Golf club lofts are what determines how far the golf ball travels, how high it flys and how much spin it has. Each club is designed with a specific purpose and the club head design is matched to the loft to make that specific club do what it should.
In this guide, we will look at every golf club you could have in your bag to analyze the loft angles of each club. We'll take a look at the golf club lofts of drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, irons, wedges and even putters. Yes putters have a tiny bit of loft and are not flat!
Golf Club Lofts Chart - Compare golf club lofts
This chart is a quick summary of every available club you could choose to play in your golf bag.
The PGA Tour pros play different lofts to us amateurs and their lofts are often much higher per club. Game improvement irons have some of the lowest lofts in golf. The big manufacturers make a variety of irons sets for different standards of players so your ideal loft could fall in the middle of the two options we've shown.
Listed below in the chart are the lofts for Pro lofts, Standard (Std) lofts, and GI (Game Improvement) lofts:
|Golf Club||Pro Loft||Std Loft||GI Loft|
Did you notice how the loft goes UP in the woods and DOWN in the irons? That's because the woods are easier to hit with higher lofts while the irons have been produced in a way that makes them go higher than usual, so the manufacturers can reduce the loft enough to make the ball go HIGH and FARTHER!
Driver Loft - 9 to 12.5 Degrees
Woods are golf clubs which are used by golfers for the longest shots on the golf course. They will have lower lofts than hybrids and irons. A golf driver for example will have between 9 to 12.5 degrees of loft, and a 3 iron will have 19 to 21 degrees of loft. Golfers carry 1 to 3 woods on average depending on their preferences.
Drivers are the lowest lofted club found in a golf bag (not counting a putter) and have the longest shaft, with a standard length of around 45 inches.
The standard loft angle of drivers is 9 to 12.5 degrees.
Drivers are usually hit off a golf tee, which places the golf ball off the ground. This allows a golfer to swing a driver with a slightly upward angle, increasing the loft angle of driver beyond the number printed on the club head.
When selecting the right driver lofts for you to get the ball airborne and promote at straight shot you need to consider a few things.
If you're a golfer with a slower swing speed or if you hit down on the ball with driver, you're going to benefit from higher lofted drivers (10.5-12.5°) These are sometimes called a "High Launch" option and are often paired with a softer golf shaft.
Faster swinging golfers who hit up on the ball with their driver can play a club with less loft, somewhere between 8-10 degrees.
Unlike years gone by, you can now be your own club fitter with adjustable head technology. You can use the tool provided with most modern drivers to adjust the loft of the club up or down by 1-3 degrees. I would recommend making small adjustments or having the loft angle adjusted by a PGA pro or club fitter to make sure the settings are correct for your swing.
Fairway Wood Lofts
3-Wood Loft - 13.5 to 16 Degrees
The standard 3-wood loft is 15 degrees. You can also find lower lofted 3 woods with 13.5 - 14.5 degrees of loft which are called "Tour Spoons" or power 3 woods. Some 3 woods come in at 15.5 - 17 degrees, and these are labelled High Launch or HL. In reality fairway woods with a loft angle between 15 and 17 degrees is a 4 wood.
What 3 wood loft is right for me?
The best 3-wood loft for your golf game will depend on what your looking to get from a club of this length.
Low handicap players will game a 3 wood with lower loft to maximize tee shot distance and also allow them to hit long approach shots into par 5s.
High handicappers, players with low swing speed or seniors prefer to play a higher loft 3 wood. This helps them to get the ball in the air, especially when using the club from the grass.
Many fairway woods now come with adjustable loft so you can tweak the club to suit your game.
4-Wood Loft - 16 to 18 Degrees
17 degrees is the standard 4 wood loft. 4-woods are easier to hit than a 3 wood and longer than a 4-wood combining the ease-of-use of a 5 wood with length of a 3 wood.
5-Wood Loft - 17.5 to 19.5 Degrees
5-Woods have 17-19 degrees of loft.
In recent years, 5 woods were replaced by driving irons or hybrids but they are making a comeback thanks to their popularity with players on the PGA tour.
Rory McIlroy for example will play a 5 wood on courses where he needs to hit high shots which stop quickly on long par 4's and par 5's. He will then switch this club out for a driving iron when conditions are fast and firm, like on links courses.
The 5 wood travels around 180 yards assuming an average swing speed. Usually an average swing speed is between 85-95 mph with a driver.
7-Wood Loft - 21 to 22.5 Degrees
7-woods have a standard loft of 21 degrees. They replace a 3 iron or 4 iron.
7-woods are becoming more and more popular with golfers of all standards. They are often easier to hit than low lofted irons and are very forgiving from a variety of lies. They offer a much higher ball flight that a comparable iron and are ideal for long par 3s and par 4 approach shots. 7 woods have been mainstays in the bags of female golfers for sometime now, and men are starting to see the benefits they bring to the game. I put one in my bag recently to replace my 2 iron and I love it.
PGA your players like Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson are just a couple of elite who will game a 7 wood in tournaments.
9-Wood Loft - 23.5 to 25 Degrees
Standard loft of a 9 wood is 23.5 degrees.
11-Wood Loft - 26 to 28 Degrees
11-woods have a loft of 28 degrees.
The 11-wood has the same loft as a 7 iron so if your swing speed is about average, the 11 wood will go 140 to 155 yards. It's a strange idea to have an 11-wood but Callaway do make an 11 wood!
Fairway wood lofts chart
What fairway woods should I carry?
In general I would recommend different fairway woods for different skill levels:
- High handicappers and new golfers: 7 wood and 5 wood
- Mid handicapper to mid lower handicapper: 7 wood and 4 wood
- Low handicappers: 3 wood and 5 wood or 7 wood
Fairway woods distance chart
Fairway woods will go a different distance depending on your swing speed and loft. You can check out the fairway wood distance charts in the article I wrote about the lofts of every club.
There is no standard for the lofts of golf irons, but there is a range of lofts that most irons will match up to. Sometimes iron lofts are categorised as "traditional" or "modern."
Over the years golf club manufactures have made irons with stronger lofts. Most golfers want more distance so the golf club companies have made clubs which fly greater distance by removing loft.
Modern technology has created the ability to make much more forgiving and higher launching irons. These are called game improvement irons and typically have lower lofts. They are designed to allow players with slower swing speeds to get the ball into the air and enjoy the game more.
As you can see, iron lofts are getting stronger in modern equipment. There is nothing wrong with this change but it is good for golfers to understand that the 6 iron in their hand might be a completely different club to the on that Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson are using.
Standard lofts in modern irons can vary by 5 degrees. A 4 iron in a set of blades made by Mizuno is 24 degrees. A 4 iron irons in a set of game improvement irons made by Callaway is 20 degrees. This means the Callaway 6 iron is the same loft as the Mizuno 4 iron.
Middle irons like seven irons are usually found at around 27 degrees.
High-lofted irons such as a 9-irons are commonly played at a loft of around 41 degrees.
Modern wedge lofts vary from 45 degrees (pitching wedge) to 60 degrees (lob wedge). A gap wedge will be around 50 -52 degrees and a sand wedges between 54-56 degrees of loft.
Clubs like a 1 iron or 2 iron are now rarely sold in iron sets to average golfers as they are just too difficult to hit. They have been replaced by a lofted fairway wood and hybrids which have changed the game for high handicappers.
1-Iron Loft - 14 to 16 Degrees
1 irons are relic of a past golfing era. They are nearly impossible to hit unless you're a golfing god like Jack Nicklaus or Ben Hogan.
1-irons usually have lofts between 14 to 16 degrees.
2-Iron Loft - 16 to 19 Degrees
2 irons haven't completely disappeared from golf, but they are usually only found in the bags of the very best ball strikers. They have been made redundant for the average golfer by the introduction of hybrids.
Modern 2-irons have between 16 to 19 degrees of loft which change depending on the golf club manufacturers design.
I played a Srixon 2 iron for a long time and found it to be a great tee club for me. The ZU85 model used was classed as a driving iron and has a large cavity back and increased offset for maximum forgiveness.
3-Iron Loft - 19 to 21 Degrees
3 irons are becoming less and less common in modern iron sets but what degree is a 3 iron? 3 irons have lofts ranging from 19 to 21 degrees. I added a 3 iron to my bag recently to replace my 2 iron. It's easier for me to hit from the fairway but most players would be better served using a hybrid or fairway wood.
4-Iron Loft - 19 to 24 Degrees
When I got my first set of irons fitted, a 4 iron was standard. Now because lofts are decreasing as standard, many sets won't include a 4 iron. It will be replaced by a hybrid or fairway wood. What degree is a 4 iron?
A standard 4-iron loft is between 21 to 24 degrees of loft, however game improvement 4-irons will have lofts as low as 19 degrees.
5-Iron Loft - 21 to 27 Degrees
A traditional 5-iron loft is between 26 to 27 degrees. Game improvement irons can have 5-irons with as low as 21 degrees of loft.
You would expect to see a 5 iron in nearly every golf bag.
6-Iron Loft - 24 to 31 Degrees
Traditionally lofted 6 irons have lofts from 30 to 31 degrees. 6-irons made for high handicappers can have as little loft as 24 degrees.
7-Iron Loft - 28 to 35 Degrees
The standard loft for a 7-iron is 34 to 35 degrees. Lower lofted game improvement 7-iron lofts play at 28 degrees or less.
8-Iron Loft - 32 to 39 Degrees
Typical 8-iron lofts are 37 to 39 degrees. Catering to higher handicappers, the super game improvement irons have lofts down at 32 degrees.
9-Iron Loft - 37 to 43 Degrees
The standard loft for 9-irons is 41 to 43 degrees, while game improvement 9-iron lofts often go as low as 37 degrees.
What iron lofts should I play?
PGA tour players and low handicap golfers prefer to play irons with "traditional lofts." These golfers generate the swing speed needed to hit their short irons far and their long irons high enough to hold greens on approach shots. Skilled players value accuracy, and more loft can equal less dispersion on well struck shots.
Mid to high handicappers with slower swing speeds can benefit from an iron set with modern loft angles. These game improvement irons have been created to help golfers get the ball into the air and provide forgiveness on bad strikes. These clubs will have strong lofts and longer shafts than a traditional set of irons often playing a full two clubs lower.
I would recommend that most golfers use a set of cavity back game improvement irons if they are trying to break 100 or 90. They are much easier to hit accurately than blades and just make golf more enjoyable. I would also point players in the direction of hybrids as a replacement for their long irons.
Let's take a look at the sometimes confusing world of wedge lofts.
Most standard iron sets with include a pitching wedge and a gap wedge is now becoming more common as the lofts of irons get stronger.
I use my pitching and gap wedges for full shots from yardages within 120 yards so in some ways, they act as my 10 and 11 irons! It is important to get your wedge gapping correct so that you don't bunch up your lofts or leave a big hole between clubs.
Here's what I play;
Pitching wedge - 46 degrees
Gap wedge - 50 degrees
Sand wedge - 54 degrees
Lob wedge - 58 degrees
As you can see I build my wedge gapping around my pitching wedge loft and increase it up by 4 degrees per club.
Sand and lob wedges are specialist short game clubs used for chip shots around the greens and for playing out of bunkers. The vast majority of these wedges are bought separately to a set of irons and many golfers will have a specific head shape, bounce and sole grind that they prefer if their wedges.
Pitching Wedge (PW) Loft - 43 to 47 Degrees
What degree loft is a pitching wedge?
Standard pitching wedges (PW) have 45 to 47 degrees of loft. In a game improvement set of clubs, the pitching wedge will have a lower loft, around 43 or even 42 degrees.
Gap Wedge (GW)/Approach Wedge (AW) Loft - 48 to 52 Degrees
A gap wedge or approach wedge, has a typical loft of 51 to 52 degrees.
A gap wedge is designed to fill the loft gap between your pitching wedge and sand wedge.
Sand Wedge (SW) Loft - 54 to 58 Degrees
The common loft for a sand wedge is 56 degrees. As you can see from my wedge gapping, I play a 54 degree loft sand wedge as it fits in with my preferred set up.
If you want to learn more about the differences between wedges, check out my other articles here:
[link to wedge articles]
Lob Wedge (LW) Loft - 58 to 64 Degrees
A classic lob wedge is 60 degrees, but some players like Phil Mickelson will use a lob wedge with as much as 64 degrees of loft.
The lob wedge is the golf club with maximum loft, usually 60 to 64 degrees.
I recommend that most golfers avoid using a club with more than 58 degrees of loft. Yes advanced players will be seen playing flop shots from impossible lies, but without a lot of practice these shots are more dangerous than just chipping with with your trusty sand iron.
Hybrid golf clubs have become really popular in the last 10 years or so as replacements for long irons.
Hybrid lofts usually fit within the loft range of the same numbered irons so a 4 hybrid has the same or very similar loft to a 4 iron.
Hybrid may have the same loft as its iron counterpart, hybrids are typically more forgiving, higher launching, and put more spin on the golf ball.
3-Hybrid Loft (3H) - 19 to 20 Degrees
3-Hybrids usually have 19 to 20 degrees of loft. This puts 3-hybrids in the same range as standard lofted 3-irons and more extreme game improvement 4-irons.
As mentioned above, hybrids have a good deal more loft than woods, with a standard 3-woods being at 15 degrees.
4-Hybrid Loft (4H) - 21 Degrees Hybrid
Depending on the manufacturer and what level of player the hybrid is designed for, a 4-hybrid will have 21 to 23 degrees of loft. This means 4-hybrids usually have a bit lower loft than 4-irons intended for the best golfers. Instead, 4-hybrids usually have lofts more similar to 4-irons aimed at beginners and mid-handicap golfers
5-Hybrid Loft (5H) - 24 to 26 Degrees
The majority of 5-hybrids have between 24 to 26 degrees of loft.
5-hybrids usually have lofts similar to 5-irons made for the best players, while being noticeably more lofted than game improvement 5-irons. For example, the game improvement style TaylorMade SIM2 max 5-iron has just 21.5 degrees, while the SIM2Max 5-hybrid has 25 degrees.
Other Hybrid Lofts
A 2-Hybrid has around 17 degrees of loft.
Hybrids above a 5H are typically only used by beginners and those with very slow swing speeds. Many manufacturers don't even make hybrids higher than 5.
A 6-hybrid has around 27 to 28 degrees of loft.
A 7-hybrid usually has around 31 degrees of loft.
Driving iron loft
Driving irons have become more popular in recent years since the introduction of hybrids. Some players struggle with a left miss with a hybrid club, and a driving iron can often be the cure for this type of bad shot.
They are versatile clubs which you can use from the tee or fairway. Driving irons usually have lofts from 18-23 degrees to match a modern 4 to 6 iron.
A traditional putter loft is 3 to 4 degrees. The loft of your putter isn't something to worry about unless you're a tour pro, or someone who has a serious case of the yips and a putter fitting is the only thing that will cure you!