Which Golf Club Has the Highest Launch Angle?Published on 03/14/2023 · 5 min readWondering what club has the highest launch angle and how you can track that? Golf Expert Eric Hall explains what that club is and the best monitors to use for tracking it.
Photo by Markus Spiske
Golf clubs are designed to have varying degrees of loft as one works through the bag, giving the golfer a few choices in managing their 14-club arsenal. The highest launch angle, therefore, should come from the highest lofted clubs in the bag, meaning it will come from one of the wedges. Depending on the composition of the club set, this may mean that it is the sand wedge or the lob wedge. The club's loft is determined by the angle at which the face rests when addressed to the ball.
Highest Lofted Clubs: The Wedges
The clubs with the highest loft in the bag are your wedges. Depending on your choices with the rest of your clubs, such as how many woods, hybrids, or irons you carry, this may mean that your highest launch angle comes from a different wedge than your playing partner's might. In my bag, the highest lofted wedge is a 58-degree wedge. Some of my teammates in college had higher loft wedges, such as 60-degree wedges, in their bags, giving them an even higher launch angle.
What Can Influence Launch Angle?
Several factors have the ability to further influence the launch angle of the ball off of a clubface. With technological advances, even lower lofted clubs, such as hybrids and 5 irons, have decently high launch angles. Some of this is due to modern advances in technology, the angle of attack from the golfer, and the speed with which one swings. Let’s take a look at how all of these variables influence the launch angle of the golf ball.
If you have been golfing regularly for at least five years, it is easy to notice various changes in technology regarding the clubhead and clubface. Some wedges have raw finishes designed to increase the rpm of a golf ball, which would help it launch higher. The toe of some wedges is pulled up into a “High Toe” to give an increased contact surface. Even the weighting of wedges has changed to move the center of gravity (CG) as low as possible, giving golfers a little extra help in getting the ball up into the stratosphere!
Angle of Attack
The angle of attack is always a tricky concept for the “Average Joe” golfer. The recreational golfer tends to think they need to help the ball get airborne, generally trying to sweep it off the ground and not take too large of a divot. This, in turn, actually lowers the launch angle because it influences the ability to spin the ball and properly use the loft on the face of the club. Instead, golfers should try to compress the ball by hitting it on the very end of the downswing, catching it before the club enters the turf. This fully utilizes the loft of the club (so long as the clubface isn’t unintentionally shut) and gives the golfer their optimum swing and ball speed numbers, launching the ball in the proper window.
The speed of the club traveling into the back of the ball is also important. If I take an easy swing at my lob wedge and an aggressive swing at my sand wedge, I am likely to see very similar launch angles, if not a higher launch angle from the slightly lower lofted club.
Can I Track My Launch Angle?
There are a few different ways that you can track your launch angle, and each will come at a varying degree of expense. One way that you could accomplish this would be to purchase a launch monitor of some kind. Another way you could accomplish this is to go to a coach every few months and have them compare the numbers from each practice session.
This launch monitor is on the cheaper end of the spectrum but calculates the launch angle on every shot. As the name suggests, it pairs with your phone and can even give you the (approximated) apex of your shots (included with a premium subscription). You can see the variance in your launch angles, from driver to an 8 and 9-iron, all the way down to the lob wedge. The Rapsodo is a great option for someone looking to track the information but who doesn’t want to see a coach all the time.
The FlightScope Mevo launch monitor gives you all of the information you could want about your swing right on your phone. See your swing (if you have your app running) and track data across multiple practice sessions, allowing you to become much more consistent with data to support your confidence.
3. Trackman 4
If you want the same equipment as over 1,000 professional golfers, go for the Trackman to track all of the data one could need to truly hone in their swing. While the others are accurate, Trackman’s radar is up to 2% more accurate and is best left to those who are either playing consistently or who are competing at higher levels than the average Wednesday Night Scramble at the club.
So What Should I See With My Launch Angle?
You should see a few different things regarding the shots with the launch angle of your club, especially the highest launching clubs. With the wedges, a higher spin rate should be seen than what one would see with a 7-iron. The friction created on wedges, especially those with fresh grooves and raw finishes, adds backspin to the ball, especially when attacked at an appropriate angle. Finally, the clubhead speed of your swing influences the launch angle as well, with those that reach higher mph levels seeing higher launching shots.
Your highest launching club is going to be the club with the most loft in your bag. Adding speed and making great contact increase the launch angle and allow you to throw darts at pins without fear of rolling out too far. If you want to speak further with a Golf Expert, such as the dapper young man above rockin’ the early 2010s white golf belt look, fill out a quiz here on Curated before speaking with one of our knowledgeable Experts who will get you matched with the best possible equipment for your game!