What Does Loft Mean in Golf?

Golf is a sophisticated sport in which players use clubs to hit balls into a series of designated holes. The sport requires an extreme form of concentration to ensure that players are able to hit the ball in a way that it lands either in the hole or as close to the hole as possible. Like any sport, golf comes with its own set of rules, guidelines, challenges, and practice needs.

Being a one-of-a-kind sport, golf has its own lingo which may confuse amateurs at the beginning of their golf journey. To avoid confusion, it is crucial to be aware of common golf terminologies and what they mean. Such words that you may hear on the golf course include bunkers, gimme, bogey, green, fairway, rough, par, tee box, and lots more. But merely knowing the basics of golf doesn’t guarantee a win; what it takes to succeed in a round of golf are certain skills related to golfing. These include the stance, the grip, the swing, and even some playing strategies.

Various techniques, concerning lofts, also play a key role in ensuring a victory in golf matches. But what does loft mean, you may wonder? Read this article to learn everything you need to know about loft and its relationship with golf.

What Is the Meaning of Golf Club Loft?

In simpler terms, the loft makes for the basis of a golf club as it is the angle where the clubface is in line with the shaft. Generally, golfers carry different sets of clubs, each of them having a different loft angle.

These angles are important measurements which usually range from 8.5 degrees to 60 degrees and are applied to various clubheads of golf clubs. That being said, the putter usually has a loft angle that is approximately 0 degrees, which makes it a vertical clubface.

In order to understand loft, you can think of it in the following ways:

  • It refers to how much the clubface is angled in an upward direction
  • The loft is how far the top of the face of the club is from the shaft

Please note that the clubface of a golf club will be more horizontal in angle if it has a loft of a higher number while the clubface will appear more vertical if it has a lower loft angle.

The Importance of the Loft Angle in Golf

Generally, golfers keep 14 clubs in their golf bag that vary from the low-lofted driver to the high-lofted wedges. At this point, the question that arises is, “what is the significance of having different loft angled clubs?” Do they have any sort of impact on the overall result of the game? Of course, they do.

The loft allows you to assess how far the ball can go and the kind of trajectory it will take. The lower the loft a golf club has, the farther the ball will go. For example, a golf club with a loft of 20 degrees will make a ball go further away than one with a loft of 40 degrees.

A higher loft launches the ball into the air at a steeper angle as compared to a lower loft. That’s because a higher loft comes with a more horizontally tilted clubface, pointing the clubface in an upward direction. Therefore, the golf ball goes into the air and descends onto the ground more sharply than if it was hit by a club with a lower loft, which is more vertical.

Experts suggest that if your club has a low loft, then the ball won’t go high up in the air and will hardly make it to the hole. And if the club has an extremely high loft, then it will travel too far, and you won’t have any control over the result.

The Loft Angle Differs from Club to Club

Manufacturers assign different loft angles to different clubs. Therefore, there aren’t any loft angles that are specific to certain golf clubs. That being said, there are typical loft angles that are assigned to golf clubs, and we’ve discussed them in detail below:

1. Drivers

A driver typically has the longest shaft and the lowest shaft of all the golf clubs. Owing to this combination, drivers can be the most complicated club when it comes to hitting the ball precisely to its mark. Generally, the driver possesses a loft ranging from 9 degrees to 12 or 13 degrees.

An ideal driver for amateur golfers and higher handicappers is one that comes with a high loft. Experienced or advanced players can stick to a driver with a loft of 9 degrees or slightly less.

2. Fairway Woods

It is tricky to describe the loft degrees of fairway woods, given that there are strong and standard woods. A strong wood tends to have a lower loft than a standard wood. Therefore, a standard wood creates a longer shot than its alternative.

Generally, fairway woods come with loft angles as low as 13 degrees and as high as 22 degrees. A 3-wood has a loft ranging from 13 to 15 degrees. A 5-wood has a loft between 17 and 19 degrees, while a 7-wood has a loft of 20 to 22 degrees. Last but not least, 9-woods come with a loft of a minimum of 24 degrees.

3. Irons

A typical set of irons comes with 3 to 9-irons along with the pitching wedge. The 3-iron has a low loft while the 9-iron has the highest loft. Like fairway woods, the low-lofted irons offer great distance as compared to the higher lofted ones.

In cases of shots nearer to the green, it is ideal to use wedges like a pitching wedge that have a loft of 48 degrees. Some other wedge options with greater lofts include sand wedges.

4. Hybrid

Hybrids offer the features of both irons and fairway woods and are ideal for both beginners and professional players. Typically, a hybrid comes with a flat face that is tough like iron and as wide as a fairway wood. Many golfers prefer to use a hybrid rather than a wood as it is easier to use and hit accurately.

For male golfers, a hybrid angled 14 to 16 degrees is ideal to use while for women, hybrids with 24 to 26-degree lofts are effective.

Which Loft Should You Get?

One of the biggest mistakes that golf players make is choosing a driver and loft based on the wrong reasons. For example, they may have chosen a particular driver because they saw their favorite players using that particular driver, or because it was advertised to them. Instead of making a rooky mistake like this, it is important for you to take your time and see which loft suits your skills.

Before you select a loft, assess the speed of your swing. You can easily do so by using a professional measuring device. Always go for a loft based on your examined club-head speed. For example, if it is between 94 and 105 mph, an 11-degree loft will be ideal. You can always tally it with golf professionals as they can help you determine the perfect loft for you.

Our Final Thoughts

Loft plays a critical role in golf games as different angles determine the flight and landing of your golf ball; minute changes in lofts can have a huge impact on your match – for better or worse. Therefore, it is important that you carefully choose the right golf club for your shots.

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