Maybe you’re new to the game of golf and still trying to figure out what all the unusual words mean. It’s not easy. Take it from me and many of our Golfer’s Authority readers.
By now, you’ve realized that different clubs go different yardages. That’s because they all have different lofts. But just what is loft?
We’re going to tell you everything you need to know, so keep reading.
What is Loft?
Loft is the angle of a face on a golf club as it sits flush against the ground.
Your driver has the lowest loft of any club in your bag, somewhere between nine and 12 degrees. That’s why this club goes the farthest.
As your clubs get shorter in length, they increase in loft (with the exception of your putter of course). Your most lofted club is either your sand wedge or lob wedge. Lofts for these clubs fall between 54 and 64 degrees. Accordingly, these clubs fly the shortest.
What Are the Lofts on Each Club?
Modern golf clubs are a lot stronger (less loft) than they were on clubs from decades ago. That’s due to advances in technology that allow the golf ball to fly higher and farther than in the past.
It’s also important to remember that club lofts vary significantly from one manufacturer to another.
As such, we’ve created a general guide for what you can expect the lofts to be on each of the clubs in your bag.
As noted above, most drivers come from the factory with lofts between nine and 12 degrees. With that said, many can be adjusted to increase or decrease loft by up to two degrees. This allows you to adjust the loft to your liking.
Generally speaking, the faster your swing speed, the lower loft you need. If your swing is slower, more loft is ideal.
Three woods are slightly weaker (more loft) than your driver. Most three are between 14 and 17 degrees of loft.
If you want to hit this club a little farther, go with a lower loft. On the other hand, if hitting it high is more important, higher loft is the way to go.
Most five-woods are between 18 and 21 degrees.
A lot of golfers prefer five-woods over three-woods because they’re easier to hit up in the air. If you only have room for one fairway wood in your bag, a five-wood is a smart choice.
Hybrids have the largest range of lofts of all the clubs in your bag. For that reason, a lot of players carry more than one.
At the strong end, they can have as little as 19 degrees of loft. These lofts fall into the three-hybrid category.
In the middle of the hybrid loft range are four-hybrids. They have lofts between 22 and 24 degrees.
The most lofted of the lot are five-hybrids. Their lofts are anywhere from 24 to 27 degrees.
No other club has changed the game in modern times like the hybrid. That’s because they’re a lot easier to hit than traditional long irons.
If you haven’t tried hybrids already, we certainly suggest you do.
Now it’s on to your irons. For a lot of golfers, they’re longest (least lofted) iron is a five-iron.
Depending on the manufacturer, five irons have lofts of 24 to 27 degrees.
Some golfers carry a five-hybrid instead of a five-iron.
Six-irons have a loft somewhere between 27 and 30 degrees.
If you have a slower swing speed, or have trouble hitting your irons in the air, you may opt to replace your six-iron with a six-hybrid.
Seven-iron is the favorite club for a lot of players. That’s because it’s right in the middle of the bag in terms of length.
Seven-iron lofts are between 30 and 34 degrees.
Eight-irons come with lofts between 34 and 38 degrees. This club marks the beginning of your short irons.
With these clubs, you’ll want to pay close attention to the loft gaps between clubs. Doing so aids in being able to control distance.
Next in the short clubs is your nine-iron. Nine-irons have lofts of 39 to 42 degrees.
Depending on the brand of clubs you have, your pitching wedge has a loft of somewhere between 43 and 47 degrees. Most pitching wedges are on the lower end of this range.
Hence their name, gap wedges fill the gap between your pitching wedge and sand wedge. These lofts range from 48 to 54 degrees. Most will be around 50 degrees.
These clubs are also referred to as approach wedges.
Your sand wedge is the most versatile of all your wedges. You’ll hit full shots with this club from the fairway, on short bunker shots, and a variety of chips and pitches around the green.
Sand wedge lofts can be anywhere from 54 to 58 degrees.
As you might guess, lob wedges are meant to hit high, soft shots from short yardages.
The shortest of your full-swing clubs, lob wedges have lofts of 58 to 64 degrees.
You might think your putter has zero degrees of loft since it’s meant to roll the ball along the ground.
That isn’t quite true though. Most putters have anywhere from two to six degrees of loft. This loft is needed to get the ball rolling end over end as it comes off the face.
Understanding the concept of loft is imperative if you’re going to understand the function of each club in your bag.
Just remember, the more loft a club has (wedges) the shorter it goes. Conversely, clubs with less loft (driver and fairway woods) go farther.
If you’re looking to maximize the efficiency of the lofts on all your clubs, go through a custom fitting. Doing so can make all the difference in the world.