How understanding loft and face angle chemistry will help you score lower.
This is Part 2 of a three part series discussing the phenomenon called “effective loft.” which is a relationship between the club’s loft and its face angle. View the Part 1 Effective Loft Article Here. With the introduction of interchangeable adapters to not only change shafts, but the face angle and lie angle (like the Dynacraft Prophet ICT Driver) is will be important for golfer to understand some basic principles. First, let’s review the next of these parameters which is face angle.
The face angle is the position of the clubface relative to the intended line of ball flight. There are three different terms that can describe face angle. The simplest is a square face angle or where the clubface is aligned directly toward the target. A clubhead that is pointing right of the target (assuming a right handed clubhead) is considered to have an open face angle. Conversely, a clubhead that is pointing left of the target (assuming a right handed clubhead) is considered to have a closed (sometimes called hooked) face angle. The angles are expressed in degrees and the differences are very subtle, thus the reason why precision gauges are required to measure them accurately.
The importance of having various face angles is of major importance for directional control. In order to hit the ball absolutely straight then the club must be travelling directly at the target and the clubface must be square to the target. This is a tall order as even the best of golfers in the world do not hit the ball with either this consistency or combination of events.
This is the reason for various face angles on drivers. Golfers who push, fade or slice the ball would benefit from using the same head but with a more closed clubface to what they are already using to reduce the severity of the missing the ball to the right of the target (again assuming a right handed golfer). For those who pull, draw or hook are better off with the same head but with a more open face angle if they wanted to hit more toward the intended target line.
To understand the relationship of ball flight patterns explained in much greater detail, view the article entitled “Slices, Hooks & Other Golf Terms Explained“.
To obtain an accurate measurement of face angle, the club must first be placed into a spec gauge. Once the lie of the club has been properly set and the club is grounded on the base plate of the gauge with it in the normal soled position, then the face angle can be registered.
The spec gauge will be equipped with a special adapter with two tips that is slid on the base plate perpendicular to the face. It is imperative that the two points will be equidistant to the center of the face. Drivers, fairways and even some hybrids possess a curvature on the face from heel to the toe (called bulge), so it is critical that the face angle is measured from the center of the club face rather than shifted toward the toe or the heel.
Looking at a close up of the indicator on the gauge, the pointer is illustrating a 1° closed face angle which is common on clubs such as drivers.
The vast majority of drivers, fairways and hybrids on the market are made to a very narrow range of face angles, with all but a few exceptions being produced +/-2° from square. In addition, most of these clubs cannot be altered for face angle. Therefore the golfer must accept their current ball flight or they may manipulate the club face at address, ball position in the stance, swing path, etc to achieve their desired direction. By doing these things it becomes difficult to remember and duplicate exactly what was done in the previous swing to build up a reliance on exactly where the ball might go on future shots.
This is the reason for various face angles or the ability to change them with adjustable hosel adapters is necessary. Remember a person shouldn’t have to adjust to their equipment; the equipment should be fitted and/or adjusted to their natural swing.
The next part of this series will cover in detail how the loft and face angle are interrelated to one another. Stay tuned…