The Lower The Loft On Your Driver, The Farther The Ball Will Go
Yup, that’s true…with some of your fairway woods, hybrids and irons. But even with the swing speed of a Bubba Watson, there is a point that the driver loft will be too low even for him to generate his longest driving distance. Sure, for Bubba that loft number is a single digit; but for the rest of us with our much lower swing speeds, to achieve our maximum possible distance we need a higher loft, one that for many golfers is a number with a “teen” after it.
I know that sounds counter intuitive so I’ll explain it this way.
Imagine you have a garden hose turned on full blast and you’re trying to get as much distance as possible out of the water spray. Now, suppose someone turns the water pressure back and you see the loss of distance in the spray. So, what do you automatically do to try to get some of that distance back? Exactly! You raise the angle of the nozzle.
It’s the same thing with the driver.
If you’re among the relatively few golfers who have a very high swing speed (i.e., the hose is on full blast), you need a lower loft to get maximum distance. If, like most golfers, you have a slower swing speed (i.e., the water pressure is lower), you need a higher loft to get more distance. What you CAN NOT do is match a low swing speed with a low lofted driver! That’s the equivalent of lowering the water pressure and lowering the nozzle angle, and wondering why the water isn’t going as far.
So, how fast can you reasonably expect to swing your driver with control? Here are some numbers that might give you a sense of where you probably fall.
- Average Lady Golfer: 65 mph
- Average Male Golfer: 87 mph
- Average Lady Tour Player: 95 mph
- Average Male Tour Player: 113 mph
- Female Long Drive Competitors: 105-120 mph
- Male Long Drive Competitors: 135-155 mph
In the chart at the end of this myth I have boldfaced and underlined the box at each swing speed where you will get maximum distance. Notice anything strange?
You will not achieve maximum carry distance with any loft lower than 15 degrees, until your swing speed with control gets at or near 90 mph. Now, I ask you: when was the last time you walked into a golf retail store and saw a driver with 17 degrees of loft, or 15 degrees? How about a 13-degree? May we then assume that all of you have swing speeds with control of 100+ mph—a speed greater than the average LPGA Tour player and only a bit less than the average PGA Tour pro?
Are you getting the picture here?
Have you ever wondered why you sometimes hit your 3-wood or even your 5-wood as far or even farther than you hit your driver? Now you know why.
Think about that the next time you walk into the next fifteen-thousand square foot, big-box retail golf store, and see row after row of 9- and 10degree drivers on the rack.
You think those clubs were designed for YOU?