What Does Loft Mean in Golf

In golf, the term “loft” refers to the angle of the clubface relative to the ground. The loft of a golf club is an important factor in determining the trajectory and distance of a golf ball.

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Each golf club has a specific loft angle, which is measured in degrees. The loft angle of a golf club is determined by the angle between the clubface and a line perpendicular to the ground. The greater the loft angle, the higher the ball will go when struck by the club.

For example, a driver typically has a loft angle between 8 and 12 degrees, which is relatively low compared to other clubs. This low loft angle helps the ball travel farther through the air, but with a lower trajectory. On the other hand, a wedge has a much higher loft angle, which allows the golfer to hit the ball high into the air, but with less distance.

The loft angle of a golf club also affects the amount of spin that is put on the ball. Clubs with higher loft angles tend to put more backspin on the ball, which can help it stop quickly on the green. Conversely, clubs with lower loft angles tend to put less backspin on the ball, which can cause it to roll farther when it lands.

Understanding the loft of each golf club is essential for golfers of all levels. By selecting the right club with the appropriate loft angle, a golfer can maximize the distance and accuracy of their shots.

In addition to determining the trajectory and spin of a golf ball, the loft angle of a golf club also affects how easy it is to get the ball into the air. Clubs with higher loft angles are generally easier to hit for beginners and those with slower swing speeds, as they provide more lift and help get the ball airborne.

The loft angle of a golf club is also an important factor when it comes to hitting shots from different lies and situations on the golf course. For example, when hitting a shot out of deep rough, a golfer may need to use a club with a higher loft angle to help get the ball up and out of the grass. Similarly, when hitting a shot into the wind, a golfer may need to use a club with a lower loft angle to keep the ball from getting too much lift and being affected by the wind.

It’s worth noting that the loft angle of a golf club can vary depending on the manufacturer and model. For example, one 9-degree driver may have a slightly different loft angle than another 9-degree driver from a different brand. It’s important for golfers to be aware of the loft angles of their clubs and how they compare to other brands and models.

In summary, the loft of a golf club refers to the angle of the clubface relative to the ground, and is an important factor in determining the trajectory, spin, and distance of a golf ball. Understanding the loft angles of each club in a golfer’s bag is essential for making informed club selections and hitting better shots on the course.

Loft Angles for Different Golf Clubs

ClubLoft Angle (Degrees)Typical Distance (yards)TrajectoryBall Speed (mph)
Fairway Wood13-19150-275Mid-High100-150
Irons (3-9)18-47100-200Mid-Low70-120
Pitching Wedge46-5075-120High50-70
Gap Wedge50-5460-100Mid-High40-60
Sand Wedge54-5840-80High30-50
Lob Wedge58-6225-60Very High20-40
Ultra-Lob Wedge62-6410-40Very High15-30

Relationship Between Loft and Ball Flight

Loft Angle (Degrees)Ball FlightSpin Rate (rpm)Launch Angle (Degrees)Carry Distance (yards)
>28HighVery LowHigh300+

 Importance of Loft for Different Shots

Shot TypeRecommended Loft Angle (Degrees)Club Choices
Tee Shot10-15Driver
Fairway Shot18-22Fairway Wood, Hybrid, Iron
Approach Shot45-60Iron, Wedge
Bunker Shot54-60Sand Wedge, Lob Wedge
Chip Shot60+Lob Wedge, Ultra-Lob Wedge

Factors That Affect Loft

FactorEffect on Loft
Club DesignDetermines initial loft angle
Swing SpeedHigher swing speed can decrease loft
Angle of AttackSteeper angle of attack can increase loft
Ball PositionMoving the ball forward can decrease loft, while moving it back can increase loft
Ground ConditionsFirm conditions can decrease loft, while soft conditions can increase loft


Common Loft Angles for Men’s and Women’s Iron Sets

ClubMen’s Loft Angle (Degrees)Women’s Loft Angle (Degrees)
3 Iron21-2421-24
4 Iron24-2724-27
5 Iron27-3027-30
6 Iron30-3430-34
7 Iron34-3834-38
8 Iron38-4238-42
9 Iron42-4642-46
Pitching Wedge46-5046-50
Gap Wedge50-5450-54
Sand Wedge54-5854-58


Loft Angles and Club Numbers for Irons

Iron NumberLoft Angle (Degrees)Typical Distance (yards)TrajectoryBall Speed (mph)

 Loft Angles and Uses for Wedges

Wedge TypeLoft Angle (Degrees)Uses
Pitching Wedge44-48Full shots, approach shots, chipping
Gap Wedge50-54Full shots, approach shots, chipping
Sand Wedge54-58Bunker shots, high soft shots, chipping
Lob Wedge58-62High soft shots, short pitches, chipping
Ultra-Lob Wedge62-64Extreme short game, delicate shots, chipping

Effect of Loft on Spin Rate and Launch Angle

Loft Angle (Degrees)Spin Rate (rpm)Launch Angle (Degrees)
>28Very LowHigh

Relationship Between Loft and Shot Height

Loft Angle (Degrees)Shot HeightDistance
>28HighVery Long

Typical Loft Angles for Men’s and Women’s Drivers

DriverMen’s Loft Angle (Degrees)Women’s Loft Angle (Degrees)

Note: The loft angles in this table are based on general industry standards and may vary depending on the manufacturer and specific model of the club.


  • Ray Barnes

    Ray Barnes, our Senior Staff Writer and a Golf Analyst with a PhD in Sports Analytics, is a beacon of insight in the golfing world. With a deep understanding of the sport's nuances, statistical analysis, and a talent for demystifying complexities, he provides in-depth analysis and captivating narratives that engage golf enthusiasts worldwide.

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