In a golf club set, drivers or woods and the 2 and 3 iron clubs have very small lofts and high numbered irons and pitching wedges have very significant lofts. The loft of a golf club is the angle of the face of the club in relation to the shaft. The higher the loft on club the higher the trajectory of the ball once it is hit.
Loft angles are not standardized and different manufacturers may create a variety of angles for a set of clubs. In general, the woods or drivers have the smallest loft angles. A 1 wood has the lowest loft, generally between 7 and 12 degrees.
In the 2000s, professional golfers began to prefer higher-lofted woods, favoring the theory that the longest drives are hit by combining a higher launch angle and less spin. Drivers with lower loft angles create more spin on the ball once it is hit, making the drive harder to control. Other woods such as the numbers 3 and 5 have even higher loft angles, ranging from 15 to 18 degrees with the 3 wood and 20 to 22 degrees for the 5 wood.
Irons have progressively higher loft angles the higher the number of the club, ranging from around 25 degrees for the 4 iron to 41 degrees for the 9 iron. Wedges have the highest loft angles. A gap wedge, for example, has a loft angle of about 50 degrees and a sand wedge one of 55 degrees.