I remember being confused by all the talk about launch angles when I first started playing golf. Though it’s important to understand launch angles, it can be quite overwhelming.
Which golf club launches the ball the highest? And does loft really matter? We answer these questions and more here.
Which Golf Club Has The Highest Launch Angle?
Out of all the golf clubs in your golf bag, the one with the highest launch angle is the lob wedge. A standard lob wedge has anywhere from 58 to 64 degrees of loft, depending on the golf club manufacturer.
Though lots of amateur golfers only carry a pitching wedge and a sand wedge in their bags, every golfer on the PGA Tour uses a lob wedge regularly during tournaments. Pros usually hit their lob wedges between 75 and 95 yards.
Golfers use a lob wedge when they are fairly close to the green and want to hit a high shot that lands softly near the pin. Another optimal time to hit a lob wedge is when you are trying to get your golf ball over a tall tree.
The Importance of Launch Angle
Why all the talk in golf about launch angle? Because it strongly affects how far the golf ball will travel, especially when hitting your driver off the tee.
Still confused? Think about it this way. Have you ever really crushed a drive off the tee but had the golf ball teed up too high? It is so frustrating!
Though the ball may have felt great coming off the sweet spot of the clubface, the extremely high launch angle caused your shot to go high up in the air but not far enough down the fairway. Needless to say, you probably wished you would have teed the ball just a tad bit lower.
The reverse can also be true. You don’t want a launch angle that is too low because the golf ball will fall to the ground too quickly. This also causes a loss of distance.
Causes of a High Launch Angle
Lots of things can cause a golfer to hit the ball with too high of a launch angle. Thankfully, with lots of practice, any of these common flaws can be corrected rather easily.
1. Poor Balance / Footwork
One of the main causes of a launch angle that is too high is poor balance and footwork during the swing. For example, if a golfer keeps too much weight on their back foot during the swing, the result will usually be a ball flight that is too high.
A good way to remedy this problem is to practice hitting shots with all of your weight on your front leg. This will help you get used to hitting the ball with most of your weight pressing toward your front foot. The best way to improve your shot trajectory is to improve your balance and footwork during your swing.
2. Hitting Behind the Golf Ball
If you are constantly launching your shots at a steep angle, you may be hitting slightly behind the golf ball. This will cause a high launch angle and a loss of precious clubhead speed. Less swing speed means less ball speed and a loss of distance.
If you suffer from this common problem, work on keeping your hands ahead of the golf ball through impact. This will help lower your launch angle and allow you to hit the ball a bit further.
3. Using a Shaft that is Too Flexible
The type of shaft on your golf clubs can have a profound impact on your launch angle. Most off-the-shelf shafts have a lot of flex in them to help high handicappers get the ball into the air more easily.
As a general rule, shafts that have more flex in them promote a higher launch angle. If your launch angle is too high, experiment with using a staff that is stiffer. This could help lower your launch angle tremendously and will add more mph to your swing speed.
Wedges With The Highest Loft
We already mentioned that the lob wedge has the highest loft of any club in your bag. Here is a list of the wedges with the highest loft (from highest to lowest).
The club with the second-highest amount of loft is the ever so lovable sand wedge. The sand wedge has slightly less loft than the lob wedge. Most amateur golfers will hit their sand wedge about 80 yards.
As its name suggests, the sand wedge is mainly used to get the ball out of a sand trap. Most sand wedges have a loft between 54 and 58 degrees.
A gap wedge is often called the A-wedge or approach wedge by some golfers. It has a loft of 51 to 53 degrees. When hit correctly, the majority of golfers will hit their gap wedge about 100 yards.
The pitching wedge is the lowest lofted wedge in the bag. It’s a popular choice for approach shots that are 110 to 120 yards away from the green.
A pitching wedge is a crucial tool for chipping and pitching. Most pitching wedges have a loft of 46 to 48 degrees.
Irons With The Highest Loft
Now that we covered the lofts of all the wedges, are you curious about the loft in your set of irons? Here is a handy list that includes each iron, its degrees of loft, and how far the average golfer can hit each club.
|Degrees of Loft
As you can see from the list, there is a direct relationship between the degrees of loft and the total yardage. More loft means higher trajectories but less yardage.
How to Raise or Lower Your Launch Angle
Want to raise or lower your launch angle? Here are the variables that you can change to do either.
1. Pay Attention to Shoulder Tilt
The angle of your shoulders while addressing the golf ball has a big impact on your launch angle. To raise your launch angle, lower your right shoulder slightly. To lower your launch angle, keep your right shoulder a little bit higher.
2. Check How High You Tee The Ball
Remember our story about teeing up the ball too high? It affects your launch angle. To increase your launch angle, tee the ball up higher. To decrease your launch angle, tee the ball up lower.
3. Experiment with Your Ball Position
Want to raise your launch angle? Play the ball more toward the heel of your front foot. This will help you help hit up on the ball when hitting your driver.
Want to lower your launch angle? Play the ball a little bit further back in your stance. This will decrease your angle of attack.
4. Get a New Driver
All of the new drivers on the market allow you to adjust the degrees of loft. This makes it easier than ever to raise or lower your launch angle.
Most driver brands offer an adjustable range of 9 to 12 degrees. Just be sure to not lose the little tool that allows you to make these adjustments.