Good Ball Flight in Golf
It is the flight of the ball that gets us from Point A to Point B in the game of golf. So, the more we know about ball flight in golf, the better golfers we will become.
The way a ball behaves once it takes flight is determined by two things: the angle of the clubface on impact and the swing path that got it there.
When it comes to clubface angles, they can be open, closed or squared as the face hits the ball. Each of these angles produces a different type of ball flight in golf.
The clubface can travel on three different paths. The best path is when it travels along the target line.
Or, the club head can move from inside to outside across the target line.
Lastly, the club head may move from outside to inside. This is also known as coming over the top.
Ball Flight Characteristics:
If your ball starts out straight but then hooks or slices, your swing path is fine, but you are opening or closing the face upon impact. Check your grip to ensure you are not using an overly strong or weak grip.
When you grip your club, you should be able to see the first two knuckles of your left hand (for right-handed golfers). If you cannot see them at all, the weak can lead to a slice. If you see more than a couple knuckles, you are in a strong grip, which often leads to hooking the ball.
If your ball immediately heads to the right but does not hook or slice, you are pushing the ball. Your swing path is too much on the in-to-out plane, but your clubface is squared.
If your ball goes to the right and hooks, your swing path is too much in-to-out, and your clubface is closed. If it slices, same thing except your clubface is opened.
If your ball heads left right away, you are pulling the ball. A straight pull happens when you are on a swing path that is to out-to-in. If the ball also hooks, you are to out-to-in and hitting with a closed clubface. If it pulls and slices, you are to out-to-in and hitting the ball with an opened clubface.
As mentioned above, it is imperative that you hold the club in a manner that is neutral rather than too weak or too strong. A neutral grip allows the clubface to become square with the ball at impact. For many golfers, the grip is the key to fixing the hook or slice.
For both the push and the pull golfer, the first and most important thing to look at is the position of your club at the top of your backswing. For both types of players, the problem occurs when you cross the line.
Have a buddy or local pro take a look at your club position at the top of your backswing. If the club is pointing to the left or to the right of the target, your swing path is going to be affected, leading to either a push or a pull as you come back with your downswing.
A common fix for both of these swing problems is to bring the club inside a little more as you begin your backswing. Keep your lead arm straight, and pause at the top of the backswing to help you transition into the downswing.
With all these considerations on the ball flight in golf done, we now move onto the first tee.
Hitting a long drive is too often rooted more in wishful thinking than anything else.
Here are some useful tips to help you get more distance off the tee. In fact, some of you may get as much as 30 to 50 more yards (up to 45 meters) by applying these techniques.
One thing to keep in mind, however, as we learn to add some yards to our drives is that the longest possible drive is not always the best shot choice. If you have a long, straight fairway, big distance is important and useful. But, if you are faced with a dogleg or other type of challenge off the tee, consider using distance control as a strategy.
To get more distance off the tee:
Tip 1: Slow and Smooth Carries the Ball
One of the most common mistakes you see on all golf courses when players are trying to get more distance is the rushed golf swing.
The common logic behind this is if golfers want to get more distance, they only need hit the ball harder, which means swinging the club faster than normal. The logic is simple ñ but it’s also flawed.
It is important to keep in mind that there is a difference between a player who has perfected faster club head speed through practice and a player who is rushing his or her swing to get those added yards.
When you hurry your swing, you throw off your entire rhythm. This is especially noticeable at the top of your backswing, also known as the transition point.
Rushing the backswing causes you to unwind too fast as you begin your downswing. This improper action results in all sorts of misalignment and mishaps, including lost yardage.
The key element to overcoming this fault is to slow down at the top of the backswing, even stop for a second, and then transition into the downswing smoothly. This allows your core to unwind naturally, increases club head speed, and makes for a much more solid hit on the ball.
Tip 2: Avoid Over-Grip
It is almost second-nature for us to want to grip the club tighter when we know we want to get maximum power out of our drivers. This is a yardage killer.
A long drive requires that all muscles and joints be loose and relaxed, especially in the hands, wrists and fingers. All of these body parts must be able to move, cock, rotate, etc., throughout the swing. Once you start strangling that club in your hands, you lose much of this flexibility before you even begin.
When you address the ball, concentrate on a light grip. This is crucial during your downswing as well. This one tip alone can add several yards to your drive right now.
Tip 3: Extension
What I mean by this is extension on your backswing. Keep in mind that your backswing sets up your downswing. You want to increase the arc you create during your downswing so as to give the club more time and distance to increase its speed before impact.
Try this drill to improve your extension: Using your driver, set up as normal, and in slow motion begin your backswing. Pay attention to your leading arm (left arm for right-handed golfers). Is it straight and locked into position? The answer should be yes.
Do several practice swings with your driver and concentrate on maintaining a straight-arm until you get to the top of your backswing.
Try these tips next time you hit the practice range, and keep track of how much farther you are now hitting your drives. You should see some nice results quickly.
For a more detailed guide to adding distance to your drive, I recommend you check out the Golf Swing Speed Challenge: