Which golf club is designed to hit the ball with the highest launch angle?
Sometimes we find obstacles between our golf ball and the hole. Maybe it’s going over a huge tree, under some branches, or something else, golf challenges our creativity unlike any other sport.
When you’re getting creative and need to hit it high or low, you need to think about launch angle more than anything else. The angle of each golf club will determine how high or low it goes and ultimately, impact the distance too.
What club has the highest launch angle?
Your lob wedge, assuming you carry one in your set of clubs. If not, then it’s your sand wedge or highest lofted wedge.
But there’s a lot more to it other than just launch angle. As you’ll learn below, launch angle will determine how high the ball will go but it will also affect the total distance.
Think about it like this, the higher the ball goes, the less total distance it will travel.
That’s why your lob wedge launches the highest but goes the shortest distance of any club in the bag. Meanwhile, the driver has the lowest launch angle but goes the furthest distance.
Keep reading to learn more about launch angle so you can execute more shots on the golf course.
What is Launch Angle?
First off, you might be thinking, what is launch angle in golf?
Here is Trackman’s definition of it,
“Launch angle is the angle the ball takes off at relative to the horizon. Launch angle is highly correlated to dynamic loft. Along with ball speed, launch angle is a primary component to determining the height and distance of a shot.”
Launch is important because as a player, you need to make sure that launch angle matches the speed of your club and golf ball. Otherwise, you might not get the most out of even your best shots and make your mishits way offline.
Launch Angle vs. Attack Angle
It’s important to note the difference between launch angle vs. attack angle in golf. Both are important numbers when getting fitted and understanding how to improve your ball striking.
Remember, launch angle is how the ball takes off relative to the horizon. Conversely, attack angle is how much you come down on the golf ball for maximum compression. Like launch angle, this is different for every club in the bag.
Another big difference between the two is that when you hit shots off the grass, it should have a negative attack angle. By hitting down on the golf ball, this makes it easy to launch the ball up in the air.
Meanwhile, with a driver that is teed up way off the ground, you want a positive attack angle. Because if you hit down on the ball, you come into the ball steep, most likely hit a pop-up, and leave a skymark on your golf club.
At Trackman said,
“To maximize distance with your driver, hitting up on the ball (positive attack angle) is a must. The driver’s loft should be chosen so that it complements the golfer’s attack angle and club speed. Having a positive attack angle does not guarantee maximum distance. The fit of the club is also an essential piece of the puzzle.”
Highest Launch Angle
So which club has the highest launch angle?
The lob wedge. It has more loft than any other club in your bag and is meant to get the ball up in the air quickly.
The loft of an L-wedge can vary depending on the make/model. In general, a lob wedge usually has the loft between 59-64 degrees.
For most golfers, I would not recommend anything over 60 degrees, as they are more difficult to hit. A lot of golfers who play a 62 or 64 degree find that the ball rides up the face and makes it easy to mishit pitches and full shots.
The only problem with launch is that it’s directly correlated with distance. The higher you launch a shot, the less distance it will go.
That’s why most players can’t hit a lob wedge more than 100 yards. Plus, wedges are much shorter than your woods and driver, which also means it won’t travel nearly as far.
Launch Angle For PGA Tour Pros
Now that you have a little more information about launch angle, let’s break down some numbers. Trackman recently released the average stats from the PGA Tour and they’re extremely insightful.
As you can see from the chart, launch angles vary greatly based on the club used. For the best players in the world, the launch angle was between 9.2 – 24.2. Unfortunately, they don’t have a number for sand, gap, or lob wedges.
Understanding Your Launch Angle
If you’re committed to playing better golf, it’s important to know your numbers. One of the best ways to do that is by investing in a personal launch monitor. These are one of the most effective tools for the average golfer and can help upgrade your game for years to come.
A launch monitor tells you tons about your game and makes each practice session much more useful. While each monitor is different, almost all of them will provide you with:
- Ball speed.
- Smash factor.
- Launch angle.
- Carry distance.
- Clubhead speed.
Luckily, launch monitors have come down in price significantly in the past 10 years. Previously, they were only used by pros and golf shops as they were wildly expensive. But now, the average golfer can pick one up for as low as $200.
If you want to learn more about spin rates, distances, and launch angle, I highly recommend investing in one. Here are our favorite picks to help you get started and find the right one for your game.
When it comes to launch, always remember that the lob wedge has more than any other club in the bag. If you don’t have a lob wedge, then it will be your sand wedge.
Launch plays a role with all your clubs, not just your wedges, though. As Trackman noted, it’s important to make sure that your clubs match your swing.
The launch angle needs to match how you spin the ball, ball speed, and carry speed. Once you have the right clubs for your game, it makes it much easier to hit any shot that you need.
Do you carry a lob wedge in your bag? If so, what is the loft?
Let us know in the comments below!