# John Jacobs Incorrect Ball Flight Laws

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15 hours ago, 2turnswish said:

We're in agreement. My conviction will always be with John Jacobs and his way to practical golf, using ball flight to diagnose your swing and make corrections if needed.

I'm afraid JJ had the ball flight laws wrong, so I would stay away from any of his books.... I recognize his contributions to golf instruction but at some point wrong is just wrong.

edit: answered immediately to this post and now I saw the whole discussion. I agree with iacas and remembered reading 'Practical Golf' and being surprised that the "fixes" we all based on the wrong ball flight laws.

Edited by Etzwane

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2 hours ago, Etzwane said:

I'm afraid JJ had the ball flight laws wrong, so I would stay away from any of his books.... I recognize his contributions to golf instruction but at some point wrong is just wrong.

edit: answered immediately to this post and now I saw the whole discussion. I agree with iacas and remembered reading 'Practical Golf' and being surprised that the "fixes" we all based on the wrong ball flight laws.

You are so right, "...at some point wrong is wrong...". And anyone believing that the clubface determines the initial ball flight is wrong. Look golf is a target game, A to B. So you want to hit a draw from A to B. And the clubface determines the initial direction and the swing path the curvature. So you swing to the left with an open face, right? I mean that's YOUR definition of ball flight laws. Club face open sends ball right and by swinging left the ball then curves back to the left and there's your draw? No, there's your classic fade or slice. To hit the draw, you swing to the RIGHT with the face closed to the swing path and there goes the ball out to the right, path, and the closed face imparts counterclockwise spin and the ball curves back to the left, a draw. JJ and others never were, nor never will be wrong. You're confusing target line with swing path to define your laws. But again if swing path defined the terminal curvature, which in the case of a draw is to the left, why then are you swinging to the right? By your laws, the ball should go to the right at the end! That's the path. It doesn't, it goes right initially then curves left. Path combined with face, not face combined with path.

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21 minutes ago, 2turnswish said:

You are so right, "...at some point wrong is wrong...". And anyone believing that the clubface determines the initial ball flight is wrong. Look golf is a target game, A to B. So you want to hit a draw from A to B. And the clubface determines the initial direction and the swing path the curvature. So you swing to the left with an open face, right? I mean that's YOUR definition of ball flight laws. Club face open sends ball right and by swinging left the ball then curves back to the left and there's your draw? No, there's your classic fade or slice. To hit the draw, you swing to the RIGHT with the face closed to the swing path and there goes the ball out to the right, path, and the closed face imparts counterclockwise spin and the ball curves back to the left, a draw. JJ and others never were, nor never will be wrong. You're confusing target line with swing path to define your laws. But again if swing path defined the terminal curvature, which in the case of a draw is to the left, why then are you swinging to the right? By your laws, the ball should go to the right at the end! That's the path. It doesn't, it goes right initially then curves left. Path combined with face, not face combined with path.

Sorry but that's not what we say: we say ball starts about where the face points (actual difference with the face depends on the club) and then path relative to face determines "side-spin". We don't say that the ball curves in the direction of the club path. So definitely for a draw we would want at impact a face aiming right of target and a club path even more to the right.

The difference between the old assumption and the "modern" ball flight laws are more obvious when trying to diagnose a straight-slice or straight-hook (ball starting at target and going away from target). JJ would say the path is correct and the face was open/close but we would say the face was OK but the path is wrong, completely different "fix".

Edited by Etzwane

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1 minute ago, Etzwane said:

Sorry but that's not what we say: we say ball starts about where the face points (actual difference with the face depends on the club) and then path relative to face determines "side-spin". We don't say that the ball curves in the direction of the club path. So definitely for a draw we would want at impact a face aiming right of target and a club path even more to the right.

Exactly as JJ taught and illustrated. So nothing has changed. All the face is doing is modifying the path if it is not squared to the path. The draw starts to the right of the target because that's where you're swinging, path, and if the face is closed to that path then the ball will pick up side spin counterclockwise and turn back to the left, all that final performance of the ball is face angle relative to the path. Same for fade or straight. The nine actions of the ball, as described by JJ, are still as true today, as there were in his time, and always will be. Two forces working in dynamic harmony. And the important thing is how to control them and correct them. For that I refer you to the master, JJ. It's been fun.

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3 hours ago, 2turnswish said:

You are so right, "...at some point wrong is wrong...". And anyone believing that the clubface determines the initial ball flight is wrong.

In a nutshell, this is what's incorrect about what Jacobs believed, and incorrect about what you keep saying.

The clubface overwhelmingly determines the ball's initial flight (direction). Jacobs thought the path mostly determined the ball's initial flight.

He was wrong. The face is responsible for 80-90% of the ball's initial start direction.

3 hours ago, 2turnswish said:

Look golf is a target game, A to B. So you want to hit a draw from A to B. And the clubface determines the initial direction and the swing path the curvature. So you swing to the left with an open face, right? I mean that's YOUR definition of ball flight laws. Club face open sends ball right and by swinging left the ball then curves back to the left and there's your draw?

Nobody has said anything like that.

"The ball starts generally where the face is pointing and curves away from the path."

If the face is at -2° and the path is at -5°, the ball starts a little left (about -2.3°) and fades RIGHT (away from the path that is "left" of where the ball started).

3 hours ago, 2turnswish said:

To hit the draw, you swing to the RIGHT with the face closed to the swing path and there goes the ball out to the right, path, and the closed face imparts counterclockwise spin and the ball curves back to the left, a draw.

Please read this and take your time with it, because it's clear you have not to this point.

Here's one example where that is wrong:

"swing to the right" - Okay let's swing 5° to the right.
"face closed to the swing path" - Okay, let's set the face 7° closed to the swing path, at -2° to the target.
"the ball goes out to the right" - No, it doesn't. It starts just left of the target and hooks like crazy from there.

The path does not mostly determine the initial starting direction of the ball as Jacobs believed.

3 hours ago, 2turnswish said:

JJ and others never were, nor never will be wrong.

3 hours ago, 2turnswish said:

You're confusing target line with swing path to define your laws.

No, we're not. It's you who keeps saying words like "open" or "closed" without actually defining what they're open or closed to.

Again:

Where Everyone Agrees
That a face closed to the path creates a draw, and a face open to the path creates a fade (assuming center contact).

Where Jacobs is Wrong
That the ball's initial launch direction is mostly governed by the path of the club. It's actually governed primarily by where the clubface is pointing.

I cannot make this much simpler for you.

3 hours ago, 2turnswish said:

But again if swing path defined the terminal curvature, which in the case of a draw is to the left, why then are you swinging to the right? By your laws, the ball should go to the right at the end! That's the path. It doesn't, it goes right initially then curves left. Path combined with face, not face combined with path.

Nobody has ever said what you just said. Nobody has ever said swinging to the right makes the ball curve to the right. It's you who has gotten himself very confused.

The ball starts pretty much where the face is pointing, then curves away from the path.

That's as simple as it gets. And Jacobs got the first half of that wrong.

The second half, everyone's always agreed upon.

3 hours ago, Etzwane said:

Sorry but that's not what we say: we say ball starts about where the face points (actual difference with the face depends on the club) and then path relative to face determines "side-spin". We don't say that the ball curves in the direction of the club path. So definitely for a draw we would want at impact a face aiming right of target and a club path even more to the right.

Precisely! (Were I to nit-pick it would be on "side spin" - but I think you know it's just a layman's way of talking about the tilted spin axis, and I'm more okay with the use of the phrase "side spin" than some instructors, because the point of communication is not to nit-pick, but to be understood.)

3 hours ago, Etzwane said:

The difference between the old assumption and the "modern" ball flight laws are more obvious when trying to diagnose a straight-slice or straight-hook (ball starting at target and going away from target). JJ would say the path is correct and the face was open/close but we would say the face was OK but the path is wrong, completely different "fix".

Bingo.

Understanding/believeing the "old" ball flight laws can lead to the wrong "fixes" being put into place.

3 hours ago, 2turnswish said:

Exactly as JJ taught and illustrated.

He did not. He believed the ball's initial flight was due primarily to the club's path.

3 hours ago, 2turnswish said:

All the face is doing is modifying the path if it is not squared to the path. The draw starts to the right of the target because that's where you're swinging, path, and if the face is closed to that path then the ball will pick up side spin counterclockwise and turn back to the left, all that final performance of the ball is face angle relative to the path.

I gave you an example above where swinging right started the ball to the LEFT of the target.

It highlights how Jacobs was wrong, and how what you've said here can be wrong. So that you can refer back to it, it's the purple text up above. Here's another one:

"the draw starts to the right of the target because that's where you're swinging:" okay, let's swing 10° right of the target.
the face is closed to that path then the ball will… turn left." okay, let's point the face 5° left of the target.

Here's the problem, @2turnswish: that golf ball starts LEFT of the target line and hooks like hell from there.

Jacobs got the ball flight laws wrong. He got wrong what determines the initial flight of the ball: it's not the club's path as he believed. And knowing that, it calls into question a lot of the "fixes" he'd apply, as they could often be the opposite of what the fix truly should be.

Read the last several posts a few times if necessary, because this is going nowhere.

@2turnswish, I split this topic off into a new topic, as it has nothing to do with Shawn Clement or S&T anymore.

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Look, I'm sure all those golfer, numbering in the thousands, that JJ and his students taught and helped will attest to him and them getting it right.

Now as to your example, 10* path right of target and 5* closed face in relation to target, which would be 15* closed to path, bet that would be a smothered ground burner to the left. Surely you meant 5* closed to path which would be a huge draw or hook. The dynamic relationship between swing path, face angle, clubhead speed, angle of attack, type of club, loft and lie is just that dynamic. And John Jacobs understood all these perfectly and taught the fundamentals perfectly and how to fix faults perfectly. His principles have and will stand the test of time, no matter how many monitors record ball flight. His nine possible ball flights, pull, pull draw-hook, pull-fade-slice, straight, straight-fade, straight-draw, push, push-fade-slice, push-draw are and always will help any golfer correct any fundamental that caused that particular ball flight. End of story.

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23 minutes ago, 2turnswish said:

Look, I'm sure all those golfer, numbering in the thousands, that JJ and his students taught and helped will attest to him and them getting it right.

Let me be perfectly clear: I'm talking only about the ball flight laws. And if he got them backward, as he appears to have done, then I don't doubt that there are some lessons he gave that did not help people because he got them backward.

Which then leads to the statement I've made in various forms: It's dangerous to base your instruction on the ball flight when you get the laws that govern the ball flight wrong. Ball not starting right enough? If you think the path governs the start direction, you might work a student toward swinging further right.

23 minutes ago, 2turnswish said:

Now as to your example, 10* path right of target and 5* closed face in relation to target, which would be 15* closed to path, bet that would be a smothered ground burner to the left.

I meant what I typed. I almost always do.

Yes, the ball would start to the left and hook wildly from there. (Depending on the loft it may or may not be "smothered." Hit that shot with a 7-iron and you get a low pull-hook, but it's not a "ground burner.") Here's the point: Jacobs would say that ball would start to the right, along the 10° right swing path.

23 minutes ago, 2turnswish said:

Surely you meant 5* closed to path which would be a huge draw or hook.

I did not. I was illustrating how Jacobs got the ball's initial direction wrong.

23 minutes ago, 2turnswish said:

And John Jacobs understood all these perfectly and taught the fundamentals perfectly and how to fix faults perfectly. His principles have and will stand the test of time, no matter how many monitors record ball flight. His nine possible ball flights, pull, pull draw-hook, pull-fade-slice, straight, straight-fade, straight-draw, push, push-fade-slice, push-draw are and always will help any golfer correct any fundamental that caused that particular ball flight. End of story.

Except that he didn't know what governed the ball's initial starting direction: way more clubface, not the path as he believed.

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Lol. Back to square one. Well let me know when your 50 years into your golf teaching profession how many books you've sold, pros you've taught, students you've helped, and if you're in the Hall of Fame. I'll just let the many stars comment on JJ's knowledge of ball flight and controlling it. It's been interesting.

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He may be a great instructor but even the best get things wrong, especially with the advancement of technology that sheds more light onto a topic ( high speed cameras and launch monitors). It's understandable that a lot of people, JJ included, would get the ball flight laws wrong during that time period due not having a firm grasp on physics involved and thinking their swing feel being truth, not always the case (which couldn't really be proven easily then).

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2turnswish - Get out your putter and hit some puts and you'll see it immediately - open the face to the right and swing left and you will never get the ball to roll left on those attempts where you actually make face contact..  Don't feel ganged up on here, people are just trying to give you more info.  Nothing else...

I think you are using the term Path but really mean where you 'think' you are "aiming" the ball.  I think this because you keep infering a stance as part of the inputs.  you guys are not using the same terms the same way so are talking past each other.  I'd try looking very hard at the picture Iacas showed where he explicitly defined face and path in terms of where they are pointing at the --moment of contact--.  and then use similar pictures to try and describe what you think you learned.

It's not a matter that Iacas is right or wrong.  It's a matter that PHYSICS is right and he's talking physics.  NOt opinion

Face - Whichever way the club face is pointing at the =moment of impact= is pretty close to the starting line of the ball flight.  (it's not angle of incidence=angle of launch, or a swiping friction thing, because the club absorbs the impact and releases pretty darn close to square - so it's a balance of very little of the first couple things- and a whole lot of launching square to face).  Launch is nearly square to face - path has VERY little affect to that.  (Frankly, enough to pretty much ignore it.  For starting line, Face is king)

Path - is the actual path of the club head.  NOT the direction your stance is aligned (which is what I think you are trying to say).  If the path is out (relative to the face) the ball will then curve in.  If the path is in (relative to the face) then the ball curves back out.  Use the picture with green and pink lines - they make it very clear.

The problem with basing ball flight on how you line up your body, is that the ball doesn't care about anything other than the alighment of the face and the direction the face is traveling and how fast the face is going and the surface texture of the face.  and only at the moment of impact.

even better - get to a Trackman and try to prove your theory.  The Trackman actually measures your face and path and shows your ball flight trace.  (the True face and path, not what one "thinks" is their face and path)

Edited by rehmwa

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38 minutes ago, 2turnswish said:

Lol. Back to square one. Well let me know when your 50 years into your golf teaching profession how many books you've sold, pros you've taught, students you've helped, and if you're in the Hall of Fame. I'll just let the many stars comment on JJ's knowledge of ball flight and controlling it. It's been interesting.

It's not about that. It's simply about what I said: I'd be hesitant to follow the teachings of a guy who based his teaching on ball flight but who got "ball flight" wrong.

The world has advanced quite a bit since 1972. Our knowledge and understanding are superior now to what we knew then.

That's all.

22 minutes ago, JxQx said:

He may be a great instructor but even the best get things wrong, especially with the advancement of technology that sheds more light onto a topic ( high speed cameras and launch monitors). It's understandable that a lot of people, JJ included, would get the ball flight laws wrong during that time period due not having a firm grasp on physics involved and thinking their swing feel being truth, not always the case (which couldn't really be proven easily then).

That says it pretty well.

And FWIW, @2turnswish, though I've been teaching for a relatively short period of time, I've done pretty well in the awards, books, and "teaching other teachers" categories. As they say I stand on the shoulders of giants, but I'm not so tiny myself.

@2turnswish, open your mind. The world has grown since 1972. We know more now, about a lot of things.

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14 minutes ago, rehmwa said:

2turnswish - Get out your putter and hit some puts and you'll see it immediately - open the face to the right and swing left and you will never get the ball to roll left on those attempts where you actually make face contact..  Don't feel ganged up on here, people are just trying to give you more info.  Nothing else...

I think you are using the term Path but really mean where you 'think' you are "aiming" the ball.  I think this because you keep infering a stance as part of the inputs.  you guys are not using the same terms the same way so are talking past each other.  I'd try looking very hard at the picture Iacas showed where he explicitly defined face and path in terms of where they are pointing at the --moment of contact--.  and then use similar pictures to try and describe what you think you learned.

It's not a matter that Iacas is right or wrong.  It's a matter that PHYSICS is right and he's talking physics.  NOt opinion

Whichever way the club face is pointing at the =moment of impact= is pretty close to the starting line of the ball flight.  (it's not angle of incidence=angle of launch, or a swiping friction thing, because the club absorbs the impact and releases pretty darn close to square - so it's a balance of very little of the first couple things- and a whole lot of launching square to face).  Launch is nearly square to face - path has VERY little affect to that.

Path - is the actual path of the club.  NOT the direction your stance is aligned (which is what I think you are trying to say).  If the path is out (relative to the face) the ball will then curve in.  If the path is in (relative to the face) then the ball curves back out.  Use the picture with green and pink lines - they make it very clear.

The problem with basing ball flight on how you line up your body, is that the ball doesn't care about anything other than the conditions of the face and the direction the face is traveling and how fast it is going.  and only at the moment of impact.

even better - get to a Trackman and try to prove your theory.  The Trackman actually measures your face and path and shows your ball flight trace.  (the True face and path, not what one "thinks" is their face and path)

No not talking about the stance, but the actual path of the club. I like your experiment, but lets substitute a 4 iron and take many swings starting with along the ground and slowly adding a steeper angle of attack from outside to in and clubface open. Then we'll add speed, putting speed to full out 4 iron swing and then well record ball flight. Let me know how it goes. An Iron Byron would be perfect. All the factors are working dynamically, clubface, swing path, swing speed, angle of attack, and loft. They do not work independently. The final judge, for an instructor, is do suggested swing mechanics work, and I'll see bet my first born that JJ's worked, will work, and always will work. He's not been upsurped nor discredited. Contemporary instructors can only stand beside, not push him over. And it's not so bad beside JJ. My best.

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6 minutes ago, 2turnswish said:

No not talking about the stance, but the actual path of the club. I like your experiment, but lets substitute a 4 iron and take many swings starting with along the ground and slowly adding a steeper angle of attack from outside to in and clubface open. Then we'll add speed, putting speed to full out 4 iron swing and then well record ball flight. Let me know how it goes. An Iron Byron would be perfect. All the factors are working dynamically, clubface, swing path, swing speed, angle of attack, and loft. They do not work independently.

Sounds good.  Do it on a trackman and let us know.  I already have (with almost all my clubs, though it's most easily confirmed with the lowest lofted clubs........), and it's why I'm confident in my position, that and a ton of sports experience and a couple engineering degrees.

merry Christmas, sir

Edited by rehmwa

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4 minutes ago, rehmwa said:

Sounds good.  Do it on a trackman and let us know.  I already have, and it's why I'm confident in my position, that and a ton of sports experience and a couple engineering degrees.

merry Christmas, sir

So have I and confident in my position and JJ's years of instruction. Merry X-mas.

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5 minutes ago, 2turnswish said:

So have I and confident in my position and JJ's years of instruction. Merry X-mas.

By the way - all the club manufacturers have done this with Iron Byron and they got the same results.........

I'll try to find the studies and post here too.

in the meantime here's an article on it:  http://golftips.golfweek.com/path-face-influence-ball-flight-first-20750.html

and here's another well known instructor:  https://www.golfdigest.com/story/sean-foley-law-of-the-draw

Edited by rehmwa

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4 minutes ago, 2turnswish said:

No not talking about the stance, but the actual path of the club. I like your experiment, but lets substitute a 4 iron and take many swings starting with along the ground and slowly adding a steeper angle of attack from outside to in and clubface open. Then we'll add speed, putting speed to full out 4 iron swing and then well record ball flight. Let me know how it goes. An Iron Byron would be perfect. All the factors are working dynamically, clubface, swing path, swing speed, angle of attack, and loft. They do not work independently. The final judge, for an instructor, is do suggested swing mechanics work, and I'll see bet my first born that JJ's worked, will work, and always will work. He's not been upsurped nor discredited. Contemporary instructors can only stand beside, not push him over. And it's not so bad beside JJ. My best.

John Jacobs got the ball flight laws wrong. He thought that the ball started along the club's path at impact. It does not. It starts much closer to the face angle at impact.

This misunderstanding, for which he really didn't have the tools to verify in the 60s and 70s, can lead an instructor or a student down the wrong path - fixing the wrong thing - if you believe them and base your instruction on the incorrect ball flight laws.

For example, a student has the face -1° (left of the target 1°) and swings out 3° (right of the target 3°). The ball starts imperceptibly left of the target line and hooks well left. Jacobs would believe that the path was at the target and the face was closed to the path. He'd be right about the second part, and wrong about the first.

His fix might be, if the student liked to play a draw, to swing more to the right so the ball starts to the right. Whether he does that by alignment or some other thing, if the student swings more to the right and the face stays the same -1°… it's going to get worse.

He could also just tell the student that the path is fine but because the face is closed to the path the ball is hooking left of the target, and have the student open the face more. At one point that might work (around 1.5° depending on the club), but he's still going to get a draw, but if the student truly matches the face to the path he's going to hit pushes well right (3°) of the target.

1 minute ago, 2turnswish said:

So have I and confident in my position and JJ's years of instruction. Merry X-mas.

You can be confident all you want: Jacobs was wrong about what primarily governed the ball's initial starting direction. It's not the path that primarily dictates the initial flight; it's the clubface.

I'll say for the last time, @2turnswish: open your mind and learn something. There have been a lot of advancements since 1972.

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2 hours ago, 2turnswish said:

Lol. Back to square one. Well let me know when your 50 years into your golf teaching profession how many books you've sold, pros you've taught, students you've helped, and if you're in the Hall of Fame. I'll just let the many stars comment on JJ's knowledge of ball flight and controlling it. It's been interesting.

Ah, the appeal to authority logical fallacy.

I'm not the best golfer in the world. Not by a longshot. But I almost always hit outside to in because I stink so much. And my ball often starts right. Which is not possible based on what you're saying.

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My take on all of this pro/con ball flight talk is that what was known by those golfers yesterday, worked for them yesterday. It's all they had to work with.

With today's technology, if available to Jacobs back then, would it cause him to change his thoughts on ball flights? Probably.

Today's ball flight knowlege just enhances yesterday's knowlege. It's more exact, by proving this, and disproving that.

Jacobs was a pretty decent golf instructor in his day. History proves that out. Was he better than today's instructors? No, not knowlege wise. Could he use yesterday's knowlege, with a new to the game golfer,  with the right talent, a money maker on a tour some where? I wouldn't bet against it.

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