Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Explaining Bubba's Hooked Pitching Wedge

The famous shot on the 10th hole in the playoff:

This arose some debate on Twitter as this was happening. What most golfers don't quite understand is that Bubba was able to hit that with a face that was NOT closed at impact.

I can hear it now 'he HAD to close the face to hit that hook?'

Well, what do we know from the physics of D-Plane?

1. The ball's initial direction is about 70-85% due to where the clubface is pointing at impact.

So that means that if Bubba's clubface was closed at impact, he likely would have missed the green dead-right (remember, he's left handed). A closed face would be pointing out to the right at impact and that's where the initial direction of the ball flight would have been.

I can also hear 'well, he had to rotate the face thru impact!'

No. A rotation of the clubface *by itself* does not make the ball hook. It's the direction of the path with relation to the face at impact.

Meaning...Bubba had to swing the path well 'inside-to-out' from where the face was pointing at impact. So, if the face was pointing 3* open at impact, his path had to go further inside-to-out than 3* and in this case it may have been something like 10* given the severity of the shot.

'You mean to tell me that these guys don't know how to work the ball?'

Not at all.

However, there are easier and more dependable ways to work the ball than rotating the clubface thru impact to hit a hook or to 'hold it off' to hit a cut.

This way takes a lot of hand and eye coordination.

That and Bubba has one key element correct.

He swung the club well inside-to-out. When you do that, I've found that it's very hard not to close the face as it exits in your swing. But what happened at impact is a complately different story. Anybody who understands D-Plane can give a pretty good ballpark as to what was happening there.


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