Kurt Kitayama’s win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational came several days after he made an interesting lie angle adjustment to his TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus driver. On the latest episode of GOLF’s Fully Equipped podcast, broke down the alteration and took a closer look at the player who could benefit the most from a lie angle adjustment to the big stick.
To be clear, every golfer should be getting their clubs custom-fit and decide on a preferred lie angle across the entire set. But if driver contact becomes an issue down the road and the lie angle needs to be adjusted, it’ll likely be for golfers on the high end of the speed spectrum. (Kitayama, for example, is averaging over 182 mph ball speed this season.)
“The interesting thing is speed,” said Fully Equipped co-host Ryan Barath. “And this is crucial. We talk about any performance characteristics having an effect on a golfer — the faster that player swings, the more we’re going to see this impact.”
Swinging faster has always come at a cost. The potential for longer drivers keeps players chasing more distance, but there’s an obvious tradeoff in overall consistency — unless you’re a robot. That tradeoff sometimes means making additional adjustments to the gear if you’re lucky enough to add more speed through the bag.
“The further that golf ball goes out, one degree makes a big difference on how much further right or left of target it will go,” Barath added. “For someone like Kurt, who’s in the 180s in ball speed, that lie angle, which might not have a huge effect if he was swinging with 160 mph ball speed, as soon as it gets to 180 mph, that one-degree variance can mean more than 10 yards further offline.”
If you’re already fast and something feels amiss with your driver, it might be time to take a closer look at the lie angle to see if the issue can be fixed with a wrench. Kitayama went to a flatter setting, shortened his driver shaft and wound up leading the field in driving accuracy at Bay Hill. He also went home with a hefty check.
If simple adjustments work for one of the top pros on Tour, chances are it could work for your game as well.
Looking to gain some distance and confidence off the tee with your own game this season? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below.