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Righty to Lefty

Knowing the ballflight laws ISN'T important ?

12 posts in this topic

For me knowing the correct ballflight laws and understanding how the D Plane works have been very very instrumental in my golf evolution.  I feel that they are one of the building blocks to learning how to play good golf and should be taught to any golfer as soon as they begin to play. Before I understood them I had alot of "I think I figured it out " days, but we all know that feel isn't real and so the next day I wouldn't hit it as well and be chasing my tail again.  Impact conditions are the same for everyone to hit a fade or draw, but feel isn't. For a child I think as soon as they come to an age of reasonable understanding that they should begin to be introduced to understanding why the ball flies the way it does. I have been in some other forums and I see the common topics: Why am I hitting pulls,  why am I pulling everything, why am I hitting hooks, or slices. The one that kills me the most is " I set up for a draw, and hit a slices."  That one kills me because those two shot shapes are polar opposites.

Now I would consider myself more of a feel golfer than at any point in my golfing life because when I practice I dial in the FEEL of executing all the shot shapes and trajectories because I know exactly what needs to happen to hit any given shot. I practice each shot shape until I am confident that I have given up trying to control the shot, and am simply playing to my feel for the shot shape or trajectory. I never go onto the course thinkin about BFL's or D Plane because I got set straight by iacas, and now I just know them and don't have to worry about it.  On the course though it freed me up becuase I KNOW what I am trying to execute, and I KNOW the punishment if I don't commit to the shot.

When I hear of all the common " Why am I hitting pulls,  why am I pushing everything, why am I hitting hooks, or slices" forums it says to me that the golfer doesn't really understand what they are trying to do really.  I get drilled in these forums because I mention that the golfer needs to review BFL's and D Plane and then they would see that if they truly set up for a draw....and hit a slice......repeatedly.....just how far away from each other that those shots truly are.  I get responses to my post like " why would you want to make the game less fun by teaching a rank beginner  about BFL's or D Plane." But I always see replies like....your balance is off, your grip is too strong or weak, you aren't committing to your target, you aren't keeping your head down, and the such.  Sure you might have a problem in one of these areas but I find that I never have to make any major adjustments to my swing becuase I'm just tweaking clubface and clubpath to get the shot that I want.  Knowing that I am set up properly, and knowing that the feel that I have developed in practice is correct has allowed me to really learn to play " just how close am I gonna stick this one to the flag" and really play the course.

I guess my real question is....when should you learn the BFL's and D Plane?  If you guys feel that I am wrong about believing that they should be learned and understood as early as possible if you are ever to develop true feel in golf then please say so....I can handle it.

Thanks

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Well its all about understanding

Could you get a kid to learn, "Ball starts were the clubface is pointing", yes. Could you describe the D-plane in a simple manor in which they can understand, probably not. Heck, i'm 28, with over 5 levels of college math, 3 levels of college physics, and an engineering degree and the D-plane is a pain in the ass to understand. I can get the ball flight laws, but D-plane is a bit confusing, I'm not thinking 3-dimensionally :p

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I'm the ultimate "feel" player. Grab stick, hit ball..... But if someone doesn't understand what actually causes the shot shape and result they get, they'll never be able to make the adjustments necessary to correct them. I'm a good example. I've always been able to make the ball move either way, but my draw was always a bit of a pull draw because I failed to understand that the initial ball direction is based on club head orientation at impact. Like so many, I was setting up with a closed stance and aiming the club head at the target. Once I learned how the ball actually reacts, I was quickly able to make the necessary changes to begin hitting a much cleaner, more effective push draw, even without a great deal of mechanical change in my set up. Mechanical or feel.....you still have to understand what causes any given result if you're going to correct it when things inevitably go south.
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I don't think 99% of golfers need to know the D-Plane. It's a great tool for instructors, but as I've said before, you don't stop someone from slicing by having them hit down more so the path is farther out. :P

The ball flight laws are simple, as you know, and though people have won tons of majors not knowing them, I still view them as an impediment. They're WAY MORE important for the weekend golfer, or the average golfer, to understand than the touring pro who has hit a billion golf balls - enough that his body learned what it has to do to produce the shot he's imagining, regardless of what his mind might be telling him.

The average golfer doesn't have the faith in himself to get them wrong. He sets up for a hook around the tree with the face pointing right at the tree, pulls off exactly the shot he was trying to hit, nails the tree, and gets down on himself because he thinks he must have swung to the left because the ball started there.

All that said, I agree with H and others that there's too much talk of the ball flight laws. Most everyone here knows it. I am proud of that fact... more people here know them than anywhere else I've seen. But sometimes I think that talking about them makes them seem complicated to others.

They're not.

And I want to stress that: the ball flight laws are dead simple easy.

P.S. You made a very good point about "feel" and so on. EVERYONE is a feel player. Knowing the way the ball flies does not suddenly make you a "technical" person - it simply lets you narrow in on the feels that produce the alignments you want at impact, and THAT is what golf is all about (I mean, the actual playing of it, it's about being outside, enjoying your friends, challenging yourself, and all that other bull too :D).

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for me, i love knowing them.  i think its imperative for anyone who isnt just out there to drink beers and flirt with the cart girl to know them.

the downside is, when my game goes south, and im hitting a big push slice, i know in my head why its happening but i dont have the skill the make my body/brain correct the fault.  so thats depressing.

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Originally Posted by iacas

I don't think 99% of golfers need to know the D-Plane. It's a great tool for instructors, but as I've said before, you don't stop someone from slicing by having them hit down more so the path is farther out. :P

The ball flight laws are simple, as you know, and though people have won tons of majors not knowing them, I still view them as an impediment. They're WAY MORE important for the weekend golfer, or the average golfer, to understand than the touring pro who has hit a billion golf balls - enough that his body learned what it has to do to produce the shot he's imagining, regardless of what his mind might be telling him.

The average golfer doesn't have the faith in himself to get them wrong. He sets up for a hook around the tree with the face pointing right at the tree, pulls off exactly the shot he was trying to hit, nails the tree, and gets down on himself because he thinks he must have swung to the left because the ball started there.

All that said, I agree with H and others that there's too much talk of the ball flight laws. Most everyone here knows it. I am proud of that fact... more people here know them than anywhere else I've seen. But sometimes I think that talking about them makes them seem complicated to others.

They're not.

And I want to stress that: the ball flight laws are dead simple easy.

P.S. You made a very good point about "feel" and so on. EVERYONE is a feel player. Knowing the way the ball flies does not suddenly make you a "technical" person - it simply lets you narrow in on the feels that produce the alignments you want at impact, and THAT is what golf is all about (I mean, the actual playing of it, it's about being outside, enjoying your friends, challenging yourself, and all that other bull too :D).

Thanks bigtime for the reply....you would be very surprised by how many people outside of this forum don't understand the BFL's.  D plane was important for me because it showed me where I need to make contact during the arch to get the results I was looking for (basically it let me know that it is alright for me to have a slightly open stance with my irons!) You might be right about too much talk abou them and I also like how you put it when you said that just knowing them doesn't make you become technical.

I would think that most people would want the fastest route to playing their best golf, and I think that being able to quickly interpret ball flight is a very important step.  I have never stood over the ball more confidently in my life because I am sure of what is about to happen if I just let it happen because I've done all the work  in my practice sessions.  I just couldn't believe that people would just basically say that knowing them didn't matter when those impact conditions are the blueprint to building and trusting the feel in their swing they are looking for.

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I would say that the point when someone should learn the ball flight laws is when they can consistently hit the ball in the air and their chief concern becomes hitting it straight(ish).

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Quote:
I would say that the point when someone should learn the ball flight laws is when they can consistently hit the ball in the air and their chief concern becomes hitting it straight(ish).

That's true,  unless they are able to hit a consistantly miss, then its near impossible to figure out what's wrong through ball flight laws. Amateurs can miss it right, left, top, fat, it gets bad and confusing. Its one thing i think Hank Haney had right in one regard, he always said, if he can get someone to hook the ball, its easy to fix a hook. I like the premise, i rather get someone to hit some sort of shot a lot. IF a person hits a pull slice 99% of the time, that's easier to diagnose and fix than someone how's hitting it all over the place. Just tackle one thing at a time.

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Superb thread!

The biggest issue for us amateur players I think is that we're not consistant enough. Learning about the fundamentals of swing path and clubhead at impact etc. would truly be important to know what needs to be corrected.

I played plenty of golf (30-40 rounds/year) when I whas younger but never thought about swing technique. I got down to a 7 HCP, allthough it could probably have been a 3-4 HCP if I had been more concistant. I could for example shoot a 72 round +1, and then the next day shoot an 85. The thing is I never thought of what I was doing right one day and wrong another.

Even though my handicap is the same today, I'm much more concistant. Not particulary in scoring, but the way I'm striking the ball. And that despite a 8-9 years brake from golf. Instead I'm now struggling with the touch in my short game. No surprise there.

Having some knowledge of swing dynamics have truly helped my game and made golfing even more fun (if possible).

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I posted this to Facebook after writing a similar thing above:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/5simplekeys/permalink/393612237388784/

Quote:
Just a quick, off-the-cuff type post here...

People will often point out that Tiger Woods, or Nick Faldo, or Jack Nicklaus, or whomever won majors and fame and fortune not understanding why the ball flies the way it does (what affects start line, how the ball curves, where it lands, etc.).

The point I'd make to that is that these ball flight laws matter LEAST to the game's best players. They've hit a few million golf balls. Their bodies have learned that their mind is talking nonsense. :)

The ball flight laws matter MOST to the average golfer, who doesn't have the time for his body to learn that his mind is crazy, and who needs to stop pull-hooking the ball, or slicing the ball weakly into the trees despite having a face pointing left of the target at impact.

Understanding the ball flight laws is part of Key #5, which is essentially understanding and applying proper clubface alignments given the chosen Key #4: Diagonal Sweet Spot Path.
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Originally Posted by Righty to Lefty

Thanks bigtime for the reply....you would be very surprised by how many people outside of this forum don't understand the BFL's.

No he wouldn't be surprised ;-)  It is changing though.  From my experience more beginners get it than golfers that have been playing a number of years.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Righty to Lefty View Post

Thanks bigtime for the reply....you would be very surprised by how many people outside of this forum don't understand the BFL's.  D plane was important for me because it showed me where I need to make contact during the arch to get the results I was looking for (basically it let me know that it is alright for me to have a slightly open stance with my irons!) You might be right about too much talk abou them and I also like how you put it when you said that just knowing them doesn't make you become technical.

Only time D-Plane is really prevalent for the average guy could be for the driver.  We want to have positive AoA so if you want to draw it might need to aim right at set-up.

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After one year, my daughter easily understands that the ball starts where the clubface is pointing, and she can usually correct it when she starts hitting it right (her most common miss). I don't know D-plane, but I am currently teaching her about swingpath and it's effect on flight shape. It's really not that complicated.

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