Is It Harder To Hit A Lower Loft Driver? (An Expert Opinion)


Are you looking to add more distance to your golf game? You might want to start hitting lower lofted clubs but be warned, hitting lower lofted clubs isn’t advisable for every golfer. 

As a general rule, It is a lot harder to hit a lower loft driver. Drivers are one of the most challenging clubs in your bag to use; the lower the club’s loft, the less forgiveness the club gives you, making it a lot harder to hit. 

In this guide, we’ll be delving into the technology around how the loft of your driver can help you hit the ball further and when it might be more appropriate to sacrifice distance for a sweeter connection on the golf ball. We’ll also be answering the big question of what loft driver you should be hitting per your golfing skill set.

For high handicappers looking to improve their accuracy off the tee, take a look at the Callaway Max Epic driver from Amazon you can purchase this driver in either a 9º or 10º degree setting.

What’s great about this club is its forgiving clubface that features Callaway’s Jailbreak clubhead technology. The Jailbreak system adds fizz and greater spin onto each of your shots, which gives you the feeling that you’re striking a much lower lofted club.

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Does Lower Loft Driver Go Further?

In total lower lofted clubs travel a lot further than higher lofted clubs. Lower lofted clubs punch the golfball at a lower and much harder trajectory than your higher lofted clubs and add more spin to help the ball cut through the air faster. 

Typically for both male and female golfers, driver lofts range from between 7 to 20 degrees, with most drivers on show in your local golf shop ranging between 8 to 11 degrees. Compared to your irons, your 5-iron loft will be around 27 degrees, while your 9-iron will be between 41-43 degrees in loft. 

A reduction of 1º in the loft will add around 2-3 yards onto your shot. It’s worth noting this is calculated with consideration to your swing speed and connection with the shot. A higher driver sacrifices distance for a little more height and control, while a lower degree driver will go a lot further. 

As with everything in golf, the science behind that is pretty astonishing. Lower lofted drivers allow for more energy transfer between the clubface and the golf ball simply because the angle you’re striking the ball is a lot flatter as you bottom out on the swing.

A club with less loft for that reason always adds more spin onto the ball than a higher lofted driver, and that helps the ball carry and roll further after impact. You can also start training your upper body to build bigger muscles to help you swing through the ball stronger and harder. Find out more on what muscles you should be training here in my article.

What Loft Driver Should I Hit?

As a general rule, lower lofted drivers are more suited to golfers with a faster golf swing. If you have a slightly lower clubhead speed, then a higher lofted driver is recommended to help you get more distance on the shot. 

Bubba Watson is one of the biggest drivers on the PGA Tour. He has a swing speed of around 126mph, one of the fastest in the game of golf, and for that reason, Bubba can use a very low lofted driver, set at approximately 7.6º, to help him add more distance to his shots. He could still use a higher degree of driver, but he would be much more erratic off the tee, getting a lot less spin from his drives while hitting the ball higher into the air. 

My club head speed with my driver is a lot lower, only reaching around 119mph with my shots, and that’s why I need to club down a bit to an 8.8º driver. Because my swing speed is a lot slower than Bubba’s, I would struggle to generate enough power to lift the ball up high enough with a lower lofted driver, and so I need to use a driver that is firstly a little more forgiving and adds a little more height to my shots. 

When it comes to picking what loft of driver you should use, the first thing to do is assess your club swing speed. Head over to the range and book a session with a club pro on the Trackman machine. Make sure you warm up before you’re session because you’re going to try to let rip with your irons and your driver here! Address the ball and strike a few shots with your low irons to get your technique in place, then move up to your driver, start slowly and build up momentum until you feel you’re striking the ball as hard as possible. 

Ever thought about setting up a Trackman machine in your garage? Check out our guide on how to build your own golf simulator, and avoid those annoying range fees, save money AND work on your game!

What you’re looking to find is your average and maximum clubhead speeds, as well as the ball speed when it comes off the tee. Once you’re comfortable, you’ve honed in on those figures; you’ll be able to see which loft of driver you should be using; here’s a table to give you a better idea of what club loft for your clubhead speed.  

How To Calculate Driver Loft

Swing speedDriver Loft
90mph11.5º
95mph11º
100mph10.5º
105mph10º
110mph9.5º
115mph
120
1257.5º
130

Looking to purchase a driver with a little more punch? The fantastic Taylormade SIM HZRDUS driver from Amazon is used by big hitters Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson and is one of the hardest-hitting drivers on the market and allows golfers to reach distances above 300 yards. More experienced golfers best use it, so if you’re already comfortable in your driving game and want to step things up, look no further than the Taylormade SIM. 

Want to maximise your time at the driving range? Check my guide on how to get the best performance possible.

Is A 9 Degree Driver Harder To Hit?

A 9-degree driver is a lot easier to hit than a 7 or 8 degree lofted driver. Because of its more obtuse angle, a 9-degree driver has a lower moment of inertia, making it much less forgiving than lower lofted clubs. But with that comes a sacrifice in distance and power through the shot. 

The term ‘moment of inertia is often used in golf to describe how much a clubhead moves and shakes on impact with the ball. Usually, clubs with higher lofts tend to turn on impact more than higher lofted golf clubs, meaning the connection might not be as sweet. As an amateur golfer, before going after the big distances, you should first look to improve your consistency and ability to connect with the golf ball. 

That’s why it’s always best to start with a higher lofted driver, between the 9-10º range. However, it won’t provide you with the greatest distance at first; they are considerably more forgiving than a 7º or 8º club. As a bonus, a 9º club will provide you with greater accuracy off the tee, giving you greater accuracy to keep the ball in play on narrower fairways. 

For a great high lofted driver, I recommend using the 9º version of the Callaway Rogue on Amazon. This club forgoes all the bells and whistles you might find on a Taylormade SIM and instead goes for simplicity. Its carbon-fiber casing means it’s a lighter club, but it still packs a punch, allowing slow swingers to push the clubhead through the air a lot faster than normal while putting a greater spin on the golf ball. 

Make sure also to check that you’re using the right golf clubs for your height. Size can play a significant factor in how straight you’re hitting your shots, so check out my guide on how long each of your clubs should be concerning your height. 

Will A Lower Loft Driver Help My Slice?

As a whole lower loft driver will make you slice the ball more. If you tend to slice the ball with your driver, then you should look to use a higher lofted driver, with perhaps a stiffer club shaft. 

One common issue with most golfers and their driver is their shot accuracy, with many golfers slicing the ball with their driver. The slice is an easy problem to fix by standing closer to the ball you should and trying to slow down your club speed to strike firmly through the middle of the golf ball.

If you’re still having issues, the club might be the problem, and that’s where you might want to compensate on your distances to use a higher lofted driver to add more control to your game. 

Higher lofted drivers allow you to control your shots a lot better off the tee and give you greater accuracy to hit the ball straighter down the fairway. But they also add more backspin to your shots compared to a lower lofted club.

You might think that backspin is a bad thing as it will reduce your shot distances. However, it is, in fact, your ally if you have a bad slice with your driver. The more backspin you put on your shot, the less left to right spin you’re putting on the ball, and thus the less slice you’ll get on the shot. 

In my opinion, it’s better to compensate a couple of yards off a straight and true shot than it is to sacrifice maybe 10-15 yards from a horrible slice that could land you in the rough on the right of the fairway. For that reason, to help you eliminate a slice from your game, use a higher lofted driver, like the 12º Callaway Mavrik Max driver on Amazon which will help you improve your connection through the golf ball. 

If you are struggling to hit Driver but your irons hit long and straight your likely making some key mistakes. See my article to know what mistakes your making and how to fix them.

Three Off The Tee

No one want’s to be taking three off the tee, so to perfect your driving game, you need to find the correct driver for your skill level. That means you need to put a lot of practice into finding how fast, how far, and how well you can swing through the ball with your lower lofted clubs. 

As a rule, the faster your swing speed, the lower driver loft you should use. For beginners, amateur golfers, and those struggling with a nasty slice, I recommend starting with a driver between 9º and 12º in the loft. More importantly, it comes down to finding what clubhead angle you’re comfortable with and the best one to compliment your game. 

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