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How To Read Ball Flight

One key component to learning is appropriate feedback. I played a lot of basketball, and feedback was pretty self explanatory. If the ball came up short, I needed to shoot it harder. If it went to long, i needed to go softer, or add more arc. It is very common that I ask a student, “what did you do there, and they look at me with a blank stare”. Then, I naturally follow up with, “well, what are you going to do different next time”...and they have no idea. To take advantage of every swing, you need to understand ball flight.

There has become a whole science of measuring ballflight thanks to advances in measurement tools. The main one is known as trackman, and is used to create that shot link line of tv. “Youtube, shot tracer”...we will go into greater detail, but know this, the majority of the starting position is controlled by the direction of the clubface, and the curve of the ball is controlled by the difference between the path and the face.

Examples: A slice is hit with a clubface that is pointing at, or left of the target, but the path is going way left (out to in), so the face is open to the path and it creates slice spin. While a hook is hit with a face that is pointing right of the target but a path that is going more to the right (in to out). The face is closed to this path, so it produces a hook spin.

It is very important when looking at ball flight to notice the starting direction and the curve. I have had many students tell me “I’m hitting it all over the place”, or, “i’m hitting it straight left or straight right”. These two statements usually result in little useful information and are rarely accurate. In reality, our swing tends to have a nice pattern to it, and paying attention to ball flight can usually tell us what our swing is doing. The hard thing, is that the patterns can appear very different.

For example: a fat and a thin shot result from typically the same swing - a swing that has the lowest point behind the golf ball instead of in front of it.

One pattern is for an "over the top" swing pattern. This is characterized by:

  • Fat and thin shots
  • Toe shots
  • Pulls
  • Slices
  • Good with wedges around the green
  • Difficulty hitting driver

To the untrained eye, that looks like a lot of different problems, but as we will learn through this program, it is one consistent swing that produces that consistent pattern of misses.

A second swing pattern comes from an overly in to out pattern, which is usually characterized by early extension. This pattern is characterized by:

  • Blocks and hooks
  • Thin shots
  • Good drivers of the golf ball
  • Contact issues with chipping and
  • wedge issues and tight lies

By paying attention to your pattern, your game will teach you everything you need to know about what to work on. Golf Smart Academy will help you understand why it is happening, and give you drills that you can use to change the pattern.

Playlists: Start Here

Tags: Fundamentals, Not Straight Enough, Concept, Beginner

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