Three Basic Ball Flight Questions and Thirteen Different Ball Flights
In order to be a great golf mechanic, you need to be able to answer three basic ball flight questions:
- Why the golf ball started where it started?
- Why the golf ball curved the way it curved?
- Why the golf ball went that far?
To answer these questions, we need to know what happens at impact. There are lots of incredible technologies like Trackman and other great launch monitors that can give us that valuable information at impact. However, it does not tell you why it is happening at impact. Also, Launch Monitors can be very expensive and not all of us will have the ability to use these devices. However, what we can do that will help us tremendously is to understand where the golf ball is hit on the face of the club. This is very important, especially when it comes to answering the questions above. And to do that, it can be very simple and cost effective – simply you can use Dr. Scholl’s spray to spray on the club face, or use a magic marker on the golf ball to see that impact and where you make contact on the club face.
Now in order to understand why the golf ball started where it started, why the golf ball curved the way it did, and why the golf ball went that far, we need to also understand the thirteen different ball flights.
We can categorize these ball flights into three specific areas (using a right handed golfer):
Pull – A golf ball that starts to the left of your target.
Straight – A golf ball that starts directly at your target.
Push – A golf ball that starts to the right of your target.
We also have three major curvatures to the golf ball:
Hook – A golf ball that curves to the left of your target.
Slice – A golf ball that curves to the right of your target.
Straight – A golf ball that does not curve away from your target.
Combining the specific areas with the major curvatures, we can now identify The 13 Ball Flights:
Balls that start to the Left of the Target:
PULL HOOK – Starts Left | Curves Left
PULL – Starts Left | No Curve
PULL FADE – Starts Left | Curves Right
FADE (GOOD SHOT) – Starts Left | Curves Right Back to Target
PULL SLICE – Starts Left | Curves Right Across Target
Balls that start to the Right of the Target:
PUSH SLICE – Starts Right | Curves Right
PUSH – Starts Right | No Curve
PUSH DRAW – Starts Right | Curves Left
DRAW (GOOD SHOT) – Starts Right | Curves Left Back to Target
PUSH HOOK – Starts Right | Curves Left Across Target
Balls that start Straight at the Target:
STRAIGHT (GOOD SHOT) – Starts Straight | No Curve
HOOK – Starts Straight | Curves Left
SLICE – Starts Straight | Curves Right
Now that you understand the Basic Ball Flight Questions, and 13 Ball Flights, we can talk about the physics of why they occur.
To do that, please book a lesson with myself at RedTail Landing Golf Club or contact any of your local CPGA Golf Professionals!