Golf Club Degrees of Loft
A set of golf clubs vary from player to player, not only in the 14 clubs they choose to carry, but in the actual lofts of the clubs. Not all 7 irons have the same loft. There are no set “standards” that all sets of clubs follow. But there is a common range of loft angles that most all manufacturers adhere to.
What is golf club loft angle? This diagram will show you what is meant by golf club loft angle, and the geometry of a club head to produce such angles for each different club.
|Standard Address: Perpendicular Shaft Angle|
|Beginners: Amateur tendancy to increase loft by releasing wrists too early to scoop or lift the ball|
|Ideal: Hands in front of the ball de-lofting the club at impact while hitting down on the ball|
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The different loft on each club in your bag is meant to arm you with the necessary collection of tools to hit every number of shots that 18 holes will demand of you. The loft on your golf club will determine the launch angle off of the club face and the amount of backspin that is placed on the ball. Launch angle and backspin determine the height the golf ball is able to achieve. And all of these factors along with club head speed will ultimately determine the distance the golf ball will travel given there is no wind factor.
The graphics to the right are a clear depiction of the impact that your shaft angle has on the overall club face loft at ball impact. In the graphical examples, this is showing an 8-iron at different shaft angles, and the cause and effect relationship of "scooping" the ball and hitting down on the ball, and how that affects the loft angle of your golf club face. A straight up and down shaft, perpendicular to the ground will provide the angle of loft exactly equal to the manufactured club face angle. However, as the other two graphics represent, if your hands are behind the ball at impact, you're increasing the loft on the club because of the shaft angle failing to reach perpendicular at the impact point. Conversely, if your hands are in front of the ball slightly at impact, the shaft angle de-lofts the angle of the club face, and in turn, makes the ball fly further with a more boring flight path and adds distance to your iron shots.
The loft angle on the different clubs are designed to be used to your advantage. Golf clubs are designed with different lofts to get the ball up in the air. So many beginner and amateur golfers believe they have to scoop the ball to help it get up in the air. Instead of hitting down on the ball and allowing the club’s loft to do what it was designed to do, many players believe they have to lift the ball themselves to get the ball airborne, but instead what that does is lose most all of the club head speed before impacting the ball.
Golf club loft angle can be increased or decreased based on the angle of the club shaft at impact. Many amateurs feel they need to scoop the ball to get the club under the ball to get it airborne. The only way to do this is to release your wrists before impact which at the same time releases much of the club head speed prior to impacting the ball. What results is an addition to the manufactured loft of the club, increasing the angle of loft, and consequently losing distance on the golf shot. For example, if you have a 7 iron, and apply the scooping method to the swing, you’re actually turning that 7 iron into the equivalent of an 8 iron with the increased club head loft because of the shaft angle at impact. See the graphics at the right to visualize how this happens.
This is a large factor in the secret as to how professional golfers hit their 7 irons 180 yards. Sure, the club head speed plays a big part, but the fact that their hands are in front of the ball at impact slightly, lessens the loft of the club, in turn taking the 7 iron and turning it into the equivalent loft of a 6 iron. If your hands are slightly in front of the ball at impact, your golf shaft angle will naturally lessen the loft of the club. Contrary to what most believe, hitting down on the ball, and having your hands in front of the ball at impact will increase the backspin on the ball because off the affect that the grooves on the club face have on the ball. The grooves of the club grip the ball and pinch the ball between the club face and the ground applying the backspin to the ball.
Backspin on a golf ball makes it fly higher in the air. Read more about this on the backspin page. Most believe the only way to get the ball in the air is to try and slide the club under the ball as discussed above. This action lessens the backspin because the club slips under the ball and the ball is actually impacted further up on the face of the club where there isn’t as much weight behind the ball. All of these factors add up to shorter shots. If you hit your 7 iron in the 130 to 140 yard range or less, more than likely you tend to uncock your wrists before impact, increasing the loft on the club and losing much valuable club head speed prior to impacting the golf ball.
The result of trying to lift the ball yourself instead of having the club do it, is you narrow the margin for error. The entire goal of the golf swing is to hit the ball first on the downswing. Releasing the hands and uncocking the wrists prior to impact in an attempt to get the club under the ball often results in hitting the ground before the ball, or hitting the ball thin. Inconsistent club head impact with the ball is all too common when you try to lift the ball.
The proper golf divot is to be taken after impact of the ball. Club head speed needs to be released into the ball and not the ground first. If the club hits the ground prior to hitting the ball, the ground absorbs a large percentage of the club head speed before it can get a chance to be transferred to the golf ball. All of the club head speed and momentum built up in the backswing and downswing is all lost when the ground is struck before the ball.
The ideal golf swing is a downward descent, slightly de-lofting the club face to help increase backspin that uncocks the wrists at impact to take advantage of releasing all of the club head speed into the ball. This idea may be entirely new to you, but this is how the more consistent and longer hitters do it. The key is to let the club do the work. Don’t try to lift the ball yourself, that’s what the club’s job is, and that’s why each club in your bag has a different loft. Use the loft angle on the club to your advantage and how it was engineered. Understanding the concepts discussed here will go a long way to improving your golf game, hitting the ball longer, becoming more consistent and most importantly, lowering your scores.
To put these ideas to use, and visualize the concepts discussed on this page, you’d benefit from the Perfect Impact DVD. Click here to improve your iron play, and take advantage of your golf club’s loft as it has been engineered today.
One of the more recent inventions in the golfing world as been the face angle adjusting drivers. These have splashed on the scene to help golfers customize their driver loft angle, not only up and down, but left and right as well. These customizeable face and loft angled drivers have given us nine different drivers in one. They are so versatile, they will help you cure your slice or hook with a simple twist of a wrench, without changing your swing. So if you've tried to fix your slice with other measures, try this new breed of drivers to cure your slice forever.