10.5 vs 12 Degree Driver – What Loft Driver Is Best To Play With?

Do you find that you launch the ball too high or too low off the tee? The answer to your struggles may lie in the loft of your driver. The correct loft will help you achieve a consistent launch and carry for optimal distance.

Conversely, the incorrect loft can cost you yards off the tee and be detrimental to your long game. The most common driver lofts on the market are 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees.

In this post, we are looking at the 10.5 vs 12-degree driver to help you identify which is better suited to your swing.

 

 How Driver Loft Affects Your Game?

The point of a driver is to maximize our distance off the tee. In turn, this helps us hit short irons into par 4 greens. And give us the odd chance of reaching a par 5 in two.

The loft of your driver impacts the launch of your ball. Drivers with weakened lofts are easier to get the ball airborne compared to one with a strengthened loft. Players that are struggling to get consistent air on their drives should consider a weaker lofted driver.

On the other hand, if you are ballooning your drives and losing distance off the tee, the loft may be too weak for your swing tempo.

 

How Important Is The Loft Of Your Driver?

The loft of your driver is vital for your distance, as the loft influences your launch.

If you have a slow swing, you may launch the ball low and lose distance with a 9.5 or 10.5-degree driver. However, with 12 degrees of loft, you achieve a high launch for added carry and distance.

Conversely, players like myself who have faster swings may gain too much height with a 12.5-degree driver and prefer a stronger loft such as a 9.5 degree.

I play with an 8.5-degree driver, as I tend to balloon driver with anything weaker.

Swing Speed Vs Driver Loft?

As I mentioned before, players with slower swings will extract the most value from weaker lofted drivers.

However, faster-swinging players often prefer stronger lofted clubs that promote a lower launch and reduced spin.

Golf.com’s Jonathan Wall explains that one of The PGA Tour’s fastest swingers, Bryson DeChambeau, plays with a ludicrous 5.5-degree driver.

Contrarily, Golf Monthly’s Joel Tadman suggests that players with moderate swing speeds between 95 – 105 mph should use a driver lofted between 10 and 11.5 degrees.

However, if you are a slower swinger, your best bet is to play with anything weaker than 12 degrees.

 

Who Is The 10.5 Degree Driver For?

Tadman suggests that any driver with a loft between 10 and 11.5 degrees best suits those with moderate swing speeds, between 95-105 mph.

If this is the case, then a 10.5-degree driver will deliver optimal value to those of you with moderate swing speeds.

The 10.5-degree driver may also work for faster swinging players who are looking for a loft that is easier to launch.

Furthermore, slower swinging players who launch a 12-degree driver excessively high may enjoy the lower launch of a 10.5 degree.

Pros

  • Easier to launch than a 9.5-degree driver
  • Suited to moderate swinging players
  • Requires less clubhead speed to launch
  • Delivers consistency in terms of launch and distance for moderate swingers

Cons

  • Launches higher than desired for a faster swinging player
  • The lofts are strong for slow swinging golfers.

 

Who Is The 12 Degree Driver For?

Following on from Joel Tadman’s comments on the 10.5-degree driver, he goes on to say that if your swing speed is below 85 mph, you should consider a minimum loft of 12 degrees.

As a result, we can agree that a 12-degree driver suits the slower swingers among us.

However, those of you with moderate speeds may enjoy the ease of launch offered by a 12-degree driver.

Bear in mind that the added launch can lead to a loss of distance for some golfers.

Pros

  • Easy driver to launch
  • Higher ball flight
  • Made for golfers with slower swing speeds
  • Consistent launch

Cons

  • The high launch can cause faster-swinging golfers to balloon their shots
  • Undesirable when hitting into the wind
  • Higher levels of spin can lead to the reduced distance over stronger lofted drivers

 

Is A 12 Degree Driver Easier To Hit?

The additional loft of a 12-degree driver makes it an easier club to launch, ensuring you consistently get the ball airborne off the tee.

If your swing is on the slower side, you will derive the most value from a 12-degree driver.

On the other hand, those of us with faster swings may find that the weaker loft of this driver sends the ball too high, causing us to lose distance.

However, you may be willing to sacrifice some distance to enjoy an easier launch.

 

What’s Best For A Beginner With A Slow Swing Speed?

As we have established, drivers with weaker lofts are best suited to players with a slow swing speed.

Therefore, if you fall into this category, I suggest you opt for a 12-degree driver over the 10.5.

 

What’s Best For A Beginner With A High Swing Speed?

If your swing is on the faster end of the spectrum, you may balloon your shots off the tee and lose precious distance.

As a result, I would consider a 10.5-degree driver over the weakened 12-degree design.

Some players, myself included, find that a 10.5 degree delivers a higher launch than necessary, causing us to lose distance.

As a result, it is not uncommon to find players with faster swing speeds playing with a 9, or 8.5-degree driver.

 

Does Anybody Use A Higher Loft Than 12 Degrees?

Yes, some amateur golfers employ a 14-degree driver, as it provides an easy launch for slower swingers, especially seniors, ladies and juniors.

In this YouTube video, golf coach Rick Shiels shows his student hitting a 16-degree TaylorMade SLDR S driver.

Why Can I Hit My 3 Wood Further Than My Driver?

If you are playing with a driver loft that is too strong for your swing, you will not achieve optimal distance, as you will struggle to get the ball airborne.

As a result, you may find that a 3-wood that a consistently high and powerful launch offers as much distance as you manage with a driver in hand.

Does Any Body Use A Lower Loft Than 10.5?

Yes, it is common to find fast swinging golfers using a lower lofted driver than 10.5 degrees. As I mentioned earlier, I use an 8.5-degree driver, and according to Golfweek’s J.D. Chi, most Pros on the PGA Tour use a loft of between 9.5 to 10.5 degrees.

Examples of players who use a stronger loft than a 10.5-degree driver include Cameron Champ and Bubba Watson. Champ plays with a 9.5-degree driver, while Watson bombs a 7.6 degree Ping G425 LST.

 

Who Should Use A 9 Degree Driver?

Only faster-swinging golfers with an average swing speed above 105 mph should consider a 9-degree driver.

Furthermore, a 9-degree driver is best suited to players seeking a lower launch off the tee.

 

What Driver Loft Do The Pros Use?

The lofts that Pros use on their driver vary significantly. Golf.com’s Jonathan Wall states that Bryson DeChambea’s driver is lofted at 5.5 degrees, while Bubba Watson uses a 7.6-degree construction.

Furthermore, before his accident, Tiger Woods used a 9-degree driver.

On the weaker end of the loft spectrum, Jon Rahm and Brookes Koepka play with a 10.5-degree driver.

 

Conclusion on 10.5 vs 12 Degree Driver

Best 10.5 Degree Driver – Taylormade Sim 2 Max Driver

A 10.5-degree driver is best suited to players with moderate swing speeds or faster-swinging golfers looking for an easier driver to launch.

Furthermore, the 10.5-degree loft also provides an alternative to slower swinging golfers who prefer a lower launch off the tee.

If you are looking for a driver with a loft that is not too strong neither too weak. The 10.5-degree option is the way to go. I recommend hitting a few shots with a TaylorMade SIM 2 Max Driver.

Overall Score: 96/100

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Best 12 Degree Driver – Cobra Radspeed XD Driver

Throughout this post, we have established that the weaker lofted 12-degree driver is better suited to slower swinging players who struggle to get the ball airborne off the tee.

While the weaker loft is ideal for seniors, it also offers moderate swinging golfers an alternative option if they prefer a higher launch.

Although a 12-degree driver is easier to launch, it can cause faster-swinging golfers to sky their shots and lose distance off the tee.

However, if you feel that a 12-degree driver is made for you, I suggest taking the Cobra Radspeed XD Driver for a spin.

Overall Score: 94/100

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