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Golf IQ

'Loft jacking' and 'Gapping': 2 must-know equipment terms, explained


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The golf world's best and most definitive guide to all things equipment, is officially here.

The 2024 Golf Digest Hot List takes a better part of a year to put it all together. To celebrate its monumental undertaking, I invited the two suckers for punishment behind it — Equipment editors Mike Stachura and Michael Johnson — onto the Golf IQ podcast to talk about equipment.

Our first two episodes involved explaining two key terms you may have heard pop up somewhere along your golf journey. Understand them both, and you'll better understand how your equipment can help your game.

You can subscribe to the Golf IQ podcast right here.

1. Loft jacking

Loft jacking is the name for the recent phenomenon on golf equipment where the iron lofts have gotten lower over the years. That's good because, generally speaking, lower lofted clubs go further—it's why your driver is around 10 degrees, and your pitching wedge around 42 degrees.

So in that sense, jacking the lofts lower is good! But like everything in golf, it's not that simple: You also need to hit the ball into the air. With old technology, lowering the lofts too much would hurt golfers' ability to get the ball into the air. But manufacturers have gotten so good at moving the weight around that they can send the ball higher into the air with lower lofts.

As the Mikes explain in the podcast, the key is working with a fitter to find your ideal combination. The right clubhead design, paired with the right loft specs for you.

2. Gapping

Somewhat related, gapping is the distance gap between each of your clubs. So, let's say you hit your 5-iron 180 yards, your 6-iron 170 yards, and your 7-iron 160 yards, your gapping is 10 yards.

Gapping is important for two reasons:

First, lots of golfers rarely have any idea how far they actually hit their irons, let alone the distance between each of their clubs. It really hurts their game.

And second, knowing your gapping will expose inconsistencies. You may have a five yard gap between two clubs at the top of your back, and a 15 yard gap towards the bottom. That means you may need to rejig your club setup so you have a more even spread through the bag.

You can listen to that episode, and more, below, and check out the Hot List right here.