Lie Angle is one of the most important factors that influence the accuracy of the ball flight for irons and wedges. Yet I see so many golfers not understanding the effect of the lie angle which could explain why they are getting the ball flight and results after hours and hours of pounding golf balls at the driving range.
What is a lie angle:
Simply put, lie angle is the angle between the center of the shaft to the sole of the club on the heel side of the club head.
How does lie angle affect ball flight?:
The most common explanation of lie angle is the direction of the ball flight as shown in the image below:
If the lie angle is not fit for your swing, the ball tends to start left or right of the intended target line.
But there is more, the ball tends to spin perpendicular to the grooves on the face of the club which adds to more hooks or slices after the ball if airborne.
One may also notice that the ball marks on the face, after hitting many golf balls, tends to be centered mostly on the toe or on the heel instead of being in the center. This is an indication that lie check is needed since your body is trying to adjust the hand-eye coordination to strike the ball where it feels the most solid without the feel of hitting the ball fat or topping the ball. If the lie angle is incorrect, the chances are that the ball cannot reach the sweet spot at impact since the sweet spot is lifted of the ground since the toe or the heel is touching the ground first. When the ball is hit on the toe or the heel, ball flies with less speed, less distance and more inconsistencies.
How to check your lie angle:
It is one of the simple fitting to do. Put a lie tape (which shows exactly where you are making a mark on the sole), hit a few shots off the lie board and look at the pattern. If you don’t have access to lie tape nor a lie board, you can use electrical tape or color the sole with magic marker and hit few shots off the matt.
What a lie tape will tell you:
The lie tape tells the fitter many information about your impact and ball flight besides lie angle information.
Depending on where the mark is on the front to the back of the sole, a fitter can determine if you are hitting down or scooping up on the ball. Marks in the back of the sole will most likely indicate that you are adding more loft to the club resulting in higher ball flight.
Also, a fitter can look at the angle of how the mark is made on the sole and tell whether you are closing or opening the fact at impact. Here is an example of a hard working golfer who has never tested lie angle:
The mark on the lie tape is on the toe side of the head. The mark also indicates that the golfer is closing the face at impact. The information tells the fitter that the lie was too flat for the golfer and if the swing was perfect, the ball will drift to the right. But after so many practice sessions at the range (without lie check), the golfer trains himself to close the face at impact to counter attack the flat lie angle. The end result is a weak, inconsistent draw the results in 80 to 90% of his potential yardage.
- Looking at the way the club is sitting at address does NOT tell what lie angle you should be hitting.
- Do NOT use face impact tape while checking your lie with lie tape and lie board. The ball jumps up at impact once the club hits the lie board and does not give you an accurate indication of where on the face you made impact.
- Lie angle is the most important yet is not the only factor that determines ball flight. Consult an experienced fitter for great advice!
- You should get your lie angle checked at least once a year just to be sure that the clubs are fit for your swing.
So before you decide on your next iron set or wedges, be sure to know your lie angle. If you have any questions, consult our fitting expert at fairwaygolfusa.com for custom fitting options.
Fairwaygolfusa.com has many custom fit options to choose from for quality golf equipment. Go to our custom pages for fitting options.