Sometimes, you have to stop what you’re doing and reevaluate.
That’s what I did recently. I’ve been teaching the ball flight laws backwards!
I will say a couple of things, in my defense:
- I’m a club builder first, swing “guru” (using the term very, very loosely) second;
- What I was teaching was right for the time that I learned it.
Well, research by Trackman (some you can find here, courtesy of Andrew Rice Golf) have proven that the face is responsible for the majority of the flight path. Straight from the website I just linked to:
- Shot accuracy is primarily determined by a combination of face angle, club path and point of contact.
- The ball launches PRIMARILY in the direction of the club face – approximately 75-85% on full shots.
- Face angle (largely) determines the launch direction while shot curvature/shape is mostly determined by the club path relative to the face angle – the opposite of what has been taught for years. Think of it this way: when a ball is struck with a descending blow, i.e. ball first, divot second, the attack angle is down, yet the ball goes up. The ball goes up due to the angle/loft of the face!
There’s more interesting stuff, including what the averages for PGA and LPGA players are when it comes to things like swing speed, max height at the ball’s apex, yardage gap between each club, so be sure to check it out. Here’s another link in case you missed the first one: Andrew Rice Golf.
What Does That Mean For Me?
Well, for me personally, it means that even though I’ve been a diligent student of the game, there are new things I can learn every day. That goes the same, for you: don’t be afraid of being wrong. Learn from it and move on.
I was wrong about the ball flight laws- not completely wrong, just how it’s applied. But that’s OK. I learned a valuable lesson, and I’m a better teacher for it. I’m going to be better for you, dear reader, so you can continue to get the help you deserve.