Ball Flight

Author: Wayne Thomas   Date Posted:2 June 2018 

Hi all,

This month we are looking at BALL FLIGHT.

Spin the ball

One of the key elements learning to play golf and gain mastery with your shot making is to understand how the ball reacts when it is struck. To get the ball in the air our unconscious reaction is to try to lift it up with a scooping motion. You developed this instinct at a very young age probably playing bat and ball games with mum and dad. They would throw the ball to you and you hit it with a bat or racket by angling the face up and swinging from under to up.

This kind of unconscious automatic instinct or swing action will hit a ball in the air when the ball is elevated off the ground but with golf the ball is on the ground. WHEN THE BALL IS ON THE GROUND YOU CANNOT GET THE CLUB HEAD UNDER THE BALL TO LIFT IT, THE GROUND IS IN THE WAY, any attempt to do so will cause numerous miss hits including hitting fat shots (striking the ground before the ball) or thin shooters that sends the ball whizzing across the green out of control. Golf clubs already have the loft built in; the ball launches at ninety degrees to the club face as the following picture of various lofts represents.

 

 

 

The bottom of the club heads arc is past the ball; ideally the club head is travelling in a slightly descending approach to the ball meeting the grass just after the ball has been struck as the following picture represents.

 

To launch the golf ball up off the ground and have it remain in the air for an extended period of time the ball needs to have BACKSPIN. To impart backspin on the ball the leading edge of the club head must strike below the balls equator as the following pictures represent. Striking above the equator with the leading edge creates top spin and the ball shoots out too low or along the ground.

 

 

Our automatic pre-trained instinct to hit a ball up in the air is to angle the club face up to hit the ball up, but with the ball at ground level all this does is raise the leading edge higher and will strike the ball at or above the equator and impart top spin on the ball. The resulting shot sends a jarring effect up the shaft into the fingers miss-hitting the ball sending it out too low or topped along the ground. This result is in direct conflict with our old pre-trained instinct of what we sense or feel hits a ball in the air.

Training golfing instincts

To strike the golf ball with consistent solid contact use the face of the club on the ball. Now that may sound too obvious a comment but here is a simple exercise for you to try. Grab your wedge or nine iron and place the club head resting on a firm surface (like a piece of carpet) behind a ball. Angle the face of the club up (which leans the shaft backwards) and notice how the leading edge raises higher off the ground, this does not have a club face strike on the ball. Now de-loft the angle of the club face until the face of the club is resting against the ball (the shaft will now be leaning slightly forward). The sense may be more like angling the face down and our old instinct may suggest swinging down in this fashion will not hit the ball up but you can see the club face still has enough loft to launch the ball up. This is how to use a golf club effectively and have the club face strike on the ball and impart back spin launching the ball up.

To retrain your instinct for hitting a ball up make some small swings with the shaft going no more than parallel to the ground back and through paying attention to any inclination of your old instincts to kick in. You may experience the sensation of trying to hit the ball low but the loft of your nine iron or wedge will launch the ball up when the CLUB FACE meets the ball. After a few practice swings play some shots with the same length action. You know the instincts; all there is to do now is retrain them to match the ball flight with a golf club in your hands.

Hope this helps, and remember to fix your game have a lesson with wayne