Director of Instruction
McCormick Ranch Golf Club
Using Trackman, a 3D Doppler radar system, which 100 of the top 200 players in the world currently use as a tool for improvement, we can now determine exactly what is occurring at impact. Having used Trackman in every lesson for 2 years now, I’ve noticed some simple set up adjustments which help change a player’s ball flight.
First, let’s define two of the Trackman terms we will be discussing.
Club Path – Club path is the direction the golf club is moving the last few inches preceding impact and first few inches following impact. A club path which is positive is moving to the right and a club path which is negative is moving to the left. Club path is always measured in relation to the target line and is heavily influenced by ball position.
Face Angle – Face angle is the direction the club face is pointing at impact. A positive face angle (open) results in a ball which starts right of target and a negative face angle (closed) results in a ball which starts left of target. Face angle is always measured in relation to the target line and is also heavily influenced by ball position.
Illustrated above are two golf shots.
In the picture to the left, the player moved his ball position off his left foot and generated a club path of -2.3 degrees to the left. The farther the ball is up in your stance the more the club path will want to move to the left. In the picture to the right, the player moved his ball position off his right foot and generated a club path of 5.3 degrees to the right. The farther the ball is back in your stance the more the path of the golf club will want to move to the right.
If club path creates curvature, then what is responsible for starting direction? Face Angle.
Notice in the shot on the left, the player delivers the clubface to the ball with a face angle of -1.9 degrees, resulting in a shot which starts left of target. The more the ball position is moved forward in your stance, the more the clubface will want to close through impact. Conversely, the shot on the right the player delivers the clubface to the ball with a face angle of 4.1 degrees, resulting in a shot which starts right of target. The more the ball position is moved back in your stance, the more the clubface will want to remain open through impact.
So, next time you’re on the driving range practicing, pay close attention to where your ball position is and how it effects the starting direction (face angle) and curvature (club path) of your golf ball. The best players in the world use ball position to control their ball flight and so should you! However, keep in mind if the center of the clubface isn’t struck, a new set of rules apply regarding starting direction and curvature.
For more on Trackman, visit Scott’s website at www.scottsackett.com or follow him on twitter at @Scott_Sackett.