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Ball Flight Laws post


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I found and read this and it is an amazing article that really helped me to get a better understanding of why my ball flies the way it does on each swing:

https://thesandtrap.com/b/playing_tips/ball_flight_laws

It took me a little while to grasp that the swing path is measured relative to the club face angle and not the target line for the purpose of figuring out whether a shot will draw/fade or go straight relative to the club face, but now that I have that down it lead me to a strange conclusion based on the pictorial that labels the ball flights A-I.

B is a pure pull, and to pull this off the club face must be closed to the target line and fully in-line with the swing path.  This is not as good of a result as C which is a pull fade.  However, to pull off a pull fade, the club face must, again, be closed to the target line but the swing path must be out to in relative to that closed face.  This makes perfect sense to me, but it lead me to conclude that C (which has a better result than B) is actually a more flawed swing in that you must be extremely out to in to execute it.  The risk with this being that if the clubface happens to be square to the target line at impact you will end up with a slice. Close it even more extreme and you will have an occasional duck hook. 

 

This resonated with me since my natural shot seems to be a pull fade, a pull, or a slice with an occasional spurt of duck hooks.  I seem to be right in the danger zone for these results. 

 

Am I thinking of this properly?  And, if so, what should I be working on to correct this? I know this is a vague Q and I need to get a swing thread going.  I just have not had a chance to get out to the range and film myself.

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5 minutes ago, Antneye said:

B is a pure pull, and to pull this off the club face must be closed to the target line and fully in-line with the swing path.  This is not as good of a result as C which is a pull fade.  However, to pull off a pull fade, the club face must, again, be closed to the target line but the swing path must be out to in relative to that closed face.  This makes perfect sense to me, but it lead me to conclude that C (which has a better result than B) is actually a more flawed swing in that you must be extremely out to in to execute it.  The risk with this being that if the clubface happens to be square to the target line at impact you will end up with a slice. Close it even more extreme and you will have an occasional duck hook. ....Am I thinking of this properly?  And, if so, what should I be working on to correct this? I know this is a vague Q and I need to get a swing thread going.  I just have not had a chance to get out to the range and film myself.

I agree with you, to hit a shot which curves toward your target, assuming you're aiming straight at the target, your swing path has to be more "offline" than we used to think of it being.  However, you can look at this a little differently.  If you intentionally aim a little left, as you probably do, and swing through ON THAT PATH with your clubface just slightly open to that path (still left of the center of the fairway), you're hitting a straight fade, and you'd probably consider that a good swing pattern.  The difference between these two patterns is whether your swing path follows your intended swing path.

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56 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

I agree with you, to hit a shot which curves toward your target, assuming you're aiming straight at the target, your swing path has to be more "offline" than we used to think of it being.  However, you can look at this a little differently.  If you intentionally aim a little left, as you probably do, and swing through ON THAT PATH with your clubface just slightly open to that path (still left of the center of the fairway), you're hitting a straight fade, and you'd probably consider that a good swing pattern.  The difference between these two patterns is whether your swing path follows your intended swing path.

LOL, If I could be certain that my swing path followed my intended swing path I would not be in need of help :)

In all seriousness, that is exactly what it boils down to.  Swing path and club face control.  If I could figure out how to do that everything else would be gravy.  I think the beauty of this article is in showing just how fraught with peril any swing is if you cannot keep your clubface and swing path in control.  Physics could care less about your intentions, only your execution.

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As pointed out in the article, any of these paths can be good paths.  As long as you understand why your ball does what it does and you are able to control it.  now, I can't really imagine anyone that is able to control a pull hook on a regular basis, but, I suppose its possible.  Jack and Travino played push fades.  Hogan played a straight fade. 

I think that the reason that the majority of good golfers play a push-draw is simply that, once you learn how to do it properly, it's the easiest to repeat and be consistent with. At least that's my opinion.  If you play a pull-fade, it's still a good shot, but I just feel like you are always on the cusp of a slice.   I just think if you are a fader, it's way easier to come too far over the top and slice it.   Whereas, if you draw, it's pretty difficult to start coming too far from the inside.  so you really just have to worry about club-face.   

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(edited)
12 minutes ago, lastings said:

I think that the reason that the majority of good golfers play a push-draw is simply that, once you learn how to do it properly, it's the easiest to repeat and be consistent with. At least that's my opinion.  If you play a pull-fade, it's still a good shot, but I just feel like you are always on the cusp of a slice.   I just think if you are a fader, it's way easier to come too far over the top and slice it.   Whereas, if you draw, it's pretty difficult to start coming too far from the inside.  so you really just have to worry about club-face.   

I think it may be more of...if you have the correct hip turn, weight shift, etc...it leads to the inside out path (diagonal sweet spot path). That may be the reason that most good golfers play that shot rather than easier to control. Otherwise, why would the top player in the world have switched to a fade?  Just my .02

I know when I played a fade because of an OTT issue, it was much more consistent than my draw has been since changing it up

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11 minutes ago, lastings said:

Whereas, if you draw, it's pretty difficult to start coming too far from the inside.  so you really just have to worry about club-face.   

Not necessarily true, take a look at my swing thread! :cry:

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13 minutes ago, TN94z said:

Otherwise, why would the top player in the world have switched to a fade? 

 

well, professional golfers are a different animal.  I think they can consistently play a fade without it devolving into a slice.  First, they are incredible swingers of the golf club.  and second, they practice every day to keep their swing sharp. 

But, if you're referring to Dustin Johnson, He only plays a fade with his driver.  he draws his irons. 

 

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35 minutes ago, lastings said:

As pointed out in the article, any of these paths can be good paths.  As long as you understand why your ball does what it does and you are able to control it.  now, I can't really imagine anyone that is able to control a pull hook on a regular basis, but, I suppose its possible.  Jack and Travino played push fades.  Hogan played a straight fade. 

I think that the reason that the majority of good golfers play a push-draw is simply that, once you learn how to do it properly, it's the easiest to repeat and be consistent with. At least that's my opinion.  If you play a pull-fade, it's still a good shot, but I just feel like you are always on the cusp of a slice.   I just think if you are a fader, it's way easier to come too far over the top and slice it.   Whereas, if you draw, it's pretty difficult to start coming too far from the inside.  so you really just have to worry about club-face.   

I totally agree with you, and as I work on implementing the first two keys I am starting to get my swing path closer to a draw swing. I feel it is a much safer approach with more margin for error. I think controlling path first anf then focusing on club head at impact seems to be the natural progression. 

If I'm swinging in to out, the only miss that would be alarming would be a closed club face whereas out to in can lead to all sorts of disastrous results.

 I think understanding these ball flight laws should be required reading for anyone to truly understand their swing. 

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12 minutes ago, lastings said:

well, professional golfers are a different animal.  I think they can consistently play a fade without it devolving into a slice.  First, they are incredible swingers of the golf club.  and second, they practice every day to keep their swing sharp. 

But, if you're referring to Dustin Johnson, He only plays a fade with his driver.  he draws his irons. 

 

I know quite a few amateurs and weekenders that have plenty of control over their fade as well. Why did he switch his driver to a fade?

Anyway, this is getting off topic a little, so I won't drive the conversation any further.

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3 hours ago, Antneye said:

It took me a little while to grasp that the swing path is measured relative to the club face angle and not the target line for the purpose of figuring out whether a shot will draw/fade or go straight relative to the club face, but now that I have that down it lead me to a strange conclusion based on the pictorial that labels the ball flights A-I.

The ball starts (generally) where the face is pointing and cures away from the path.

3 hours ago, Antneye said:

B is a pure pull, and to pull this off the club face must be closed to the target line and fully in-line with the swing path.  This is not as good of a result as C which is a pull fade.  However, to pull off a pull fade, the club face must, again, be closed to the target line but the swing path must be out to in relative to that closed face.  This makes perfect sense to me, but it lead me to conclude that C (which has a better result than B) is actually a more flawed swing in that you must be extremely out to in to execute it.

Not really. Any of the ball flights can be good. Lee Trevino played a push fade. The target isn't necessarily at the top of the graphic.

2 hours ago, Antneye said:

In all seriousness, that is exactly what it boils down to.  Swing path and club face control.  If I could figure out how to do that everything else would be gravy.

That's why they're Keys #4 and #5.

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4 hours ago, lastings said:

Whereas, if you draw, it's pretty difficult to start coming too far from the inside.  so you really just have to worry about club-face.   

That's not true. I used to have a +12 path with the driver.

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4 minutes ago, billchao said:

That's not true. I used to have a +12 path with the driver.

well, since a couple people have suggested something similar, I should alter my statement.   

outside of a few cases, its rare that a swing will come too far from the inside.  I think it is more typical that a fader would come too far over the top and turn it into a slice.  

 

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21 hours ago, Antneye said:

I think understanding these ball flight laws should be required reading for anyone to truly understand their swing. 

+1

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36 minutes ago, dennyjones said:
21 hours ago, Antneye said:

I think understanding these ball flight laws should be required reading for anyone to truly understand their swing. 

+1

Read more  

Here are some things, however, that limit how well I can use this knowledge (I totally agree it is great to know):

  1. In various fitting sessions, where I've had my swing measured, I was not at a point where I had a consistent path and club face. While my swing was generally repeatable, the impact conditions of path/club face/angle of attack seemed to be pretty dispersed. Since then, I've gotten much more serious about my lessons. Let's hope my consistency is improved, but I haven't been on a monitor since I was fitted for driver ages ago.
  2. I still think I hit the ball off center too much (I've been meaning to do the "Center Club Face Challenge", so the gear effect from the rotation of the club can interfere with the club path/face angle's determination of ball flight. 

As I see it, one needs to gain a certain level of proficiency of swing in order for the knowledge of the ball flight laws to be put to use. Otherwise, there's just too much variability and it's hard to know if the slice was from path/face or gear effect. At least it was hard for me-- so I felt I needed a swing that was far more fundamentally sound before I started to revisit this level of analysis. I figure I've still got work to do to get consistent, and then I can analyze how to put this knowledge all into play by tinkering with stances/closing the club/etc.  YMMV

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46 minutes ago, RandallT said:

As I see it, one needs to gain a certain level of proficiency of swing in order for the knowledge of the ball flight laws to be put to use. Otherwise, there's just too much variability and it's hard to know if the slice was from path/face or gear effect. At least it was hard for me-- so I felt I needed a swing that was far more fundamentally sound before I started to revisit this level of analysis. I figure I've still got work to do to get consistent, and then I can analyze how to put this knowledge all into play by tinkering with stances/closing the club/etc.  YMMV

You can still use the ball flight laws to help you adjust. Most people have tendencies so a pattern will be identifiable based on their good strikes and misses. You can learn to feel whether you hit the ball towards the heel or the toe.

The other thing that helps is being able to properly identify your miss. A lot of people simply identify if they miss it left or right, or if their ball faded or drew without being able to tell you what line the ball started on. A pull fade and a push can both miss the green to the right but have very different swing paths.

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23 hours ago, iacas said:

Not really. Any of the ball flights can be good. Lee Trevino played a push fade. The target isn't necessarily at the top of the graphic.

That makes sense, but doesn't it make sense to think of the chart as if the target line is the top of the graphic?  Sure I can be aiming  away from there, but I think the graphic makes more sense when you look at in terms of the different ball flights relative to the top of the graphic being your intended target line.

 

I agree that any of them can be good depending upon what you are trying to accomplish, but it seems some have less "worst case scenarios" than others.

23 hours ago, iacas said:

That's why they're Keys #4 and #5.

Easy now.....I've barely figured out how to keep my head steady.  :)

1 hour ago, billchao said:

You can still use the ball flight laws to help you adjust. Most people have tendencies so a pattern will be identifiable based on their good strikes and misses. You can learn to feel whether you hit the ball towards the heel or the toe.

The other thing that helps is being able to properly identify your miss. A lot of people simply identify if they miss it left or right, or if their ball faded or drew without being able to tell you what line the ball started on. A pull fade and a push can both miss the green to the right but have very different swing paths.

I totally agree.

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10 minutes ago, Antneye said:

That makes sense, but doesn't it make sense to think of the chart as if the target line is the top of the graphic?  Sure I can be aiming  away from there, but I think the graphic makes more sense when you look at in terms of the different ball flights relative to the top of the graphic being your intended target line.

No, the top of the chart is simply where you're aligned for the purposes of the words "push" and "pull."

Lee lined up left and hit a push-fade.

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23 hours ago, lastings said:

well, since a couple people have suggested something similar, I should alter my statement.   

outside of a few cases, its rare that a swing will come too far from the inside.  I think it is more typical that a fader would come too far over the top and turn it into a slice.  

 

There are plenty of people who come too far from the inside. 

The vast majority of people who hook the ball, for example. 

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