Bending Metal Woods and Hybrids
The loft angles of metal woods and hybrids are designed into the club by creating a pitch to the face in relation to the sole. Then a number is marked on the sole of the club to indicate the loft of that particular club.
Playing loft, however, is the actual loft of the face pitch to the shaft plane. When the shaft planes parallel to the face plane the playing loft is the same as marked on the club. But when the face plane is either open or closed to the shaft plane the playing loft will vary from the loft marked on the sole.
As the shaft plane becomes closer to the face pitch plane the loft decreases (open club face). When the shaft plane is forward of the face pitch plane the loft increases (closed face).
The effect of open and closed face planes mostly relates to the spin imparted on the ball. This is due to the increased or decreased angle between the shaft plane and face pitch plane.
Why its important
The importance of bending metal woods and hybrids is to make sure the lofts between the different clubs produce the desired distance. We hear a lot about gapping wedges when actually every club in your bag should be gapped.
This is why when a golfer hits their 18 degree hybrid almost the same distance as their 21 degree club. The reason can be traced to the specifications of each club. Example, if the 18 degree is 2 degrees closed it will play more like 20 degrees of loft. If the 21 degree club is 2 degrees open it will play more like 19 degrees of loft. It’s easy to see that the lofts are close enough to produce similar distances.
In order to bend a metal wood or hybrid, it requires the club be made of stainless steel and has a polished hosel of at least 1 ¼” length so as not to damage painted surfaces. The bending bar should be placed as high as possible on the hosel without damaging the ferrule.
The bending technique is the same as on irons. After putting pressure on the bending bar to take up torque, use short bumping motions to feel the hosel bend.
Adjusting lie angles of metal woods and hybrids should be considered just like irons. It’s important that the club head is delivered to the ball in a horizontal face attitude to produce the desired ball flight. If the lie angle isn’t correct, the ball will start with a tilted spin axis and will have a curvature to its flight.