You may have heard the term “lie angle” in golf. You are thinking what is lie angle? I have just been fitted up for a new set of clubs and my coach has said to me during that session we need to determine your lie angle. You are thinking I haven’t got a clue what that means but you just nod and hit some balls off a mat, then you are done with your club fitting experience and go up to order your new clubs. You think to yourself I haven’t got a clue what my teacher has said and it hasn’t been explained to me what it means. So you leave your club fit session going what did they mean by lie angle?
You don’t need to know the ins and outs of it all but just an understanding of what it means when it is brought up to you at some point during your club fit.
When you hit the ball during your swing, i.e. when the club face meets the ball, the bottom of the club face (which is the sole of the club), like our sole of our foot, the underneath part, touches the ground, the sole of the club must be parallel with the ground and the club face is square to your intended target. In simple terms that is lie angle.
Now because golfers are so different in body position, arm length and height it is very important that the lie angles of the irons are fitted for each golfer specifically. This is critical for golf club accuracy.
Let’s say you you have been pulling your shots quite a bit. That means if you are a right handed golfer, your shots are going to the left, and if you are left handed golfer your shots are going to the right. With regards to lie angle that would mean that the toe of the club is sticking up in the air and the sole contact with the ground is on the heel (refer to diagram above). This would indicate to you that your lie angle is TOO UPRIGHT.
What if the opposite were to occur, you were pushing the ball. That means for a right handed golfer, your shots are going to the right and for a left handed golfer your shots are going to the left. This means that when your club makes contact with the ground on more of the toe side of the club (refer to above diagram) and the heel of the club is off the ground your lie angle is TOO FLAT.
Most golfers will automatically assume that it is their swing because they have not heard of the term “lie angle”. More than likely they have bought their clubs off the rack or bought them second hand from someone who has had their clubs specifically fitted.
If you are having some issues with your shots and the ball is going in a specific direction time and time again, yes there could be some swing issues but it could also be that your lie angle is not right for you.
There are a couple ways to find out what your lie angle of your irons.
(1) Book a session with your professional teacher or club fitter and ask them to check your lie angle for you.
(2) You can do this yourself just to get an idea, but you will still need to go and see your coach or club fitter.
To do it yourself;
- to this you should go to some practice nets or driving range
- just get a lie angle tape to put on the sole of your club, if you can’t get that use some masking tape
- put the lie angle tape on the sole of the club
- if you have only masking tape put it on the sole of the club, the length of the sole of the club
- the lie angle tape will have a centre line, so make sure that centre line is on the centre of the sole of the club
- if using masking tape draw a line across the centre of the sole (not the length of the sole of the club but a line determining the left and right side of the sole of the club)
- when you are ready, it’s best to hit the balls off a hard plastic or rubber surface, but if you can’t do that just off the synthetic grass mats will do.
- You only need to hit a few balls but make sure you warm up your swing first.
- Each time you hit your ball and you have made a mark on the tape, take off the tape put it on a piece of paper so you can compare your results.
- If you do that about 5 times should be enough to give you an idea.
- Once you are finished have a look at your results.
By doing this exercise what have your results produced? Where are the marks on your tape? Have a look at the diagram above with the three club heads. Is your lie angle correct? Are you hitting the centre each time? Or are the marks to more towards the left side of the tape, or perhaps more towards the right side of the tape?
It will be interesting to hear your results.
What did you find out?
To your golfing success,
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