March 6

Lie Angle: A Visual Guide to an Important Spec

Golf Club Fitting


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Lie Angle is the most important spec when it comes to your irons.

Maybe you’ve heard of how an incorrect lie angle affects your shots.  Maybe you haven’t.  If you’re in the latter group, listen up: here is a visual on how an incorrect lie angle will hurt your accuracy.

Take a look at this pic:

lie angle's effect on accuracy

Do you see that?  Even if you execute the best swing of your life, if the lie angle of your iron(s) is too flat or upright, you’ll always miss the green!  Some of the experts claim it to be upwards of 42 yards!

Sometimes, it isn’t the archer after all…

How messed up is that?

How Do I Know If My Lie Angle’s Not Right?

Good question!  For starters, you may get a feeling as if you put a good swing on the ball, but it still flies in a (fairly) straight line, just left or right.  Sometimes it’ll hook or slice, as well, which can add to the confusion.

The good news is, you can see for yourself if the lie angle is incorrect, with a tiny investment and some elbow grease.  You can find the elbow grease right next to the

headlight fluid

at your local hardware store.

Actually, just grab a Sharpie.  Honestly, though, it would’ve been fun as hell to see you walk around the hardware store looking for elbow grease and headlight fluid!  Oh, well…

Here’s a quote from Tom Wishon:

Recent studies and observations have shown that the technique where an ink line is drawn on the back of the ball is better for dynamic lie fitting than using a lie board with tape on the sole of the iron. Plus the ink-line technique can also be done while hitting shots from normal mown grass lies so as to avoid having to hit the club down into a hard surface lie board, a practice which does bother some golfers and cause them to possibly swing differently than they do when hitting shots off grass.

So the technique is, when you hit the ball check the mark left by the marker.  If it’s vertical, that means everything’s A-OK with your lie angles.  If the mark is tilted up towards the toe ( ” \ ” for righties) the lie angle’s too upright.  If it’s tilted towards the heel ( ” / ” for righties) that means the lie angle’s too flat.

No more lie-fitting boards.  No more lie angle tape, though steps are in place to create face tape to allow us to know the severity of any lie angle issues.

So much easier!

 So I Did The Test… Now What?

Well, unless you have a loft/lie bending machine handy (doubtful, given the costs), take your clubs to a local clubfitter.  S/He can bend the lie angles for a fee.  I can’t give you a true estimate.  I would charge you $5 a head, but I’m not everyone.

I feel it’s my duty to also tell you that, even in the best of circumstances, it’s possible to snap the clubhead at the hosel.  This normally occurs with zinc heads; Zn is a brittle metal, so any attempt to bend loft or lie will result in a broken clubhead.  With the other metals (stainless and carbon steel), it’s less likely but still possible.  Much like a paperclip, metal can only bend so many times.  At any rate, this is a head’s up.

Witty Conclusion Phrase

Obviously, people should know to get their clubs properly fitted.  I’m also not so much of a fitting snob to know that for some, that’s just not possible.  Some just consider themselves lucky to be playing this great game.

Life happens.

But if anything, I’d implore everyone to at the very least have your lie angles checked out.  They have such a crucial effect on your shot outcomes it’s too important to ignore.

Further Reading:


About the author 

Justin Blair

Justin Blair is the founder of Green Lantern Golf. When he isn't bringing his 10+ years of excellent craftsmanship experience to golf club fitting, building, and repair, he's geeking out about Star Wars (he's watched them all about 8,437 times!) and things like the MCU and LOTR, he's drinking mead and craft brews. If you wanna know more, check out my About Page!

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