When choosing a driver, senior golfers should be careful to select the correct loft.
One of the biggest trends seniors fall into is selecting a driver with a lower loft, the theory being the lower the loft the more distance can be achieved.
However, with the driver, this trend could be costing the senior golfer countless yards and accuracy. Most seniors could increase the amount of distance they achieve with a driver if they give up the 8, 9, 10 or even 11 degree driver and crank up the loft to maximize the amount of launch on the ball.
There are three things the senior golfer needs to consider;
2. Swing speed
3. Angle of attack
The more downward the senior’s angle of attack (the more they hit down on the ball), the slower the swing speed. If a senior golfer has a steep angle of attack they must add loft to increase the launch angle and distance.
Conversely, the shallower the angle of attack (the more a golfer hits upwards through impact), the higher the swing speed will become and the less loft is needed to achieve the optimal launch angle.
Long drive champions hit the ball so far because they strike through the ball with a severe upward angle of attack. On average, to achieve the correct amount of launch angle with a 9 degree driver, the senior golfer would have to swing through the ball with an upward angle of approach and achieve club head speeds of 110 miles per hour (mph). Seniors need to be realistic about how fast they swing the club if they want to see the best results. A driver swing speed of just over 110mph was average on the PGA tour for 2013. Most seniors don’t swing the club over 100mph which means most seniors would be better off using an 11 degree driver which would fly further and straighter.
A quick test
Seniors unsure of whether they need more loft should experiment on the course or driving range comparing driver and 3 wood distance off the tee. Many seniors are amazed that their 3 wood often achieves a similar distance to the driver. This is because the added loft helps send the ball skyward and doesn’t give a flat ball flight.
For accurate readings of swing speed, angle of attack and loft, find a local professional or shop with launch monitor technology. The readings will give the senior golfer greater steer on how much loft they should be using on their driver.