Choosing loft

Lee Smith

Q: I am a high handicapper, age 58 and 4 seasons at the game (still lots to learn). I'm looking for a driver and I've heard a lot about shaft selection for a slower club speed like mine. My question is about loft. How do I know which loft to buy. I currently use a 10.5 loft on a HiBORE driver, and I hit it high but only about 150-175 yards. Would a 9 or 9.5 loft keep the ball lower and give me more distance? How do I know what loft to choose?

A: Most golfers play with a driver that has too little loft. Unfortunately, those same golfers believe that less loft equates to more distance. Now this may be the case if you play your golf in Florida and Texas where the terrain is pretty dry and flat. However, in most conditions, more loft is optimal.

When selecting loft for your driver, have your PGA Professional watch you hit balls outdoors, observing actual ball flight. If a launch monitor is used along with ball flight, that's even better. You are looking for high launch and low spin. The ideal launch angle would be the equivalent of shot that has the look of a football being thrown 50 yards. A shot that "balloons" would have too much spin and a shot that "falls out of the sky" could use more spin to optimize launch angle.

In general, lower clubhead speeds require more loft to optimize distance while faster clubhead speeds would be a better match with a lower lofted club.