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Driver loft can affect launch angle greatly.
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
The difference of even a degree of loft of a golf club can mean being in the middle of the fairway or woefully behind a tree scratching your head. The loft angle is measured in degrees and determines how high the golf ball will be traveling from the club, which is also known as the launch angle. When choosing between a 9.5 or a 10.5 degree golf club, most likely drivers are being referenced. The differences between them can vary with regard to your distance and accuracy.
Distance seems to be a goal for all golfers, from the novice to the professional. When talking about distance, the driver is the most important club. In theory, a 9.5 degree driver shot will travel lower at a greater speed with less backspin than a 10.5 degree driver when struck square. You must be sure that you have enough club head speed -- how fast the golf club is moving toward impact with the golf ball -- to warrant a lower lofted driver. When you can swing a driver at more than 110 mph, you can usually benefit with less than 10.5 degrees of loft.
Accuracy is probably the most frustrating aspect of golf. When it comes to drivers, it is also the hardest to obtain. This is because the driver imparts the least amount of backspin to the golf ball. Backspin promotes straighter ball flight and the less there is, the more sidespin will be present. With less backspin from the 9.5 degree driver, your slices and hooks may become more prevalent. A 10.5 degree driver will usually add some backspin and thus a straighter ball flight.
The way you swing the golf club can influence your decision between different lofted drivers. The most important goal is to hit the golf ball in the center of the face. This produces the most consistent ball flight because that is where the true loft of the driver is located. Another element to monitor when swinging a driver is the angle at which the club head contacts the ball. The angle should be level or slightly upward to produce the most efficient strike for distance and accuracy.
The one element that you can control, no matter what your skill level, is how your golf club is fit to your swing. Proper club fitting for your driver could be the difference between hitting 14 fairways per round instead of two. The difference between a 9.5 and 10.5 degree driver might seem minute, but the ball flight can be drastic, and a professional can assure you the best fit for your swing and ability.