One of the biggest misconceptions that golfers tend to have is the assumption that the lower the loft on your driver, the farther your ball will go. This, as it turns out, is completely backwards.

Sure, for golf pros like Tiger Woods or Tom Purtzer who have much higher swing speeds than most of us, the loft requirements on their drivers might require single-digit loft angle to achieve their longest driving distance. However, for most of us, in order to achieve greater distance on our swing we need a higher loft, likely in the double-digits.

Here’s how it works:

Pretend for a second you’re playing with a garden hose, which is turned on to full blast. Right now, the water spray is getting the maximum distance possible. If we were to turn the water pressure down to one-third of the full pressure, we would have to raise the angle of the nozzle in order to achieve the same distance that we were getting with the spray at full pressure.

Golf clubs work the same way

Most of us don’t have the high swing speed which would equate to the example of the hose being on full blast, which means that a lower loft is required in order to get maximum distance. This is why golfers with a low swing speed with a low lofted driver -this is the equivalent to lowering the nozzle pressure and lowering the nozzle angle.

In the chart below I’ve boldfaced and underlined the box at each swing speed where you will get maximum distance.It outlines the average carry distance (before the roll of the ball) with drivers of a different loft.

Upon closer inspection we can see that you won’t achieve maximum carry distance with any loft lower than 15 degrees until your swing speed with control gets near or at 90mph. Here are some numbers that might give you a better sense of where you likely fall:

Average Female Golfer: 65mph
Average Male Golfer: 87mph
Average Female Tour Player: 95mph
Average Male Tour Player: 112 mph
Female Long Drive Competitors: 105-120mph
Male Long Drive Competitors: 135-155mph

Based on the above information, now we can begin to understand why we sometimes hit farther with our 3-wood or our 5-wood than we do with our driver. But think back: when was the last time you went into a big-box retail golf store and saw anything but rows of 9- and 10-degree drivers on the rack?

This is one of the benefits of going to an experienced club maker: we can help you determine the loft your driver needs to be in order to achieve maximum carry distance.

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