Dialing in proper driver loft is easier than ever with the advent of adjustable drivers. How critical is loft?
"It's the most important factor in dictating launch and spin," says Chris Marsh, Master Fitter at Hot Stix Golf. "Without proper loft, you won't maximize distance."
We conducted a test in which one low-handicapper hit three different driver models (Cobra AMP Cell Pro, Nike VR_S Covert Tour and TaylorMade R1). In each case, we adjusted loft while all other variables remained unchanged (shaft, shaft length, weight, etc.).
Hot Stix recorded all data using a TrackMan launch monitor. For simplicity's sake, we've listed results from one driver in the chart below. The findings are striking!
FINDING: As loft increases, so do launch and spin. A 1° loft change equates to a 0.5°-1.4° difference in launch and up to 350 rpm in spin. "You see real changes in launch by switching settings," says Chris Marsh, Master Fitter, Hot Stix Golf.
FINDING: In this instance, carry distance varies by 11.4 yards and total distance by 6.7 yards across the range of lofts. In another driver, the difference between the most ideal and least ideal loft is 18 yards carry distance and 22 yards total.
FINDING: Our tester achieves his longest carry, through proper launch, using a 10.5° loft, a 12.5° in another model and an 11.25°. His longest overall distance occurs with an 8.5° loft, a 10.5° and a 11.25°.
CONCLUSION: The age-old "I'm a 10.5° guy" thinking is dead wrong! Our low-handicap tester gets max distance with lofts ranging from 8.5° to 11.25°. He also sees as much as a 22-yard difference between the absolute wrong lofts and the right one in the same club.
A qualified clubfitter can help you determine proper loft. "We can also do more with [an adjustable] club after a fitting than ever before," adds Chris Marsh. "If you get fit with a non-adjustable driver and aren't swinging normally, you're stuck with it."