Face to Path Relationship

Students should learn to hit short game shots with the face held open through impact or the face closing down through impact (hinging action). This will give the student a foundation for trajectory and side spin. This foundation is then applied to full iron swings to help the player understand how the face at impact produces the desire ball flight.

The feeling of right palm to the sky should keep the toe from closing too much during impact producing a nice high pitch that should be straight or fall slightly to the right (fade). This is due to the more open face at impact.

When the right palm feels like it is more downward through impact the flight of the ball should be lower and if there is side spin it would be leftward spin as the toe may close through impact (opposite of above). This produces draws or hooks due to the face closing more through impact.

In a normal strike a stock push draw will have the face 50% closed to the path—path is 4 degrees right ward and face is 2 degrees right ward—produces a shot that starts right of target and draws to the target line.

So when a player wants to manipulate the side spin to produce various ball flights they must change that face to path relationship to produce the desired outcome. They are swinging the club back the same every time just modifying the feeling through impact to produce more leftward or rightward spin.

Working this with your wedge first will give a more exaggerated feeling in the hands as higher lofted clubs put more backspin on the ball and that helps override the side spin. Subtle fades and draws with your pitch shots will lead to mastering the face to path relationship.

When you put a 5 iron in your hands and try this expect a great deal more side spin!