How does Driver loft influence the spin generated?

Practically every driver today offers the possibility of customising the loft. The standard loft can usually be adjusted by 1 to 2° in both directions. Many people therefore make the mistake of not paying much attention to the loft before buying. After all, you can always adjust it.

The problem with standard drivers and this procedure however is mainly the following: On the one hand you always adjust the lie and on practically all drivers except the Honma TR20 the shaft is also twisting. It is especially comfortable not to hold the grip completely twisted in your hand just because you want to change the loft minimally.

In short: just because modern drivers offer the possibility to adjust the loft afterwards, does not mean that you should choose a certain loft variant lightly.

Purpose of the test

In this test we equip our player with an identical driver head and shaft and only adjust the loft by 1° at a time. The standard variation is 10.5° and we set the driver at 9.5° and 11.5° and see what happens.

The obvious differences

The test delivered no big surprises. The various lofts are already apparent in the dynamic loft, i.e. the loft that the club actually delivers at the moment of impact. The 9.5° version clearly has the lowest dynamic loft.

The next obvious difference is the launch, i.e. the angle at which the ball starts. Here the difference is almost exactly 1° between the variants.

The less obvious differences

Now it is no surprise that the higher the loft, the higher the launch will be - with very similar Angle of Attacks. But what many people don't necessarily have in mind is the spin, which, as is well known, is not insignificant for the length of the drive.

Here we can give the following guideline:
Per ° loft, the spin of the driver changes by about 400-500 rpm. The more loft, the higher the spin.

You should consider this aspect before you change driver loft. The spin contributes significantly to the overall length. Just like the launch, of course. Therefore, both must be considered accordingly.

For many players it is logical that the launch changes with the loft, but not necessarily the spin. 500rpm is already a lot with the driver and can make a big difference.

Another insight that can be seen, at least in tendency, is the Smash Factor (Efficiency). The higher the loft, the lower the efficiency. This means that the ball speed decreases with otherwise constant factors, especially club head speed. This is all too obvious. Imagine hitting a wedge with a driver shaft at 115mph. The speed is then transferred to the ball with very low efficiency and the ball will not be able to reach 170mph ballspeed as it would with a driver. There are other factors involved in this comparison, but you can easily see that the Smash Factor tends to decrease with higher loft.

Why does more loft provide more spin?

Spin is always about the friction between the clubface and the ball. If the clubface hits the ball at a right angle, which is basically a frontal collision at 0° loft, there is practically no spin. But if you start to turn the clubface a little, the ball has more time to interact with the clubface. A tilt of the angle ensures that the ball covers a "longer distance" on the clubface. The ball turns more and more and creates the so-called backspin. For this reason there is always more or less backspin but no topspin in golf.

Conclusion of the test

On the one hand, this test confirmed the obvious: More loft on the driver means more dynamic loft and a higher launch. But it also showed some less obvious facts. The spin per ° loft increases about 400-500rpm. And the smash factor decreases with increasing loft.

So that means the following: If we decide to increase the loft in the driver, we can not only expect the ball to launch more steeply, but also that it will generate more spin and the clubhead speed will not be transferred to the ball as efficiently.

So before you change the loft lightly, consider these two factors. It can also be problematic to generate too little spin with less loft. Less spin is automatically associated with more length, but also with a slight deviation in direction. Our test player achieved the smallest deviation in this respect with the 11.5° driver. However, this version with 3400rpm produced too much spin to achieve decent lengths. And even the Smash Factor of 1.41 would not speak for this loft.

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