From your driver to your lob wedge and everything in between, every golf club in your bag, aside from your putter, has a designated loft.
The loft of each club is the major determining factor of that club’s launch angle, and the more you play golf the more you begin to know the launch angles that you need for different situations on the course.
The rest of this article will focus on answering the question, “Which golf club is designed to hit the ball with the highest launch angle?” which can be otherwise stated, which club has the most loft.
The Lob Wedge
The short answer to the question is that the lob wedge (LW) traditionally is the highest lofted club in most golfer’s bag. It is also a very versatile club that can be a very important “scoring” club depending on the course. It is sometimes called a “90/10” wedge because, when you are chipping, you want about 90% of the distance in the air and only about 10% roll. If you want to learn more about the LW in general and if you want to see our choice for the best LW on the market, click here.
What exactly is launch angle?
The launch angle is the angle of initial ascent of the golf ball at the moment the club strikes the ball. Launch angle is measured in degrees relative to the horizon (or groundline) so that if the initial ascent of your golf is at 20-degrees relative to the ground where the ball was sitting, then your launch angle would be measured at 20-degrees.
Your launch angle, no matter the club, is a very important aspect of your swing and a good indicator of success or failure. If you can swing a club at the same speed and same plane consistently, then you will have a good idea of how high and far your ball will carry with each club. Consistency in your launch angle generally means consistency in your golf game.
Many factors can affect launch angle. While the single biggest factor affecting launch angle is loft, if you have ever played much golf, then you know other things can affect launch as well. In fact, one golf club can produce numerous launch angles, and if you have ever tried to hit a flop shot, then you know that your stance and where you position your feet can change your launch angle considerably.
Here are the three biggest contributors to your launch angle:
- Loft. The loft of your club directly correlates with the potential launch angle of the club. The higher the loft, when all things are equal, the higher the launch angle.
- Swing Speed. In general, the harder you swing, the higher your ball will launch.
- Angle of Attack. The shape of your swing, length of your club, and loft of your club face all play into your attack angle. Your attack angle is a measurement of how steep your swing is.
What is loft?
In simple terms, loft is the degree to which a club head “angles back.” The following diagram shows the angle where loft is measured when you place your club squarely on the ground:
Loft is actually the angle formed by the intersection of the club’s shaft and the line of the club’s face. Whatever angle is measured there is the official loft of the club.
Launch Angle vs Loft
While the loft of your club has a lot to do with the launch angle of the ball, they are not the same thing. The launch angle is the measurement of the direction your golf ball is heading at impact compared to the horizon. If you hit 10 8-irons in a row, there is a good chance that all 10 shots are going to have a different launch angle even when using the same club. The position of your feet, your swing speed, the attack angle, and many other factors other than loft determine the launch angle.
The loft of your club, on the other hand, never changes. The loft of your club is a significant factor in choosing which club to use in different scenarios, but the loft is consistent and, unless you have an adjustable driver, the loft on your clubs will never change. It is the launch angle that changes, and it is important for each golfer to understand the launch angle produced by each of their golf clubs.
What Is Attack Angle?
The attack angle is a measurement of vertical direction of the club head at the moment of impact with the golf ball. The higher the irons, as a general rule, the higher the attack angle will be. When you are hitting your woods or driver, your attack angle will be much small because you are hitting more through the ball instead of down on it like you do with your irons. Here is a good illustration of what the attack angle is:
What Is The Ideal Launch Angle For Your Driver?
The ideal launch angle of a driver is different depending on the golfer’s swing speed, angle of descent, and club length. As a general rule of thumb, the lower your clubhead speed and subsequent ball speed, the higher you need to launch the ball and the more loft you will want on your driver.
Most recreational golfers do not have enough loft on their driver. They see professional golfers hitting drivers with 9 degrees of loft and mistakenly believe that lower loft always leads to increased distance. In reality, lower lofts usually lead to more side spin, worse slices, and discouragement for golfers who cannot get their drive in play. For almost all recreational players, 12-degrees is the lowest you should go, and it is worth considering even higher lofts than that.
What About Launch Angle For Your Other Clubs?
There is an ideal launch angle and attack angle for each of your clubs depending on your swing. The following chart is a general demonstration of the average PGA Pro’s numbers. If you could come close to consistently hitting these numbers consistently, you would be well on your way to scoring well.
Final Thoughts on Launch Angle
There is a lot of technical information involved in launch angles and lofts, but the key is that each club is in your bag for a reason, and it is important to use it the right way.
This article answered the question, “Which golf club is designed to hit the ball with the highest launch angle?” and the answer is the LW.
We hope you enjoyed learning a little more about what the LW does and what loft, attack angles, and launch angles mean to your golf game.
Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below, and share it with your golfing buddies so that they understand launch angles as well.