Why is the Lie Angle More Upright On a Game-Improvement Set of Irons?

How Lie Angle Effects Your Ball Flight

One question that I have been asked is “Why the lie angle on sets of irons that arelie 1 designed for mid and higher handicapped golfers are generally more upright than those sets designed for better golfers?” A common answer you might hear is a more upright lie angle will reduce the likelihood of a golfer pushing the ball in relationship to the target line. The common tendency for higher handicapped golfers is for them to push or slice the ball. So there may be some merit to this answer, but perhaps there is a different and more technically correct explanation as to why the lie angle is selectively varied by the manufacturer depending upon clubhead style.

The length of the club is measured with the club in the playing position along the back side of the clubs from the edge of the grip cap to the ground. However the distance you stand from the ball is a completely different measurement (see Diagram 1) and will vary depending upon the blade length of the club. After all, it is the position of the ball we are most concerned with not the back edge of the club’s heel.

To illustrate this point, examine Diagram 2. The iron outlined in orange is a blade-style iron that has a blade length of 3” (76.2mm) and almost always a longer hosel. The best position to hit the ball is at the center of gravity (CG) of the head, which may or may not be in the center of the scoring lines. In this particular iron, it might not be uncommon for the CG to be 1” from the back edge of the heel.

Lie Angle2The iron outlined in black may be a game-improvement design with a longer blade length of 3.18” (81mm) and a slightly shorter hosel length. By extending the blade length the CG may be positioned further from the hosel. It may be 1.25” from the heel. So in order to hit the ball at the CG with the same length club as the smaller blade-style iron, essentially one would have to stand ¼” further away from the ball. Think about that statement for a minute. We assume that if we use two 38” #5-irons with a 60° lie, we should stand the same distance to the ball.

Let’s say your toes touch the vertical line on the right. The horizontal distance fromHybrid Ad the toes to the heel (H) is the cosine of the lie multiplied by the club length. In this case of a 38” 5-iron and 60° lie, then H is 19.00. But from the CG of the head to the toes it is 20.00” for the blade-style iron and 20.25” for the game-improvement iron. While ¼” doesn’t sound like much, it does represent miss-hitting the ball on the face using the same set up and stance. In order to compensate for standing further away, the lie should be 0.5° more upright and this would make up for the 1/4” difference so the person can stand the same distance to the ball.

The iron outlined in blue may be an ultra game-improvement design with an even longer blade length of 3.39” (86mm). The extended blade length may shift the CG even further from the hosel in the neighborhood of 1.50” from the heel. This would require the lie to be 0.5° more upright than the game-improvement design and a full 1° more upright than the blade-style iron to maintain the same distance from the golfer’s toes to the ball.

There is another factor to consider and that is the effect the longer blade length has on the shaft. As the weight of the head is further away from the shaft, the shaft will want to tend to want to flatten out more in the swing (see Diagram 3). How much? It may only be 1/4° per ¼” further the CG away from the heel as a result of the longer blade length and the shaft wanting to align itself to the CG of the head in the swing.

Shafts that are traditionally found in blade-style or irons generally compact from heel-to-toe have completely different shafts than game-improvement designs. For example, a True Temper Dynamic Gold shaft would be more prominent in a blade or compact cavity back iron. The stiffness of the shaft and the tip section are less likely to bow downward in the swing than a more flexible and softer tip shaft found in many game-improvement designs today. Therefore the lies may have to start slightly more upright to compensate for the downward bowing of the more flexible shaft in addition to factoring in the horizontal distance to the ball created by the longer blade length.

THireko Bookshe center of gravity of the head should dictate the initial lie angle of each iron should be. If these are not factored into, the person could end up playing a club with too flat a lie angle resulting into pushing the ball in relationship to the target line. This is really the reason why you see game-improvement irons designed with more upright lie angles than those clubs designed for better golfers.

Want To Learn More? Check out the Modern Guide To Clubmaking for only $22 or Total Clubfitting in the 21st Century for only $18.






Did Our Tech Director Really Get Hit Volunteering At Pinnacle Exceptional Driver Championship?

Volunteer Experience At The Pinnacle Exceptional Driver Championship

This past weekend I volunteered my services at my local driving range. After all I needed somehow to “earn” my privilege of hitting golf balls for free and testing out all our upcoming models. Granville Golfland was the stage for one of the 128 local qualifying sites that began in March and ending in May. These are conducted across the United States and Canada, with the winner of each event going directly to the Pinnacle Exceptional Driver Championship finals in June held at the Palms Golf Club in Mesquite, NV (also home to the RE/MAX World Long Championship) with a chance to win the $100,000 grand prize.

Continue reading “Did Our Tech Director Really Get Hit Volunteering At Pinnacle Exceptional Driver Championship?” »

Happy Earth Day! 3 Tips On How To Help The Planet While Golfing.

Jeff Summitt Examines Eco-Friendly Golf Earth Day Image

There are many ways in which to reduce the impact on the environment while we do many things at home, work or away enjoying our favorite activities. Here are three simple tips that can make a difference as we all celebrate Earth Day.

While this may not be an option at certain golf courses or during certain times or days of the week, you may be asked whether or not you want to take a cart or walk.  If those physically able were walk the course chose to walk, this could eliminate just a little of the reliance for fossil fuels that go into the gasoline or the electricity to generate power to these vehicles. As an added benefit, the biggest reason might actually be reducing tension, getting an aerobic workout or just generally increasing your health.  Even if you don’t want to carry your clubs, you can pull you clubs on a pull cart you can own or even rent.

What was once a tradition, the art of caddying has all but been lost by the popularity of the golf cart and the revenues that are generated by the course or resort.  Maybe it is time to think about a nationwide initiative to bringing back a caddy program?

Biodegradable tees
Yes, there are tees made of biodegradable materials that over a short time decompose. Made partially from natural renewable resources such as corn, potatoes and even sugar, these tees can decompose in as little as 60 days as compared to hundreds of years for plastic tees.  Not only is it good for the environment, these do less damage than wooden or plastic tee on golf course equipment.  Another fact is over 2 billion wooden golf tees are produced in the United States annually.  Deforestation increases the amount of carbon dioxide and pollution we breathe.

Bring your own recyclable water bottle
The contents of the bottled water you purchase is often no different from the tap water available at your home.  Those plastic bottles may not be recycled but thrown in with the rest of the trash to go into a local landfill.   But if the course does have designated area to deposit plastic water bottles or aluminum cans, take the few extra seconds to do your part.

Introducing The New For 2008 Lamkin Grips

Lamkin LogoLamkin Hits Another Grand Slam With Their New 2008 Offerings

Lamkin introduced three new lines of grips for 2008. Following is a personal assessment of each one after spending some quality time field testing them.

Lamkin Stingfree Crossline Tour
So far in 2008, the one grip that gets the most questions is the new Stingfree Crossline Tour. I for one do not suffers from any hand problems and nor encounter a stinging sensation while hitting balls. So I may not be their target audience, but I still wanted to see what the grip had to offer.  Continue.


True Temper Epic Shaft Wins 2008 Masters

Memphis, TN…With the Epic shaft by Grafalloy in his driver, fairway wood, andEpic Shafts hybrid, the 2008 Masters Champion led the field in driving accuracy on his way to his decisive first major title. In a week with driving control and distance at a premium, the Epic shaft with Nanofuse technology helped keep the winner in play and in position to handle the difficult conditions at Augusta National Golf Club. Commenting on the winner’s incredible success off the tee this week, CBS analyst Jim Nantz simply stated, “The greatest strength of the week for him…his driving.” Nick Faldo followed up noting, “[TheHybrid Ad champion] has basically driven the ball better than anyone, with his cumulative of driving distance and accuracy, he will beat everybody by miles and that has been his absolute number one club this week.”

The Epic shaft with Nanofuse technology is a truly revolutionary breakthrough in the use of materials and design for golf shafts. “With Nanofuse, we have introduced an entirely new material into golf shaft design that offers the advantages of both steel and graphite into one unique technology. Plain and simple the ball flies as far if not further than traditional graphite, but on a demonstrably straighter line. It is no surprise that this shaft has had great success on courses where driving the ball long and straight are at such a premium,” comments Chad Hall, Senior Director Sales and Tour Operations.

The test results speak for themselves. Through extensive robotic and player test data, Epic has shown to produce not only increased distance off the tee, but also delivers a 35% improvement in shot dispersion when compared to graphite shafts on the market today. This combined improvement in distance and accuracy results in as much as 15-20 yards closer to the pin off the tee.

Shop True Temper Epic Shafts  $137.50

What Specifications Make a Good Shaft for a Hybrid Clubhead?

Jeff Summitt Discusses The  Ins and Outs of Choosing The Best Hybrid Shaft For Your Game

Hybrid Ad

There is no doubt about it: the modern hybrid golf club has made golf a little easier by replacing harder-to-hit clubs. Even the best players in the world often carry at least one hybrid in their bag. The hybrid is just so easy to hit that picking the wrong shaft does not penalize a player as much as doing so with an iron. Even so, there are still some guidelines to follow.

Many of the OEM shaft manufacturers have already done much of the heavy-lifting by creating hybrid-specific shafts. We can look at these shafts to get an idea of which factors are optimal. The majority of hybrid-specific shafts all have a few common denominators. First they possess low torque measurements (more resistant to twisting), due to the fact that the size and shape of a hybrid is quite different from that of an iron. But one other specification that is unexpected is how flexible hybrid shafts are when compared to standard iron shafts.

In the diagram is a plot of average club frequencies of the various types of golf shafts. Frequency is a measure of the shaft’s stiffness by clamping the butt end in a special device; pluck the shaft to set it in motion and the device measures the number of oscillations. The higher the number the stiffer the shaft is said to be. Note that there are no industry standards for flex, but this chart provides a good starting point to see the relative stiffness from on shaft to the next. The circles colored in the purple represent average frequencies of the hybrid-specific graphite shafts. There haven’t been that many steel hybrids shafts, but the few are in the proximity of 275 cpm for R-flex and 285 cpm for S-flex at 39.5”.

Hybrid Shaft Chart

In experimenting with a number of shaft and head combinations, I stumbled across a few shafts that seemed to work well, but only with certain types of heads. One was the Apollo Shadow A-flex, which is designed for senior golfers with a slow and rhythmic swing. I normally play S-flex (as in stiff). Using this shaft in an iron I am all but inconsistent not knowing if the ball is going left or right. Not surprising since I am not the target audience for this model. But put that same shaft in a hybrid that weighs the exact same as an iron and length too and I hit is consistently straight. It wasn’t just with one particular hybrid, but a number of them that varied in their size, shape and amount of face progression. Why?

Average Frequency at 39.5” cpm
R-flex Steel Iron 292
R-flex Graphite Iron 273
R-flex Graphite Hybrid 268
R-flex Steel Hybrid 275
S-flex Steel Iron 307
S-flex Graphite Iron 285
S-flex Graphite Hybrid 281
S-flex Steel Hybrid 285
A-flex Steel Iron 277

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Steel is inherently low torque. Couple this with the fact the physical dimensions of a hybrid is much different from an iron which results into a higher moment of inertia (especially if the hybrid weighs the same as an iron). While I did hit hybrids with much stiffer S-flex steel shafts well, I hit the more flexible shafts even better. Not only did the softer shaft feel appeal to me, but the ball flight was much higher than an iron, distance may have been slightly greater AND with no loss of accuracy. I have turned a few other stronger or faster swinging customers over to using the Shadow A-flex steel shaft in their hybrids and they have reported similar success (plus were happy that it was only a $3.80 experiment)!!!


Another shaft that worked well for me in a hybrid, but not necessarily in an iron was the Apollo Hump R-flex. This produced a little flatter trajectory than the Shadow A-flex. Combing through at all the free published data about golf shafts, one other steel shaft that has the low frequency (stiffness) / low torque combination is the True Temper GS-75 which should make an excellent hybrid shaft as well. In graphite, our proprietary Cadence 75 High Launch iron shafts also have that combination of low frequency and low torque and have made good hybrid shafts too, especially if using the softer sub-flex trimming option.

When choosing a shaft for a hybrid, look for shafts that are low in torque and low in frequency (more flexible). It can be one of the special hybrid-specific shafts, or you can also use a regular iron shaft (for hybrids with standard iron hosel bores). But in doing the latter, don’t be afraid to drop a flex or two when using steel.

Shop Hireko Hybrid Shafts.

Introducing The New For 2008 Lamkin Grips

Lamkin LogoLamkin Hits Another Grand Slam With Their New 2008 Offerings

Lamkin introduced three new lines of grips for 2008. Following is a personal assessment of each one after spending some quality time field testing them.

Lamkin Stingfree Crossline Tour
So far in 2008, the one grip that gets the most questions is the new Stingfree Crossline Tour. I for one do not suffers from any hand problems and nor encounter a stinging sensation while hitting balls. So I may not be their target audience, but I still wanted to see what the grip had to offer.

According to Lamkin “The innovative 3-layer composite technology absorbs up to 90% more vibration and shock than conventional golf grips. A stabilizing layer of Kevlar® blocks and dissipates vibration energy from impact for maximum shock absorption.”

First of all for clubmakers, do not encourage your customers to hit balls immediately after gripping or re-gripping a club; let them sit overnight to allow the solvent or liquid to thoroughly evaporate. That is a good habit to get into anyway. The combination of the synthetic base layer for shock absorption plus the layer of Kevlar seemed to take longer for the solvent to flash off and for the grip not to twist versus a regular rubber compound grip.

After the grips had time to dry – off to the range. First impression was the grip was soft and squishy (OK, I couldn’t think of a better technical term than that). Normally this would mean that you might be able to feel the grip twist in one’s hands on an off-center impact. I was pleasantly surprised that is felt very stable for a grip with such a cushioned feel. I didn’t experience anymore grip torque than usual. These also had a hand alignment pattern for both RH and LH golfers that places them in a good neutral grip position. These also have the soft outer-layer the new Crossline Tour’s possess.

The only downside may be the cost as these are amongst the highest priced models on the market. But if you have already tried a number of grips and have not found that balance of vibration dampening and traction, these very well might be what you have been waiting for.

Shop Lamkin Stingfree Crossline Tour $7.25 each.

Lamkin Crossline Tour
The original Crossline is a model I have played on too many clubs to count since they first debuted so I am quite familiar with this family. The new Lamkin Crossline Tour is as advertised as it has a slightly softer surface than the regular Crossline. Grizzled veterans who have used the Crossline in the past should have no qualms of trying at least one of these out on their next club. The non-white paint filled cross pattern on the grip is a nice touch to complement to hand placement guides, especially for higher handicapped players or those new to the game for alignment purposes. I would classify this grip as an upgrade rather than a re-designed model with fresh new graphics.

Lamkin Michelin OCS Tour
Last, but not least may be my surprise pick of the three. This grip is easily identified by the back of the grip as it dons the logo of the Michelin Man (right up there in my books with the Pillsbury Doughboy and perhaps the Sta-Puff Marshmallow Man of Ghostbusters fame in terms of lovable icons). This is the firmest of the three new grips, especially if after immediately hitting a club with the Stingfree Crossline Tour.

What makes the Lamkin Michelin OCS Tour unique? It was co-developed with the Michelin tire company who know something or two about traction. The OCS stands for Optimized Cell System featuring an innovative pattern of vertical and horizontal cells. The vertical positioned cells are designed for torque reduction, while the horizontal are designed for traction.

Made of rubber, this grip is very cost effective as an alternative to the more expensive cord models, yet is easy on the hands. For those that have higher swing speeds or simply like the feel of a firmer grip for control, give this grip some strong consideration.

Each of these new grips is offered in multiple sizes for custom fitting. They are also clearly marked on the butt cap the model, core size and whether they are round or ribbed. At Hireko, we make sure that you are getting the lowest price on them too.

Shop Lamkin Michelin OCS Tour $3.26 each.

The Masters – A Personal Account By Jeff Summitt

What it means to me

This marks the 15thMasters Pic anniversary since I was fortunate enough to acquire the hardest ticket in sports. If you guessed the Super Bowl, Kentucky Derby or the World Series you were wrong – it is the Masters Tournament. Only second to my experience of being on the sidelines during an Ohio State-Michigan football game, the Masters is definitely something that every avid golfer should be able to encounter once in their lifetime.

I was only privileged enough to have tickets for Wednesday’s Par 3 contest and Thursday’s and Friday’s round courtesy the fine folks at Grafalloy. I will in no way ever complain about watching Sunday’s coverage of the final round and eventually see Bernard Langer don the Green Jacket from the comfy confines of my living room. No, it only heightens the memories each and every year since.

Aside from the anticipation of who might win the first major or the year to the unbelievably talented playing field from all corners of the world, there is a sense of much more than that. After all, how many courses do people know specific holes in such great detail as the long, windy 10th, the stretch from holes #11-13 (Amen Corner) to the hallowed 18th?

Watching on TV, I am sure even a 60” HDTV, does not even come close to doing the course justice. Literally there is a golf tournament being played in a park-like or arboretum setting. The course was in such immaculate shape it is quite impossible to explain. The course was devoid of any rough as I had seen before. That is the part of the course that was considered rough (because technically it was not the fairway) would be like hitting from the center of a fairway on our home course. You also couldn’t avoid stimulating your senses with all the vivid colors and smells from the blooming foliage.

The TV also flattens the course out as it is more elevated that one would ever image. You better be in shape for that long stroll up the famous 18th. The best place to view? That is a tough call. But the area between the 15th and 16th was filled with a lot of excitement. If you are fortunate to go, make sure to walk the whole course to appreciate the other beautiful holes that may not receive as much air time.

On top of my experience, I got to play a quick 18 on the nearby Augusta Municipal Golf Course. In another 20 years I hopefully will not have a Hillary Clinton moment and embellish the facts that I played on the course that hosts the Masters (that would be Augusta National Golf Club for the record).

Augusta, GA during the Masters tournament is literally one of the most beautiful places in the world. For once I am glad this weekend’s forecast where I live calls for unseasonably lower than normal temperatures. So now I have an excuse to vegetate on the couch to watch this year’s event, look back and enjoy while not feeling guilty.

What’s The Big Deal About Iron Head Covers? They’re Only 95 Cents That’s What!

Do I Need Iron Head Covers?

One of the most maligned golf club accessories is the iron head cover.  Without hesitation nearly all golfers will claim to protect their titanium driver, fairway and even hybrids with its own special head cover to prevent the paint or finish from getting damaged while banging around in the bag.  It makes sense to protect your investment as clubs today are not cheap and you would like to make them look their best.  But the irons get beat up too and one of the reasons why iron head covers are also available. Continue.

Looking To Save Time & Money Regripping Your Clubs? Great Re-Grips Tips Here!

Jeff Summitt Expounds His  Re-Gripping Wisdom To Save You Time & Money

Step 2aFor those fortunate to live in the southern climes to enjoy golf year-round, you might be surprised that many golf courses in the Midwest, Northeast and for our friends above the 49th Parallel still have not officially opened yet. But for those that have already worn out the grips on your snow shovel this year, I am sure you are in great anticipation of the upcoming golfing season. Before going out for the first time, right now is the perfect time to have your clubs re-gripped. It has been proven that slick or worn grips can cost you valuable strokes on the course. As a preventative measure, re-gripping is relatively easy and inexpensive to do yourself or for a local shop to perform this service for you. Continue.