The golf ball does not care about anything but the moment of impact. It has no opinion on the grip or any movement in the swing prior to impact.
Great ball strikers all have core elements in common: they consistently achieve five factors at impact in relation to the intended target line.
There are 5 performance factors at impact that affect distance and direction:
1) Position of Clubface at Impact to the Intended Target Line:
The initial path, the curve of the ball during its flight, and where the ball will finish are all greatly influenced by the clubhead position at impact.
2) Path of the Clubhead at Impact to the Intended Target Line:
The initial direction of the ball is slightly influenced by the clubhead path at impact. Path and clubface position at impact influence the amount of tilt of the spin axis imparted on the golf ball.
3) Angle of Approach:
The angle of approach of the clubface at impact influences ball flight, the initial launch angle, spin rate, and true loft of the clubface.
4) Centeredness of Contact:
Shots not struck on the center of the clubface will result in reduced distance. An off-center hit also imparts curvature (tilt of the spin axis) to the ball via the gear-effect.
5) Clubhead Speed:
The factors that influence clubhead speed at impact:
a. physical strength
c. swing technique
e. neuro-muscular coordination
A ball struck on the sweet spot will always leave the clubface very near to the direction the clubface was facing at impact. The ball will curve relative to the differential between the clubface and path of the clubhead at impact.
The average PGA Tour player’s golf swing is less than one second from the move away to impact. In that one second, .75 of the second is the backswing. This leaves .25 second to get the club to the impact position. The only position the golf ball cares about!
Good golfers are better at getting the club prepared to deliver to impact. They do it consistently and they do it quickly. The more messy the club is in transition, the harder it will be to achieve successfully the 5 Performance Factors at impact. Poor mechanics and fundamentals can certainly (and likely) lead to a poor impact position. A good instructor can help pinpoint swing inefficiencies to help a golfer achieve the core elements to successful impact and golf.
“The clubface sends it, and the swing path bends it.”
© 2022 Thomas T Wartelle & TTW Golf
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