One of the very most important specifications on each of your golf clubs is the loft angle. To skip the fancy definitions, the loft angle is how much the face of the clubhead on each of your golf clubs is tilted back. Every clubhead in your bag has a specific loft angle on the face, even your putter.
Quite simply, loft is about 85% of the reason you hit each golf club a different distance. The length of each of your clubs comprises the other 15%. How far YOU actually hit each club is mainly a product of the relationship of YOUR swing speed with the different loft on each clubhead in your set – with a couple of other technical things tossed in.
One of the several definitions of a perfect set of golf clubs is that each club hit the ball a specific, different distance and that the difference in distance between each club is as close to the same as possible. Many of you know how frustrating it can be to play when you have two clubs that have a 20 yard distance difference between them and yet two others for which you only see about a 5 yard distance gap between.
When you see discrepancies in distance between clubs, the first and usually main reason this happens is because the lofts are not consistently spaced between all the clubs. Yes, there are other reasons this can happen such as length errors or things associated with how much each club weighs in relation to the others. But day in and day out, when you see inconsistent distances between clubs, it is because there is an error in the spacing of the loft angle(s) between the clubs.
So how DO you know what the lofts are on your clubs? Sorry. You can’t use a simple protractor to measure the loft on your clubs. It takes a special gauge that club designers, clubhead production factories and custom clubmakers buy and use in their work. While you can go to a the website of the company that makes the clubs you play and probably find a chart that tells you the loft on each head in your set, thanks to the fact there are definitely plus and minus tolerances, that doesn’t tell you exactly what your lofts are.
Add a really nasty thing to that as well. There are a number of golf companies who INTENTIONALLY make the real loft on their drivers to be different than what they say it is on the head! I kid you not. Since the late 90s, a few golf companies do this. Why?
Because they think they are doing golfers a favor. Here’s the deal. We all know there are some golfers out there who think they will hit the driver farther if it has a lower loft. Many golfers do not know their optimum driver loft for maximum distance has to be chosen on the basis of the golfer’s clubhead speed AND their angle of attack into the ball. Slower swing speed and/or more downward angle of attack means a higher driver loft is required to maximize distance.
Only when you have a high clubhead speed with an upward angle of attack do you get your max distance from a lower loft. Starting in the 90s, several golf companies just found it was easier to lie about the loft on their drivers and make some of their driver models with more loft than they printed or engraved on the head. More by like 2 degrees.
That’s fine I guess for the egotist golfers who refuse to buy a higher loft driver. But for the many who do want to buy the right loft, it’s a real confusing situation. Ultimately, it means to really know your lofts and to make sure your lofts match your swing, this is why it is so helpful to find and work with a competent custom Clubmaker.