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Ball flight and shot shape control problems: impact location or path/face issues?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

As a Trackman owner, when we talk about ball flight and curvature we use the D-Plane model. For those that don't know, D-Plane is made up as a plane space created by the angle created between the club's path, attack angle, and where the face is pointing at impact. The ball's axis of  b ack spin, is always 90* perpendicular to the shape of that plane and this model works well for describing why shots curve how they do in the air. The problem with the D-Plane model, however, is that is ONLY works when the ball is struck perfectly. What I've found in my experiences with Doppler technology, that the majority of shots that create undesireable ball fights are more a result of off-center hits than face and path differences.

 

This is known as gear-effect and seems to have a profound influence on almost all golf shots. Just yesterday evening, saw several swings that produced a noticeable cutting action that would have lead me to believe she was swiping across the ball with a leftward path. Her Trackman numbers indicated she had a positive ( inside out) path of 2* and was reading face angle measurements closed ( -2 or higher). She was making contact toward the heel consistently. I've even seen similar results with elite tour-level players. A former Reno-Tahoe winner was hitting push-cuts with a positive swing path because of the same scenario. When he went back his natural path ( slightly left) and hit his normal baby pull cut; impact dramatically improved. I see this consistently at all levels, and am curious if or how you guys self-diagnose or analyze whether location of the strike is causing issues or a path/face situation. Again, i'm not referring to 'obvious' toe or heel hits, but this phenomena occurs even on mishits by a couple dimples on the ball.

post #2 of 22
I fight a very in to out path with my driver and woods causing me to hit it off the toe more often than not. This greatly reduces the backspin on the ball, but gives it severe hook spin....
To combat this I tweaked my adress position per my instructors advise. I address the ball toward the heel which gives me a center strike on the face and a beautiful ball flight more times than not...
To find the right impact I use DR SCHOLES FOOT SPRAY on the clubface during all my practice sessions. It helps me monitor the impact without scratching my head as to if my path had changed. Yesterday I had a few strikes closer to the heel that would produce a fade and a few toe strikes for a hook. Once I found the center i was hitting the ball beautiful....
post #3 of 22

I've been fascinated with the science that TrackMan can reveal. There are great articles on the TrackMan site that are written by Fredrik Tuxen here (find articles on "Secrets of the Straight Shot")-->

http://www.trackman.dk/download/newsletter/newsletter4.pdf

http://www.trackman.dk/download/newsletter/newsletter5.pdf

 

One of the key takeaways for off-center hits is that hitting shots off-center has about four times the horizontal effect for a driver than with a 6-iron. 

 

For example, if you hit your driver off-center by just one dimple from the sweet spot toward the heel (0.14”), your shot will wind up 10 yards to the right on a 250 yard drive- due to the gear effect of the heel shot causing a slice spin. For a 6 iron, you would wind up 2.5 yards to the right. 

If you hit your driver off-center by 0.5” from the center toward the heel, your shot will wind up 35 yards right on a 250 yard drive. For a 6-iron, you would only wind up 8 yards to the right. 

 

Reverse all of that for toe shots. So all of that gear effect from off-center hits competes with the club path/face angle analysis that we are all familiar with. The resulting shot is a summary of it all combined.

 

From what you are saying, RadarNinja, the effects of off-center hits can be the overriding factor in the resulting shot, which I think makes sense. 

post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
Good feedback.... What concerns me the most about instruction is that many if not most instructors diagnose swing flaws based on visual feedback from ball flight. If impact is just a hair off center but the path and face alignments are otherwise good, I think instruction needs to pay closer attention to where impact happens.
post #5 of 22

Without getting to technical, I play by feel and if something goes wrong with my ball flight  I usually look into the face angle with my wedges as tends to the main reason.

With a flatter face such as the driver , it tends to be a path issue for me.

Remember , the more loffted the club is the more difficult it is to control the face so usually its a face angle issues.

I dont use the 85%/15% rule its just ruins my golf game.

post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Truegolf View Post

Without getting to technical, I play by feel and if something goes wrong with my ball flight  I usually look into the face angle with my wedges as tends to the main reason.

With a flatter face such as the driver , it tends to be a path issue for me.

Remember , the more loffted the club is the more difficult it is to control the face so usually its a face angle issues.

I dont use the 85%/15% rule its just ruins my golf game.

Not sure i'm following you...are saying it's harder to square up a wedge vs. a driver? I'm not sure I agree.... because with a wedge when your face and path don't match each other the ball still tends to still fly relatively straight because it's harder to tilt the ball's axis. With driver, all it takes is a slight differential between the face and path and the ball will curve significantly. I find it easier to square the face with a wedge because the club length is shorter and doesn't travel as far along the arc path.  

post #7 of 22
We don't have to agree. I play my game you play yours
I made myself clear. I don't get what you are saying.
It's easier to match the face and path of a driver than wedge. Driver has 10 degree of loft and basically on a tee it matches roughtly the angle of the upswing
With a full wedge the angle of attack is downward with a the face pointing half way up the sky. You are saying its easy to match a downward path with an upward pointing face of a wedge at impact ?
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Truegolf View Post

We don't have to agree. I play my game you play yours
I made myself clear. I don't get what you are saying.
It's easier to match the face and path of a driver than wedge. Driver has 10 degree of loft and basically on a tee it matches roughtly the angle of the upswing
With a full wedge the angle of attack is downward with a the face pointing half way up the sky. You are saying its easy to match a downward path with an upward pointing face of a wedge at impact ?

 

I think that......


you are talking about angle on the same axis (elevation) - angle of attack and loft of the club

he's talking about spin contribution angles - club head path (on the horizontal) and the face angle (on the horizontal - closed through square to open)

 

(he also has an element of angle of attack in there, but you guys are talking past each other because of the above - simple and harmless miscommunication)

 

 

 

my goal is, eventually, (it's more of something to strive for, rather than achieve), is a clean centered strike with club path around +3 and face open 1

since my face angle control sucks, I need to be hitting really good to even play with it much.  Yesterday at the range was a good day where I was able to practice workability with my long irons and woods.  normally I just try to dial in a controlled hit and not play much with workability.

 

To the OP - YES, the centeredness of the contact point was very much an effect.  (at the extreme, it's even worse  b4_blushing.gif  -toeing and shanking- but that's something completely different)

post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by RadarNinja View Post

Not sure i'm following you...are saying it's harder to square up a wedge vs. a driver? I'm not sure I agree.... because with a wedge when your face and path don't match each other the ball still tends to still fly relatively straight because it's harder to tilt the ball's axis. With driver, all it takes is a slight differential between the face and path and the ball will curve significantly. I find it easier to square the face with a wedge because the club length is shorter and doesn't travel as far along the arc path.  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Truegolf View Post

We don't have to agree. I play my game you play yours
I made myself clear. I don't get what you are saying.
It's easier to match the face and path of a driver than wedge. Driver has 10 degree of loft and basically on a tee it matches roughtly the angle of the upswing
With a full wedge the angle of attack is downward with a the face pointing half way up the sky. You are saying its easy to match a downward path with an upward pointing face of a wedge at impact ?

I'm not sure if truegolf said it right - I don't think it's harder to line up the face because the club is more lofted - but it doesn't really matter.  If you are missing with wedges, it is likely to be more due to the face angle though, because, you're not curving wedges (unless you're Bubba Watson) anyway.  So I'll agree with him on that.

 

But I don't believe that his other point is true at all.  There is nothing particularly easy about hitting driver, and it's because of how magnified even the slightest differences between face and path are.

 

As far as which is easier to line up, I'd say it's a tie.  Same person, same swing mechanics.  (Well, perhaps since the driver is longer, there is more chances to screw up, so I guess I'd give a slight edge to the wedge)  But, as far as which is easier to line up to a point that is "good enough" ... it's the wedge all day long.  Duh.

post #10 of 22

Seems like the key to this forum discussion is that it brings to light an important element of the so-called "new ball flight laws" that might be under-appreciated. If you use only face angle and club path to determine the initial direction and spin on the ball, you should realize that you assume that you hit the sweet spot. If you do not hit the sweet spot, then you must add extra variables into the final effect for the spin on the ball (hitting the heel adds slice spin, toe adds hook spin).

 

OP is saying that he has personally seen people mis-diagnosing their club path/face angle based on the true flight... all because they applied the ball flight laws without considering that they hit the ball off-center. As OP mentioned, it is possible to fade the ball when you have an inside to outside path and a face angle closed to the path.... if you hit it on the heel even a moderate amount. 

 

All the talk on attack angles and driver v. wedge seems irrelevant. Maybe I'm misunderstanding...

post #11 of 22
I thinkt hat is what he is saying but in the thousands and thousands of lessons ive given ive never seen a player who hits a ball that cuts because he heeled it then hits a ball that draws because he toed it and keeps randomly hitting shots that vary in their flight because of impact location-Everyone has a pattern pretty much even if the pattern is Low Pulls and Cuts or something like that. Small errors come out in the wash if they hit more than a few golf balls.

If a student is not hitting the ball as solidly as possible then we look at that. I use Trackman often enough and the numbers with driver that dont match the ball flight or the measured spin axis are usually pretty easy to see: path +3 measured and face +4 (measured by ball flight) yet ball draws = toe hit-Not a big deal.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RandallT View Post

Seems like the key to this forum discussion is that it brings to light an important element of the so-called "new ball flight laws" that might be under-appreciated. If you use only face angle and club path to determine the initial direction and spin on the ball, you should realize that you assume that you hit the sweet spot. If you do not hit the sweet spot, then you must add extra variables into the final effect for the spin on the ball (hitting the heel adds slice spin, toe adds hook spin).
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Truegolf View Post

We don't have to agree. I play my game you play yours
I made myself clear. I don't get what you are saying.
It's easier to match the face and path of a driver than wedge. Driver has 10 degree of loft and basically on a tee it matches roughtly the angle of the upswing
With a full wedge the angle of attack is downward with a the face pointing half way up the sky. You are saying its easy to match a downward path with an upward pointing face of a wedge at impact ?

That may very well be true for you, but for the majority of amateur golfers their face and path with the driver don't match and hence the wild crooked shot that typically slices. Angle of attack and loft don't have much to do with controlling face angle, angle of attack does impact path slightly...but the reason it's easier to 'square' up the face of a wedge has more to do with the fact  that  you're closer to the ball with a shorter club that doesn't have to travel as far. Path isn't 'downward' either but measured horizontally at impact, I think you're confusing angle of attack with path, but the topic was relating to catching the sweetspot so i'm not understanding the point.

post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RandallT View Post

Seems like the key to this forum discussion is that it brings to light an important element of the so-called "new ball flight laws" that might be under-appreciated. If you use only face angle and club path to determine the initial direction and spin on the ball, you should realize that you assume that you hit the sweet spot. If you do not hit the sweet spot, then you must add extra variables into the final effect for the spin on the ball (hitting the heel adds slice spin, toe adds hook spin).

 

OP is saying that he has personally seen people mis-diagnosing their club path/face angle based on the true flight... all because they applied the ball flight laws without considering that they hit the ball off-center. As OP mentioned, it is possible to fade the ball when you have an inside to outside path and a face angle closed to the path.... if you hit it on the heel even a moderate amount. 

 

All the talk on attack angles and driver v. wedge seems irrelevant. Maybe I'm misunderstanding...

Great post Randall. My point was that I see face and path numbers daily that produce ball flights that don't match the D-Plane model. I'd say realistically I see as many or more shots with both irons and driver that produce some degree of gear effect than shots that  can apply to face and path differences. Phil says it's no big deal, but I disagree because even instructors who 'understand' the new ball flight laws could easily assume a path issue based on the shot shape. I know because it happens to me all the time. We can't see the 3-D path of the clubhead with our 2-D eyes

and can only generalize face angle based on the starting direction of the shot. I don't see how any instructor could accurately determine cause and effect without understanding gear effect and impact location on the face. Like I said initially, it's pretty easy to see a clear toe or heel hit, but an 1/8" off center?

post #14 of 22

Most shots, especially with the driver, will have some gear effect. The center of gravity location is small. Also, the cog isn't necessarily in the exact center of the head. So, as you said, only if you know where on the face impact occurred, do you have a chance to diagnose by ball flight. Also, with TrackMan, the face angle readings are going to be more negative on heel side impact and more positive on toe impact than it would be on the same swing with center impact due to face bulge and gearing.
 

post #15 of 22

When I hit a ball poorly because of impact location (at least to the point that gear effect is causing the shape) it is really obvious.  I can feel the driver (or 3 wood or hybrid) twist open in my hands at impact and I hit a big hook.  There is absolutely no question that the ball flight issue on that particular shot was caused because I hit it out on the toe.  (Same goes for heel hits and slices, albeit to a much lesser extent, I assume, because of the short moment arm)

 

With irons, though, I can honestly say that I've never really noticed any gear effect on shots.  When I miss the sweet spot by too much ... too low on the face and I hit a worm burner, too high and its a chunk, too heelward = shank, or if I hit it too far out on the toe, I just lose quite a bit of distance.

 

I guess I just don't see where gear effect has a "profound" influence on all golf shots.  Not saying it doesn't, but I don't see it.

post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 
Yes... It's subtle and hard to notice unless, like you stated, hit way toward the heel or toe. I assure you it does happen quite frequently even with irons to some extent.
post #17 of 22

Ninja-

Is there any way you could post maybe 10 random shots of yours where you put tape on the club and record where on the face you hit the ball (heel side or toe side of where you think sweet spot is)... include the key data, and then list the actual ball flight you saw?  Of course, you could cherry-pick or falsify the data that prove your point, so we would trust you to pick actual shots with decent data.  If we see that on several of those shots that the club path/face angle rules don't fully explain the actual ball flight, that would be extremely interesting if you also listed where the ball hit on the tape.

 

I know that's a lot of work, so I understand if you think this is ridiculous. I just think it might be informative.

 

And dumb question... does TrackMan even detect where on the face the ball was struck? I don't think so, because I don't see how it could know where the "sweet spot" is on the club. 

post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 

I'd be more than happy to post some Trackman data showing gear effect...but don't have the time to conduct a 'test' to see impact location. There'd also be no reason why i'd 'falsify' data...there's nothing for me to gain by posting objective observations..lol.  

To answer your last question, no...can't tell you impact location, it simply calculates the deflection that happens at the moment of maximum compression or deformation of the golf ball. So the face angle measurement might be several degrees closed after compression but not necessarily at initial contact. It's able to calculate this angle by directly measuring the launch direction and then factoring in club head speed and path, but it's not a direct measurement.

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