Control ball flight by laws of physics

Golf Tips
By: Shawn Kelly
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Ball Flight Laws - Do you have a persistent slice or hook and don’t know how to correct it? Do you hit a straight ball and ask “what did I do right that time?” If so, then understanding ball flight laws can help you control your ball flight. There are nine different ways a golf ball can fly through the air and understanding the club’s path and face angle will allow you to control which way you want to launch the ball. Club head Path - There are basically three paths which the club takes to move through the ball: outside to in, inside to out and the ideal path, which is from slightly inside, to square, to slightly inside again. I like to imagine an arc like the bottom of a hula-hoop as a visualization of a perfect club head path. To understand your path look at your ball flight and for a right-hander, if the ball starts left of your target, you then had an outside to inside path. If the ball starts right of your target you had an inside to out path. Problems arise because either method causes you to manipulate something within your swing to get the ball back on the target line. The proper club head path will produce a shot where the ball will start out in the direction of the intended the target. The best way to correct your path is to swing in front of an empty cardboard box. If you can swing the club without striking the box your swing path will be correct and your ball flight will usually start where you are aiming. If you strike the box before the bottom of the arc then you have an outside to in path and conversely, if you strike the box after the bottom of the arc, then your path is inside to out. Practice swinging next to the box without hitting it and your swing path will definitely improve. Face Angle – An understanding of club face angle will allow you to control the amount of sidespin imparted on the ball. If your ball is hooking then the clubface had to be closed at impact, but if the ball is slicing then the clubface was open at impact. This can be corrected in two ways; physically changing the clubface to be more open or closed or by adjusting your grip position to become either stronger or weaker. For right-handed golfers this means moving your left hand more to the right or left to control the clubface. To hit the ball straight you need to have a correct path and square clubface at impact and this starts from having proper basic fundamentals of grip, aim, ball position and posture. Ball flight laws, as I understand them, help me control the flight of the ball. If I need to make the ball slice or fade I can then manipulate path and clubface angel to make the ball fly any direction that I need it. I practice varied paths and clubface angles to help control ball flight so that when I need to “work the ball” on the course I can move the ball at will. They’re pretty simple laws of physics, but understanding ball flight dynamics will help you improve your game. With a little practice you will learn to be in control of your golf ball’s flight instead of the flight of the ball controlling you. Aimpoint Class When watching golf on TV, have you seen the blue line on greens that show you the path of the putt? This is called AimPoint, and you can learn the technology to help you read greens and make more putts. The Ridge will be conducting a class on Friday Oct. 1st from 3pm to 6pm. Certified AimPoint instructor Mike Schy will be conducting the clinic that will definitely make you a better putter. The cost is $200 for adults and $175 for juniors and college students. For more info or to sign up call The Ridge golf shop at 530-888-7888.