Should I Use A 9.5 Or 10.5 Degree Driver For Distance And Accuracy?

A common question for golfers looking to improve is what loft they should have in their driver and while the loft is only part of what should go into your decision of which driver loft you should buy, it is a pretty important factor all the same.

The loft of a golf club measures the angle of the face of the club as you address the ball. The more loft the club has, the more the face will slant away from the ball and the more trajectory you should get with your driver. With that being said, if you are someone who tends to hit their driver too high, a 9.5 degree driver may suit you and if you are a regular player, a 10.5 degree driver may be best suited to your game as it is rare to find someone who is hitting the ball too high with the driver.

The loft of your driver can have a big impact not only on the distance you achieve from the tee but also how many fairways in regulation you hit as you navigate the course which is probably always more important.

Angle Of Attack

The key factor when hitting a driver is the make a smooth connection with the centre of the clubface and that is going to come down to the angle of attack of the clubhead as it makes contact with the ball.

We want the clubhead to moving slightly upwards as it make contact with the ball for optimal launch angle and speed. Once we are hitting the sweet spot of the driver face we should get good ball speed and that is the most crucial factor in determining how far the ball is going to fly.

The 9.5 Degree Launch Angle Should Get More Distance

If we can hit a 9.5 degree driver on the sweet spot everytime, we should get a higher ball speed and a lower trajectory than we would get with a 10.5 degree driver so, in theory we are going to get more distance with a 10.5 driver than we would with a 10.5 driver but that is easier said than done.

It is no good to most people to sneak an extra 10 or 15 yards if it is going to end up deep in the woods, river or even the parking lot.

Id imagine that you won’t be praising your 9.5 degree Big Dawg when you go through a full pack of Pro V1’s on the front 9.

The 10.5 Degree

We would venture to say that the vast majority of amateur and beginner golfers will benefit a lot more from the extra loft of the 10.5 degree driver than using a 9.5 degree and this comes down to forgiveness.

The higher loft is going to make it easier to hit the sweet spot on the club face and send the ball straight more often, albeit with a bit more height. For us straight is a lot more important than far until you reach the stage where you can make a conscious decision that you need a lower flight directory and higher ball speed and opt for a 9.5 degree loft.

The Adjustable Loft

The Adjustable loft is a relative newcomer to the composition of the golf club and as you can probably guess, it allows you to change the loft on your drivers, fairway woods or hybrids any time you like and this has a number of key advantages for your driver.

Try Out Each Loft To See What Suits You Best

The problem with getting a fitting is that you might hit a driver perfect in the golf shop and then get out on the course and slice every drive for the entire round.

With the adjustable loft, you can experiment with your loft for as long as you want and eventually settle on the best loft for your game.

You Will Get More Than 2 Loft Options

Buy a fixed driver only gives you one options and in this article we are only discussing two loft options, 9.5 and 10.5.

With an adjustable driver you are likely to get at least 4 options so you can play different kinds of shots and find the best loft for every shot.

Change The Loft For Different Weather Conditions

When the weather is windy, you want to keep your shots low with the driver to avoid it getting carried away by the wind. Being able to adust you loft downwards means you will be able to keep those drives low and get good distance, avoiding the wind as much as possible.

Where Does Swing Speed Come Into Play

Someone who is swinging the club faster will need to use a lower loft to get the maximum distance and someone with a slower swing speed will need more loft to get the right trajectory and the maximum ball speed for their potential.

For Very fast swingers, the 9.5 might be best but then again it will still come down to personal preference and for a medium speed swing, the 10.5 is usually going to be best.

For a swing speed of 80 and under we would recommend you to even go higher in loft to 11 or even 12.5 degrees in your driver and the main categories of golfers in this criteria will be kids, ladies and seniors.

Best Adjustable Loft Driver: TaylorMade Men’s RBZ Black Driver, Black

One of the best and reasonably priced drivers on the market today is the Taylormade RBZ driver that gives three options: 9.5. 10.5 and 12 degrees of loft.

It’s a large 460cc titanium head with a large sweet spot, speed pocket and a lightweight shaft for distance and accuracy and it comes in at $200.

This is a driver that can be perfect for beginners to intermediates and while it doesn’t have the brand new tech of the Sim Max, it will certainly get the job done.

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Loft By Swing Speed Chart

100+ MPH 9.5 Degree Loft
80 -100MPH 10.5 Degree Loft
Under 80 MPH 11.5 Degree Plus

Calculating Your Swing Speed

If you want to calculate your swing speed the old fashioned way, then divide the average distance of your drives by 2.3. If you drive the ball 230 yards on average, that would be a swing speed of 100mph.

This of course is not an exact science and a much better way to calculate this is with a launch monitor or else by getting a club fitting which we will come back to shortly.

Why The Shaft Of Your Club Matters

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Loft is just one part of the club and the other factors like the weight, length and flexibility of your golf shaft will also play a major role.

Almost all drivers are made with graphite shafts nowadays but the flex will vary and so will the weight.

For higher swing speeds, you will want a stiffer shaft and for slower swing speed you will want the club to be more flexible and lighter to generate more clubhead speed, hit the ball flush and get good ball speed too.

If you want to get the perfect driver for your game, it might be most advisable to get a golf club fitting from a knowledgeable pro at your local golf club. I would tend to favour avoiding chain stores like Dicks as the staff may not be as knowledgeable as you will find in your club.

Get Fit By A Pro

At a fitting the pro will use a launch monitor like the track to get your vital swing statistics and let you try out different clubs until you find one that you hit straight and far, consistently and that is the key to great golf, consistency.

You could also use your own launch monitor to get your swing speed, launch angle, ball speed and club head speed statistics with any club but you probably wont have all the clubs available to test.

Best Premium Driver: The Taylormade Sim Max

The Taylormade Sim Max is the newest and hottest driver on the market today and it comes in various different lofts (adjustable) and shafts to suit your needs.

It has all the bells and whistles like speed pockets, carbon fibre, twist face, low Centre of gravity and high moment of inertia to ensure to absolute best performance on the market today.

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Best Choice Golf Driver: The Callaway Rogue

The Callaway Rogue is a new release for 2020 and it has ton of the best technology and quality to give you the best performance possible from a driver for under $300.

The driver has Jailbreak technology, X face VFT technology and a High Moi design to hit the ball far and straight every time with the adjust loft sleeve offering 9.5 and 10.5 degree loft on the driver.

The carbon clubhead has even been designed by Boeing on this one so you know you are getting the best.

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Conclusion

Having studied thousands of golf swings, I would say that almost nobody is hitting the ball too high and almost everybody should be using a 10.5 degree or higher.

Low handicap players may consider using a 9 degree driver to keep the ball low and add distance but for the average player, you should go with the 10.5 or an adjustable driver. If you are hitting too low, try teeing the ball up a bit higher and see if it helps or change to castle tees. Better yet, go and get a fitting from a knowledgeable pro.