When visiting Myrtle Beach on your next golf trip you might stop into one of our many golf retail outlets. If you are in the market for a new set of clubs it is important that you understand the meaning of loft and lie. The loft and lie of a golf club are often misunderstood measurements. They can be difficult to explain without the aid of pictures, but we will keep it simple and use some basic descriptions that will help visualize the concepts.
LOFT: To start, envision a golf club in your hands, sitting flat on the floor in a playing position. Then envision a vertical straight line that starts from the center of the club face and extends upward to the sky. The club face angles backward to give the ball loft when it is struck. The angle between the imaginary vertical line that we envisioned and the club face is called the “loft”.
Golf clubs have varying degrees of loft, lower angles for the longer clubs and getting progressively larger for the shorter clubs. For example, the typical driver loft is normally 9 degrees to 12 degrees depending on how high you want to hit your drives. The 3-iron typically has 20 degrees of loft, the 5-iron has 25 degrees, the 7-iron has 32 degrees, the 9-iron has 41 degrees, and so on down through the wedges. The lob wedge will have the most loft at 60 degrees. So, you can readily understand that the shorter clubs have the most loft to allow hitting the higher ball.
LIE: Again, we need to envision a golf club in your hands, sitting flat on the floor in a playing position. If the bottom of the club is contacting the floor at a point that is directly under the center of the club face, it is sitting in a proper playing position for you. In that playing position, the angle between the centerline of the club shaft and the floor (between your feet) is called the “lie”. If the toe of the club head (the end farthest away from you is pointed upward, the contact point between the club and floor will be more toward the heal of the club (the end of the club head nearest your feet). That position is not correct for you and will result in shots that have a tendency to travel to the left or hook left (assuming you are right handed). In this case, you would require a lie angle adjustment (bending) that would lower the lie angle by 1 to 5 degrees, depending on the severity.
Conversely, if the lie is too flat (meaning the bottom of the club is contacting the floor nearer the toe), your shots will have a tendency to fly to the right or fade (again assuming you are right handed).
CONCLUSION: If your golf clubs do not sit flat, contacting the floor at the vertical centerline of the face, you may need to take them to a pro shop to have them adjusted. It should be noted that the contemporary stainless steel cast irons can only be safely bent a maximum of 3 degrees. Forged chrome plated clubs can be bent up to 5 degrees. It should also be noted that it is extremely difficult to bend drivers or fairway woods. It’s a wrestling match that normally leaves dents and marks on the head.