Golf Club Angle Adjustments Using a Loft/Lie Machine

Four Tips That Can Improve Your Game

Making angle adjustments is among the fastest ways to improve a player’s ball flight. Improved ball flight generally is a precursor to improving scores. Whether changing the lie to improve accuracy or changing loft to make certain that the player’s clubs are progressively consistent, angle bending is a major factor in club performance. Industry professional’s need to be knowledgeable of all facets of club bending.
I wanted to share with you four key points regarding angle adjustment that you may not be aware of.

  1. Cast clubs can be bent.
    Most irons can be bent, but the question of being able to bend cast clubs is still asked. The simple answer to that question is “yes”. 17-4 stainless steel cast irons will be more difficult to bend since they are harder (C34-38 on the Rockwell Scale) than 431 (C18-25) or forged carbon steel (B-80). Cast club heads must have the proper heat treatment and annealing. Annealing ensures a more consistent grain structure in the metal. Heat treatment makes the metal hard enough to withstand constant golf ball impacts. If you are unaware of what material your irons are manufactured from, please consult the web site of the manufacturer.
    There is a misconception that the metal in cast clubs has “memory” that makes them naturally return to their original specification after bending. This is not true.
  2. Metal woods & hybrids can be bent
    While there are limitations, many of today’s metal woods & hybrids are bendable. Provided the hosel is long enough to allow the bending bar to fit over its length, both lie and face angle can be adjusted.
    What about bending the loft of metal woods & hybrids? When the hosel is bent toward or away from the face plane, the face angle is opened or closed. This changes the playing loft of the club by changing the ball’s trajectory.
  3. There are no accepted standards for loft and lie angles
    One of the most overused words in the golf industry is “Standard.” A quick look on the internet at specifications for the best-selling #5 irons from four major manufacturers shows lie angles of 60.0, 61.0, 61.5 & 62.0 degrees. Not surprisingly there is no stated tolerance on any site, making one wonder just how close these specifications are. Standard lofts from these same manufacturers are listed as 23, 24, 25 & 27 degrees.
    Remember manufactured sets of clubs are not necessarily progressively consistent and therefore each club should be bent to a predetermined angle in whole numbers. Bending every club by the proverbial “2 degrees up or flat” does not make the set consistent.
  4. How much can a club be bent?
    The common industry answer is “2 degrees.” This limit is only recommended when changing the lofts on irons due to the potential effect such bends will have on the sole angle of the club. If the hosel design and manufacturing process allows, the lie of an iron can be bent 4 degrees or more with no compromise to the integrity of the head.Ed Mitchell is the founder of Mitchell Golf Equipment Company. He has studied golf club design and their manufacture since the early 1970’s. Ed has pioneered the use of a Loft/Lie machine and many of the most successful golfers in the world use his equipment today.

Patrick Gallagher, PGA
Director of  Golf Operations, Mitchell Golf

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