#3 Swinging in detail

Published on   2023-01-09 by Kai

How the golf swing should look in theory, I have described in the previous article of the series. But beyond that, there are other details to consider when propelling the ball.

In general, the distance of the shot depends on the club, of course. The greatest distance is achieved with the driver. This is logical, as it is based on the laws of physics. The driver has the longest shaft of all clubs. This also results in the greatest speed of the club head during the swing, because the greater the radius, the greater the speed.

More loft = higher ball flight

However, there is another component: the loft. Loft is the angle of the clubface in relation to the ground. The closer this angle is to the right angle to the ground, the further the ball will fly. The further the clubface leans away from the right angle, the higher the ball will fly. At the same time, of course, it loses distance with the same force.

So if we take for example a wayde, of which type there can be two to four different clubs in the bag (pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge or lob wedge), the ball will describe a high parabola in flight and after hitting the ground it will roll only a little. The latter is due to the fact that at the moment of landing, significantly more power is directed towards the ground than towards the front.

The driver propels the ball

With the driver, it's the other way around. The ball is mainly propelled - due to the low angle of the clubface - and less upwards. Of course, it should still initially rise somewhat in flight, which is achieved, among other things, by hitting the ball in an upward motion of the club head. With the irons and Wegdes (which, of course, ultimately also belong to the irons), it is different.

To give full credit to physics, it should be mentioned here that the nature of the ball itself also provides some lift, so that - hit reasonably - it will always rise a little. This is due to the "dimples" of a golf ball.

But a ball can complete a trajectory not only in the vertical. Many amateur golfers will be familiar with this: The tee shot is made, the ball starts. But suddenly it starts to fly in a curve, deviates from the desired straight line and lands too far to the right or left, at least not in the targeted area.

The position of the clubface at impact and the direction of the club's swing are responsible for this. A slightly open (turned outward) or closed (turned inward) clubface at impact can cause as much trouble as a swing path that leads slightly inward or outward to the ball.

Many amateur golfers regularly struggle with a slice where the ball starts straight but then increasingly turns away to the right. In these cases, the ball has been approached from the outside and hit with an open club head position. Less common is the hook, which causes a deviation from the straight trajectory to the left.

Uncontrollable misses

The big problem in both cases lies in the fact that neither slice nor hook can normally be controlled in such a way that they can be used purposefully. They are too unpredictable in their execution by the golfer.

It should be noted here that if these failures occur often or are already an unloved habit, it is best to get a pro to help you. Only a few manage to correct this error sensibly and purposefully on their own. Some simply position themselves at an angle to the line to compensate for the curve. But countering one mistake with another can't be the last word in wisdom. So: Take the Pro to the range and practice, practice, practice.

If you still want to try to correct these mistakes on your own - and do it permanently - the video above this section may be of help. In it, golf pro Vaughn Hawtrey explains briefly and concisely how the mistakes occur and how they can be corrected in the right way.

But there are also two types of shots where the ball describes a curve, which are quite intentional and - if they are mastered - can advance the game: These are fade and draw.

Ball under control

As with the unloved slices and hooks, fade and draw involve hitting the ball from the outside and inside respectively. But this happens in a controlled manner and without opening or closing the club head.

A fade starts directly slightly to the left and turns in a gentle right curve back to the target, the draw works exactly the other way around. Whoever masters these clubs can sometimes play around obstacles in this way and thus save strokes on the round.

However, the beginner should first concentrate on the straight shots. Fade and draw can be practiced once the swing has settled and is working without having to think about it. So for some golfers with infrequent visits to the course, rather never ...

Previous article in the series: How to Golf 2: Swinging to the Green

Next article in the series: How to Golf 4: Pitch to the green

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How to Golf