Part of playing your best golf and managing lower scores involves knowing the equipment in your bag. Every golf club you carry should feature a different loft that translates into changes in distance and trajectory. While loft tends to vary slightly from one manufacturer to another, a basic standard does exist for every club.
Loft, described as the angle of a clubface in relation to the vertical line followed by the shaft, according to Leaderboard, is what gets the golf ball in the air. Without it, the downward strike of the golf swing would not possess the physical characteristics necessary for flight. Additionally, loft helps to impart the desired spin necessary to control shots in a variety of ways.
Drivers and Woods
Drivers and woods have the greatest range of variability among golf clubs when it comes to loft. This is due in large part to the difficulty in controlling these, the longest, least-lofted clubs in the bag. Manufacturers tend to offer greater options in loft to help mitigate these challenges for players. The common range of driver lofts are 8 to 13 degrees, with 3-wood lofts generally possessing anywhere from 12 to 17 degrees.
Irons follow a tighter standard of loft, according to Leaderboard. It says the typical loft for a 4-iron is 25 degrees, with each successively shorter club adding 3 degrees up to the 8-iron, which generally has 37 degrees of loft. The 9-iron and pitching wedge feature 41 and 45 degrees, respectively, with the sand wedge at 55 and lob wedge at 60. The wedges, not unlike drivers, provide greater options for loft to satisfy the desire of players looking to add or shave a few yards in distance off those clubs.
Differences in Distance
Leaderboard also gives a corresponding list of nominal distances for irons, as averaged in 2000 for a typical male golfer, age 40 with no wind. Beginning with the 4-iron distance of 170 yards, each club down to the 9-iron decreases in increments of 10 yards -- a differential most players rely on when going from one club to another. The wedges offer a greater differential, with the pitching wedge going an average of 105 yards, the sand wedge 70 and the lob wedge 40.