BALL FLIGHT CHARACTERISTICS
Only 10% of the golfers can tell me accurately where the direction of the
clubhead was on each of the last five swings and where the clubface was looking
at impact. Those two movements largely control ball flight movement. It is akin
to not knowing a clockwise turn of the steering wheel causes a car to turn right.
On a full, fast swing, the golfer at impact cannot see accurately the direction
of the clubhead or the direction of the clubface. However, by observing carefully
the flight of each shot each ball flight and applying ball flight laws, the
golfer will always know accurately where the clubhead was moving at impact and
where the clubface was looking. The golfer will then know what changes if any
must be made on the next shot.
Therefore, on every shot the golfer hits in practice and during a round, the
golfer should observe the flight of the ball and apply the ball flight laws
in the post-shot analysis. When the instructor is present, the golfer should
do this aloud for confirmation. The ball flight laws that affect the ball’s
direction are as follows:
RULE #1: The ball starts in the same
direction the clubhead was moving at impact.
- If the ball starts to the left, the clubhead moved to
the left at impact
- If the ball starts to the right, the clubhead moved to
the right at impact.
- If the ball starts straight on its intended starting line,
the clubhead moved straight at impact.
RULE #2: The ball curves later in the same
direction the clubface was looking at impact.
- If the ball later curves left, the clubface was looking
left at impact.
- If the ball later curves right, the clubface was looking
right at impact.
- If the ball later continues straight on the actual path
it took, even if that ball’s initial path was to the right or left,
the clubhead was looking straight on that actual path.
You will notice that in all six variations above in Rules #1 and #2, the ball
always moves initially in the same direction the clubhead
was moving at impact and the ball later curves in the same direction the clubface
was looking at impact. In combining these two rules, you have two same-same
The form we provide combines in one column the observations of the ball flight
and the conclusions you make about the movement of the clubhead at impact and
the clubface direction at impact. Using the form repeatedly
will make these relationships quickly apparent and well aid longer-term memory
The first player I started on this program of analyzing his ball flight was
shanking 85% of his full pitching wedges, landing them a horrendous 20 to 70
yards to the right. I assumed from what he said that he had just started playing
golf. Later, I was stunned to find he had already played 700 rounds. Soon, I
was observing him hitting 80% of his shots within a right-to-left variation
that was only 5% of the total distance to the target. (on a 100-yard target,
that would be within five yards of the directional line to the target). aThat
was a dramatic improvement. When he reported on his solo practice sessions,
he did it by the numbers, not by opinions.