My wife and I play three or four times a week, except in October when the course is closed for re-seeding. How often should we get our irons and wedges checked for loft and lie? I have a set of Ping G5s bought new about a year after they came out on the market, and my wife has a set of Cobra S9s, which were bought about the time they came out on the market.
– Brian, Calif.
Brian,Thanks for your e-mail and the question about checking the loft and lie of your irons. I am sure many serious golfers have frequently asked themselves this question.
The answer is somewhat dependent on your swing technique and the condition of the ground you play off. If you have an average swing speed, play off an average turf hardness and don’t take too much of a divot, then you should not have to check the lie or loft more frequently than every two years or so.
If, on the other hand, your swing speed is above average, you play off hard turf and/or practice a lot off artificial turf at the practice range, and you are inclined to take a big divot, then you should check your lofts and lie every year.
Irons are designed to be bent to allow for loft and lie adjustments, and beating them into the ground will apply significant bending forces to the neck of the club which may change these properties.
I remember some time ago – before the tour vans were at every tournament – a touring pro showed me how he changed the lie on his wedge to make it flatter. He found a carpet covering a concrete floor, positioned the club with the heel on the carpet and the toe in the air, and hit the heel of the club on the carpet with a solid blow. This damaged the carpet a little but certainly changed the lie angle a degree or so.
The loft may change in a similar way if you hit a root or continually hit hard, compact turf. So be careful what you hit and make sure that if you do play off hard conditions or have hit a rock or root, to check your lofts and lies frequently.
Another way to check is to measure your distances and make sure that consecutive clubs have the same incremental differences in distance as they did when new. If not, then the loft may have changed in some of them. If the shots from some of your clubs are starting to go left or right consistently, then check the lie angles.
You don’t have to check your putter, especially if it is a well designed and the workmanship and quality control is top of the line. I can make a very good recommendation to you for a good putter, especially if you want to improve your putting.
Brian, this is a lofty question but not a lie.
Hope this helps.
FrankFrank Thomas, inventor of the graphite shaft, is founder of Frankly Golf. Thomas is chief technical advisor to GolfChannel.com. He served as technical director of the USGA for 26 years and directed the development of the GHIN system and introduced the Stimpmeter. To email a question for possible use in an upcoming Let's Be Frank column, please email firstname.lastname@example.org