What is lie angle and why is it so important? Let us explain
It is now commonplace for people to go and get custom fit before getting new golf clubs, but do you really know what the fitters are measuring? Here we take a look at one of the biggest components of custom fitting and what it actually is.
What is lie angle?
Lie angle is the angle between the shaft of the club and the ground when the club arrives at impact parallel to the ground.
The lie angle is known as ‘too upright’ when the toe of the club is lifted too high above the ground. This will cause the heel to strike the turf first, shutting the club-face and sending the ball to the left.
Oppositely a ‘too flat’ club has the heel too high causing the toe to dig into the ground. This opens the clubface sending the ball to the right.
Your divots can therefore give clues about if your lie angle is incorrect. If your divots are deeper in the toe it is likely they are too flat compared to divots which are deeper in the heel which would indicate an upright lie angle.
The correct lie angle is not necessarily about how the club-head sits at address but how the sole of your club interacts with the ground at impact.
A lie angle that is out by 1 degree can cause you to hit the ball up to 4 yards offline. If your set of clubs are 2 or 3 degrees wrong, you’re making things unnecessarily hard for yourself!
All brands use a different number as their ‘standard’ lie angle which is why it is so important to get custom fit. This can also vary from model to model within each brand. For example TaylorMade’s lie angle for a seven iron in the Stealth range is 63° compared to 61.5° in the P7TW irons. You may also find you need different lie angles throughout your set, for example my woods are set more upright than standard while my irons are flatter than standard.
Overall it is more important to get the lie angle of your wedges and irons correct compared to woods. This is due to the fact they have more loft and also due to the turf interaction. The more loft there is on the club-face the more offline the face will point for each degree the lie angle is incorrect.
Due to the nature of wedges most tour players have these an extra few degrees flat. This helps account for the shorter shafts and slower swing speeds used with theses clubs.
Getting the lie angle correct when you are fitted for new clubs is key but is also important to have them checked periodically. Playing, practicing and travelling can cause the lie angle to become bent over time.
How can you check your lie angles?
If you don’t have access to a launch monitor there is a simple way to test your lie angles out. Get a few golf balls and draw a straight line down the back of them.
Hit some shots with the line set-up straight down the centre of the club face. If the line printed on your club face is angled towards the toe your club, is too upright and you would benefit from a flatter lie. If instead if angles towards the heel of the club your club is too flat and needs to be made more upright.
Lie angle adjustments are easy to make with the majority of PGA pros being able to offer this service. So if you have clubs you love and just want to tweak the playing position, this is relatively easy to do.
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