Instant Golf Swing

An Instant Golf® Special Report

Golf Driver Loft and Max Distance


Robert Cotter of Instant Golf

by Robert Cotter (About the Author)
Professional Golf Ball Engineer
Director of Swing Instruction, Instant Golf®

There is a revolution on the PGA Tour regarding Correct Driver Loft and Golf Ball Selection for max distance and accuracy. All the rules have changed, yet the golfing public has been left in the dark. The evidence is on display on every pro Tour this year, especially in the past several months.

Rickie Fowler is the 7th best player in the world right now as a result of his stirring Players Championship victory, a recent win at the Honda Classic, and loads of top 5 finishes in the major events.

In fact, at only 5'9" and 150 lbs, Rickie defies logic with his prodigious driving distance as evidenced by his 331 yard blast off the 18th tee at the Players en route to his breakthrough win. He is also averaging 296 yards off the tee in 2018 and out drives the majority of his peers on Tour!

Most pro and recreational golfers would love more straight distance. Due to the amount of notes I get from determined golfers who are looking for more distance without swinging harder, I just completed a new Special Report that I think you will find facinating.

It's based on something I discovered while working with top PGA and Champions Tour pros as they tested new ball designs.

I urge you to receive this new report below while it is available on this page and study the images therein as you will be able to put this simple tip into use the next time you play or practice. Get the Special Report here:


J.B. Holmes claimed the 2015 Shell Houston Open title in April and won the 2014 Wells Fargo Championship for his 3rd and 4th career wins. J.B. is always near the top of the driving distance category and currently averages 306 yards off the tee (6th longest on Tour).

Dustin Johnson (below) won the 2015 WGC-Cadillac Championship and 2014 WGC-HSBC Champions (both coveted World Golf events). He now has nine wins at only 30 years of age. He has already come close in a few majors and definitely has a major championship title in his future.

Dustin is a long hitter and is the longest driver on Tour (averaging 317 yards in the 2015 season)!

And how about Aussie John Senden? He put on a ball striking clinic last year to win the Valspar Championship. He bangs it our there about 290 yards and splits fairways like a surgeon. At 43, he has resurrected his excellent career and his future looks bright.


But this is really shocking..


Rickie, J.B., Dustin, John, (and a growing number of others) have been achieving their huge driving distances using 10.5 to 12 degree lofted drivers!

Here's a Partial List of 10.5-12 Driver Loft Players and their weapons:

Recent Wins
J.B. Holmes
TaylorMade SLDR 12 Degrees!

2014 Wells Fargo Championship

Henrik Stenson
TaylorMade SLDR 10.5

2013 World Tour Championship
2013 PGA Tour Championship

2013 Deutsche Bank Championship

John Senden
TaylorMade SLDR 12 Degrees!

2014 Valspar Championship

Dustin Johnson
TaylorMade SLDR 10.5
TaylorMade R9, R11S 10.5
2013/14 WGC-HSBC Champions
2013 Hyundai TOC
2012 FedEx St. Jude Classic

Webb Simpson
Titleist 913D3 10.5
Titleist 909D3 10.5

2013/14 Shriners Hospitals Open
2012 U.S. Open Championship
2011 Deutsche Bank Championship

Lee Westwood
Ping G25 10.5 and 11.5!
2012 Nordea Masters
Nick Watney
Nike VR_S Covert 12.5!
Nike VR_S Covert 11.5!
Titleist 913D3 10.5

2012 The Barclays
2011 World Golf Championship (Doral)
2011 AT&T National

Carl Pettersson
TaylorMade SLDR 10.5
Nike VR Tour 11.5!
2012 RBC Heritage (Hilton head, SC)
2010 RBC Canadian Open
Ted Potter, Jr.
Cleveland Classic 10.5
2012 The Greenbrier Classic
Keegan Bradley
Cleveland Launcher TL 10.5
2011 HP Byron Nelson Championship
2011 PGA Championship
Greg Chalmers
Titleist 910D3 10.5
2011 Australian Open
2011 Aust. PGA Championship
Rory Sabbatini
Nike VR Tour 10.5
2011 Honda Classic
Paul Casey
Nike VR Tour 10.5
2011 Volvo Golf Championships
Aaron Baddeley
Adams Speedline Fast 10.5
2011 Norhern Trust Open (Riviera)
Tiger Woods
2009 Nike SQ Dymo 10.5
2011 Nike SQ Dymo 8.5!
2012-2013 Nike VR Tour 8.5!

2009 - 6 PGA Tour wins!
2010-2013 - 8 wins in 3 years
(No Majors) using 8.5 loft.


Tiger Woods driverAs for Mr. Woods, before the 2009 Memorial Tournament he switched from an 8.5 degree driver to a 10.5, hit 49 of 54 fairways and lapped the field. Yet he still averaged well over 300 yards for that week.

In fact, he averaged a hefty 306.4 yards when he crushed the field by 8 strokes later in the year at the BMW (with his "old" swing).

I would argue that this simple driver loft change kick started his consistency as he won 6 tournaments, the FedEx Cup, and Player of the Year in 2009, and no one was even close to his 68.06 scoring average.

So Tiger took his 10.5 degree Nike driver with his 118 mph swing speed, lost no distance, and improved fairways hit dramatically (hence 6 wins). And all this with his "inefficient", pre Sean Foley swing.

He switched to an 8.5 in 2011 with his new swing and struggled off the tee. In fact:

Tiger was ranked 186/190 in driving accuracy, hitting only 48.9% of the fairways!

His accuracy improved somewhat in 2012-2013 given that the new swing is finally burned in, but he has been sporadic (by his high standards) despite his multiple wins on old familiar venues like Bay Hill.

He is challenged by courses with more penal fairways like those at Major Tournaments.

These results have come while playing his driver with 8.5 degrees of loft. You see, less lofted drivers encourage more side spin (hook, slice) on the ball. At his high swing speed, this can be disastrous.

I truly believe Tiger would win virtually every tournament he entered, including majors, if he could hit >65% of the fairways like Henrik Stenson. More driver loft would assist him in that matter. At this writing, Woods hasn't won a major title since the 2008 US Open. We'll see if and when he returns in 2014.

So You May Be Thinking to Yourself...

"What's going on here, I use a 10.5 (or 9, 9.5, 10) degree driver and my swing speed is no where near Dustin's or the other guys on that list.  The sales person at the store said that was the best loft for me!"

You should be concerned. Again, Henrik, J.B., John, and Dustin lash their big sticks at over 117 mph. What's more, the average PGA Tour driver swing speed is a hefty 112 mph.

But the average golfer swings their driver only about 88-90 mph.

So what's the deal? A heck of a lot of misinformation, that's what.

The fact is that the study of optimal flight patterns for maximum distance has made leaps and bounds in just the past few years.

Doppler radar devices like the Trackman have quantified and pinpointed optimal flight and how to achieve it.

When combined with a drop in golf ball compressions over the years and incredible driver design advances, the flight patterns for optimal distance have been so refined, they can be literally be mapped on a screen and traced with a pen. Incredible.

And the resultant equation for distance in its simplest form is:

Low Initial Ball Spin + High(er) Launch Angle = Maximum Distance

golf ball launch conditions

So by studying the diagram above you can see why the "higher" lofted drivers are finding their way into the bags of the best golfers in the world. And these guy and gals are winning... a lot.

Believe it or not, when Tiger came out on Tour, he used a 6.5 degree driver! The norm 10-15 years ago was 7.5-9.0 degrees. Then it crept up to the 8.5-10 range.

And it was at that time that a lot of recreational golfers made their big, driver purchases. Yes, just a few years ago they were getting settled into their 9-10 degree, $300 titaniums.

Now they feel have lost distance, particularly relative to their peers who are gearing up with more recent equipment, newer balls, and fittings. You may be one of these folks.

How do I know this? I have evaluated 100's of golfers (their games, equipment, distances, flight patterns, etc...) and the story repeats itself over and over.


So Let Me Share Some Points...

Most average swing speed golfers (88-90 mph) don't use enough loft in their drivers due to seeing the pros using 9-10 degrees effective loft.

I typically recommend 10.5-13.0 deg loft for the avg. club head speed for maximum distance, particularly carry. This even applies for golfers up to 100 mph.

Unless you are playing consistently in extremely (and I mean extremely) windy conditions where control and roll are paramount, I encourage players to maximize the carry part of the distance equation.

On average, the ball spends most of the time in the air and roll typically contributes only ~10% to the total distance under standard conditions. You can see that in the chart above.

Masters Champ Bubba Watson, typically one of the longest driver on the PGA Tour, has a very high ball flight as he has maximized the carry portion of the Carry and Roll. But it is a high ball flight with low spin.

Low spin ball flight, improved dimple patterns, etc... have also created an angle of approach (ground impact) change that still provides great roll with “higher” lofted drivers. We call this the ground attack angle.

Also, more loft can dramatically reduce your unintended side spin like that over fade/slice, or the effects of that nasty duck hook.

As an aside, I once worked for a golf equipment company that discontinued an 8.5 degree version of a titanium driver because even Pros couldn't keep it on the fairway. It was a slicer's nightmare!


Driver loft and effective launch angle can vary per golfer, even given the same club loft.

golf driver impactThe ball launch angle is quite different than the driver loft for two golfers, even if they are swinging the same club. This is because some golfers will have a negative attack on the ball (hitting down more like an iron, imparting extra spin – the high dying quail effect in Red on the diagram), while others will upsweep the ball off the tee.

There is a perfect angle of attack for each golfer for max distance that can be determined on the range with practice. Or you can perfect your flight and distance with a launch monitor (like the Trackman) and a qualified pro or technician.

Simple ball position and tee height adjustments can mean another 10-20 yards as long as you are compressing the ball efficiently for your swing speed. Impacting the upper, outer quadrant of the face also reduces more spin and encourages a draw.

Typically a flat angle of attack or a bit of an upsweep is preferred for almost all golfers. Again, that high launch with low spin condition!


Typically, given a ~90 mph swing speed, 13.5-14 degrees ball launch (not necessarily driver loft) at about 2900/3000 rpm is close to optimal. But as stated, it depends on the golfer (and the golf ball).

So I would encourage most golfers to experiment (don't run out and buy) with more loft for more total distance and/or for reference if you have the opportunity (particularly on the course).

This is the time for May Sales, especially here in the US... take full advantage!

I'll also add that club fittings in a booth where a golfer is firing off 20 balls is not always representative of a 20 minute interval between each drive on course. Historically a golfer can be fit with a driver with too little loft as they are in a groove, loosened up, and thinking about best case scenarios.

One company’s 10.5 is also not always another’s. You may also have physical challenges that will become variable affecting on course play, balance, swing speeds, etc..

golf tee shotAnd you wind players, a higher lofted driver in the bag, even a cheap, 2nd hand one (Ebay, $50), is also great for those downwind holes. Tee it high, let it fly, and go after a few of those 300 yard blasts.

So remember to work towards low initial ball spin combined with a high(er) launch angle for maximum tee shot distance.

By doing so you are one big step closer to playing like today's PGA and LPGA stars.

In fact, here's my simple 3 step summary of what the best golfers do to achieve max distance and accuracy with all their clubs, which ultimately leads to very low scores:

Fully compress the ball on the center of the club face with a Repeating Golf Swing that minimizes slice and hook spin.
Have the ball leave the clubface at the correct launch angle and spin rate for the golfer's swing speed.
Use the correct golf ball for a given golfer's swing speed.

This report addreses the "how and why" of point #2.

Combining Points 1, 2, & 3 will give your Power, Accuracy, and Consistency.

With your permission, I would like the opportunity to help you further by showing you my swing technique. You will benefit from my firsthand experience inside the ropes, working with some of the top players in the game. I am convinced you will benefit tremendously from my swing instruction (and golf ball expertise).

In all my years of playing golf, I have concluded that a golfer can not break 80 without a repeating golf swing. It does not have to be perfect, but it must be reproducible. When a repeating swing takes form, a whole new level of satisfaction results as the golfer is now able to play the game the way it was intended.

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Took my scores from the 110's to the 70's after struggling for years
with inconsistent ball striking and a stagnant handicap.

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Here's what you'll discover between the covers of the New 7th Edition:

checkmark  My Story - From the 100's to the 70's after a lengthy, bitter struggle with this great game.

checkmark  The comment from a Ryder Cup star (watching my swing) that reinforced my Swing Method.

 How to put your Golf Swing on Autopilot for every club in your bag.

 Why "traditional" instruction fails the determined golfer and my unique solution.

 The common denominator of all great men and women golfers - It's not what you think!

 The discovery on a PGA tournament practice range that changed my game forever.

 What you really need to know about alignment and grip pressure (this is critical).

 Exactly how to make your back swing consistent and Tour Caliber with every club.

 The role of Your Feet in the golf swing and how to use them correctly on every swing.

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Let me show you exactly how to deliver the club head right back through the ball at impact with tremendous power and control. Thousands of golfers, from beginners to scratch players, have put The Key to work in their games and the results have been astounding (over 250 testimonials on file).

In fact, the following is a note typical of the type that hit my inbox all week. It is genuine and unsolicited:


"First ever even par round"

"Hi Robert,

I just wanted to pass on that over the last few weeks I have being playing better and better, until the peak which was just yesterday.

I played at a local course and for the first time in my life I shot under 80, and not just under. I hit 38, 36. A day of firsts, first ever even par round, first time in the 70's, 4 birdies, just an all round amazing result.

I owe a fair bit of it to you as I am adhering strictly to your teaching.

Thanks again and best regards,

Dale N. - Maylasia

P.S. I have just received 2 dozen (name removed) golf balls, the ball you recommended for my game (although the score yesterday was with a (name removed), needless to say I'm starting to love this ball quite a lot) and the next time out I intend to try this ball. I'll check in with you early in the new year to see if there is anything else that you recommend.


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"I am sure you have received many testimonials in the past but how many within the first few hours.

I purchased & read your e-book this morning - as usual, after reading I needed to go to the practice range to see if it at least worked sometimes for me before committing any further time - patience is not one of my virtues.

Whilst I hit the ball well & hit what I was aiming at most of the time that is not the reason for this reply.

For the first time in my 40 years of golf I felt & knew at the top when I was in a good position to hit the ball solidly & could predict the outcome from the top of my swing.

In short, thank you - I now have the new sensation of the correct feeling at the top - golf is not a game of perfect but given 5 minutes practice I am convinced that "simple" is the answer for the amateur/social golfer to play good golf without hitting hundreds of balls per day. - your instruction clears the head of the thousand thoughts that ruin scores & a good day out with the boys.

I started a skeptic who expected the same rehash of information, instead I am pleasantly surprised."

Peter V. - Australia


Same day, dramatic improvement... Nice going Peter.

I get notes like these all the time. It doesn't matter whether you are trying to break 105 or 70, the rate of improvement is typically rapid once the "bad data" is stripped from a golfer, and The Key to a repeating golf swing can begin working its magic.

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There are incredible New Golf Balls being
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"Brilliant, stunning, unbelievable is all I can say."

"Dear Sir,

As you will by my e.mail address above I purchased your Key system and I am amazed by its immediate change it has had to my swing and went from 107 for an average round to 90. Brilliant, stunning, unbelievable is all I can say.

Thank you so much for your prompt reply and superb service you have given me, I have just read the ‘Key’ again, just to refresh and keep the practice going to improve even further.

..its great to be able to grin on the first tee knowing that I know what MY FRIENDS WOULD LOVE TO KNOW."

Martin S. - UK


"shot a 41! My best of the year"

"Talk about a testimonial... Your Readers would not believe this. Read your book Monday evening. Went to back yard to work on your tips. On Tuesday A.M. worked in my net on theory. Tuesday evening at league shot a 41! My best of the year (4 strokes off my average). All this within 24 hours.

Your a Genius!

Thanks so much."

Carl W. - Kentucky, USA

Author's Note: (this gentleman is 72 years young)


"the best golf book I have ever read"

"Hi Robert,

Thank you so much for your comprehensive response to my golf ball recommendation request. I am very impressed...

I read your wonderful e-book “The Key to a Repeating Golf Swing” this weekend, and found it to be the best golf book I have ever read (out of probably 40 or 50 of them).

Great job! And I’ll be recommending you to friends – although not the ones that I am currently playing for money!!"

Garth J. - Saudi Arabia


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