Loft and lie are oft neglected adjustments needed to make your irons perform as they should. Loft is generally understood so we’ll skip a lengthy explanation of what it is. Lie angle is a “spec” discussed quite a bit, but most golfers’ lie angles aren’t even close to correct for them. We’ll dive into what loft issues to look out for, why lie angle is important, and how to get your clubs’ lie angles dialed in.
Loft – What You Should Know
Loft is one gimmick manufacturers and club salesman toy with to get you to think you hit one club farther than another. For instance, a Taylor Made Burner 6-iron has 27 degrees of loft and a Taylor Made Tour Preferred MC 6-iron has 30 degrees of loft. Sorry to burst your bubble if you thought you had magically gained 10 yards with the Burners…it’s some loft trickery! The number on the bottom of each club does not relate to any standard loft, so be aware when comparing.
Another reason why loft is important is that clubs coming direct from the manufacturers have tolerances that allow each club to vary by a degree or two on either side of what the standard loft is stated as. Take a look at the Yardage Gap chart to help illustrate the problem with having inconsistent loft gaps in your clubs. In the chart you can see that some yardage gaps are too wide between clubs, while others are too close together based on how far each club hits the ball. This is why it is critical to have your lofts checked and adjusted. No two clubs should go roughly the same distance and you shouldn’t have wide gaps between any two consecutive clubs.
Lie Angle – Why Do I Care?
Lie angles are extremely important to your ball striking as well. Refer to the second chart for an illustration of why lie angle matters. When you swing an iron, the bottom of the club should strike the ground flush. If either the toe or heel contacts the ground before the other, the club head will twist during impact. To illustrate, if the toe of your club hits the ground first, it will slow down when it hits the ground and the heel of the club will continue moving and get ahead of the toe. This causes the ball to go right for a right-handed golfer.
Unfortunately, the common way that lie angles are adjusted is to test one of your irons and then base all of your other clubs off of that one measurement. For example, if the lie angle was measured for your 6-iron and it showed you needed your lie angle adjusted two degrees upright from that club’s “standard,” most golfers assume that means each of their irons should be two degrees upright. This is not the case. You swing each club differently and each iron needs to be tested individually for what lie angle contacts the ground flush for each club. You may need four degrees upright for your 4-iron but your pitching wedge might only need to be one degree upright.
Additionally, you should get your lofts and lie angles re-checked over time since club heads can bend as you hit them over time. Once a year is probably fine for the weekend golfer, but avid players should get a check-up more frequently.
This may seem a bit too “techie” for you average golfers out there, but you will notice a difference if your clubs are properly adjusted for your swing characteristics. The club head is moving very fast and any slight issues at impact will lead to more wayward shots than you should otherwise have.
The Fitting Studio is a custom golf club fitting and building business located in Long Beach, CA. Partnered with The Fitting Studio is former professional golfer and UCLA All-American, Travis Matthew Johnson. Travis, who also founded the Travis Mathew Apparel brand, recently sold his interest in TM to pursue more business endeavors within the fashion world as well as the golf industry. For more information about The Fitting Studio, visit www.thefittingstudio.com or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keywords: Golf, Golf Club, Custom Golf Club, Club Fitting, Loft and Lie