Pro Driver Loft

Pro Driver Loft

Post by Jackie Wolinsk » Wed, 10 Jun 1998 04:00:00


After reading many professional player stats I notice that many of them use
drivers with lofts from 6.5 to 7.5 degrees.  To me is seems obvious the
lower lofts are going to be more difficult to get the ball airborne.  What
is it about their swings that allows them to use these lofts instead of the
more standard 10.5?  Also, is there any other benefit besides potentially
more distance?

If I wanted to begin using one of these clubs for more distance, where
should I concentrate my practice?

 
 
 

Pro Driver Loft

Post by snowden » Wed, 10 Jun 1998 04:00:00

Quote:

>After reading many professional player stats I notice that many of them use
>drivers with lofts from 6.5 to 7.5 degrees.  To me is seems obvious the
>lower lofts are going to be more difficult to get the ball airborne.  What
>is it about their swings that allows them to use these lofts instead of the
>more standard 10.5?  Also, is there any other benefit besides potentially
>more distance?

It's a combination of lauch angle, ball speed and spin rate.  Pros hit up on
a driver properly, so the initial trajectory is higher to start with, before
you add the face loft.  Then, for a particular combination of the 3 factors,
there is an optimum speed for maximum distance.  Fundamentlly, the faster
the ball, the less spin you need for the same amount of lift, and you end up
holding the optimum path for longer.  Finally, on landing, the lower
trajectory and lack of spin mean that the roll is probably longer than one
that goes high and comes straight back down.

Quote:
>If I wanted to begin using one of these clubs for more distance, where
>should I concentrate my practice?

Start with a 150MPH swing that is dead straight and that you hit the ball
teed well up on the upswing. <G>
Hitting a VERY low loft driver means you are more likely to get side-spin
predominating over backspin.

The sweeping on the upstoke bit is useful whatever your swing speed.

 
 
 

Pro Driver Loft

Post by \ » Wed, 10 Jun 1998 04:00:00

Quote:

> After reading many professional player stats I notice that many of them use
> drivers with lofts from 6.5 to 7.5 degrees.  To me is seems obvious the
> lower lofts are going to be more difficult to get the ball airborne.  What
> is it about their swings that allows them to use these lofts instead of the
> more standard 10.5?  Also, is there any other benefit besides potentially
> more distance?

> If I wanted to begin using one of these clubs for more distance, where
> should I concentrate my practice?

The reason they can get away with such low lofts is because they
generate incredible clubhead speed.  The faster the club is moving at
impact, the more spin is produced, with creates "lift."

But make no mistake--there are also lots of guys out there using 8 and 9
degree lofts, too!

Oh, and one other thing--don't get fooled into believing that less loft
necessarily means more distance.  That's simply not true.  Every
player's swing is different, and each one has an "optimum launch angle"
which produces the greatest distance and accuracy control.  As a general
rule of thumb, remember:  the lower the launch angle, the sooner the
ball will be on the ground.  And there's more friction to slow the ball
down when the ball is on the ground than when it's in the air.

Don't race right out and buy a 6.5-degree driver thinking it will go
further.  It might roll further than your 10.5, but the total yardage
the ball travels may be considerably shorter with the 6.5 because it's
on the ground sooner, rolling to a stop, rather than still climbing in
the air with your 10.5.

Randy

 
 
 

Pro Driver Loft

Post by stym » Wed, 10 Jun 1998 04:00:00

I understand the correct loft for the average weekend golfer is around
13 degrees - that is the common loft a 3 wood.  This club yields more
distance for the weekender than those 8 or 9 degree clubs.

 
 
 

Pro Driver Loft

Post by Glenn Gerstne » Wed, 10 Jun 1998 04:00:00

The pros can use less lofted drivers primarily because they swing faster, so
the ball leaves the clubface faster.  I heard of professional long-drivers
who use lofts of 4.5 degrees.

Generally speaking, to maximize distance with the driver, clubhead speed and
driver loft should be inversely related (other things equal, like head size,
center of gravity, shaft, and so forth).  This is one of the major reasons
why many low-clubhead speed players can't hit a driver -- there's not enough
loft to optimize trajectory.  There are many seniors and women who hit their
three wood further than their driver for this reason.

Here's an analogy:  Say that Nolan Ryan (100 mph throw) and me (60 mph
throw) throw baseballs at a target 200 feet away.  His throw can start out
at a low launch angle (the ball may not get more than 10 feet off the
ground).  For me to reach the target, I will have to throw the ball much
further in the air (higher angle) to reach the target.  If I started my
throw out at his launch angle, it certainly would not come close to reaching
the target.

There is a trade-off as well:  less loft means less backspin, and less
backspin means that a hook or a slice will be magnified, other things equal.
It's the reason why my 3 iron can slice 40 yards, but my PW can't slice more
than 10 even if I try.

There is also the issue of how loft affects total distance (carry + roll)
vs. carry, but that's another story.  Suffice to say that the only way to
find out what loft driver is best for your game is to hit some clubs and
watch the results.

Glenn

Quote:

>After reading many professional player stats I notice that many of them use
>drivers with lofts from 6.5 to 7.5 degrees.  To me is seems obvious the
>lower lofts are going to be more difficult to get the ball airborne.  What
>is it about their swings that allows them to use these lofts instead of the
>more standard 10.5?  Also, is there any other benefit besides potentially
>more distance?

>If I wanted to begin using one of these clubs for more distance, where
>should I concentrate my practice?

 
 
 

Pro Driver Loft

Post by Don Port » Wed, 10 Jun 1998 04:00:00



Quote:
>I understand the correct loft for the average weekend golfer is around
>13 degrees - that is the common loft a 3 wood.  This club yields more
>distance for the weekender than those 8 or 9 degree clubs.

And then there's Tiger Woods, whose clubs are itemized in the current issue of
Golf Digest. He carries a 6.0-degree driver!
 
 
 

Pro Driver Loft

Post by Jackie Wolinsk » Wed, 10 Jun 1998 04:00:00

When you say "sweeping on the upstroke" do you mean I should play the ball
more toward my left heel?  Otherwise, I think I might begin to try to "lift"
the ball on the swing and end up topping it.

Quote:


>>After reading many professional player stats I notice that many of them
use
>>drivers with lofts from 6.5 to 7.5 degrees.  To me is seems obvious the
>>lower lofts are going to be more difficult to get the ball airborne.  What
>>is it about their swings that allows them to use these lofts instead of
the
>>more standard 10.5?  Also, is there any other benefit besides potentially
>>more distance?

>It's a combination of lauch angle, ball speed and spin rate.  Pros hit up
on
>a driver properly, so the initial trajectory is higher to start with,
before
>you add the face loft.  Then, for a particular combination of the 3
factors,
>there is an optimum speed for maximum distance.  Fundamentlly, the faster
>the ball, the less spin you need for the same amount of lift, and you end
up
>holding the optimum path for longer.  Finally, on landing, the lower
>trajectory and lack of spin mean that the roll is probably longer than one
>that goes high and comes straight back down.

>>If I wanted to begin using one of these clubs for more distance, where
>>should I concentrate my practice?

>Start with a 150MPH swing that is dead straight and that you hit the ball
>teed well up on the upswing. <G>
>Hitting a VERY low loft driver means you are more likely to get side-spin
>predominating over backspin.

>The sweeping on the upstoke bit is useful whatever your swing speed.

 
 
 

Pro Driver Loft

Post by snowden » Thu, 11 Jun 1998 04:00:00

Quote:

>When you say "sweeping on the upstroke" do you mean I should play the ball
>more toward my left heel?  Otherwise, I think I might begin to try to
"lift"
>the ball on the swing and end up topping it.

Exactly!  You don't want to help the ball in the air.  By moving the ball
forward, and teeing high, when you take your swing, the club hits the ball
after it has passed the lowest point of the swing and is now coming back up.
Hence the often-heard advice to "stay behind the ball".

Also, because the shaft is at an angle to where it is when normally, the
angle of launch is effectively increased, but because the head is moving
along this path, the spin imparted which comes from the (loft -swing path
angle) is reduced.

Conversely, hitting down on (eg) a wedge when back in the swing INCREASES
the spin

                        Mike