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Is a high lofted driver really worth it?


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Been playing around with them for the last few months in the "offseason" when we don't take it as serious. what I notice about high lifted drivers. The misses are less severe. But, I give up some distance. Not as much roll out and ball goes higher off the tee. So, is that offset by having to use a longer club into the green? I think there is a trade off there somewhere.

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Try 2 drivers in the bag. One being a high loft around 14* and the other 8.5-10.5 etc. That works great for me on tighter courses.

I played all of 2020 with this setup.  12* 917D2 (turned down to 11.25*), with a shorter shaft that gave me high baby draws.   My gamer is a 10.5* TS3 with a stiffer shaft that gives me flat fades.  T

Very very few amateurs actually hit the ball high enough to give them an optimum trajectory for maximum distance.   I play as a single 40-50 times a year and get paired up quite a bit. I regularly pl

Misses are less severe because the D plane isn't affected as much as you go higher in loft (i.e. you'll put a little less side spin on the ball).

 

There's been discussion ad nauseam here about your question. Some feel they'd rather be in the fairway, than 20 yards closer, but in the rough. The data says otherwise though. Anecdotally, take a look at Tiger's most recent round where he shot par and only hit 2 or 3 fairways. Yes he's a pro but the principal is the same... Generally the closer you get to the hole, the lower your scores get.

 

Now if the difference is fairway vs off the planet... then yes, pick a club that gets you in the fairway. But in the case of, 5-10 yards off fairway, but 20+ yards closer... usually for better players, closer = better.

 

Edit: However, I do want to note, gear effect (Strike location) has a massive impact on shot shape and result.

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Been playing around with them for the last few months in the "offseason" when we don't take it as serious. what I notice about high lifted drivers. The misses are less severe. But, I give up some distance. Not as much roll out and ball goes higher off the tee. So, is that offset by having to use a longer club into the green? I think there is a trade off there somewhere.

 

I tried a 12 degree for a while...the theory was good. On my good days/swings I was more accurate and didn't lose any distance. But when trying to play into the wind or on my bad days when it felt like it went nowhere it just wasn't worth it.

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Very very few amateurs actually hit the ball high enough to give them an optimum trajectory for maximum distance.

 

I play as a single 40-50 times a year and get paired up quite a bit. I regularly play with guys that think they need a lower lofted driver “for more roll”.

 

They are wrong 90% of the time. If you swing the driver over 90 mph and aren’t hitting your driver at least 70-80 feet in the air, the height of an 8 story building, then you aren’t hitting it high enough. An exception might be if you constantly play in the wind I guess.

 

Watch the pros. Yes, the faster the swing, the higher the Apex should generally be, but they are regularly at 100-120 foot apexes.

 

Oh yeah.....and as stated, a higher lofted driver imparts less side spin and is more forgiving as well.

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Play whichever loft gives you the best optimal launch angle and spin rates. Everyone has a different attack angle. I like to be in that 12 - 13 degrees launch angle range and a 9.5 degrees does that for me with about 2650 rpm which is my target. My brother, on the other hand, achieves the near exact numbers as me with a 10.5 degree driver. I put my drive at 10.5 and my launch angle was a tad over 14. Also, you can't overlook the shaft. With a 9.5 degrees driver, I was still launching the ball in the mid 13 range because of the low to mid kick point. I got a shaft with a higher kick point (UST Mamiya Elements Chrome) and it dropped me back down to my ideal range.

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Play whichever loft gives you the best optimal launch angle and spin rates. Everyone has a different attack angle. I like to be in that 12 - 13 degrees launch angle range and a 9.5 degrees does that for me with about 2650 rpm which is my target. My brother, on the other hand, achieves the near exact numbers as me with a 10.5 degree driver. I put my drive at 10.5 and my launch angle was a tad over 14. Also, you can't overlook the shaft. With a 9.5 degrees driver, I was still launching the ball in the mid 13 range because of the low to mid kick point. I got a shaft with a higher kick point (UST Mamiya Elements Chrome) and it dropped me back down to my ideal range.

 

You must be really swinging up on the ball. My launch angle is always a good bit less than the loft of the face.

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Play whichever loft gives you the best optimal launch angle and spin rates. Everyone has a different attack angle. I like to be in that 12 - 13 degrees launch angle range and a 9.5 degrees does that for me with about 2650 rpm which is my target. My brother, on the other hand, achieves the near exact numbers as me with a 10.5 degree driver. I put my drive at 10.5 and my launch angle was a tad over 14. Also, you can't overlook the shaft. With a 9.5 degrees driver, I was still launching the ball in the mid 13 range because of the low to mid kick point. I got a shaft with a higher kick point (UST Mamiya Elements Chrome) and it dropped me back down to my ideal range.

 

You must be really swinging up on the ball. My launch angle is always a good bit less than the loft of the face.

Sounds like you have a negative AoA possibly and deloft the face a bit dynamically. Getting 13ish * launch from a 9.5* head is probably about an AoA of 2-3... which is fairly "normal".

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Been playing around with them for the last few months in the "offseason" when we don't take it as serious. what I notice about high lifted drivers. The misses are less severe. But, I give up some distance. Not as much roll out and ball goes higher off the tee. So, is that offset by having to use a longer club into the green? I think there is a trade off there somewhere.

 

For me and my game - NO!

 

 

On a bad day, there is no driver with sufficient loft, that could help me find the fairway...

 

...and a good day becomes worse, if you lose distance because of too much loft.

 

Add to this, that you start asking yourself the question, why you have a (higher lofted) driver instead of a 3W (or 1 iron) in the bag,

if the driver is not longer, and harder to hit from the fairway...

 

...and as soon as you realize, that your 1 iron is longer, than your higher lofted driver on average, you start asking yourself WTF!

 

 

In my opinion:

 

Either really go for it, with the driver (at optimum loft for distance), or don't put it in your bag.

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I don't know if this will help but I was fitted for a driver about 7-8 years ago and the fitter gave me a 12 degree driver. I trusted him so I went with it. I don't have numbers to share but my experience was that it went pretty straight, flew up in the air and just stopped. My playing partners thought it was very funny. It was like a driver-wedge. Needless to say it didn't go very far. My 3-wood went further. My guess is that it probably spun way to much to be effective. I will say it was very straight, not many misses.

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Been playing around with them for the last few months in the "offseason" when we don't take it as serious. what I notice about high lifted drivers. The misses are less severe. But, I give up some distance. Not as much roll out and ball goes higher off the tee. So, is that offset by having to use a longer club into the green? I think there is a trade off there somewhere.

 

For me and my game - NO!

 

 

On a bad day, there is no driver with sufficient loft, that could help me find the fairway...

 

...and a good day becomes worse, if you lose distance because of too much loft.

 

Add to this, that you start asking yourself the question, why you have a (higher lofted) driver instead of a 3W (or 1 iron) in the bag,

if the driver is not longer, and harder to hit from the fairway...

 

...and as soon as you realize, that your 1 iron is longer, than your higher lofted driver on average, you start asking yourself WTF!

 

 

In my opinion:

 

Either really go for it, with the driver (at optimum loft for distance), or don't put it in your bag.

 

 

Hmm. Don’t know what alternate universe we’ve entered. But I agree with you on a Driver post. Weird. Lol.

 

Definetly no pooint in a 12 degree Driver and a 15 degree 3 wood.

 

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I think the 'high loft' part of a high-lofted driver and it's relation to the ball going to target is overstated. Yes, sidespin is reduced somewhat, but I think a shorter shaft would have far more affect on getting one's ball on the intended line. Mr. Wishon had a great post about this point but I can't seem to find it. Additionally, a level to slightly down angle of attack would also help one be more accurate.

 

Some courses don't really require max distance, so I'll bag a short-shafted 16* SLDR S just to be on the safe side.

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Been playing around with them for the last few months in the "offseason" when we don't take it as serious. what I notice about high lifted drivers. The misses are less severe. But, I give up some distance. Not as much roll out and ball goes higher off the tee. So, is that offset by having to use a longer club into the green? I think there is a trade off there somewhere.

 

Maybe, maybe not. Let's look at two driver scenarios:

  • A: 9* driver hits ball 235 yds. into L treeline.
  • B: 12* driver hits ball 220 yds. into L side of fairway.

Will B have a longer shot into the green? Maybe 5 yards longer. But A has lost a lot of useful distance by leaving his ball out to the left, and needing just as much yardage to get into green due to offline angle of shot.

 

But, it comes down to more than raw yardage. A has much greater chance of bouncing his approach off of tree limbs, being he's making a grand entrance from the forest. Or, A could play it safe and fade ball into right front fringe, and hope for good 50-foot lag putt.

 

Overall, B is in much better shape for approach.

 

What loft driver do I use to correct those dead-straight blocked shots that goes full distance but 45 yards offline?

Spend $60 on a lesson to check for swing flaws before you spend $400 on a new driver.

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One point to consider is that if you are worried about misses, just hit your 3 or 4 wood off the tee on holes where it bothers you. You don't have to hit driver on every hole.

If you are considering a higher lofter driver just for accuracy's sake, look first at choosing the right club on the tee. If you drop your normal driver for a higher lofted one, you lose yards on almost every hole*; if you keep your normal driver and play it judiciously, then you get the advantage of extra distance AND safety when you hit your 3w on holes you don't feel safe hitting your driver on.

 

*assuming your driver is the best fit for you

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I have played higher lofted drivers for many years...straighter is better for me. I don't launch the ball well so 12*/11* keeps me in play more often and not that much loss of distance. My cut/slice shots really lose a lot of distance (especially if it flies into trees). Each golfer's swing is different. I discovered this for me many years ago when i hit the Nike "lucky 13" driver. I crushed that thing but alas found something shinier. A couple of years later, i was having driving trouble so i tried a higher lofted driver ( and mini drivers and no driver) and found that it stayed in play a lot more often. It isn't that much longer than my 3wd but is a bit more forgiving. Just my experience.

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Let's also not forget (not sure if this has been said yet), your 3w or whatever club may only seem more accurate, because you hit it shorter. A shot that's a straight push say, 10* off line may sneak into the fairway on a 220 yard shot... but if you had hit it further with the same push with driver, you'd be in the rough/trees, but both shots were on the exact same line.

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I always feel like this question would be rendered moot if people would just play a shorter shaft they could square up more consistently.

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To me the answer depends on the course you are playing. My home courses demand accuracy as they wind through housing. OB left and right on EVERY hole with oak-lined narrow fairways. Miss a fairway here and you usually do not even have a shot at the green. Making par usually requires a one-putt.

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Am lowball hitter....i hit penetrating shots (wind doesnt effect my ball like most guys i play with)

 

Sometimes i feel its too low

 

I have M1 @ 12° with oban kiyoshi (white and gold)currently...

 

I hit this higher than any other driver but still doesnt seem to be spinning whole lot....so my drives are longer for sure

 

High is good as long as its not spinning a ton i think...my stk shot is draw which is now high draw....

 

I also recently started playing it at 44"......much better than than 45.5 for me and i am 6'0" tall

 

Seriously doubt ill ever play a 45.5 driver again....am more consistent in just about every way...no loss of distance, its opposite.....been hitting it bit longer last 3 rds....well see

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I am at the opposite end of the post. Never have a problem getting the ball in the air. I had been using an old R7 HT 10.5 with a 72g Diamana White. I would usualy have to position the ball at inch back from the left foot. Mid season of 2016 started using an SLDR 9 with at Tour Spec 7.2. Really noticed a big difference in ball flight & roll. Now even have the adapter set to lower the loft 1.5 degrees. Every now & then I get a lowball drive. However the majority of the time it is at the normal height. Also have better distance & accuracy.

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I tried a 13 deg titleist womens driver and saw huge potential! Now it was a downwind day at maybe 6 mph and the shaft was a strong womens flex so Id say it bordered on senior,anyway it's a great option as a go to club if you get the right shaft and play at a track that has more downwind holes in it's location,or isn't a windy environment like Texas or something.

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I did it. It has a lot to do with swing speed. Hear me out.

If you're under 85mph w the driver, without getting into needless detail about angle of attack and spin loft, then you will benefit from more loft, bc you'll increase total distsnce x by increasing height y, bc of the shape of the parabola.

If you're bt 85-95mph, it depends on your angle of attack and spin loft, and you need to do some trial and error to see if you hit that 220-250 zone with more or less loft.

If you're over 95mph, you will probably increase distance x with less height y, bc your ball speed lends itself to a flatter parabola w lower launch.

These are generalities. There are occasional fast swingers who do better w more loft bc of extreme AoA and spin loft. And there are similar extremes on the other end. We've all played w older dudes who launch low and roll out, who might not see more x distance w more loft.

But those generalities typically prevail.

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Try 2 drivers in the bag. One being a high loft around 14* and the other 8.5-10.5 etc. That works great for me on tighter courses.

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