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Weird ball flight... Explain

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"What about pitchers who can throw a screwball?"

A skrew ball is just a reverse Curveball, its not an S shape shot.

What you probably saw was the ball fade, then come straight down which makes it look like it came back left. But what it did was loose its spin so it just dropped down instead of finishing its curve out. Because once you put spin on the ball one way it just doesn't switch the other way with out an external force.

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Lets look at a ball from the profile & assign top, bottom, right & left to it's 4 quadrants.

You hit it top right & it starts turning over in a top spin right to left rotation. Could it rotate itself so far over that it actually ends up spinning facing a different direction & coming back to the right? With an unbalanced range ball(the only place i've ever seen this flight) that seems plausible, but i'm no scientist.

One more-could somebody pull a shot so hard that it gives the appearance of drawing but is actually a glorified pull-slice & is coming back to the right no matter what?

I've seen this shot too, only at the range, & repeatedly. So wonky range balls would probably be the culprit.

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Its not a draw, it might be a pull, line up some alignment sticks or get a few clubs and put them parallel on the ground and check your alignment. I once thought i was aiming straight and i was aiming 20 yards right of my target with my driver. I was pulling the ball straight down the middle.

That was my first thought. If you hit a slight pull relative to the target line of your shoulders at address it can sometimes look like a slight draw. I've hit slight pulls that I thought were draws only to see them fade at the apex of the shot thus indicating that I was wrong.

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It used to happen frequently with the old balata balls. Typically there were a lot of them, new right out of the box, that were not perfectly spherical or they would have a slightly heavy side -- even the very best brands. One reason Titleist was such a trusted ball was quality control -- fewer Titleist balls had defects as I remember it, but even some of those did. Before big tourneys we would put a dots on two orthogonal axes of a ball and spin it in a liquid, looking for anomalies. Then you would throw out the bad ones... and there were lots of bad ones.

On the course, the spin axis could precess and draws would turn their spin axis under and just before landing start fading. Modern balls have greatly reduced the possibility of his happening. For the doubters, I think it was Dave Peltz who actually did some serious testing of with some oils and detergents to find a good liquid to use for "spinning." I know Tom Kite was a ball spinner to detect bad ones. We all carried rings on our golf bags for testing even the good ones after we hit them a few times. It was rare for a ball to last more than a half dozen holes or so before becoming unround -- they would stick in the ring as you spun them around. If you did not test and spin your balls, you could see some amazing trajectories out on the course -- things the younger golfers on this forum would have a hard time believing. It was also not uncommon to do drop tests on concrete because in a new box there were usually a ball or two with a soft spot. You would hold two balls together and drop them from head high and frequently find one that did not bounce back as high as normal. Just a little history for your consideration.

P.S. Titleist had an ad that showed their balls rolling off a track and bouncing just right to go through a ball sized hole (well, a little bigger hole) supposedly showing the ones that did not bounce perfectly into the hole were not sold and failed the test.

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There are three dimensions x,y,z, each of these vectors will have a velocity, and rotation. A no side spin ball would be a square face regards to the path and target line. The ball would start straight and keep going straight. It would have backspin because there is loft on the club, and the ball is hit with a decending blow. This causes backspin. So, lets say backspin is on the Y plane, that means hook and slice are assigned to either x or z. That is determined by the clubface anged with regards to the swing path. That puts only one spin orientation on the ball. That will curve the ball one way. To have the ball curve the other way, something must act upon the ball to lets say apply z spin if the club applied x spin.

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I've also hit this shot lots of times, but only ever at the range. My range gets afternoon on-shore winds from right to left with partial blockage by trees to the right, so I think most of the time it's different winds higher up that take over from a slight fade as the ball slows down and pushes it back left. I've also hit this shot with minimal wind, but only at the range. I'd agree with above posters that this is probably due to old range balls not being perfectly centered anymore, which would allow the spin axis to shift and cause the corkscrew. It's definitely true that with a perfectly balanced ball and no wind the corkscrew is impossible, so it's gotta be wind or ball.

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For the seriously technical here, a freely spinning ball will precess slightly due to the Coriolis Effect, but I doubt the short time a golf ball is in flight would allow for more than a very minute effect, likely undetectable without highly sensitive measurements. However, I've never tried to calculate the magnitude so I may not know what I am talking about for real world situations. Also, the deformation of the ball and the subsequent dampening vibrations (the ball deforms, oscillates but rapidly decays its amplitude) as it leaves the club face will also cause spin changes that are dependent on the degree of deformation, the amplitude of the oscillations, the decay time, and the type of golf ball and its core and layers of construction. Golf balls are inelastic items of magical properties. When you hit one, they actually get a very small increase in temperature from the imperfect transfer of energy. A golf ball is more complex than the quantum mechanical solution for the energy levels of the hydrogen atom, even with some relativistic corrections. Just more useless information to consider during your backswing.

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For the seriously technical here, a freely spinning ball will precess slightly due to the Coriolis Effect

I plan for Coriolis on my putts, only because they usually DO have enough time to be affected due to the extreme distances I put myself from the cup

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I love it... great observation and funny as well. I guess we could use a Foucault pendulum in the sand of the bunker but slow play would be a problem.

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Note: This thread is 3265 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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