectory the effects of gravity take longer to pull the ball down to earth so the ball travels further. Put a higher lofted driver in this guys hands and some of the "forward momentum" will be lost due to the higher launch angle.

Start factoring in the angle of attack into the ball that the golfer uses and you may easily find that a slow swinger who has a steep andle of attack into the ball may be best of with a 13 or 14 degree driver!!!! The fast swinger who hits upwards through the ball may get away with an 8 or 9 degree driver.

Tom Wishons book "The search for the perfect golf club" is clear in its conclusion that the vast majority of amateur golfers would be better off with a higher lofted driver in terms of both accuracy and distance.

Me? I've used no lower than 11 degree drivers for the last three years and am currently playing a 12.5 degree SMT Indio.
06/07/2007 at 10:24
I've just been custom fitted for a Driver. I have a fairly high swing speed of around 109. The pro has recommeded a extra stiff shaft and 12 degrees of loft. Mainly due to the angle of attack.

Like you, it has straightened my driving up no end, I may have sacrificed a little yardage (not sure if I have), but I'd rather play a 7 iron from the fairway than and 8 iron from the rough.
Edited: 06/07/2007 at 10:26
06/07/2007 at 10:24
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Edited: 06/07/2007 at 10:27
06/07/2007 at 10:41
I've been converted too The Fugitive. I'm looking forward to hitting more fairways. I'm a 14 handicapper with an average swing speed, the higher loft certainly helps me. The only argument against the extra loft, for a high handicapper, could be if there was a very strong side wind that would carry the higher lofted drive. It's amazing how few golf manufacturers, pros, golf retailers that don't recommend higher lofted drivers. Is there some sort of macho driver conspiracy out there?
06/07/2007 at 10:41
Surely angle of attack is everything and it depends on the ballflight you get off the driver? If you already hit the ball hight with 10.5 loft it surely doesn't make any sense going for more loft?
06/07/2007 at 10:49
I had a TM R5 with 10.5 and regular shaft. Swing speed about 95-100 mph and play to about 23 lately.

Used to be able to hit some good shots with it, the launch angle was about right, but also could slice it like a lemon. Would say 60% of shots were good.

Replaced it with a 11.5 Snake Eyes Viper after trying one as it felt great. It launches a bit higher than I'd like but very straight, sometimes it's longer, sometimes a bit shorter. But my tee shots are more consistent (7 of 9 fairways on last 9 holes).
06/07/2007 at 10:51
I agree with last post by SCOOPA if you already hit it high with 9 9.5 10 etc etc then you do not need 12, 13* loft. as i have this problem used to have 12* cobra sz440 and hit it too high so had fitting with PRO and reccommended 9.5* becuase of my ball flight and it has made a big difference to my game. As usual different strokes for different folks. TRY EVERY DRIVER YOU POSSIBLY CAN!! and get fitted!!!.....
06/07/2007 at 11:14
One of my playing partners uses a TM 8.5* driver with a stiff shaft, he will always argue that when he hits it well it goes for miles. He maybe right but the key word is "when", this equates to once a round.

I agree totally with Tommo's comment regarding the Try Every Driver and get fitted but I would also think that anyone buying any new club must remember to keep the inner neanderthol in check.

Don't buy a single figure handicappers club with a 28 handicappers talent.
06/07/2007 at 11:34
Scoopa, Tommo,

yes you are right....if the launch angle is allready optimised for the current swing style and speed then there is no point in going for a higher loft. I mentioned this in a roundabout way in the third paragraph of my post.

But in general a large number of golfers would benefit from additional loft simply becasue they dont have the swing speed or attack angle to extract the most from a lower lofted driver.

06/07/2007 at 11:36
There does or certainly used to be some macho thing about getting lower loft drivers - not sure why ie 7.5 degree x-stiff shaft and can't hit it for toffee.
06/07/2007 at 11:46
I think it's hard to generalise.

Take me - Play off 21 (I'm ashamed !). Always been decent off the tee, though.

Over the years, I've had various drivers (haven't we all). Bought one of the original Great Big Berthas with a12 loft but hit it so high I changed it after a round to an 11. Eventually changed to a Ping Karsten 8 1/2 degree and still had no problem. Years later, went for a Nike Sasquatch 10 deg, suffered with accuracy though was pretty long. Was convinced by the square arguement so bought the Callaway FTi with a reg flex and ten loft. Gained accuracy but lost so much distance it was embarassing.

So, finally did the sensible thing and went on the launch monitor with a wide selection of heads, lofts and shafts. The results were fascinating. My swing speed is not great, but consistent. My launch angle is very high. By the time the pro had sorted me out, it was with a TM Burner, 9 degree loft, regular shaft with a stiff tip...

It arrives in 10 days - gonna be interesting... !
06/07/2007 at 12:18
key message here is get FITTED! You need to get on a launch monitor with someone who know what he is doing!!! All of the above observations are spot on, however there is significantly more to it - shaft weight, flex and length, low or high spin heads (and balls), launch angle, effective loft (not to be confused with what it says on the head), smooth or aggresive swing transition, angle of attack, swing speed, ball position.... and the list goes on.
06/07/2007 at 12:21
I should point out, in my case I needed a shorter shaft at 44" (helps sweet spot consistency), heavier shaft (helps my swing tempo), a stiffer shaft (with high torque) and a higher kick point, more loft in the head (11.5 degrees) and a thinner grip to help me with my release.
06/07/2007 at 13:53
I couldnt hit a driver for toffee, although my game sugests i could hit one comfortably, tried loads still no joy. Went to American Golf to use there launch monitor to find a driver that i could hit, , well i hit nearly all of them in the store, TM, Ping, Callaway etc etc, all to no avail, untill the Manager came and had a look and said 'here try this' gave me a Ben Sayers 12 deg offset, well i havnt looked back since, good consistent drivers not long about 225yds but accurate and on £29.99 bargain, , , moral is get fitted and dont try and be macho man with the 9 deg etc etc, , its how you hit it not what you duff it with that matters.



Rant over, , , :O) :O)


06/07/2007 at 14:09
LOFT - Lack Of Flippin Talent


LOL
06/07/2007 at 21:23
I agree with Space and Nick - I can hit 11 deg, but not as consistently as 14deg. And my 14deg (with slightly shorter shaft) goes as far as my 12deg or 11deg drivers.
07/07/2007 at 10:00
I've always puzzled over this idea of a low lofted driver, there is definitely some sort of macho connotation. A good example is your average guy who bemoans that his driver goes too high so he needs less loft. Give him his 3 iron to hit and he'll often struggle to get it in the air, yet double the loft of his driver!

I can think of many golfers where going up 2-4 degrees in driver loft would give them better results. I'd also be willing to bet that their average driving distance would increase.
07/07/2007 at 18:52
Initially after reading the first few poss on this I thought god, I have got the wrong club for me!! I need more loft...
But after reading it more carefully I thought what would happen if I generated a greater club head speed..
Anyway, I decided to go out today and quicken my swing up. I have a 10.5* 905R with the X-stiff shaft which is probably a bad combo, what with me having a slightly high handicap, but I got coaxed into swaping my my old driver for this plus £100, at the time a bargain!
Anyway back to the point. Today was open invitation day at my club and with the weather the way it was, I thought time to give the driver a good clout and generate some head speed.
Well before I would have hit the driver softly as I wanted to try and have control over the ball flight to eliminate my fade, and let the club 'do the work'. Today I concentrated on generating more club head speed, thanks to the thoughts of people above, and my god.. What an improvement! Not only did i loose my fade, the ball was going miles and almost all the time, dead straight - I lapsed a little at the end!!
Tomo, I off down the driving range and giving some balls a good hoofing!!!
Cheers for the advice!!!
Howard
Edited: 07/07/2007 at 18:55
07/07/2007 at 22:46
TSG,

We high-loft users have been banging on about this for ages - welcome to the party! My 14-degree Benross V10 gives me about the same best drive as my old 11.5-deg, but more drives nearer the best (and more in the fairway) so a much better average result.

My old 11.5, meanwhile, has added 15 yards to my Dad's game by replacing his 10-degree.

I think 12 is probably about ideal for the average mid-high handicapper: those of us with slower swings and/or who play less often (I'm an "and") probably benefit from a degree or two more.
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