Jacked Lofts Don’t Mean Jack S#*t

If you want to amuse yourself for an hour or two, bring up the concept of jacked lofts online.

Then get your popcorn, sit back and watch the internet’s golf Illuminati lose its collective mind.

Read through comments on Twitter/X, Facebook or Instagram and you’ll learn that, when it comes to conspiracies, loft-jacking is up there with the fake moon landing, the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and the 1966 swap of a dead Paul McCartney with a live look-alike.

Play the White Album backward, man. It’s all there.

Jacked lofts

The internet does love to decry the abomination of jacked lofts. Purists wish the industry would standardize and return to “traditional” lofts, whatever that means. Today’s column, however, intends to stir the pot like a Waring blender.

We aren’t the first to say it, and we won’t be the last, but jacked lofts don’t mean jack s#*t.

The reason why jacked lofts don’t mean jack s#*t can be found in understanding three simple terms and then applying that understanding.

Those terms are: static loft, dynamic loft, spin loft.

Jacked lofts - Srixon ZX4

But, first, a little background.

History Lessons

Loft-jacking truthers love referencing “traditional” lofts as they pine for the old days. History, however, does a wonderful job of putting modern hot takes in their place.

Can anyone definitively explain exactly what “traditional” lofts are? A 35-degree 7-iron? Maybe that was the loft in the ‘80s but, if you go back to the ‘30s, you’d find your 35-degree iron would have been a 5-iron.

Jacked lofts mashie niblick

Before that? Your set had a brassie, spoon, cleek, jigger, mashie, mashie niblick, pitching niblick and a baffie spoon. Lofts were determined by the club maker and the golfer for whom he made them.

Spalding did stamp iron numbers on some of their models in the ‘20s, but it wasn’t until the 1931 Kro-Flite RTJ irons, designed by Bobby Jones, that iron numbers became popular. By 1938, the practice became standard. That’s when the USGA instituted the 14-club rule.

Jacked lofts - Spalding Kro Flite RTJ irons

Technology Takes Over

Today, OEMs make different types of clubs for different types of golfers. It didn’t used to be that way, largely due to the limits of manufacturing. When all we had was forging, all we would get were forged clubs. There was, and still is, only so much that can be done with a single-piece forging.

Jacked lofts - MacGregor MT75

Things changed in 1950 with the MacGregor MT and Wilson Top-Notch Dyna-Weight irons. Both irons featured unique (for the time) centers of gravity that changed the way they played. The MT was a squat, Barney Rubble-looking club with considerable mass low and centered. That made them a little easier to hit with a higher launch angle than players were used to. MacGregor strengthened the lofts a degree or two to bring flight down. That they flew like hell was a nice side benefit.

The 1950 Wilson Top-Notch Dyna-Weight irons featured a thin upper portion with a large pad of mass low and towards the toe. Again, slightly stronger lofts brought launch down and drove distance up.

Jacked Lofts - wilson Top-Notch Dyna Weight

A decade later, Karsten Solheim started experimenting with perimeter weighting to make irons more forgiving. He milled out rear cavities in some forged heads and found that those cavities pushed the CG even lower. Karsten strengthened lofts further to keep the ball from ballooning and spinning too much. The result? Lower launch and even more distance.

Golfers, as you’d imagine, ate it up. It’s hard to say no when someone hands you easier and longer.

The PING 69 forged golf clubs

Jacked, Static and Dynamic Lofts

To understand why jacked lofts don’t mean jack s#*t, we need to get back to basics and discuss static, dynamic and spin loft.

Static loft is simple. It’s the actual measured loft of the club. The COBRA DARKSPEED 7-iron, for example, is 27 degrees. The Titleist T100 7-iron, on the other hand, is 34 degrees. The DARKSPEED is a wide-sole, low-CG game-improvement iron while the T100 is a compact, thin-soled player’s iron.

OEMs determine static loft. You, the player, determine dynamic loft.

Jacked lofts - COBRA DARKSPEED

Dynamic loft is the amount of loft you deliver to the ball at impact. If you make crisp contact hitting down on the ball with your hands forward, your dynamic loft will be lower than the static loft. You’re compressing the ball and the resulting ball flight is what they call “penetrating.”

If you’re a “flipper,” however, your dynamic loft will be higher than your static loft. “Flipping” means you tend to flip the club at impact with your hands behind the club face. If there’s a commonality among higher-handicap golfers, it’s flipping.

T-100 iron review

Spin Loft

Spin loft might be the most important of the three. It’s the difference between dynamic loft and angle of attack. Let’s say you’re a single-digit handicap hitting down on the ball.  With the T100, you’re compressing the ball nicely with ample swing speed based on your technique. The higher loft gives you optimal launch, spin and descent angle to hold the green.

For you, the DARKSPEED would go a hell of a lot farther but it likely won’t have the right combination of spin and descent angle. It would be borderline unplayable.

However, In the hands of a higher-handicap “flipper,” the DARKSPEED might be just what the doctor ordered. That golfer has a much shallower angle of attack so the dynamic loft might be higher than the static loft. The low CG design of the club helps get the ball up in the air while the resulting spin loft is low. A relatively high launch with low spin is a recipe for distance for the golfer who really needs it.

Put the T100 in that golfer’s hands and nothing good will happen. Not only is it smaller and less forgiving but shots will balloon and spin too much due to the big difference between the dynamic loft and the angle of attack. The result is a severely distance-challenged and incredibly frustrated golfer.

Yes, it’s poor form and, yes, lessons can make it better if the golfer is willing and able to put in the work. In the meantime, however, why not give that player a club they can hit and have some fun with?

So What Exactly Is the Problem With Jacked Lofts?

A chosen few are good enough to play this game for a living. For the rest of us, golf is anywhere from a passion to a weekend activity. Lots of golfers play the game just for fun so why not play the kind of irons that make you happy?

Do some golfers like to brag about how far they hit their 7-iron? Yep, but my guess is more golfers like to complain about those golfers who brag about how far they hit their 7-iron. Do OEMs tout how long their irons are? Yep, but I’m sure when Old Tom Morris built clubs for a customer, I seriously doubt he said, “Ahh, laddie, these be grea’ sticks. They don’ go near as far as yer old uns.”

Hey, we’re golfers. We like it when our shots go far.

Game-improvement and player’s distance irons are designed to go far. They have low CGs for a high enough trajectory, peak height and descent angle. They don’t spin much but that’s part of the distance recipe.

 A low single digit doesn’t need all that help so a modern player’s iron like the Titleist T100 does the job he or she needs. They most likely hit their 7-iron far enough already.

Bottom line: Try not to worry too much about the loft on someone else’s 7-iron.

It doesn’t mean jack s#*t.

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