Best Driver Loft for Distance: What Driver Loft Should I Use

Your golf experts: Jordan Fuller & John Marshall.
Updated May 9, 2024. This article was thoroughly audited by multiple golf experts and coaches for its accuracy. You can read more about our rigorous testing protocol here.

Every golfer wants more distance from their driver, but do they know how to make that dream a reality?

While there are several components worth noting, one of the biggest features of the driver that most amateurs overlook is the loft.

The loft angle of the face of the driver is responsible for higher launch, low spin, and optimal trajectory to get the most from your drives.

Some golfers have too much driver loft, while others don’t have enough, so most players ask is: What’s the right amount of loft on your driver?

We’re here to answer all of your questions!

What is the Best Driver Loft for Distance?

The best driver loft typically measures around 10.5 degrees.

While more advanced golfers will benefit from using lower lofted drivers and high handicappers will need more loft to produce the carry they are missing, the best driver loft to use for inexperienced golfers is around 10.5 degrees.

Why is Driver Loft Important?

Driver loft is so crucial because it determines the launch of your drive. If you hit the golf ball too high, the ball takes a tall arc, sacrificing distance for height.

The opposite is true, as too little driver loft can turn the tee shot into a line drive with far less loft than necessary for maximum distance.

With a solid angle of attack, optimal driver loft on your driver will maximize golf ball distance and roll, regardless of your swing speeds.

Too much driver loft can kill the potential to reach the distances necessary to shorten second shots.

While there are several essential factors for hitting the longest drives of your golf career, finding the best driver for reaching long distances starts with finding the one with the right driver loft.

Which Driver Should I Use?

Best Low Loft Drivers

Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max Driver

Best Low Loft Driver

Callaway Golf Paradym AI Smoke Max Driver (Left Hand, 10.5 Degree, Regular)
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  • Loft: 9°, 10.5°, 12°
  • Lie: 58°
  • Shaft Length: 45.75”
  • Swing Weight: D2


  • Adjustable weighting and loft sleeve
  • Very forgiving sweet spot
  • Fast ball speed with low spin


  • Wilder appearance, not for everyone
  • Very firm with a stiffer response

Offering a capable assortment of adjustable features, the Ai Smoke Max Driver delivers premium performance for a low-lofted driver.

The very forgiving Ai-designed face helps increase ball speed on off-center strikes for straight, fast drives.

Our favorite feature of the Ai Smoke Max is the sliding rear weight that adjusts ball flight, which is great for golfers struggling with slices or hooks.

The weight can also be partially adjusted for a more subtle correction that helps when looking to create baby draws and fades.

Even though it comes at an elevated price, the Ai Smoke Max is a superb option for golfers who want the low, penetrating flight provided by a low-lofted driver.

Read our full Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Drivers Review

TaylorMade Qi10 Driver

Best Low Loft Driver for Distance

TaylorMade Golf Qi10 Driver 10.5 Degree TR Blue Regular Left Handed
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  • Loft: 9°, 10.5° & 12°
  • Lie: 56°-60°
  • Shaft Length: 45.75”
  • Swing Weight: D4


  • Adjustable weighting and loft sleeve
  • Very forgiving sweet spot
  • Fast ball speed with low spin


  • Lacks adjustable sliding weight
  • Doesn’t have the curb appeal of the Stealth series

Although the regular Qi10 Driver from TaylorMade doesn’t have adjustable weighting, its 9-degree option does wonders for golfers needing more distance off the tee box. 

Our favorite feature of the Qi10 is the stable, consistent ball flight. The ball jumps off the face with incredibly high speed and minimal spin.

The Twist Face technology also helps reduce side spin to keep your ball in the fairway.

On off-center strikes, the lower loft helps keep the drive low to the ground with maximum speed. Dispersion remains remarkably tight for all golfers with the Qi10.

Check our honest TaylorMade Qi10 Driver Review

Best High Loft Drivers

Ping G430 Max 10K HL Driver

Best High Loft Driver

Ping G430 Max 10K HL Driver

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  • Loft: 9°, 10.5°, 12°
  • Lie: 58.5°
  • Shaft Length: 45.75”
  • Swing Weight: D3


  • Lightweight but very powerful
  • Incredibly stable through impact
  • Minimal spin for straight drives


  • Feels thin on off-center strikes
  • Unique Ping design isn’t for everyone

For golfers who want maximum MOI with high launch and extended carry, the higher lofted options with the Ping G430 Max 10K driver offer exceptional ball speed and distance to burn.

The lightweight design keeps swing speed off the charts, which is excellent for golfers struggling with length off the tee box.

The G430 Max 10K’s unique design is built for speed. The ribbed crown slices through the air to deliver maximum power to the golf ball.

We absolutely loved the sound at impact because it’s not too thin or heavy, just 100 percent pure.

Check our honest Ping G430 Max 10K Driver Review

Cobra Darkspeed X Driver

Best High Loft Driver for Distance

Cobra Golf DarkSpeed X Driver
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  • Loft: 9°, 10.5°, 12°
  • Lie: 56.2°-57.2°
  • Shaft Length: 45.5”
  • Swing Weight: D1-D4


  • Booming distance with high launch
  • Great for golfers wanting to improve distance
  • Sturdy and consistent ball flight


  • No adjustable weighting
  • Lacks contrast on the crown for alignment

Cobra’s lightning-fast Darkspeed X Driver delivers high launch with a soaring ball flight that produces extended carry and shortens the length of your approach shots into the green. 

With stabilizing weights along the sole, the Darkspeed X produces high MOI through the impact zone.

We loved how repeatable shots off the X were on the range and course. The higher loft works well with the aerodynamic design to improve overall distance with maximum swing speed.

Great for high and mid handicappers, the Darkspeed X offers a nice blend of forgiveness, low spin, and trajectory control.

Here’s our full Cobra Darkspeed Drivers Review

Who Needs Low Loft Drivers

Fast Swing Speed

For golfers with dramatically high swing speeds, a lower lofted driver can power the ball further than ever before.

Increasing carry distance is vital to increasing length, and a driver with 8.5-9.5 degrees is the loft to get to boost yardage.

By lowering the launch of the drives, the high swing speed helps muscle the ball down the fairway.

When the lower loft is paired with less spin, the new driver can increase golf ball speed without worrying that the golf ball is headed into the rough.

Experienced Golfers

Long time golfers can also benefit from adding a lower lofted driver to their game, as long as they maintain a positive attack angle to the ball and hold moderate club speed.

A flatter plane provides numerous benefits for these golfers, including offering a measure of distance with accuracy.

While experienced golfers might have clubhead speed that dips below 100 mph, they can still reach extended distances on the course with the right golf equipment.

Adding a distance ball and a lower loft of the driver will fine-tune the trajectory of the drive without losing precious yardage.

A higher loft degree driver can send shots far too high, suffocating the distance that most golfers at this skill level need to post low scores.

One-Plane Players

With Bryson DeChambeau taking over the PGA Tour with his enormous muscles and equally huge driving distance, the push to find a lower lofted driver has become popular among amateurs.

DeChambeau plays with a 5.5-degree driver on tour, but his incredible swing speed gives him the advantage of playing a driver with that reduced launch.

DeChambeau uses his one-plane swinging path to create a positive attack angle on the ball, despite the severe loft on the club.

Since most amateurs play with a two-plane approach, the lower lofts available on most drivers can help a golfer switch from two to one-plane.

Who Needs High Loft Drivers


A beginning golfer will typically display a slower swinging speed of around 80 mph. The ball will not travel as far since the clubhead speed is slower than most golfers.

A golfer needs a higher loft on their driver’s clubhead to increase distance.

Finding a driver that has a 12-degree loft or higher is a great place to begin to add more carry to your drives.

High Handicappers

For golfers that find their handicap hovering around 18 or more, a driving wood with a lower center of gravity can help improve the attack angle of the club and allow the player to hit the ball with lesser spin loft and more carry.

Since these golfers have experience playing the game, just a few equipment tweaks can help maximize their distance and open a new measure of success to their overall skill level.

Senior Golfers

Since senior golfers need to maintain their club speed and increase their launch to successfully hit long drives, a high loft driver can increase the launch angle off the clubface.

A senior player can maximize their impact on the golf ball with enhanced trajectory, resulting in increased yardage.

Another aspect of a high loft driver for senior golfers that can help increase success is finding the right shaft flex for the club to match clubhead speed.

Women Golfers

An increase in loft angle for women golfers can benefit their game by adding more carry and forward roll after the ball hits the fairway.

On the tee box, the right driver can revolutionize the game of a female golfer, so finding higher lofts and the correct shaft for their driver can offer the right combination to hit the best drives of their golfing journey.

The best loft for women golfers with an average ball speed is around 10.5-13 degrees. This clubface loft will reduce spin, increase launch angle, and improve attack angle for increased yards from the tee.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a big difference between 9 and 10.5-degree driver?

Yes, there’s quite a bit of difference in that 1.5 degrees.

A 10.5-degree driver will provide more launch, better for mid and high handicappers, while a 9-degree driver works better for golfers with a high swing speed because it produces a lower, more penetrating flight similar to what we see with the pros.

What loft should I use for my driver?

If you are a high handicapper or beginner, you should start with 12 degrees of loft on your driver.

For advanced players, 9 degrees and lower should offer the lower launch with minimal spin that low handicappers need to attack the fairway.

Mid handicappers will find 10.5 degrees works best off the tee box.

Will a higher loft driver help my slice?

A high loft driver will help extend distance off the tee box by providing a higher launch, but it won’t help your slice. Instead, you should look for a driver with draw bias to help minimize side spin.

If you want a more sophisticated and subtle approach to fixing your slice, find a driver, like the new Paradym Ai Smoke Max, with a sliding weight that provides muted slice correction.