Welcome to the second part of my misconceptions series of blogs relating to the 5 impact factors, see the full list of 5 impact factors in my first blog "Path".
In my previous blog I covered the misconceptions people have regarding clubhead path. This blog will cover club face misconceptions.
I believe that by understanding these misconceptions, it will be easier for any golfer to correctly diagnose their swing faults and make the necessary changes more easily.
For many years the best golf instructors believed that the initial start direction of the ball was solely influenced by the path of the clubhead through impact and that the ball would then curve in the direction the clubface was pointing. For example, if a golfer was swinging the clubhead 10 degrees left of the target and the clubface was pointing at the target, the belief was that the ball would start left and finish on the target.
Through the use of the latest technology, we know that the initial start direction of the ball is influenced mainly by the clubface aim. In fact, the ball will start 75% towards the clubface aim and curve away from the clubhead path. Using the example above, the path was 10 degrees left and the face was aiming at the target, the ball would not finish on target, it would actually start just left of the target and curve to the right of target, a classic slice.
If the clubhead path and clubface aim are perfectly matched, the result will be a straight shot but as soon as there is a difference in angles the golf ball will curve.
The ball starts 75% towards where the club face is pointing
and curves away from the path of the clubhead
This new information explains one of the biggest misconceptions I hear when fixing a slice. Because the ball started right of the target the golfer thinks that they must have swung to the right. This is not the case. As discussed above.
Naturally any golfer that see’s the ball end right of their target will consciously or subconsciously try to set the ball off further to the left as a compensation. This thought process causes the famous over-the-top action and actually makes the slice worse because the angular difference in clubface aim and club path gets wider and imparts more sidespin.
The correct way to fix a slice, is work on the clubface position first and then the path.
One very important point to make, before moving to the next misconception, is that almost all of what I have written above is overruled if the ball is not struck in the middle of the clubface. I will discuss this further in my next blog “Centeredness of Strike”.
“I just want to hit the ball straight!”
This statement is what I hear a lot and it’s what lots of club golfers believe the top pro’s do.
Actually the top pro’s vary rarely hit a straight shot and actually prefer to manoeuvre the ball. There are two reasons that they prefer to shape the ball flight:
It is virtually impossible to hit the ball straight consistently; and
It helps with course management.
To hit the ball straight your club face and path have to be perfectly square to the target. When the golf club is traveling at speeds of anywhere between 40 and 130mph it is nearly impossible to achieve this perfectly square position. A slightly closed or open clubface will cause the ball to curve off target and affect your scores. This change in clubface can be caused by a slight flick of the wrists or an unconscious grip change, both of which are very difficult to control at high speeds.
I recommend that you pick a shape to use (Colin Montgomery won numerous Order Of Merit title’s by playing a fade) and then use is to your advantage. This gives you a greater margin for error.
Course management becomes much easier when you have a particular shape of shot. Below Tiger is hitting a fade away from trouble. The challenge is to ensure that your ball doesn’t curve too much and is manageable.
Using this information should give you a clearer understanding of what is causing your ball to miss the target. If you would like help with this area of your game please click here.