Lie – Loft

Whey are lie and loft important?

Simply put…
The lie of the club determines if the ball goes where you point the clubface and the loft determines how far the ball will goes when hit.

Got it? Read on.

The following information, although I may have interjected a comment here and there, is from an E-Tech Report published by Tom Wishon. I can’t explain it any better so I give you Tom’s explanation.

Clubhead Measuring for Loft & Lie

Being able to know what these specs are on any head you are analyzing for a golfer, and then knowing how to measure loft, lie and face angle accurately are important skills for a clubmaker to have. I thought the more of this information I can make available to you the more you will understand why it is important to measure your clubs accurately.

There are definitely techniques for accurately measuring clubhead specifications (sic. “specs”) on a clubhead that are not covered in any of the “user manuals” that may come with any of the industry’s head spec-measuring machines. Primary among such techniques is just how the heads have to be positioned for perfect spec measurement. If the clubhead is not properly positioned in the specs machine, there is no way the measurements will be accurate. Because I do this nearly every day in my work, I felt it would be helpful to cover some of the critical points for being able to measure head specs as accurately as possible so that you too could understand how critical these measurements are to you and your game.

You Must Have a Decent Specs-measuring Machine

Keep in mind that accuracy is the only reason for measuring loft, lie and face angle. I use one of the most respected and accurate machines in the industry to verify the loft and face angle of Drivers, fairways and hybrids and to double check irons when we feel the need. This machine allows me to adjust the head in the machine to the address position so I can get an accurate measurement of the playing loft and face angle.
Many of the Drivers my customers bring in are off by plus or minus  2° or more and this can make a significant difference not only in launch angle and trajectory but carry distance and roll out. The face angle can alter flight patterns by being open or closed at impact and this too is an important measurement to insure more accurate shots.

Measuring is not Bending

Not only do I do accurate measurements on the the customer equipment but I have one of the industry standards in bending machines to bend the clubs to the correct loft and lie when necessary or if I need to alter the loft and lie to fit my customer.
The Mitchell bending machine is so accurate that I am inclined to use it for iron measurements also. Over the years the variation between the measuring machine and the Mitchell have been moot. The Mitchell bending machine sets the standard for the industry and I only use the best equipment in the industry.
Having the Mitchell machine I believe I have the best machine in the industry to adjust, correct or customize you golf clubs for you. Quality and Dependability are assured with every step of the way I guarantee it!

Iron/Wedge Head Measurement 1

Reference the proper lie position ONLY from the leading edge radius. The iron/wedge head is in the proper position for measurement only when the center of the leading edge between the score lines becomes the point closest to touching the base of the machine. Many people make the mistake of trying to position the head so that the center of the sole from heel to toe touches the base of the machine. The reason that this cannot be done is because most iron and wedge soles have a bounce sole angle, and because the sole usually becomes wider from heel to the toe (The main reason the sole of many iron and wedge heads is wider at the toe than the heel is to offset the mass of the hosel and thus keep the center of gravity in the center area of the face). A bounce sole angle will cause the head to touch the base of the specs machine on its back/trailing edge. If the sole is also wider at the toe than at the heel, the point of contact with the base of the specs-measuring machine will be on the toe side of sole center on the trailing edge when the head is actually in the proper measuring position.
(see photo 2a and 2b)

Here is a classic example of an iron/wedge head (Sand Wedge) in its proper measuring position with the point of contact on the base of the machine being on the toe side of sole center. Focus your eyes on the radius of the leading edge which is emphasized by the bold line in the photo. Note that the low point of the leading edge radius in the center of the score line area is the point closest to touching the base of the machine.

When the iron or wedge sole (Sand Wedge) is not as tapered in width from heel to toe, the center of the sole directly under the center of the score line area will be the proper point of contact with the base of the machine to ensure proper position of the head for measurement.

Iron/Wedge Head Measurement 2

There is no “if, and or but” about using a device to square the face of an iron or wedge head for accurate loft measurement. It is impossible to measure the loft without one. The face MUST be perfectly square to measure the loft angle It is not possible to position the face of an iron or wedge head square using your eyes. I can list the technical and optical illusion reasons for this, but I won’t because I don’t need to defend this statement. I have yet to see a QC person in a quality foundry ever make a loft measurement on an iron or wedge head without using the device that comes with the higher quality specs machines and is designed to position the face perfectly square. (See photo 3)

Iron/Wedge Head Measurement 3

It is OK to use a small hand-held protractor to measure loft as long as its accuracy has been verified and the face remains square while loft is being measured. (photo 4) When using a hand held protractor, you must keep the face square while taking the measurement for loft. To measure iron and wedge head loft correctly, you must first position the head in the machine in the proper lie angle measurement position. If this is not done, there is no way the loft can be measured accurately. Second, as mentioned before, you must square the face with a device that comes with the specs-measuring machine that is made for this very purpose. Keep the face squaring device completely flat and tight against the face while making the loft measurement as shown in the photo below (See photo 4) and push the protractor flat against the face. The loft will be read directly off the protractor.

Positioning Woodheads for Accurate Specs Measurement

Accurately measuring the loft, lie and face angle of woodheads is far more difficult than measuring the same specs on iron and wedge heads. The reason is because wood soles are often made with a face-to-back radius and woodhead faces are usually made with a vertical curvature called Roll. This requires a lot more “judgment” on behalf of the clubmaker when placing the woodhead in the machine in the proper position for lie and face angle. While loft on a woodhead with vertical Roll is always measured at the very center of the face, if the head is not positioned properly for lie and face angle, the loft measurement will never be correct.

Woodhead Measurement #1

The center of the score lines may not indicate the point on the sole that is to touch the base of the machine for proper lie angle position. With iron and wedge heads, the face is flat from toe-to-heel. On woodheads, the face always has a specific horizontal bulge radius from the toe to the heel edges of the face. Because of certain optical illusions created by the wood face extending past the center of the hosel (on irons this almost never happens) it is very common for foundries to position the score lines on the face so that the middle of the lines is not precisely in the geometric center of the face. (See photo 5) Thus when positioning woodheads in the proper lie position, the point of contact with the base of the specs-measuring machine should always be in the center of the sole and not directly under the center of the score line area. (see photo 5)
Note how the point of sole contact is in the center of the sole with the distance from the base of the machine up to the edges of the sole at the toe and heel the same yet the center of the sole is not coordinated with the center of the score lines – this woodhead is in the proper lie angle position. The way that experienced people learn to set the woodhead in the proper lie position is to have the center of the sole be the point of contact with the base of the machine, and so the distance up from the base to the edges of the toe and heel sides of the sole is the same. In this position, the score lines will almost never be parallel with the base of the specs machine.

Woodhead Measurement #2

How the woodhead sits on the floor is how it has to be positioned for face angle measurement  (photo 6) Here you see an example of how the face-to-back point of contact on the specs-measuring machine can be different for different woodhead designs. Again, this is because of the effect of the heads CG and size on how the head sits naturally in its address position. Another reason that iron and wedge heads are easy to measure is because they do not have a “face angle”. All golfers are taught to HOLD an iron or wedge so the face and leading edge are square to the target line for normal “shot making”. Not so with woods because we golfers allow the woodhead to “sit” on its sole and assume a face angle as the normal procedure for hitting shots with woods. As a result, woodheads not only have to subscribe to a toe-to-heel point of sole contact with the base of the measuring machine; there also has to be a point of sole contact defined for the proper positioning of a woodhead in a specs machine from face-to-back. (see photo 6) One exception to this are woodheads that are designed with very little face-to-back sole radius. Typically, most fairway woodheads are designed with less face-to-back sole radius than drivers so they tend to “sit” in the specs-measuring machine with far less variation when it comes to measuring face angle.

Woodhead Measurement Tip 3

The woodhead must remain in the proper position for loft and face angle measurement  (photo 7) GENTLY hold the head in position with one hand while the other positions the loft protractor against the proper position on the face for loft measurement. Once you have the woodhead properly positioned in the specs-measuring machine, it does not take much to rotate the head out of its proper face angle measurement position. If the face angle position moves, the loft measurement will not be accurate. Thus care must be taken to use one hand to lightly hold the head in position while the other hand is used to record the loft (see photo 7), or move the face angle slide to touch the face for its measurement. For loft measurement, remember that on heads with normal vertical roll, the loft protractor is to touch in the exact vertical center of the face to perform the loft measurement. If necessary, do make a small mark with a Sharpie® pen at this point so that you are sure where to position the protractor for loft measurement when the woodhead is positioned in the specs machine. For TWGT heads designed with a GRT face, the loft is measured against the vertically flat area on the bottom 2/3’s of the face height.

*Photos on this page courtesy of Tom Wishon Golf Technologies – Thank you