Two major areas of the swing will help control the direction of ball flight: Club face and swing path.
But which has greater influence on the initial flight of the ball and which has more influence on its curvature? The answer is both. And it depends on the loft of the club.
The two examples I’m going to use are a driver and a lob wedge.
We know that the driver has the least amount of loft of any club in the bag other than the putter. If a club has a low amount of loft does the club face have more influence on the initial flight of the ball? Yes it does. This is why the driver can be very difficult for a lot of players to control.
But the swing path does have influence on the curve of the driver ball flight. Let's say the driver club face is three degrees open at impact and our swing path is three degrees inside to out, what type of ball flight would you expect to see? We would expect to see a push type ball flight.
When the swing path and club face match up is when we’ll see either a straight, push or pull looking ball flight. If we want to hit the “Holy Grail” of ball flights, which is what we call the elusive push draw, we need to create a swing path that is more in to out than the club face is open—or, to put it another way, the club face needs to be closed relative to the swing path. One of the ideal scenarios would be to have the club face open 2 degrees at impact and have a swing path that is 4 degrees inside to out.
It’s different when we’re hitting a 60 degree wedge.
Do you think the club face of the wedge has as much influence on the initial ball flight as the face of the driver? No! The swing path will have greater influence because there is so much loft added to the club.
When you add more loft to the club, then the path has greater influence on the club face at impact. We still want a good club face angle at impact, but the face angle at impact is less influential compared to the driver. If we had a club in our bag that had 90 degrees of loft, the face angle at impact would almost not be relevant at all. Only the path of the swing would dictate the direction of the ball flight.
Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments or stop by GolfTEC Park Meadows.
C.J. Perry is a PGA member and has taught over 2,500 lessons with GolfTEC. He coaches out of GolfTEC Park Meadows located inside Golfsmith at 9657 County Line Rd. Englewood, CO 80112.
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