How Do I Determine Degrees of Loft in Golf?

By M.L. Rose
Each golf club in your bag should have a different loft.
Each golf club in your bag should have a different loft.

A golf club’s loft – the angle of the clubface relative to the shaft – helps determine how high you’ll hit the ball. All else being equal, you’ll hit the ball higher with a higher-lofted club, although the more loft a club has, the more distance that is sacrificed. Lofts of specific clubs are fairly standardized but can vary among different manufacturers. Additionally, standard lofts have changed a bit over time. If you want to check the loft of your clubs, or perhaps you wish to buy a used club and the owner doesn’t know its loft, you can check it yourself with the proper tool.

Purchase a loft gauge or golf protractor. There are expensive versions of these devices that won’t be worth your while, unless you’re going into the club-measuring business. But there are manual devices available for less than $100.

Place the clubface on the base of the loft gauge, as if you were grounding your club behind a ball to line up your shot.

Place the club’s shaft into the attached vise on the side of the device, but don’t lock the vise yet.

Square the clubface on the base. Different gauges may have different mechanisms, but the gauge is likely to contain a straightedge that you’ll slide against the clubface to make certain it’s square.

Lock the shaft into the vise by turning the locking wheel clockwise.

Double-check that the clubface is square. If it isn’t, loosen the vise, realign the club with the straightedge and retighten the vise.

Slide the included protractor against the center of the clubface. If the protractor contains a locking device, turn it clockwise to lock the protractor against the clubface.

Read the loft number at the top of the protractor.

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