The aim of this thread is to stress the importance of correctly fitted Lie Angle. Even if your clubs are not properly fitted, it is imperative that the lie angles be checked and adjusted to suit. The process is quick, easy and relatively inexpensive. And, the benefits can be quite dramatic.
Put simply, fitting for Lie Angle is THE most important aspect of club fitting.
What is Lie Angle?
The lie angle of the club is the angle the shaft makes with the ground, when the club is in the proper address position. For example, the normal lie angle for a 5 iron is 60*. Higher than standard lie angles are referred to as 'upright' and lower than standard lie angles are referred to as 'flat'. So a 5 iron with a lie angle of 58* might be referred to as '2* flat' and the same club with a 61* lie angle might be referred to as '1* upright'.
Why is Lie Angle important?
Correct fitting for Lie Angle is important for two reasons.
The first, and most imortant, reason is 'the direction of the clubface'. At impact, the grooves of a club with a proper Lie Angle will be level to the ground. In this postion, the face will be pointed in the direction that the club is aimed by the golfer. When the Lie Angle of the club is 'too flat', the grooves will be 'toe down' and the clubface will actually be facing to the right of where the (right handed) golfer is aiming. Conversely, if the Lie Angle is 'too upright', the grooves will be 'heel down' and the clubface will be pointing to the left of where the golfer is aiming. The photographs below may help to illistrate this.
The second, and less important, reason is 'twisting of the clubface from ground contact'. When the Lie Angle is too flat, the toe of the club will tend to strike the ground first. This can turn the club open through impact and a larger push may result. If the Lie Angle is too flat the heel of the club will tend to impact the ground fiirst and an even larger pull may result. Having said that, most modern irons have a radiused sole which will accomodate quite large errors in Lie Angle, so ground contact is much less of an issue than clubface direction.
How much directional error will you get from an error in Lie Angle?
While correct fiting for Lie Angle is important in all clubs, the effects of incorrectly fitted Lie Angle are more dramatic in the more lofted irons. The greater the loft, the greater the angle of error. But, the greater the loft, the less distance the ball will travel and so there is less difference in metres (or yards).
The following table is calculated by Dave Tutelman and is based on the findings of Tom Wishon. It shows both angular and yard error for various clubs at set distance for a 1 degree error in Lie Angle.
Club - Loft - Distance (yards) - Angular Error (degrees) - Yards Error
Driver - 10 - 250 - 0.17 - 1.5
3-iron - 20 - 190 - 0.35 - 2.3
6-iron - 32 - 160 - 0.55 - 3.1
9-iron - 44 - 130 - 0.76 - 3.5
SndW - 54 - 100 - 0.94 - 3.3
As you can see, a Lie Angle that is just 1 degree out can cause the ball to miss the target by about 3 metres with the Sand Wedge. The effect with the Driver is less than half that amount. Many golfers play with clubs with Lie Angles which are at least 2 or 3 degrees out. While it will only mean a few metres with the driver, it may mean missing the target by 10 metres or more with the Sand Wedge. This is a very significant error.
The photographs below show Lie Angles which are 1. Proper; 2. Too Flat; and 3. Too Upright.