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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Why Your Ball Isn't Going Where You Want

I found this video over at and really liked the way it explained ballflight. Joseph Mayo makes it very simple... but I'll try to make it even simpler after you watch it!

Obviously this is the "New Ball Flight Laws" at work, but Joseph makes it pretty simple:
  1. The face points to where the ball starts
  2. Then the ball curves away from the path. (The path creates sidespin on the ball.)
  3. Rolling your wrists is a NO-NO! (Thank you for saying it out loud, Joe!)
I know it sounds a little strange but I'll try to make it even clearer. I'll explain it so it doesn't matter whether you're left- or right-handed.

Let's say you want to make the ball curve from right to left. Traditionally you've been told to point the face to the left and swing out to the right. If you do this, the ball will start going left (that's where the face is pointing) and the path makes it spin even farther left.

In other words, this will create a duck hook. Not good.

Instead, since you want the ball to start out to the right and then curve back to the left, you want the face to point to the right when you hit the ball. This makes the ball start out to the right. Then you want to swing out to the right (an in-to-out swing path), which puts sidespin on the ball to make it curve back to the left.

This gives you a ball that hooks toward the target. That's what you want.

Many of you are scratching your heads as to why this works. HERE'S WHY YOU GET CONFUSED: To make the ball curve from right to left, the club path has to be aimed uarther to the right than the face is aimed; if it isn't, the ball won't curve from right to left. Check out the following diagram. The dotted line shows where you want the ball to go. The red curves show where the ball actually goes:

Possible combinations of swing path and face angle

As long as the path goes further right than the face is aimed, the ball will curve to the left. BUT if the face is aimed to the left of the target, the ball duck hooks (for a right-hander) or banana balls (for a left-hander). And if the club face is aimed further right than the path, the ball curves the wrong way! That middle diagram shows what you want to do. To get the desired left-to-right ball flight and have the ball go TOWARD the target, BOTH the face and path must be aimed to the right; it's just that the path is aimed FURTHER right than the face.

And of course it works just the opposite if you want the ball to curve from left to right: Both face and path must be aimed to the left of the target line, but the path must be aimed further to the left than the club face.

This isn't a difficult concept but understanding it does challenge most of us. I hope this helps you get your ball curving the way you want.


  1. To hit a draw, you would point the club face to the right, align body to the
    target line and swing from in to out, is this correct ?

  2. Just so you're all clear on this, Peter is asking a right-handed question.

    That's one way of doing it. You could also aim the club face a little right, close your stance relative to where the face is aimed and swing along your closed stance line.

    The key here is that your swing path aims FURTHER RIGHT than your club face. Let me make sure you understand why:

    Assuming you hit the ball squarely -- that is, you don't stick the toe or the heel of the club in the ground when you make contact with the ball -- and you aim the face of the club directly at the target, the ball should land on line with the target. It should do that regardless of whether you hit the ball straight, fade it, or draw it. So why are we aiming the ball slightly to the right to hit a draw?

    Because unless the ball plugs when it lands, it's going to keep going. And if you hit a draw, that means it's going to bounce further left. As a result, you MISS the target to the left.

    By aiming the club face a bit to the right of the target (and our club path a bit further right), the ball lands to the right of the target and the draw spin makes it bounce TOWARD the target.

    Does that make sense? We don't want the ball to land near the target and bounce away; we want it land where it will FINISH near the target.

    1. How much further right is the swing path ?
      If club face is 10 degree, swing path 15 degree ?
      Can you suggest some drills ?
      I really need a draw, couldn't get GIR in those damn dogleg left holes.


    2. Those are all good questions, Peter -- good enough that I think they deserve an instructional series of posts on how to hit a draw. I'll start them tomorrow (Friday). How's that?