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#1 vman

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 12:32 PM

You will often read how myself and others stress the importance of having your clubs properly fitted. The truth, however, is that most golfers will never play with a properly fitted set of clubs. Most do not understand the importance of properly fitted clubs and those who do, often still prefer to play with ill-fitted, off-the-shelf brand name clubs.

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.

Attached Files


“You don't have the game you played last year or last week. You only have today's game. It may be far from your best, but that's all you've got. Harden your heart and make the best of it.” - Walter Hagen

#2 benstone

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 02:19 PM

Good stuff Mick. How much effect does the player's swing have on this ie swinging too steep ?

#3 vman

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 03:19 PM

Good stuff Mick. How much effect does the player's swing have on this ie swinging too steep ?

OK, this brings use to the next question.

What effects Lie Angle?

The major consideration when determining the proper Lie Angle is the golfer's swing. Many poorer clubfitters will determine Lie Angle based on wrist-to-floor measurements. Such static measurements are next to useless as they do not take into consideration the dynamic aspects of the golf swing.

Regarding Lie Angle, the most important aspect of the golfer's swing is the swing 'plane'. That is the plane on which the clubshaft is swung as it approaches impact. If the clubshaft was comletely rigid, which it is not, then the angle between the shaft and the ground as the club impacts the ball would be the proper Lie Angle.

So, golfers with steeper planes or those who come over the top will tend to require more upright lie angles, while golfers with flatter swing planes or those who approach the ball from the inside will tend towards flatter lie angles.

As previously stated, the shaft is not completely rigid. Depending on shaft flex and clubhead speed, the shaft can bend significantly during the swing, particularly as clubhead speed peaks at impact. At this time, the clubhead's center of gravity seeks an in-line condition with the shaft. This causes a downward bend of the shaft, often referred to as 'toe droop'.

Toe droop effectively makes the club's lie angle more upright. The amount of toe droop depends on clubhead speed and shaft flex. A fast swing with a soft shaft will produce a great deal of toe droop, perhaps several degrees. A slower swing with a stiff shaft will produce much less.

All of these aspects need to be considered by the clubfitter but, at the end of the day, a lie board check of the clubs during a final fitting session will be able to detect any improper lie angles and they can be adjusted accordingly at that time.
“You don't have the game you played last year or last week. You only have today's game. It may be far from your best, but that's all you've got. Harden your heart and make the best of it.” - Walter Hagen

#4 2-Dogs

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 06:38 PM

Of course you could be completely mental and get yourself fitted for your favourite iron correctly ... and have your whole set of irons at that length and lie :lol: Works for me !!

Getting the lie / length / flex right is just as important as a traditional set - maybe more so. If you get one wrong in a traditional set at least you will have some of the set that are fitted correctly. Get one wrong in my set and they are ALL wrong :lol:

Thats why I only let a true professional touch my golf clubs ... even if he cant glue a shaft into a club head properly ... I know my bloke is fastidious with his measurements ?!?!?

:D :lol: :lol:

#5 philthy

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 06:43 PM

What about the players that differ their lie angles - like Vijay. I think from memory upright in his long irons to flat in his shorter irons?

#6 Pimp Daddy

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 07:07 PM

What about the players that differ their lie angles - like Vijay. I think from memory upright in his long irons to flat in his shorter irons?

Wouldn't that just mean that he has had each individual club correctly fitted for him?
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#7 2-Dogs

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 07:29 PM

What about the players that differ their lie angles - like Vijay. I think from memory upright in his long irons to flat in his shorter irons?


Upright and Flat are relative terms ... as there is no standard they are kinda useless to use when talking about a custom set of clubs.

The lies are also directly tied to the lengths of the clubs.

All of my clubs are the same length - so technically my 4 iron will be more upright than yours ... but also a few inches shorter - and my wedge will probably be flatter than yours but probably an inch longer.

#8 benstone

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 08:05 PM

I asked about the player's swing because twice when I have been to have my clubs fitted, I have been told to go and sort out my swing instead. At what point is someone ready to be fitted ? I have made some reasonable progress recently and want to be in a position where I can be confident that my clubs are not the problem because I know that they are the right lie angle, shaft flex etc.
I have seen some of the information in vman's original post, and I want to be sure that my clubs aren't hampering any further progress. If I feel that I am swinging on a reasonable plane, am I ready to get my clubs checked out ?

#9 Pimp Daddy

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 08:16 PM

I asked about the player's swing because twice when I have been to have my clubs fitted, I have been told to go and sort out my swing instead.

Benny,
Hope I don't dump a load on any of the fitters here but surely a decent fitter would be able to fit your clubs to you. It's not as if you have a bad swing, it's very consistent. Doesn't make sense to me. :D
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#10 vman

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 09:23 PM

What about the players that differ their lie angles - like Vijay. I think from memory upright in his long irons to flat in his shorter irons?

As 2-dogs said, the terms flat and upright are relative. For instance, if the standard lie angle increments between irons in VJ clubs are 1 degree, and VJ has reduced the increments to, say, a 1/2 degree, then his long irons could be said to be upright and short irons flat 'relative' to the standard lie angle specs.

I have seen some of the information in vman's original post, and I want to be sure that my clubs aren't hampering any further progress. If I feel that I am swinging on a reasonable plane, am I ready to get my clubs checked out ?

As Pimpy said, your swing is certainly consitent enough to have your clubs properly fit. Despite any ongoing swing changes, your swing plane and clubhead speed are not likely to change enough to warrant any great change to lie angle. And, if they do, you can always ajust your lie angles to suit.

In fact, playing with clubs with incorrect lie angles may prevent you from improving your swing. Often, swing faults are compensations for ill-fitted clubs.
“You don't have the game you played last year or last week. You only have today's game. It may be far from your best, but that's all you've got. Harden your heart and make the best of it.” - Walter Hagen

#11 hewge1

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 08:13 AM

In all things, balance?

Without stretching my mind too far, I can NEVER recall seeing a golfer with a flawed swing have that swing improve from fitting the clubs to the impact conditions of the faulty action. Logically, the effect is going to be quite the opposite. Its putting a gun in the guy's hands which is guaranteed to miss the target if he aims and fires it correctly.

I would also vehemently dispute the statement that swing improvements are not likely to appreciably change plane, clubhead speed and angle of attack. Take a 16 handicap swing and turn it into something capable of getting around the course in 80 and at least two of these three factors will have changed dramaticly. Often all of them.

Any golfer who expects to transform an ordinary golf game by clubfitting is dreaming. The process is useless unless performed hand in hand with skilled instruction, and may require the fitting process to be repeated several times over a period of intense hard work spanning years.

The truth is that most punters don't have the patience or dedication to deal with the swing to any great extent, and therefore are quite happy to accept the bandaid they are offered - leaving the underlying disease to go untreated.

Finally, 3 yards with a sandwedge is far, far smaller than the accumulated sum of possible errors in most golfers' swings. Given that teaching the golfer to assemble himself correctly around the golf ball can AT LEAST half the effect of lie angle variations and the benefit of detailed fitting as the foundation of the improvement process becomes highly dubious.

#12 vman

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 10:36 AM

Without stretching my mind too far, I can NEVER recall seeing a golfer with a flawed swing have that swing improve from fitting the clubs to the impact conditions of the faulty action. Logically, the effect is going to be quite the opposite. Its putting a gun in the guy's hands which is guaranteed to miss the target if he aims and fires it correctly.

Don't misquote me, Hewge1. I never said that clubfitting would improve one's swing. I said "playing with clubs with incorrect lie angles may prevent you from improving your swing. Often, swing faults are compensations for ill-fitted clubs." Two completely different things and I stand by my statement. I have seen it over and over again.

I would also vehemently dispute the statement that swing improvements are not likely to appreciably change plane, clubhead speed and angle of attack. Take a 16 handicap swing and turn it into something capable of getting around the course in 80 and at least two of these three factors will have changed dramaticly. Often all of them.

Again, you didn't read what was written. I was answering a question from Benstone who has a fundamentally good swing. There are some minor flaws which he will no doubt address but HIS general swing, including plane, is not likely to change too much. He may gain a FEW mph of clubhead speed but this is insignificant in terms of Lie Angle.

Other swings may change substantially and in this case it may be best to hold off a while on clubftitting.

Any golfer who expects to transform an ordinary golf game by clubfitting is dreaming. The process is useless unless performed hand in hand with skilled instruction, and may require the fitting process to be repeated several times over a period of intense hard work spanning years.

The truth is that most punters don't have the patience or dedication to deal with the swing to any great extent, and therefore are quite happy to accept the bandaid they are offered - leaving the underlying disease to go untreated.

Many golfers do not have the time or inclination to make the swing changes necessary to improve. Certainly, if they did, this would be the way to go. But, provided they have a reasonably consistent swing, flawed or not, fitted equipment is likely to improve their game. And, poorer golfers can actually benefit more than better golfers whose skill level is often good enough to overcome ill-fitted equipment.

Finally, 3 yards with a sandwedge is far, far smaller than the accumulated sum of possible errors in most golfers' swings. Given that teaching the golfer to assemble himself correctly around the golf ball can AT LEAST half the effect of lie angle variations and the benefit of detailed fitting as the foundation of the improvement process becomes highly dubious.

Again, read in full. 3.3 yards with the Sand Wedge was for a 1 degree out lie angle. Many clubs are out 2 or 3 degrees or even more, which can equate to around 10 or more yards out.

Even at the given 1 degree out, a miss of 3.3 yards is substantial. I would hate to think I hit the perfect shot and still missed the target left or right by this amount due simply to a poorly fitted club.

Hewge1, you seem to believe that golfers are better off getting lessons than spending money on equipment. I agree. However, this is not a 'one or the other' argument. Whether they get lessons or not, most players games can be improved with properly fitted equipment. And in this regard, Lie Angle is the best place to start.
“You don't have the game you played last year or last week. You only have today's game. It may be far from your best, but that's all you've got. Harden your heart and make the best of it.” - Walter Hagen

#13 David Williams

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 11:36 AM

vman,

Awesome information contained in here.

In essence, I think lessons and club fitting go nicely hand in hand.

One without the other will improve a golfer but it's about looking at the complete picture.

Have the right equipment in your hands and know how to use them.

Keep up the good work Mick
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#14 hewge1

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 12:39 PM

In fact, playing with clubs with incorrect lie angles may prevent you from improving your swing. Often, swing faults are compensations for ill-fitted clubs.


You can't have it both ways Mick. If that statement is true (and at best its sometimes possible), then it is equally true that a club fitted to compensate for poor impact geometry in a flawed swing must equally discourage the player from swinging better, for when he does the results will get worse.

As for the other points: consistent does not equal good. I know plenty of golfers who have owned consistent swings for decades - and consistently shot in the high 90s with them.

I'd advance that its in fact rare for clubfitting to be the origin of poor swings. Rather, that the instinctive method most humans apply to swinging a bat at a ball are poorly suited to golf.

Its no coincidence that probably 8 out of 10 golfers come off a lie board with an up recommendation. Thats because most serious swing faults will create exactly that.

This is a chicken and egg problem, true. However. The clubfitting fraternity become more vehement year by year that they've got full ownership of the entire poultry farm. The thinking golfer should be given the colder, harsher side of the argument too.

#15 vman

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 01:15 PM

This is a chicken and egg problem, true. However. The clubfitting fraternity become more vehement year by year that they've got full ownership of the entire poultry farm. The thinking golfer should be given the colder, harsher side of the argument too.

Hewge1, I apologise if I have come accross that way, it was not my intention. The point of this thread was to highlight the importance of correctly fitted lie angle, nothing more.

Since you jumped in on the back of my reply to Benstone, I will use his swing as an example (sorry Ben). Ben has a quite repeatable and consistent swing (and FYI, I have never indicated that consistent equalled good)(sorry again, Ben). But, like most of us, Ben has some flaws in his swing which he may or may not seek to address. I am not suggesting he gets fit to compensate for these flaws, I am suggesting he gets fit to those consistencies in his swing which are unlikely to change even with improvement in his swing.

From memory, Ben's swing plane is reasonably solid and his mechanics are reasonably sound. That being the case, it is my opinion that he could benefit from properly fitted Lie Angles. Should his swing change drastically down the track, he can always get the Lie Angles checked and adjusted again in the future.

Hewge1, remember that this is a Golf Equipment thread. I am talking about golf equipment here, not the swing or the advantages of gettng lessons.

For the record, I am happy to concede that a sound golf swing is more important than equipment. But any reasonably consistent swing, sound or not, will benefit from properly fitted equipment.
“You don't have the game you played last year or last week. You only have today's game. It may be far from your best, but that's all you've got. Harden your heart and make the best of it.” - Walter Hagen

#16 Boonie

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 01:42 PM

Thanks for posting that Mick.

Mick, Ben (others)

I'd be interested in your opinion of my situation re: lie angles.

I have had my lie angles done 4 times, 3 by different clubfitters and one by a mate of mine who is a Ping rep (a Ping cart fitting). 2 of the 3 clubfitters, of which one is Ben, are excellent at what they do(did) and they have done nothing but quality work on various clubs/sets of mine.

The results have been 2*up, 2*up, 2*up and 3*up. Firstly I realise there is no official 'standard', but clearly a standard lie board fitting says I need upright lie angles.

Real life:

If I hit a short iron that is 2* up it is FORE LEFT all day, just a nightmare. Looks wrong over the ball and plays worse. 7 iron will feel ordinary and I will fight the left. 3 iron will feel fine.

I have settled on my own set-up, basically from some trial and error. I get 3-8 irons 1 degree upright and my 9-LW standard (whatever Ben's standard was).

Note: In the Ping fitting the impact tape marks were identical for 2,3 and 4* upright, still slightly on the toe and still suggested I could go 'more' upright.

My uneducated possibilities say there are a few options:

1. I adjust subconsciously to whatever club is put in my hand
2. It's a swing issue (but these fittings have been over a 7 year period)
3. I swing differently on a lie board than I do on grass (this to me is the most likely)
4. I have been using clubs too flat for me for 15 years and I should get a set 2-3* up and practice with them until they look and feel right
5. It's more a length issue than a lie issue. Never quite understood this well, but I have tried 1/2" over and 1" over in the past and it felt awful (but didn't give it much of a chance)

Interested in thoughts

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#17 David Williams

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 01:52 PM

Boonie, looks at address mean absolutely nothing for the playability of the club... Lie angle as you know is measured at impact during the swing. If you can't get past the toe being off the ground at address however it can mess with the mind.

Would you rather the clubs look good at address and be flat on the ground or look shite at address and be perfect through impact?

Trust what the clubfitters say and get used to it.

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#18 vman

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 02:11 PM

Boonie, thaey are all possibilities. Without seeing your swing, I couldn't comment. However, I had the same, but opposite, problem to yourself for many years. As a young bloke I was 'fitted' with clubs that were 1 degree upright. These 'fittings' were based on nothing more than wrist to floor measurements.

The very first time I was fitted using a lie board, it was found that I actually needed a couple of degrees flat. However, when I hit these clubs, all the short irons went straight right. It took me months of persisting with them before I got them going at the target. The reason I persisted so long was that I knew down deep that these were the right lie angles for me.

For me, the reason it took time to adapt was that I had been compensating for the misfitted lie angles with alignment and clubface manipulation. Once I became acustomed to the new lie angle, my ball striking consistency and accuracy improved dramatically.
“You don't have the game you played last year or last week. You only have today's game. It may be far from your best, but that's all you've got. Harden your heart and make the best of it.” - Walter Hagen

#19 Guest_golfguy33_*

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 09:03 PM

Hewge1, I can give you dozens of testimonials from customers that have shaved shots off their handicaps immediately after having their clubs fitted to them. In afew cases players have halved their handicaps over several months. The confidence that is gained by some players is amazing.
It can be as simple as the loft and lie angles being set up correctly for the individual after a dynamic fitting. Some players get an instant reaction when given the right shaft and flex.
Others are better fitted with the correct length and swing weight/feel. Even the right type of head design and shaft combination is important in getting the best fit.

Having a flawed swing that is repetitive is fine for the average player and they can always benefit from their equipment being set up for them.
You should get a great swinger to have their gear altered to play exactly the opposite in lie angle to what they are used to and see what happens.

Mick is right on target with the correct fitting of lie angles for all players, because we DON'T all swing it like the pictures in the magazines, even though YOU think we should.
Jon...

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 09:18 PM

Thanks for posting that Mick.

Mick, Ben (others)

I'd be interested in your opinion of my situation re: lie angles.

I have had my lie angles done 4 times, 3 by different clubfitters and one by a mate of mine who is a Ping rep (a Ping cart fitting). 2 of the 3 clubfitters, of which one is Ben, are excellent at what they do(did) and they have done nothing but quality work on various clubs/sets of mine.

The results have been 2*up, 2*up, 2*up and 3*up. Firstly I realise there is no official 'standard', but clearly a standard lie board fitting says I need upright lie angles.

Real life:

If I hit a short iron that is 2* up it is FORE LEFT all day, just a nightmare. Looks wrong over the ball and plays worse. 7 iron will feel ordinary and I will fight the left. 3 iron will feel fine.

I have settled on my own set-up, basically from some trial and error. I get 3-8 irons 1 degree upright and my 9-LW standard (whatever Ben's standard was).

Note: In the Ping fitting the impact tape marks were identical for 2,3 and 4* upright, still slightly on the toe and still suggested I could go 'more' upright.

My uneducated possibilities say there are a few options:

1. I adjust subconsciously to whatever club is put in my hand
2. It's a swing issue (but these fittings have been over a 7 year period)
3. I swing differently on a lie board than I do on grass (this to me is the most likely)
4. I have been using clubs too flat for me for 15 years and I should get a set 2-3* up and practice with them until they look and feel right
5. It's more a length issue than a lie issue. Never quite understood this well, but I have tried 1/2" over and 1" over in the past and it felt awful (but didn't give it much of a chance)

Interested in thoughts


Boonie, that's exactly what custom fitting is all about, the right fit for you. It could be 1* upright from 3ir to 5ir, then standard from 6ir to 9ir and 1* flat with all the wedges. Don't ever think that you have to fit into the same pigeon hole as everyone else. If you're a standard man then go and try to fit into a mens standard set, or get the set altered to your needs and feel. :D
Jon...

#21 Judge Smails

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 09:03 AM

I can vouch for the fitting, my 'new' set of clubs are 4° flat (Boonie, I want to see you hit these at 13thbeach!!) and my handicap went from 14 to 10 (almost 9 confoundit) in next to no time. The confidence I got standing over the ball knowing it was 90% of the time going to go in the right direction was unbelievable. even when I hit a crap shot, I know now that the next one is most likely to be OK.

I would recommend to EVERYONE to get their clubs fitted, most people will go for a lesson now and again and more than likely not practise what they are told, at least with correctly fitted clubs, there will be less margin for error once the backswing starts.

Think of it like driving a car, anyone can drive almost any car fine but if the seat is in the wrong position, it's going to make it a hell of a lot harder than what it should be.
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#22 hewge1

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 09:55 AM

Hewge1, I can give you dozens of testimonials from customers that have shaved shots off their handicaps immediately after having their clubs fitted to them.


And I can gaurantee you that if we take 100 golfers and you give half of them a clubfit and I give the other half an equivalent dollar value in lessons, I know which group is going to experience the greater average improvement. By a significant margin.

In a few cases players have halved their handicaps over several months.


And anyone who is willing to believe that improvement is the sole result of clubfitting should talk to me about a bridge I have to sell.

The beef I have is not with the fitting process. Its with the incredible imbalance increasingly being shouted from the rooftops between fitting, technique and good old fashioned hard work.

You should get a great swinger to have their gear altered to play exactly the opposite in lie angle to what they are used to and see what happens.


Done it. Funnily enough playing with a borrowed ladys set I didn't suddenly start missing short iron shots by large margins. I'll never be "great", but I am mechnically very good. What I do have is a great setup, and I understand the cause and effect of it. And how the correct relationship between body/hands/club/ball cancels out a great proportion of club variation.

#23 vman

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 12:02 PM

The beef I have is not with the fitting process. Its with the incredible imbalance increasingly being shouted from the rooftops between fitting, technique and good old fashioned hard work.

Excuse me for yelling but THIS IS A GOLF EQUIPMENT FORUM!

Hewge1, don't take this the wrong way but, if you want to talk about the benefits of having lessons, start your own thread in the In The Swing forum because you are taking this thread off topic and, frankly, making a tool of yourself.

Again, the aim of this thread was to explain the importance of Lie Angle, nothing more.
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#24 Firey

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 01:28 PM

Hewge1, don't take this the wrong way but, if you want to talk about the benefits of having lessons, start your own thread in the In The Swing forum because you are taking this thread off topic and, frankly, making a tool of yourself.

Motion Seconded.

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#25 Ben

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 04:36 PM

Please keep it on topic. This topic is about Lie Angles. Please feel free to start a "Fitted Clubs vs Swing Training", I am sure you'll get a lot of good responses and opinions.

#26 benstone

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 10:52 AM

So back to the topic.

Mick, I just wanted to discuss the relationship between lie angle and shaft flex.

You said "As previously stated, the shaft is not completely rigid. Depending on shaft flex and clubhead speed, the shaft can bend significantly during the swing, particularly as clubhead speed peaks at impact. At this time, the clubhead's center of gravity seeks an in-line condition with the shaft. This causes a downward bend of the shaft, often referred to as 'toe droop'.


I currently play Flighted Rifle 6.0's in my irons, and have been told in the past that they are too stiff for me. Whilst I can do a quick check of my lie angles by using some tape and hitting off an old chopping board, am I right in saying that those lie angles would be out if I changed the shafts to a different flex ? Can I get away with shafts that may be a bit stiff as long as the lie angles are correct ?
Also, how important is it to get the right lie angle for hybrids and fairway woods ?

#27 David Williams

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 11:09 AM

A softer shaft will have more droop as us men know :D

Getting the correct shaft flex for you will allow you to swing how you do and find the sweetspot more often. If I pick up a ladies shafted club I can't swing at my normal speed to get it to go straight. I have to slow things down.

Hybrid and fairway woods lie angles aren't as important as we are not hitting down into the ground and taking a divot... We are hitting down on the ball still but it is positioned near the bottom of the swing so little or no divot at all.
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#28 2-Dogs

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 04:22 PM

Mick, am I right in guessing that the flex of a shaft if purely for feel?

A stiff shaft will always produce more consistent results - but might feel like crap?

Does the shaft flex actually have anything to do with increasing the club-head speed - or is it just that softer shafts feel like they "flick" through impact for slower swing speeds?

#29 vman

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 07:23 PM

Mick, I just wanted to discuss the relationship between lie angle and shaft flex....

I currently play Flighted Rifle 6.0's in my irons, and have been told in the past that they are too stiff for me. Whilst I can do a quick check of my lie angles by using some tape and hitting off an old chopping board, am I right in saying that those lie angles would be out if I changed the shafts to a different flex ?

When in doubt, I usually recommend that golfers go with a stiffer shaft. But, having said that, I would suggest that a 6.0 is too stiff for you, Ben. I would be thinking somewhere about a 5.0, 5.5 tops.

When the club is swung, the centripetal force imparted pulls against the momentum of the clubhead. This force is directed towards the clubhead's centre of gravity which is usually somewhere about the middle of the clubhead.

The pictures of Nick Faldo below show how toe droop works. Note how at address, Faldo's club is sitting 'toe up' yet at impact the sole of the club is level with the ground. The red line shows the downward bend of the shaft and the clubhead CoG now in line with the shaft.

The answer to your question as to whether shaft stiffness will effect your lie angle is MAYBE.

If you are already swinging strongly enough to cause the shaft to bend similar to Faldo, then a softer shaft will not cause it to bend any further as the shaft will only bend to the point where the clubhead CoG is in line with the shaft and no further.

But, in your case, I would suggest your 6.0 shafts are probably too stiff, at your swing speed, to bend to this degree. A softer shaft will probably allow your club to look more like Faldo's below and therefore change your dynamic lie angle.

Can I get away with shafts that may be a bit stiff as long as the lie angles are correct ?

Not exactly. See my reply to 2-dogs below.

Also, how important is it to get the right lie angle for hybrids and fairway woods ?

It is not that important. The less loft, the less important lie angle becomes. Unless you are using very lofted hybrids (>24*), then I wouldn't worry about it.

Mick, am I right in guessing that the flex of a shaft if purely for feel?

Yes - well mostly. Ideally, you want to chose the stiffest shaft which will still allow the golfer to reach the full toe droop position. As I said above, the shaft will not bend past this position, so it is a good condition for solid, consistent impact. Any softer shaft will only cause excessive backward and forward bend (as opposed to downward bend) and inconsistent ball striking.

A stiff shaft will always produce more consistent results - but might feel like crap?

Sometimes. If a shaft is too stiff, as I think Ben's may be, the golfer will not get full toe droop. This would be fine if the golfer swung with exactly the same force time after time. But when different levels of force are used, differing amounts of toe droop will result causing heel and toe hits.

Does the shaft flex actually have anything to do with increasing the club-head speed - or is it just that softer shafts feel like they "flick" through impact for slower swing speeds?

Tom Wishon says that there is no such thing as the 'buggy whip' effect which would see softer shafts acting like a whip and increasing clubhead speed for more distance. In fact, there is just a little bit of 'whip' effect in softer shafts. However, to benefit from this whip, the club must be swung slower, as at a fast speed, the shaft will not release. So it is a catch 22 situation. This is a complex subject and probably worthy of its own thread.

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 09:31 PM

So back to the topic.

Mick, I just wanted to discuss the relationship between lie angle and shaft flex.

You said "As previously stated, the shaft is not completely rigid. Depending on shaft flex and clubhead speed, the shaft can bend significantly during the swing, particularly as clubhead speed peaks at impact. At this time, the clubhead's center of gravity seeks an in-line condition with the shaft. This causes a downward bend of the shaft, often referred to as 'toe droop'.


I currently play Flighted Rifle 6.0's in my irons, and have been told in the past that they are too stiff for me. Whilst I can do a quick check of my lie angles by using some tape and hitting off an old chopping board, am I right in saying that those lie angles would be out if I changed the shafts to a different flex ? Can I get away with shafts that may be a bit stiff as long as the lie angles are correct ?
Also, how important is it to get the right lie angle for hybrids and fairway woods ?


:D As we all know the flex is only relevant if we can compare apples with apples. Some OEM regular flex shafts are other manufacturers ladies flex or still others stiff flex.
To me the interesting dimension of toe down/shaft droop is how the bottom of the shaft reacts for the individual. Depending on the strength of the tip section of each different shaft, we can determine for the individual how much it will distort at impact. Then recommend the right combination of shaft, which will also help a better fitting for lie angle, with less droop at impact.
Jon...

#31 vman

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 11:54 PM

What is the advantage of less droop, Jon?
“You don't have the game you played last year or last week. You only have today's game. It may be far from your best, but that's all you've got. Harden your heart and make the best of it.” - Walter Hagen

#32 Ben

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 07:25 AM

There should not be "less" or "more" droop, there should be "optimum" droop. A club will only droop as much as physics will allow it, this is optimum droop. Anything less than this and the club will not perform in a predictable manner as the club head droop position will be at a different point with every shot. Where with optimum or maximum droop, the club head will be in the same position every time.

hewge1,

ask Boonie what happens when his lie angles are out by 2 or so degrees. Ask Nick Faldo why he reckons he lost half a season due to his lie angles being out by 3 degrees (I think it was 3 from memory). Lie angle is one of the most important factors in club fitting to assist a golfer to maintain a consistent ball flight.

#33 benstone

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 07:56 AM

So the "perfect" club has a shaft that allows optimum droop so that lie angles can be correctly fitted ? How do you measure or fit for optimum droop ?

#34 vman

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 03:50 PM

There should not be "less" or "more" droop, there should be "optimum" droop.

That's what I think too, Ben. There is no benefit in minimising toe droop, especially if that results in inconsistent degrees of toe droop.

So the "perfect" club has a shaft that allows optimum droop so that lie angles can be correctly fitted ? How do you measure or fit for optimum droop ?

The amount of toe droop is proportional to clubhead speed. The faster the club is swung, the greater centripetal force.

I believe that the optimal amount of toe droop is actually the maximum. Remember, the shaft will not bend past the point where the clubhead's CoG is in-line. Even if the club was shafted with a rubber garden hose, there will be no more toe droop than this.

So, to this end, the softer the shaft the better. A softer shaft will allow maximum, and therefore consistent, toe droop. The trouble is that too soft a shaft will not release properly, so it becomes a balancing act.
“You don't have the game you played last year or last week. You only have today's game. It may be far from your best, but that's all you've got. Harden your heart and make the best of it.” - Walter Hagen

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 04:20 PM

-- snippo --

When the club is swung, the centripetal force imparted pulls against the momentum of the clubhead. This force is directed towards the clubhead's centre of gravity which is usually somewhere about the middle of the clubhead.

The pictures of Nick Faldo below show how toe droop works. Note how at address, Faldo's club is sitting 'toe up' yet at impact the sole of the club is level with the ground. The red line shows the downward bend of the shaft and the clubhead CoG now in line with the shaft.
-- snippo --


Excellent explanation Mick - thanks. This is the first time I have actually understood his droop business and it makes perfect sense.

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 09:07 PM

What is the advantage of less droop, Jon?


If Boonie had less droop at impact he would not need as much toe up at address ! :D
Why has/does Jack play 7.0 ProX shafts ? Aim and fire, that's why.
Jon...

#37 vman

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 10:47 PM

If Boonie had less droop at impact he would not need as much toe up at address ! :D
Why has/does Jack play 7.0 ProX shafts ? Aim and fire, that's why.
Jon...

Fair enough, Jon. I guess that is the other extreme - no, or next to no, toe droop.
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#38 hewge1

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 07:59 AM

hewge1,

ask Boonie what happens when his lie angles are out by 2 or so degrees. Ask Nick Faldo why he reckons he lost half a season due to his lie angles being out by 3 degrees (I think it was 3 from memory). Lie angle is one of the most important factors in club fitting to assist a golfer to maintain a consistent ball flight.


I thought I'd been censored out of this topic.

I have a thorough working knowledge of the principles involved. I've referred clients in your direction for fitting.

Which does not change the fact that I find the importance of fitting to many golfers to be massively overstated. And that the overwhelming majority of folk who scream from the roof tops have little or no comprehension of the interconnection with the swing. Those here are not nearly among the worst culprits, no doubt, yet still blinkered and overly dogmatic.

We need go no further to see this illustrated than a scroll up this page, where talk of swing technique is petulantly described as "off topic".

How can you possibly fit a player to optimise his results with that attitude? Fitting is useless unless it begins from the point of what the gremlins in a player's swing do to his impact dynamics. In most cases this is quite predictable. And is the reason that so many unfortunate golfers are carrying clubs with quite ridiculous up adjustments.

#39 Ben

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 08:51 AM

And that the overwhelming majority of folk who scream from the roof tops have little or no comprehension of the interconnection with the swing.


I don't think anyone is suggesting that. For me I do not fit someone who flips the wrists, as they get little to no benefit out of fitting (at my level anyway), as there is no compression of the shaft. Then you can really only fit for loft and face angle (which in a lot of cases can also provide a large benefit).

But for the player who has compression, and can hold their wrist cock into impact and actually get the benefit out of how a club works, fitting is just as important as the swing. That is where I personally draw the distiction. I've turned away countless people and sent them back to their coaches saying fix the break down of the wrists at impact, then I can fit you for clubs.

Mick/GG33,

I cannot agree about the toe droop issue. If you are stoping the toe droop by using such strong shafts then you are stopping the shaft bending forward at impact aswell and probablly creating the feeling of needing to smash the cover off the club which will always lead to timing issues.

Jack uses such stong shafts because he generates a massive amount of compression through his late wrist release. Anything too soft and all the problems we've been talking about start to come into play. The theory that a stiffer shaft is more controllable is bollocks. If anything, always err on the side of soft. A shaft that is too stiff will introduce swing faults and expose swing faults a lot quicker than a shaft that is too soft.

Ditch the wives tales and pay more attention to the physics and mechanics of the swing.

#40 hewge1

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 01:46 PM

For me I do not fit someone who flips the wrists, as they get little to no benefit out of fitting (at my level anyway), as there is no compression of the shaft. Then you can really only fit for loft and face angle (which in a lot of cases can also provide a large benefit).

But for the player who has compression, and can hold their wrist cock into impact and actually get the benefit out of how a club works, fitting is just as important as the swing. That is where I personally draw the distiction.


Why stop there?

Lets take a quite common example of golfer. Decent player who shoots 80 ish or better. Quite an attractive swing motion, but has a minor over the top move left over from his early golfing days. There are lots of them around. Even some on tour.

This player is highly likely to come through the clubfitting process with a an up recommendation because of his swing fault. Typically this swing type subconsciously learns by experience to roll through release agressively and square the clubface despite the OTT. As a result he rarely misses right (even though he often has a stock fade, but will randomly miss big left for no apparent reason.

Bottom line - this player will receive no value from having the upright club placed in his hands. It will very likely damage his results.




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