How to Adjust the Lie Angle on Fairway Woods
PGA.com’s golf glossary defines lie angle as “the angle of the sole of the club relative to the shaft.” In practical terms, lie angle refers to the way in which the sole lies on the ground when you strike the ball. Frank Thomas of Golf.com explains that when the club’s heel touches the ground at impact, while the toe doesn’t, the lie angle is too upright, causing your shots to stray to the left.
Conversely, if only the toe touches the ground the lie angle is too flat and you’ll likely hit shots to the right of your target.
Ideally, the soles of your fairway woods should lie level on the ground at impact. If they don’t, you have several options to correct the problem.
Check the lie angle. Ideally the angle should be checked while you’re swinging.
Thomas notes that a club fitter can check the lie angle by putting pressure-sensitive tape on your club’s sole, then having you hit some balls off of a plastic or wood lie board. The tape will leave marks when it hits the board, revealing which parts of the sole touch the ground at impact. Alternatively, the All About Lady Golf Clubs website suggests looking closely at your divots. Particularly deep divots can indicate more contact from the club’s heel -- meaning the club is too upright -- while shallow divots may indicate that the lie angle is too flat.
Adjust your stance. Golf pro and writer Les Miller advises golfers to address the ball with the club’s sole level, “then step into your stance.” This permits the golfer’s body to line up correctly with each club.
Adjust your club lengths. Extensions may be added to clubs, or clubs may be trimmed to make them shorter. Club manufacturer TaylorMade notes that 1/2 inch added to a club’s shaft will make the lie angle 1 degree more upright, while 1/2 inch trimmed from a shaft will decrease the lie angle by 1 degree.
Purchase clubs with adjustable hosels. An adjustable hosel allows the golfer to change the club’s lie and face angles to suit his swing. Use the included wrench to loosen the screw that holds the hosel in place. Rotate or adjust the hosel according to the manufacturer’s instructions to increase or decrease the lie angle, then re-tighten the hosel.
Have a professional club fitter adjust the angle.
The club fitter will use a loft and lie machine to bend the hosel, thereby changing the club’s lie angle. Golf.com’s Thomas states that adjusting the lie angle physically isn’t a job for a do-it-yourself golfer. The Equip2golf website stresses that fairway woods typically may be bent, but also advises golfers not to try this task at home, stating that even professional club fitters will occasionally break a club while attempting to adjust the lie angle.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.