Fascinating video shows why shaft lean is so important for ball striking

wedge next to a ball with no shaft lean vs. wedge next to ball with ample shaft lean

Getting forward shaft lean is essential for hitting solid wedge shots.

@ScratchGolfAcademy / IG

There’s no feeling like hitting a crisp iron. It’s the type of shot that keeps us coming back for more. Problem is, for lots of recreational players, those shots are few and far between.

Ball striking comes and goes for players. Some days you have it, and some days you don’t. That consistency is what separates the best from the rest, and something that we all desperately crave.

One of the key components of a solid ball striker is their ability to get forward shaft lean at impact. It might be counterintuitive, but to get the ball up in the air, we have to decrease our dynamic loft at impact — and this happens via forward shaft lean.

Why do we need to get forward shaft lean to hit the ball solid? It’s simple, really. You want to hit down on the ball to generate spin and get the ball up in the air. This gives our irons and wedges the height we need while also giving us stopping power on the greens.

As you get to higher and higher lofted clubs, though, you need more and more forward shaft lean to produce solid contact. And in the video below from Scratch Golf Academy, we can see exactly why.

Why we need shaft lean

The sweet spot of your clubs will always be in the middle of the face, and generally a few grooves up from the bottom. And when you’re hitting a lower-lofted club (hybrids and woods), you don’t need to lean the shaft forward very much to hit that spot.

As you can see in the video above, though, hitting that sweet spot requires a little bit of manipulation with higher-lofted clubs. With a wedge, if you don’t lean the shaft forward at impact, you’ll hit the bottom grooves of the clubface, or the ball will roll up the face and give you very little power.

To keep that from happening, it’s important you lean the shaft forward at impact. This lean will not only help you find the sweet spot, but it’ll also generate more spin on your shots.

Zephyr Melton

Golf.com Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at zephyr_melton@golf.com.