Jake was a competitive golfer for over a decade dating back to the days of being the Captain of his high school golf team. He has played more than 200 courses across 32 different states in the US. Now semi-retired, Jake continues to golf 3-4 days a week with a current 2 handicap, gives golf lessons to his friends and family, and provides a wealth of knowledge to Golf Circuit from his competitive playing days. Jake combines practical expertise with technical knowledge to create golfing strategies and training techniques for both beginners and scratch golfers.
I’ve always played with a 10.5 degree driver, but with the ease of adjustability in a modern golf driver, it’s hard not to be curious about the benefits of a 12 degree driver.
Most 10.5 degree drivers will adjust to around 12 degrees, and you may be surprised by the performance you can get with this loft in the club.
The 12 degree driver is not for everyone; take a look at who will benefit from this club the most and what those benefits will be.
The Benefits of A 12 Degree Driver
There are three main benefits to a 12 degree driver, and all three of them could fall under the category of forgiveness. With 12 degrees of loft, expect quite a bit of forgiveness.
The three specific benefits of a 12 degree driver are good control, higher launch angle, and increased distances.
A 12 degree driver has more loft than a standard 9.5 or 10.5 degree driver, and it makes it easier to control.
Loft in golf can equate to more control. I’m sure you have had instances where you found your 9 iron to be easier to control than your 5 iron.
How about the 4 iron and the 5 iron?
The idea here is that even though the 12 degree driver has just a bit more loft, it’s certainly easier to control. Many golfers that struggle from the tee with their driver will switch to a 3 wood. The most significant difference between the 3 wood and the driver is the loft.
Many offset drivers, drivers for women, and senior golf drivers are sold with 12 degrees of loft to help establish control.
Higher Launch Angle
All golf clubs have a perfect launch angle. When you can get the ball started at the proper launch angle, expect a better overall shot.
The proper launch angle leads to a straighter ball flight, more distance, and the right amount of roll when the shot lands.
Many golfers that use a 12 degree driver will benefit from a higher launch angle. It takes quite a bit of swing speed to be able to launch a 9 degree driver high up in the air. With the 12 degree driver, even slower swing speeds will find the proper launch angle.
The more we have learned about golf, the more we have realized that when a golf ball can stay in the air longer, it flies further.
I think the best way to understand this is to think of the golfer that says they can’t get rid of their 4 iron because they hit it so well.
These golfers, when put on a launch monitor, realize that their dispersion rates with their 4 iron are terrible, and the launch angle likely only results in distances just a few yards further than the 5 iron.
These players mistake a low-flying golf shot for one that is hit properly and accurately. Trust me on this one, a driver that is hit up in the air down the center of the fairway with low spin is a much more beneficial shot than a line drive.
When comparing shot after shot and round after round, the properly launched golf driver with plenty of height will be the better bet.
Who Should Use A 12 Degree Driver?
There are several types of golfers that will benefit from a 12 degree driver. If you watch professionals on the PGA Tour, they typically use a golf driver with about 9 and sometimes even 8 degrees of loft. If you have club head speeds as high as theirs, then the 12 degrees is not for you.
Slower Swing Speeds
The driver is a long club, the longest in your bag. When your swing speed is slower, it takes quite a bit of effort to get the club through the ball and square up the clubface. For golfers with slower swing speeds, the 12 degree driver is a great option to consider.
Slower swing speed players will immediately notice a difference in the launch of the shots they hit and the total carry distance they get. If you pair the club with the proper driver shaft for your swing, the distance gains can be rather impressive.
Women golfers are sometimes sold golf drivers with lofts as high as 15 degrees. This is done to help women players with slower swing speeds and lacks some distance (See how to increase your swing speed.)
However, there could be issues with 15 degree drivers having too much loft.
The perfect loft for a golf driver for women will be in the 11.5 to 13.5 range.
This range tends to provide the best mix of performance, distance, and forgiveness. For women golfers worried that 12 degrees is not enough loft, purchase an adjustable golf driver.
Some women golfers with high swing speeds could need to choose a driver with less than 12 degrees of loft.
Senior golfers start to lose some club head speed. This is just a natural process that occurs over time and something that we can’t do much about.
Of course, it’s good to try and maintain your swing speed as long as you can, but when it starts to slow down, investing in the right equipment is a smart choice.
The best thing for a senior golfer to do is to add a bit of loft and a senior golf shaft to their bag. This will make it considerably easier to get the same clubhead speed you had in the past and some impressive results.
Seniors don’t need to rush out and purchase all new equipment. Update the bag as you go along, and the game will become considerably easier.
Beginner golfers can struggle with a driver. It’s sort of a right of passage that to become a great golfer, you must at some point get through the issue of slicing the ball. Some golfers never make it through, but you can certainly see the way beginners struggle with the slice.
One of the best ways to help a slice is to use a more forgiving golf club. At this point, you should have learned that loft in a driver is directly related to forgiveness.
Many beginner golfers will purchase a complete club set, and the driver typically comes with at least 11 degrees of loft.
New golfers can learn to gain distance in the future. In the beginning, the goal should be to have more consistency and control over the shots. This will lead to the best career in the game.
Hitting the drivers as part of the upswing is a good thing; however, for some players, this can become a bit exaggerated.
When this happens, the ball flight is a bit off because the driver makes contact with the lower portion of the face.
Goflers that swing like this should consider a higher lofted driver, as well as make a few stance and setup adjustments in their swing. The same can be said for downward hitters that tend to pop the ball straight up in the air.
Are Drivers Adjustable to 12 Degrees?
Depending on the loft of the driver your purchase, your current driver could very well be adjustable to 12 degrees.
Brands typically allow for one to two degrees in loft adjustment on a driver. For those struggling to get the ball flight, distance, and control, they ended with the 10 or 11 degree loft; try bumping it up to 12 degrees.
If you know you struggle with loft and launch angle, make sure to purchase the 10.5 or 11 degree driver, as opposed to the 9 or 9.5, this will be a better loft adjustability range for your game.
We hope you now feel a bit more knowledgeable about the benefits of a 12 degree driver. As we mentioned, this technology is not for everyone.
You will notice that some of the issues that the 12 degree driver fixes, can also create problems for other players.
Typically speaking golfers that struggle with control and launch angle will benefit from the 12 degree driver the most.
Is 12 degrees good for a driver?
The loft of a driver should be matched to the specifics of a player’s swing. For many slower swing speed players, the 12 degree driver loft can be a good match.
In addition, golfers that tend to have more of an upward angle swing on their driver also benefit from the 12 degrees of loft.
Is it easier to hit a 12 degree driver?
A 12 degree driver is considerably easier to hit than a lower lofted golf driver. Testing with the different lofts can show you your dispersion rates and help you determine the best fit.
What degree driver is best for distance?
Most average golfers find that 10.5 degrees are the best for distance performance. However, some faster swing speed players will have better luck with the 9 or 9.5 degrees.
Is a 12 degree driver good for seniors?
A 12 degree driver tends to be a good option for seniors. However, we find it extremely beneficial for senior golfers to purchase an adjustable golf driver and play with different lofts and lie angles that will work best for their swing at the time. As your game changes, simply make a tweak to the driver.