This magic loft offers golfers endless options to build the perfect set

Golf clubs loft fitting

Never before have golfers had so many options to choose from to fill a gap in the top of their set and perfect their club selection.

Ryan Barath/GOLF

When setting up a golf bag with the right clubs to give you the best chance for success, there are many options to help golfers blend the forgiveness they need with the look they want. But no matter the golfer there is a magic number in the golf-club-design world that opens up almost endless possibilities to find the perfect launch and spin combination — at 20 degrees of loft.

From a design perspective, some loft combinations only work for certain types of clubs based on the speed at which they are swung. For example, 10-degree drivers are common, but you won’t find that loft used for any other full-swing club. The same goes for 40-degree irons; every iron set has a club that sits around 40 degrees, but you won’t find any hybrids or fairway woods with that much loft.

So to help you better understand the club options available in the 20-degree loft range and how they might best suit your game, we talked with several engineers from various manufacturers to get their guidance, so you can figure out which options are best for you.

Fairway woods

Six new fairway wood golf clubs against a blue background
Fairway woods offer options for any skill level. GOLF

Consider fairway woods the core category in this loft range because they can fit anyone from a touring professional, all the way down to a new golfer, it just comes down to finding the right model to fit the individual. They offer the widest sole, deepest center of gravity and greatest forgiveness. Plus, with their longer shafts, they generate speed and lift to help get the ball in the air faster.

As Glenn Mahler from Titleist’s TPI says, “It’s easier to make up come down than it is to make down go up,” meaning that it is still possible to flight a fairway wood lower, making it the most versatile club in this loft range.

TaylorMade Qi10 Custom Fairway Wood

Introducing the Qi10 fairways. Experience TaylorMade speed with Qi10 forgiveness…off the tee and off the deck. TOUR PROVEN PERFORMANCE The model most popular with both Tour players and amateurs, the Qi10 Fairway is the ideal blend of distance and forgiveness, while the precision CG location delivers a combo of high launch and low spin. NEW INFINITY CARBON CROWN An Infinity Crown provides a clean, uninterrupted view at address while also optimizing performance. Engineers relied on this new design to reshape the club, shifting more weight lower in the clubhead to maintain high inertia with an enlarged face profile to inspire confidence and generate ball speed.
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Seven new golf hybrids against a blue background
Hybrids in the 20-degree loft range can help stop the ball faster on approach shots. Golf

Hybrids have come a long way, and depending on the type of hybrid you’re looking for they can be designed to drive it low through the wind or launch it high to land shots softly into greens.

In the 20-degree loft range, most hybrids are designed to launch the ball higher into the air and land softer. These clubs are best suited for players who tend to hit more down on the ball (take bigger divots) because they generate less spin than comparable-lofted fairway woods, but launch higher than similar irons.

Ping G430 Custom Hybrid

The PING G430 Hybrid is loaded with innovations like Carbonfly Wrap, PING’s newest technology and the key to more distance and green-holding stopping power. Alongside proven technologies Facewrap Technology and Spinsistency, they deliver the speed and performance golfers need to take on any approach shot. With six loft options (2H/17°, 3H/19°, 4H/22°, 5H/26°, 6H/30°, 7/34°) they are ideal mid- and long-iron replacements to help fill distance gaps in a player’s game. CARBONFLY WRAP The lightweight composite crown wraps into the heel and toe sections of the skirt, creating weight savings of 10 grams which are reallocated to achieve the lower the CG and increase ball speed. The composite also plays a role in the pleasing sound. FACE WRAP TECHNOLOGY FaceWrap Technology, a variable-thickness, high-strength maraging steel face wraps into the sole and crown of the stainless steel head, generating more flexing for faster ball speed and higher launch for greater distance. SPINSISTENCY The variable roll radius of Spinsistency improves performance across the face (especially on thin shots) by reducing spin to increase ball speed from the maraging steel face. TUNGSTEN BACK WEIGHT A tungsten back weight extends the perimeter weighting to ensure maximum forgiveness. TRAJECTORY TUNING The lightweight, 8-position hosel enables adjustments for loft (±1.5°) and lie (3° flatter than std.) to further dial in ball flight for the best results.
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These lower launch windows and spin rates make hybrids a fantastic choice for players who create too much spin and need help controlling ball flight. Once you get above the 20-degree range and into higher-lofted hybrids their purpose changes quickly to help generate higher launch and spin to stop the ball faster.

Utility woods

Here’s where things get a bit funky, because there are only a few clubs in this category, and they stand out for various reasons. First up is the Callaway UW (utility wood), which combines elements of hybrid and fairway wood design to offer both distance and trajectory control.

“The original UW and now the new Apex utility wood is purpose-driven with a select group of players in mind,” said Brian Williams, the VP of Callaway R&D. “We created the UW for higher launch and steeper landing angles versus hybrids. They were also designed for lower spin and less draw bias versus our fairway offerings to aid in shot workability without giving up too much forgiveness.”

Callaway Apex Custom Utility Wood

The Apex Utility Wood is the go-to option for the best players on Tour. The unique profile promotes the launch and distance benefits of our high lofted fairway woods, the versatility of Callaway hybrids, along with a more neutral ball flight. It’s a multi-purpose offering that better players can use with confidence off the tee into tight landing areas, out of the fairway into Par-5s, or from the rough. TOUR VERSATILITY, POWER, AND CONTROL The Apex Utility Wood is the go-to option for the best players on Tour. The unique profile promotes the launch and distance benefits of our high lofted fairway woods, the versatility of Callaway hybrids, along with a more neutral ball flight. It’s a multi-purpose offering that better players can use with confidence off the tee into tight landing areas, out of the fairway into Par-5s, or from the rough. TOUR-INSPIRED COMPACT, WORKABLE SHAPE & OPTIMIZED LENGTH The distinct clubhead shaping is inspired by in-depth feedback from Tour pros. They require a compact profile to enhance shot-shaping and improve control. Club lengths are set between a fairway wood and a hybrid, allowing for versatile playability while still being easy to hit. FAST BALL SPEED FROM BATWING TECHNOLOGY & AN A.I. DESIGNED C300 FACE CUP The A.I.-designed Batwing structure is pushed to the perimeter to stiffen the body, allowing the high-strength C300 maraging steel face cup to flex for fast ball speeds. ENHANCED TURF INTERACTION FROM CUTWAVE PRO SOLE The Apex UW is designed for versatile shot-making. An all-new Cutwave Pro Sole is a streamlined design, engineered specifically to cut through the turf more efficiently. HIGH LAUNCH, CONSISTENT CONTROL AND TIGHTER DISPERSION The center of gravity is precisely positioned in a neutral location for an exceptional combination of high launch, steeper landing angles, consistent spin characteristics and reduced draw bias. The Apex UW is an excellent option for better players looking for a more playable hybrid or fairway wood.
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Another option targeted more toward game improvement is the Cleveland Launch Halo XL Hy-wood, which is built with a lighter shaft and has a head design that will help those that tend to fade the golf ball.

Driving irons

With driving irons, we get into the clubs designed for golfers who possess a clubhead speed on the higher end of the spectrum. With their more compact head designs, shorter and heavier shafts and a center of gravity closer to the face to generate less spin, driving irons are intentionally designed to launch the ball lower.

This makes them the perfect option for higher-speed players who have no problem generating spin, or for golfers who tend to play in firm and fast conditions and want a golf club that carries shorter than a fairway or hybrid but will get more roll thanks to the lower and flatter trajectory.


It wasn’t that long ago when holding an iron with 20 degrees of loft meant you were holding a 2- or 3-iron. For some sets designed for better players with higher club head speeds that’s still the case, but as technology has improved and irons have been able to push closer to their driving iron cousins (in terms of thin faces and a deeper center of gravity), lofts have gotten stronger while still being able to maintain higher launch windows.

Titleist T350 Custom Irons

High, far, and forgiving. T350 is simply the best performing, best looking and best feeling Game Improvement Iron we’ve ever made. T350 is game improvement reimagined. Built around a new forged face, hollow-body construction and powered by Tour technologies, it delivers maximum launch, distance and forgiveness in a player’s design. Starting with a new hollow-body construction based on the T200 chassis played on Tour, the T350 maximizes speed and forgiveness through a refined Max Impact Technology, a new dual-taper forged face and dual tungsten weighting. Now any player can benefit from Titleist’s most advanced engineering. TRUE PLAYER’S CONSTRUCTION Inspired directly by the T200 distance irons played on Tour, a new multi-material, hollow-body construction transforms the performance of T350. Designed to be larger and more forgiving, it gives you maximum forgiveness with more of a pure player’s feel.. FAST ACROSS THE FACE A refined and strengthened Max Impact Technology combines with a new dual-taper forged face to produce amazing speed from any point on the hitting surface. Carry distance remains long and consistent, even on off-center strikes, keeping you on the green and out of trouble. EFFORTLESS TURF INTERACTION Working with Tour Pros and the grind experts at Vokey Design, our engineers were able to further improve our Variable Bounce Sole by softening the trailing edge to allow the club to flow faster through the turf, even after contact, to make your best shots feel even better. BETTER TUNGSTEN FOR BETTER RESULTS By utilizing dense D18 tungsten and a 2000º aerospace brazing process, Titleist engineers can eliminate weld points and be more precise with CG placement. T350 now features the same dual-tungsten weighting as our Tour distance irons, leading to a solid feel with maximum forgiveness.
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This has led many game-improvement and distance-orientated iron sets to have 5-irons lofted around 20 degrees, and the matching 4-iron pushing into the high teens. Although many golfers would assume that these lower-lofted irons aren’t designed for average swing speed players, it’s those players who often benefit the most from these designs thanks to their ability to launch the ball high into the air and with less spin.

So if you ever find yourself struggling with the top end of your golf bag, take the time to assess your needs and the types of shots you hit. A solution could be as simple as changing the style of club to better fit your swing.

Want to overhaul your bag for 2024? Find a fitting location near you at True Spec Golf.

Ryan Barath Editor

Ryan Barath is GOLF Magazine and’s senior editor for equipment. He has an extensive club-fitting and -building background with more than 20 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. Before joining the staff, he was the lead content strategist for Tour Experience Golf, in Toronto, Canada.

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