The last few posts covered 2 of the principals of ball flight, clubface (where the clubface points at impact the ball will eventually go that direction) and swing path ( the path the club follows tells the golf ball where to start). These 2 ball flight principals are easy to explain and have reasonably easy fixes. In the case of the clubface you can adjust your grip to influence the clubface and a proper set up will influence your swing path before tackling the 3rd influence on ball flight I need to digress just a little bit.
We cannot learn the golf swing with a static approach. With high speed photography and video there is a tendency with teachers to show students positions that good golfers get into at various points of the golf swings. If I was with you on the driving range and put you into all of these positions and then asked you to achieve those positions in striking the golf ball. It would not work. It would be a dismal failure. The great players achieve these positions because they have put themselves in the proper starting position in the first place. Do not lose sight the the golf swing is just that a, golf swing. Done properly and photographed you will start to look like the better golfers. Just a word of warning, pay attention to the flight of the ball, not the static positions in your golf swing in order to improve. This will become more obvious as we get farther along.
That being said, the 3rd influence on the flight of the golf ball is the angle of attack (the angle that the club approaches the golf ball). Rule of thumb is that the longer the club the more shallow the angle of approach. Conversely , the shorter the club , the steeper the angle of approach. Did you ever wonder why your clubs are all different lengths. If they were all the same length, your angle of approach would be the same with all the clubs. In doing so you change the dynamics of a set of golf clubs and you would not be able to hit all of the different shots you could hit with a traditional set. As the clubs get shorter your posture becomes more bent over making a steeper swing more natural. I will use the example of your driver to start with. It is the longest club in your bag. Your posture with a driver is most erect of your set up than with any other club. Your swing will be naturally more shallow than any of the other clubs in your bag. Your pitching or sand wedge are the shortest clubs in your bag. Your posture at address will be more bent over to accommodate the length of the club and your swing ,therefore, will be naturally steeper. if your posture is to bent over with your long clubs or to erect with your short clubs your angle of approach will be too steep or too shallow resulting in a topped or fat shot.
The angle of approach is telling the golf ball what trajectory to follow therefore it is the 3rd influence on the flight of the golf ball.
In my next post we will discuss the 4th influence on the flight of the golf ball, clubhead speed. We will also begin to learn how to package these 4 influences into a golf swing. Good Golfing!!!