What is Lie Angle in Golf and Why is it so Important?
You may have heard the phrase ‘lie angle’ spoken about among your golfing friends or from your local PGA Professional in the golf shop. Each of your golf clubs has a specific lie angle, but do you know what the lie angle of your clubs are or how to find out?
Chances are, if you have not had your golf clubs custom fitted then your lie angle is not going to be ideal for your golf swing. If your lie angle is wrong, then you are making hitting the sweet spot of your club even harder than it already is.
In this article we will be explaining what lie angle is in golf. We will take a look at how you ensure you get the right lie angle in your clubs and why it is so important.
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What is lie angle in golf?
Lie angle refers to the angle created between the center of the shaft and the sole when the club is parallel with the ground through the impact position. When the sole lies completely flat to ground your club is considered square, which is the perfect lie angle.
Your swing path may cause you to strike the ground with the heel or toe of your clubhead first, which adjusts the lie angle through impact.
Why is lie angle so important?
Adjusting your lie angle can help you hit more golf balls from the center of your clubface as well as hit it straighter. All without making any adjustments to your swing. What golfer does not want that?
Golfers that have a steep swing typically strike the ball towards the toe of the club. The heel is raised through impact, whilst the toe digs into the ground. This causes the clubface to open through impact, resulting in a slice.
The opposite is true for golfers with a flat swing. The heel makes contact with the turf first, causing the clubface to shut and a hook is the common result.
If your common miss is a slice, then a more upright lie angle will help the clubface to come through closer to square at impact and move the strike position towards the center. For a golfer hitting hooks, a flatter lie angle is what you need.
How do I know what lie angle I should be using?
The only way to accurately determine what lie angle you need is by having a club fitting with a qualified instructor or PGA Professional. Firstly, they will assess your personal characteristics, such as height and distance from wrists to floor. Then a strike board or lie angle face tape will be used to find out your current lie angle.
You can roughly test your lie angle yourself, which I will discuss shortly, but the benefit of a specialist club fitter is that they can use their experience based on hundreds or thousands of fitting. They will discuss your golfing objectives, assess your current swing and can use a launch monitor to give you more insight.
As promised, if you want to test the current lie angle of your clubs yourself, then use a non-permanent marker to draw a straight line on your golf ball. Position this line vertically on the floor and then address the golf ball to hit a straight shot.
After the shot your marker should have left a line on your clubface. If the line slants towards the heel, this means your lie angle is too flat. Slanting towards the toe means too upright. Straight down the middle, your lie angle is perfect.
Do tall golfers always need an upright lie angle?
Height is not an accurate determining factor when it comes to deciding your lie angle and your swing path has a far greater impact.
That being said, it is definitely more common for taller golfers to need an upright lie angle and for shorter golfers to need a flatter lie angle.
Tall golfers with a longer-than-average wrist to floor measurement will need lengthened shafts, which stereotypically means an upright lie angle. The reason is that tall golfers often favor a slightly steeper swing to make use of their longer levers. However, there are also tall golfers with flatter swings and in this case an upright lie angle could be detrimental.
This is the exact opposite for smaller golfers that need shortened shafts.
Lie angle is arguably one of the most important aspects of your golf set-up, because it can have a huge impact on the accuracy of your golf shots. Changing your lie angle is not going to fix a bad golf swing, but it can certainly help reduce the effect of bad shots and help you hit the sweet spot more often.
If you have never tested your lie angle before, I would recommend having a session with a PGA Professional. For a relatively small fee they could adjust the lie angle of your golf clubs and it could have a far bigger impact than buying a new set of irons.
Remember to check back on your lie angles before the start of a season, because they can change over time. Plus, after any significant swing changes you should test your lie angle too. It might seem like a lot of effort, but checking lie angles is quick and easy and it is definitely worth it for any serious golfer.