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RussUK

Lie Angle and Its Effect on Ball Contact

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This summer I got fitted for new irons and the session showed I needed irons 3 degrees upright. I vaguely remember the fitter saying I showed address the ball normally and the toe of the club would sit a little higher of the ground than before but this would correct during the downswing and deliver the sole correctly to the turf (my swing permitting of course) due to the flexing/bending of the shaft and to fight the urge to set the sole flat.

For the first few times i was hitting really good, solid shots however recently i have been hitting some very thin shots and shots off the toe. I think i may be addressing the ball with the sole flat on the turf.

My question therefore is, if an upright lie angle is set flat at address what effect would this have at impact and what bad shots could this cause (thin toey shots perhaps?).

When I swing with the club at address as it was designed/altered (i.e toe up) i can hit the ground in a consistent place each time. As you can tell when it comes to equipment i'm not what you would call "educated" ;-).

Many thanks, as always, for your advice.

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4 hours ago, RussUK said:

I vaguely remember the fitter saying I showed address the ball normally and the toe of the club would sit a little higher of the ground than before but this would correct during the downswing and deliver the sole correctly to the turf (my swing permitting of course) due to the flexing/bending of the shaft and to fight the urge to set the sole flat

Yes, that's correct. The shaft deflects downward a bit. You want the toe slightly off the ground at address. 

4 hours ago, RussUK said:

My question therefore is, if an upright lie angle is set flat at address what effect would this have at impact and what bad shots could this cause (thin toey shots perhaps?).

Your lie at impact would end up being too flat. Generally that causes the ball the start further to the right for a right handed golfer. It could also end up up causing you to hit the ground too early with the toe of the club and make you hit slightly fat.

I think what may be happening is you're altering your setup to get the club flat on the ground and it's affecting your swing. You're probably hitting thin shots because you don't want to hit the ball fat so you're compensating for it.

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41 minutes ago, billchao said:

Yes, that's correct. The shaft deflects downward a bit. You want the toe slightly off the ground at address. 

Your lie at impact would end up being too flat. Generally that causes the ball the start further to the right for a right handed golfer. It could also end up up causing you to hit the ground too early with the toe of the club and make you hit slightly fat.

I think what may be happening is you're altering your setup to get the club flat on the ground and it's affecting your swing. You're probably hitting thin shots because you don't want to hit the ball fat so you're compensating for it.

Sounds about right. Even on practice swings if the club is flat on the floor and i swing I struggle to hit the turf and if i do it's often more like skimming it. It's amazing how much of this game is in your head.

 

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Just now, iacas said:

It’s likely your swing not the clubs.

Most definately not the clubs. I think @billchao may have hit the nail on the head with compensating for seeting up with the sole flat.

When i first starting using the clubs i was making a concious effort to ground the club correctly with the toe up a bit. Now it's as if my brain is now looking at it and telling me as it looks a little too much to up to correct it. May be worth checking this as part of my pre shot routine till it's second nature?

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Go ahead and check your lie angles yourself and then circle back around to what you are doing in your swing. This will at least give you the confidence that your clubs are correct.

Use a sharpie test and check your lie angles.

Draw a line on the ball about an inch long with a sharpie or dry erase marker. Set the ball on the ground with the line perpendicular to the ground with it pointing at your club face (ie away from your target). Hit a couple balls this way with each club and take note where the line imprint is pointing on the club's face. Straight up and down means lie is good. If it's at an angle then you need to adjust your lie angle.

Remember when you do this make sure you are hitting on flat turf or the results are junk. Also I like to hit off a mat versus turf as the turf can rub the marker line off the face.

It's easier said than done but try not to worry about how the club sits at set up, only worry about impact. 

FYI, the main reason for the change in lie angle during the swing has less to do with the toe droop effect and more to do with your hands raising at impact. The centrifugal force pulls the club head and therefore your hands away from your body changing the necessary lie angle. My guess as to what you are experiencing is you are raising your hands at set up to level the club head lie, but you are also unknowingly standing further away from the ball when you do. Once you get to impact your body moves into it's natural impact position which is now further away from the ball, leading to toe and thin hits.

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7 hours ago, Adam C said:

Draw a line on the ball about an inch long with a sharpie or dry erase marker. Set the ball on the ground with the line perpendicular to the ground with it pointing at your club face (ie away from your target). Hit a couple balls this way with each club and take note where the line imprint is pointing on the club's face. Straight up and down means lie is good. If it's at an angle then you need to adjust your lie angle.

I never really understood this. It requires you to set the line nearly perfectly vertically and to then determine whether the line on the club is perfectly vertical. If you're off by 1-2° on each… you can be off 3-4° lie angle "read." Which is significant.

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6 minutes ago, iacas said:

I never really understood this. It requires you to set the line nearly perfectly vertically and to then determine whether the line on the club is perfectly vertical. If you're off by 1-2° on each… you can be off 3-4° lie angle "read." Which is significant.

Actually not hard at all. The measurements are not 1 to 1 when you look at the face mark. Don't ask me why as I can't give you the exact reason but it actually comes out to closer to 1/4 inch at the top end of the mark where you would measure from. So if the top of the mark is 1/4 to the toe side of the club, that would equal 1 degree flat bending.

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10 minutes ago, Adam C said:

Actually not hard at all. The measurements are not 1 to 1 when you look at the face mark. Don't ask me why as I can't give you the exact reason but it actually comes out to closer to 1/4 inch at the top end of the mark where you would measure from. So if the top of the mark is 1/4 to the toe side of the club, that would equal 1 degree flat bending.

You've still got to make the line perfectly vertical. So if your line is off 2°, you're going to see the top of the line off 1/2"? That sounds even worse.

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30 minutes ago, iacas said:

You've still got to make the line perfectly vertical. So if your line is off 2°, you're going to see the top of the line off 1/2"? That sounds even worse.

I promise it's not difficult. I use it all the time. If you ever use a line on the ball to line up putts, it's no different. If you are really worried you can use a ball sleeve or golf glove package to check your right angles.

You don't need a professional fitter or expensive equipment, you can do it yourself with very good accuracy.

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9 minutes ago, Adam C said:

I promise it's not difficult. I use it all the time. If you ever use a line on the ball to line up putts, it's no different. If you are really worried you can use a ball sleeve or golf glove package to check your right angles.

You don't need a professional fitter or expensive equipment, you can do it yourself with very good accuracy.

I've done it too, and I've also seen people's inability to get a ball to sit with a line within 0.25°. Especially off a mat, where the ball can roll a little if you sole the club behind it, enough for it to roll a little bit.

I don't think it's all that accurate, especially when you're talking about a situation where 1 or 2° matter.

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23 minutes ago, iacas said:

I've done it too, and I've also seen people's inability to get a ball to sit with a line within 0.25°. Especially off a mat, where the ball can roll a little if you sole the club behind it, enough for it to roll a little bit.

I don't think it's all that accurate, especially when you're talking about a situation where 1 or 2° matter.

What method(s) do you suggest then?

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50 minutes ago, iacas said:

I've done it too, and I've also seen people's inability to get a ball to sit with a line within 0.25°. Especially off a mat, where the ball can roll a little if you sole the club behind it, enough for it to roll a little bit.

I don't think it's all that accurate, especially when you're talking about a situation where 1 or 2° matter.

If a person isn't able to get a line pointing in a relatively straight up and down position, I don't know how they are going to be able to play this game. Alignment, be it with a driver, iron, or putter requires a certain amount of not only hand eye coordination but also geometric visualization. If you can read the break on a putt, you can get a line facing perpendicular to the ground and check your lie angle.

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1 minute ago, Adam C said:

If a person isn't able to get a line pointing in a relatively straight up and down position, I don't know how they are going to be able to play this game. Alignment, be it with a driver, iron, or putter requires a certain amount of not only hand eye coordination but also geometric visualization. If you can read the break on a putt, you can get a line facing perpendicular to the ground and check your lie angle.

That is not remotely accurate.

I’ve tested Tour players and they can’t always line up a line within 0.5 degrees.

You’re overstating how easy this is. It’s lazy.

The Sharpie thing can give you an idea, but it’s not a “measurement” by any real stretch.

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Again, that line angle is not 1 to 1. It's really almost 10 degrees per degree of change in lie, so even if you can't quite get the line perfect, the result will be more than adequate for 99% of golfers.

I have faith that most golfers can do this lie check on their own. Honestly, everyone should do this at least once a year to make sure everything is close to where it should be. If it looks a little off, then you can go to a reputable club builder, fitter or teaching pro and have them double check.

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1 minute ago, Adam C said:

Again, that line angle is not 1 to 1. It's really almost 10 degrees per degree of change in lie, so even if you can't quite get the line perfect, the result will be more than adequate for 99% of golfers.

Which means if your line is 0.3 degrees off of vertical it’ll be 3 degrees off on the face.

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I'm pretty confident that the 3* upright is correct for me as the pro was very thorough during the fitting (i actually only went to see if graphite shafts would be right for me) and he checked pretty much everything about my swing.

I think its swing or (more specifically) setup related as when you see something that doesnt look right such as the toe being higher than before there is a real urge to "correct" it. It's annoying as i finished the year hitting very well but i'll be happy if its just a setup issue.

I know @mvmacposted a topic about the sharpie pen lie check a while back but i can see that it's best used as a "guidline" check to help decide whether to get it checked profesionally.

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I'm no expert, but it seems to me in real life you are always hitting balls below your feet, above your feet, downhill lies, uphill lies, etc. In those cases the lie angle of the clubs changes drastically up or down with respect to the ground. And you can still hit straight shots if you have a good technique. My opinion.

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