What Stronger Lofts or Strengthening Lofts Means in Golf

lofted iron and golf ball
You hear an announcer during a golf broadcast say that a tour player "strengthened her lofts by one degree recently," or a buddy tells you during a round of golf, "you might need stronger lofts." What do those terms mean? The short answer: When you hear a reference to stronger lofts or strengthening lofts, it means reducing the loft angle of your club or clubs in order to add distance and/or lower trajectory.

The loft of golf clubs is expressed in degrees (18 degrees, 27 degrees, 38 degrees, whatever the case may be). The longest-hitting clubs (driver, woods, low hybrids, long irons) have the lowest lofts; the shortest-hitting clubs (short irons, wedges) have the highest lofts. So as a golfer moves through the bag, the lofts increase as the clubs get shorter.

Not all off-the-shelf golf clubs are perfect fits for every golfer, however. That's why clubfitting exists, and why clubfitting is a good idea for any golfer who wants to score lower. Because of your swing type, or the age of your clubs, or several other reasons, the loft angle on your clubs may not be ideal for your swing or your goals on the golf course.

That's why a golfer might strengthen his or her lofts, that's why a friend or a pro might advise getting stronger lofts.

You can strengthen your lofts one of several ways, including buying a new set of golf clubs. Because manufacturers decide what lofts to use for each club — there is no industry standard. A 5-iron from Company X might have a loft of 28 degrees, while Company Y's 5-iron is 27 degrees and Company Z's 5-iron is 29 degrees. So you can shop around and compare sets.

Another way to get stronger lofts is to visit a clubfitter, clubmaker, club repairer — any shop that has what is called a "loft and lie machine" — and have your lofts strenghtened manually. This involves very sligthly bending the hosel of the club to achieve a new loft angle. Not all clubs are bendable in this manner, however, so not every club can be adjusted in this manner ("bending" to change the loft is typically only done with irons).

But back to the original question, to sum up: Strengthening lofts or getting stronger lofts refers to reducing loft angle — going from, say, 34 degrees to 32 degrees in a club. Stronger lofts mean (all other things being equal) a little more distance, a little flatter trajectory.

Saying "you need lower lofts" or "you need less loft" is another way of saying the same thing.

What is the opposite? You can probably guess: "Weaker lofts" and "weakening lofts." To keep the two terms straight, remember this:

  • Stronger lofts mean more distance/lower trajectory, weaker lofts mean less distance/higher trajectory.
  • Strengthening loft means subtracting loft (going from 27 to 25 degrees, e.g.); weakening loft means adding loft.

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