The most important factor in having your clubs fitted is the club’s Lie Angle!
If you were to go for a club fitting for a new set of clubs, keep an eye on the first thing the club fitter does for you. The first part of the fitting should be you hitting your old clubs of a lie board. A lie board is a flat surface, generally made out of hardened perspex. The fitter must first establish what your current clubs are doing and whether you have been playing with the correct lie angles so far.
If the fitter fails to do this and goes straight into shaft fitting then ‘head for the hills’ as they aren’t going to be helping you to get what you need. The lie angle can tell the fitter a lot about why you swing the club the way you do.
So few amateurs ever have their lie angles checked and even fewer know that the lie angles will change over time. The Pro’s have them check religiously!!!
The lie angle is the measured angle of the shaft leaving the ground when the sole of the club is sitting flat on the ground. What we are interested is the angle of the shaft at the impact position, not the address position.
What influences the club at the impact position is the:
- position of the hands
- the angle that the club came at the ball from
- the bowing of the shaft
The hands in most cases will be higher at impact than they were at address.
The angle the club approaches the ball from needs to be from an inside path, but not way inside.
The centrifugal force of swinging the club with the main weight of the club head being outside the shaft, causes the shaft to bend or droop towards the ground, as much as 2 degrees.
The fitter will generally place some tape on the bottom of your club and ask you to hit some balls. If the tape marks towards the toe of the club, the club will be too flat and the ball will tend to want to fly to the right. And if it marks towards the heal of the club, it is too upright and the ball will fly to the left.
We have all heard about 2 degrees up or 3 degrees flat but what does that all mean? Simple for every 1 every degree the club’s Lie Angle is out a ball travelling 150 meters will be off line by 5 metres if you hit the ball properly. For a wedge shot hit 100 meters that equates to a 2.5 metres error which is not your fault. Lie angle has very little or no influence on low lofted clubs, such as driver and 3 wood. The 5 iron would be the most effected as it has enough loft to get the ball in the air and travel up to 175 metres for some players.
Poor lie angles in long irons can lead to the ball flight being to low.
While we are at it don’t think you putter escapes the ‘lie angle’ calamity either.
Having the nose of the putter stuck up in the air or the heel off the ground leads to miss hit putts. Dave Pelz, the bloke who worked out the perfect putt should be hit hard enough that if it missed it should travel 17 inches past the hole, has scientifically proven that ‘off center’ hits is the single biggest factor in 3 putting a green.
In simple terms when you miss the center of the putter the ball does not go as far. Having your putter lie angle properly adjusted for your setup is critical.
I first became aware of the effect of lie angles on ball flight, through my training with the Henry Griffitts Golf company back in 1987. At the time they were virtually the only significant manufacturer to fit clubs and were pioneers in the field. I have been an active fitter ever since and can’t thank them enough for what they have taught me about clubfitting. Their founder Randy Henry is truly inspirational.
Professional Golf Club Fitters are also successful Teaching Professionals.
Try to be fit for your clubs by the coach you are seeing or have him select a fitter for you and ask or pay him to attend the fitting session. That way the coach and the fitter can work together to find the best outcome for you and believe me they want a great outcome for you, as you could become their best advertisement.