Ball Flight 102 – The 3 types of Ball Flight

Ball Flight 102 – The 3 types of Ball Flight

This article is a continuation of the “Ball Flight 101 – Your Club Path & Club Face” post.  I recommend watching the video before moving forward.

As we discussed in the last article/video the two simplified variables that determine ball flight is the Club Face and the Club Path alignments through the impact interval.  As we will explore below there are 3 types of shots that can be produced based on the alignments of those two variables.  The most basic type of shot is the straight ball that we are all seeking to hit!  To hit a straight shot, the alignments of the Club Face and the Club Path must match up perfectly at impact, and you have to hit it in the sweet spot of the Club Face.  Super easy right!?

So where does the curvature of the golf ball come from?

The curvature of the golf ball is a result of the variance of the Club Face and Club Path alignments through the impact interval.  The larger this differential the larger amount of curvature you will see on the golf ball. Below we will take a look at the 3 basic types of shots (Straight, Hook, Slice) and what alignments are essential to produce that particular type of shot.

Understanding the numbers

For the examples below it makes it much easier to explain if we can measure the alignments of each these two variables in degrees to show how they vary and what type of shot occurs. Golf Radars such as the Flightscope or Trackman actually measure this information and can provide the data to the instructor and student.  Below are a few points on understanding what the numbers mean.

Ball flight 102 - Numbers

0 Degrees would be aligned directly at the target line.

+1 Degrees (and below) would be aligned to the right of the target line

-1 Degrees (and below) would be aligned to the left of the target line

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Ball Flight 102 - Hook AlignmentsHitting A Hook

To hit a draw or a hook the Club Face must be CLOSED to the Club Path.  We commonly hear the Club Path referred to as a “In to Out” path where your circle’s direction would be to the right of the target line.

So if the Club Face is aligned directly at the target (0 Degreees), and the path of the club is swinging “In to Out” (lets say 5 Degrees), this would create a hook!  The Club Face alignment is closed or less than the amount the Club Head path was traveling through the impact zone.

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Ball Flight 102 - Slice AlignmentsHitting A Slice

To hit a fade or slice the Club Face must be OPEN to the Club Path.  We commonly hear the Club Path referred to as the “Over The Top” path where your circle’s direction would be to the left of the target line.

So if the Club Face is aligned directly at the target (0 Degreees), and the path of the club is swinging “Out To In” (lets say -5 Degrees), this would create a slice!  The Club Face alignment is open to the Club Head path through the impact zone.

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Ball Flight 102 - Straight AlignmentsHitting A Straight Shot

To hit a straight ball the Club Face must be SQUARE to the Club Path.  We commonly hear the Club Path referred to as a “On – Plane” path where your circle’s direction would be perfectly square with the target line.

So if the Club Face is aligned directly at the target (0 Degreees), and the path of the club is swinging “On Plane” (perfectly square at 0 degrees), this would create a straight golf shot!

NOTE: All of these assumptions go out the window if the ball is not hit in the center of the Club Face!  We will explore this and the golf club design in a later article.

 

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THE LEARNING POINT

In this article I wanted you to grasp the 3 types of alignments of the Club Face and Club Path, and what type of ball flight it produces.  Understanding these alignments will begin to get you on your way to understanding your missed golf shots.

Next Article —-> Ball Flight 103 – Learn The Modern 9 Ball Flight Laws (Coming Soon)

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QUESTIONS I WANT YOU TO GRASP

1. To hit a hook where does the club face need to be aligned in relation to the club path?

2. To hit a slice where does the club face need to be aligned in relation to the club path?

3. What type of alignments would be needed to hit a straight push to the right of your target?

 

Next Article —-> Ball Flight 103 – Learn The Modern 9 Ball Flight Laws (Coming Soon)

 

Ball Flight Laws

One comment

  1. Jack Gillies says:

    I just wanted to congratulate you on the best explanation and illustration of the D plane. I taught school for over 30 years and always got excited when one of my students would start to
    smile with new understanding and say ” I got it, sir”. That is how I felt today. Thank you

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