For many golfers, the loft of their golf club is an important factor. It can often make the difference between a clean drive struck into the middle of the fairway, or a scuffed shot straight into the rough.

The loft angle of a driver is measured in degrees and essentially determines how high the ball will travel from your club. The higher the loft a driver has, the more the face will slant away from the ball. This increases the trajectory you should get with your drives. 

Golf Driver

Drivers are typically lofted between eight and 11 degrees, so clubs with lofts of 9.5 and 10.5 are the most common. For golfers that tend to hit their drives too high, a 9.5 degree driver is the best option for their game, while regular players will usually opt for a 10.5 degree driver. 

This guide will take a detailed look at the differences between a 9.5 and 10.5 degree driver, with particular focus on factors such as distance, accuracy and swing speed. 

Distance 

Whether you’re a professional golfer or just a novice, getting good distance off the tee is vitally important. 

In principle, 9.5 degree driver shots will travel lower and at a faster speed than shots with a 10.5 driver when struck square. Therefore, they’ll often travel a further distance. However, it isn’t quite as simple as that. 

In order to maximize a lower lofted driver, you’ll need to make sure that you have enough club head speed. In other words, the rate at which your club is moving towards impact with the ball.

If you don’t have enough speed, the extra distance won’t prove beneficial to your drive.  

For instance, it isn’t worth trying to gain an additional 10 or 15 yards if your ball is at a greater risk of ending up deep in the rough, or worse, in a bunker or water hazard.

Accuracy 

When it comes to accuracy in golf, there isn’t a more difficult shot to perfect than driving the ball off the tee. 

This is mainly due to the fact that drivers impart less backspin on the ball than any other golf club. Backspin facilitates a straighter ball flight, and the less there is, the more sidespin will be present. 

In general, 9.5 degree drivers produce less backspin, so slices and hooks are more common. On the other hand, 10.5 degree drivers usually create a small amount of backspin which helps to generate a straighter ball flight. 

If you’re a beginner, and looking to prioritize accuracy over distance, then starting off with a 10.5 degree driver is a sensible choice. 

Angle Of Contact 

Making a smooth connection with the center of the clubface is essential when hitting with a driver. 

For optimal launch angle and speed, you’ll need your clubhead to move gradually upwards as it makes contact with the ball. This will ensure you hit the “sweet spot” of the face of the driver. 

Swing Speed

As touched upon earlier, golfers who swing their club quickly will need to use a lower loft driver to get the maximum distance. Whereas, those with a slower swing speed will be better off with a higher loft driver to achieve the right trajectory and the maximum ball speed for their potential. 

To provide a more specific framework, listed below are some of the recommended lofts for different clubhead speeds. 

  • 85 mph and below: a 14-20 degree loft should be used. 
  • 95-104 mph: a 10-11 degree loft is appropriate. 
  • 105-111 mph: a 7-9 degree loft should be considered. 
  • 130 mph and above: a 4-7 degree loft is best suited. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is loft in golf? 

Each golf club comes equipped with some form of loft – it’s essentially thangle of the clubface as it’s positioned on the shaft. It’s worth remembering that the degree of the loft angle of a club is relative to the vertical plane, not the ground. 

A typical golfer will carry up to 14 clubs in their bag at a time. These range from low lofted drivers to high lofted wedges. The greater the loft of a club, the higher the trajectory it can generate on a ball. 

This is reflected by the number assigned to the club. For example, a 10.5 degree driver has a greater loft than its 9.5 counterpart. 

Does the weather make a difference on which driver to use? 

Yes, it’s worth taking the weather into account, especially if you’re playing in adverse conditions. For example, on windy days it’s more beneficial to use a lower lofted club to help you keep the ball low to avoid it getting carried away by the wind. As mentioned earlier, a 9.5 degree driver is a better choice over a 10.5 degree driver for achieving this. 

How can you calculate your swing speed? 

If you want a traditional method, you can simply divide the average distance of your drives by 2.3. So, if you’re driving the ball on average 230 yards, that would make your swing speed 100 mph.

Be mindful that this method isn’t exact science so the accuracy of your calculation may be a little off. 

If you’re looking for a more accurate way to calculate your swing speed you can either use a launch monitor, or get your club specifically fitted to your game. 

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