Your lob wedge is the golf club designed to produce the highest launch angle for your golf ball. This club is usually crafted with 58 or 60 degrees of loft. However, 64 degrees is the maximum on offer.
Which golf club is designed to hit the ball with the highest launch angle? This is a question I received recently from a high handicapper seeking additional air time around the green. A high apex coupled with increased spin helps stop the golf ball dead in its tracks, leading to optimal control if effectively executed.
In this post, I will explain which golf club has the highest launch angle. In addition, I will touch on common reasons why you may unintentionally achieve a high launch angle and how to solve them.
Which golf club is designed to hit the ball with the highest launch angle?
A lob wedge is the golf club designed to produce the highest launch angle in your bag. Most stock lob wedges carry 58 or 60 degrees of loft. However, you can find customized options set at 62 and 64 degrees.
The aim of a lob wedge is to impart maximum spin on your golf ball and send it airborne. This combination causes the ball to land softly and stop rapidly, increasing your greenside control.
A lob wedge is ideal if you need to get the ball up and over a bunker, water hazard, or tree, with little green to work with.
What Is Launch Angle In Golf?
As the name advertises, it represents the degree of ascent immediately after the golf ball leaves the clubface. Golf clubs such as the driver, fairway woods, and long irons are crafted to produce the lowest launch angle off the clubface. That is why they deliver the farthest yardage.
Conversely, your short irons and wedges produce the highest launch angle. Therefore, they deliver the least distance, but your golf ball stops dead on the green for increased control.
What Is The Correlation Between Loft And Launch Angle?
The weaker the loft of your club is, the higher your ball typically launches. In 2014, Trackman released PGA Tour data, covering launch angle, distance, and attack angle. On average, players launched their drives 10.9-degrees, while pitching wedge shots reached 24.2-degrees.
As your lofts weaken, you produce increased backspin rpm, which causes the ball to fly higher and shorter. Conversely, the least lofted club in your bag is a driver, which delivers the most distance.
Therefore, less loft produces a low launch and optimal yardage. On the contrary, weaker lofted golf clubs fly higher and provide fewer yards.
What Causes A High Launch Angle In A Golf Swing?
Besides the loft of your golf club, there are three core reasons why you may induce a higher launch angle than intended. These include leaving your weight on the trailing leg, striking under the ball, or an excessively flexible shaft.
Optimizing your hip and shoulder rotation is vital for generating power and keeping your clubhead on path.
Some amateurs have a tendency to lean back on their downswing, leading to two possible outcomes. The first is that the clubhead strikes the ground before impact. That causes it to bounce up and catch the top of the ball.
Secondly, the clubhead may connect underneath the ball, sending it straight into the air. This is more common on tee shots than off the deck. The excess height eradicates forward momentum causing a loss of yards off the tee.
Golfers lean back because they try to sweep the ball into the air, which is only necessary on tee shots. Strikes off the deck require the clubface to catch the ball at the low point of your swing to generate maximum compression.
Leaning back removes rotation from the equation and impacts your power and control through impact.
Golf Ball Position
Rick Shiels highlights the importance of ball position in the below video. When a golf ball is positioned too far forward in your stance, you are setting yourself up to strike behind it. Especially, when you are swinging an iron.
The shorter shaft length demands that your dimpled ball sit back in your stance compared to a driver or fairway wood. Otherwise, you will reach for the ball at contact and not have the length to strike the urethane cleanly.
Weight transition and ball position are fundamentals that must be addressed before assessing your equipment. However, if you are happy with your swing mechanics and setup, then your shaft may be the issue.
If your shaft is too light and flexible for your swing speed, it causes you to generate outlandish backspin levels. That backspin prompts your ball to shoot upwards rather than forward and long. As a result, the ball drops out of the sky and stops immediately, reducing the distance of your shots.
You already have an understanding of the specs of a lob wedge. Therefore, I will focus on the other golf wedges at your disposal.
A pitching wedge is the strongest lofted golf club in this department. Golf Monthly suggests that the average pitching wedge loft is between 44 to 47 degrees. In addition, you can source stronger lofted stock options set at 43.5-degrees.
The strongest lofted golf club after a pitching is a gap wedge. This wedge is typically crafted with 50 and 52 degrees of loft. It is an ideal club to bridge the distance gap left between a pitching and sand wedge. Therefore, it boosts your accuracy on short approach shots.
A sand wedge is the weakest lofted club after a lob wedge. However, this is often the highest lofted golf club in an amateur’s golf bag. That means it is the golf club designed to produce the highest launch angle for most casual golfers.
The standard loft of a sand wedge is 54 and 56 degrees, which will help you produce a high launch angle from the fairway, rough or sand.
How To Lower Your Launch Angle?
Shifting your weight from your trail leg to your left side on the downswing is vital for achieving balance through impact. When your body is optimally positioned through contact, you produce the desired launch angle for maximum distance and spin.
In the video below, Todd Kolb offers a simple drill to understand and overcome this challenge. Set up as you would for a shot. Then start your backswing, and take a step back with your trail foot. That is your right foot if you are right-handed and left for lefties. Then, swing down towards the ball while returning your trail foot to the setup position.
Repeat this process five times to get a feel for the motion. After five repetitions, return to your setup position. Commence your backswing and take a step back. Now, take note of the weight on your back foot. Try to induce your downswing from that position to cleanly strike the ball.
You will realize that this is a difficult task when your weight is on your back leg. This simple task teaches you basic motion to produce a rhythmic golf swing.
If you balloon your golf shots, your ball position could be the culprit. Placing your ball a few inches back in your stance could help your clubface catch the ball cleanly rather than before it.
When swinging a long iron off the deck, place the ball marginally forward of center. Conversely, mid to short irons are best equipped for a central ball location. This setup helps you produce your desired launch angle for optimal distance and spin.
Furthermore, those looking to play punch shots must place the ball towards the back of the stance. This encourages you to deliver a steep angle of attack and deloft the club, producing low ball flight.
Forward Press Swing
A forward press swing setup is another option for combatting high launching shots. In the video below, Mark Crossfield demonstrates how to employ this swing in the video below. However, I will leave you with a brief overview.
This swing requires you to press your hands ahead of the ball at address. This means that your clubface will look closed, which causes you to deloft the club. This positions you to strike the ball with downforce and prompt a low launching shot.
ALSO READ: How to Drive a Golf Ball Straight
Stiffer Golf Shaft
Players confident that rotation and ball placement are not to blame may look at their shaft construction. If your shaft is too flexible for your swing, you may produce excess spin and balloon your strikes. Therefore, a stiffer shaft is recommended.
A stiff shaft produces less whip through impact, leading to less spin and a lower launch. However, ensure that your shaft is not too stiff, as the low launch can also impact your yardage due to a lack of airtime.
Launch Angles FAQ
How do I make my iron launch angle higher?
My first suggestion is to consider playing weaker lofted irons designed to increase launch. Furthermore, there is the option of a flexible shaft which helps you generate added spin for more loft.
What’s the best launch angle for a driver?
Golf Magazine suggests that the ideal launch angle for an average swing speed is 13 to 16 degrees. These are golfers who swing the big stick between 86 and 94 mph.
What is a good launch angle for a pitching wedge?
30 degrees is an ideal launch angle for a pitching wedge. It provides optimal distance, spin, and height, for superb control on approach.
That is the beauty of a pitching wedge. You want spin, but you still need sufficient distance to send the ball approximately 100-yards.
I trust this clarifies the issue for golfers wondering which golf club is designed to hit the ball with the highest launch angle. Overall, a lob wedge is the weakest lofted golf club, built to produce the highest launch angles.
However, we know that most amateurs do not carry a 58 or 60-degree lob wedge. This leaves their sand wedge as the highest launching golf club in the average player’s bag. If you are unintentionally ballooning your shots, work on your rotation, back ball position, and swing a stiffer shaft.
In closing, I am curious to know which golf club produces the highest launch angle in your bag?