Part IV of this series is about a subject that I've discussed almost relentlessly on this blog and that is the 'new ball flight laws.'
The laws are actually not new, just 'correct.'
Here's the basics:
Initial Ball Flight Direction = 85% Clubface Angle at impact + 15% clubhead path.
Ball Flight Curvature = Clubhead path in relation to the clubface angle at impact.
Before I explain further, let's just show a diagram of the basic clubhead paths.
As you can see, the clubhead moves on an arc on the downswing. Clubhead PATH is the direction the arc is moving.
It should also be noted that you should make contact with the inside aft part of the ball. What does that mean?
Address the golf ball and look at the back side of the golf ball. Now split that back side of the ball into 1/3rds. You want to hit the golf ball on the 'inside' 1/3rd closest to you. Even if you 'swing left' which is something I would ignore for now until you develop your swing and want to take your game to the next level. The classic 'Over The Top' move is really more of the golfer not hitting the inside aft part of the ball than having an 'outside-to-in' club path. In other words, you can be a fantastic ballstriker with an outside-to-in club path *if* you can consistently hit the inside aft part of the ball.
Now, back to the 'new ball flight laws.'
For the most part, initial ball flight direction is due to where the clubface is pointing at impact. So if you hit it dead right, your clubface was likely pointing dead right. If the clubface was pointing left of the target at impact, the ball will start out to the left.
Curvature, be it a hook or a slice spin is due to the club path in relation to the clubface at impact. It's important to note the words that are in italics because it's not necessarily the club path in relation to the target.
What does that mean?
If your clubface is at 2* open (or right of the target) and your club path is also out to the right by 2* of the target, the club path is actually SQUARE to the clubface. This will result in a straight push shot because the face is pointing to the right and the path is actually square to the face.
Now, if you the face was 2* open to the target and the path is 0* (square) to the target, this actually will produce a slice spin. Why? Because that square path to the target is actually outside-to-in to the clubface at impact. So the result will be a push fade of some sort.
This diagram by Brian Manzella helps explain this.
As you can see, the pic above has the clubface pointing slightly right of the flagstick. The path is actually in the direction even more to the right of the flagstick. So the ball starts out about where the face is pointing and then hooks left of the flagstick.
This key concept cf understanding ball flight can greatly help golfer's play better golf. If your shots are starting out dead right and slicing, then you likely have an extremely open clubface at impact. Why? Because obviously the ball starts out where the clubface is pointing and if your clubface is open too much, you can have a square path to the target and still hit a big slice. So at its basic level, in this situation the golfer needs to figure out how to stop getting the clubface so wide open at impact.
The other main point I want to make in this post of the key concepts series is that after much research, better ballstrikers almost exclusively control their clubface better and more consistently.
If you read enough Trackman reports you will find that what tends to seperate good ballstrikers from great ones are consistency in attack angle (usually equates to better low point control) and consistency in clubface control. A good ballstriker may have a 1-2* variation in clubface angle whereas a great ballstriker may have less than a 0.5* variation. Usually the better players are pretty consistent with club path. If they swing with an inside-to-out path on one shot, they are likely to do that on almost every shot. But with the clubface good golfers can go from a closed face to an open face quite often. But the great ballstrikers have a much lesser variance than that.
Some key checkpoints for clubface control are at P4 and P6.
As you can see here, Moe Norman's clubface is on the same angle as his left forearm. That is a square clubface. If the clubface was pointing more towards the sky than the forearm, that would be a closed clubface. If the toe of the club was pointing more straight down, that would be an open clubface.
Here at P6, the toe of the club is pointing up in the air which denotes a square clubface. If the face was pointing more to towards the ground, the clubface would be closed. If the face was pointing more towards the sky, the clubface would be open.
While there are many parts to the golf swing and each of them have their importance, it's my opinion that a quality golf instructor always pays attention to what the golfer is doing with the clubface in their swing and if that's out of whack, they correct that first.