How Your Setup Effects Ball Flight
By Glen Richard
The simple fact of the matter is that there are only three primary factors
that influence where the ball goes and how it gets there. First, the angle
of the club face with regard to the golf ball at the time of impact, and
secondly, the path the club head is on at the time of impact. Lastly, the
energy the club head imparts to the backside of the golf ball. You have
heard these factors before.
It is true that there are additional external factors that contribute to
the end result...wind, hardness of the ground, length of the grass and a
few others. These external factors are for the most part out of your
control. You can compensate for them if you have sufficient skills. You
can purposely fade or draw the golf ball into a sideways wind. You can
purposely hit a ball lower than usual to compensate for a headwind. I am
going to share something with you now that may surprise you. These shots,
contrary to many amateurs' belief, do not require more skill than your
basic straight shot down the middle. In fact, I would argue that it is
indeed more difficult to hit a straight shot than it is one that moves
left or right.
Here's the bottom line. A ball spinning clockwise will move left to right.
Conversely, spin the ball counter-clockwise and it moves right to left.
You don't need to be a genius to understand the physics behind that. You
just need to know how to put either a clockwise or counter-clockwise
sidespin on the ball. You can do it with a driver, fairway wood or any
iron. You don't even really need to change your swing in any way. How easy
can this be? Now I'm not going to mislead you. You CAN modify your swing
somewhat to enhance the probability of success, but it is certainly not
I have shown many hundreds of golfers how to draw the
golf ball at will. There is no magic associated with it whatsoever. Have
you ever known a person that draws every iron shot; in fact, they can only
draw the ball? I have known several of them. It is so easy for them to
draw the ball, they can't hit the ball straight or fade it. So let's
dispose of the notion that drawing the golf ball requires some significant
amount of training or special skills. It just doesn't.
3-Feet from the Hole
The most important aspect of putting is to decide on your line before the
stroke. The only thing to be thinking DURING the stroke is how hard you
need to hit the ball. Control how far the ball rolls by controlling the
distance you bring the putter back during the backswing. The length of the
forward swing past the ball should ALWAYS match the length of the
When determining the "line" for the putt, pay particular attention to the
lay of the green within a three foot radius around the cup, as your golf
ball will be rolling fairly slowly, and therefore will break more sharply
within that area near the cup. You need to determine where you want the
golf ball to be when it is entering that three-feet-away radius. Always
attempt to putt the ball so it will go about one foot past the hole if it
misses. If it misses, watch the break PAST the hole, because that will
give you the line for the tap in.
Get out of the Sand
Sand play around the green really is a different concept. Here's all you
need to know to have great sand play...Open the blade of your sand wedge
so that it is directed about five feet to the RIGHT of the flag. Open your
stance so the tips of your feet and shoulders are aligned with each other
such that you are aiming about five feet LEFT of the pin.
When you swing back, only swing the clubhead as HIGH as your right
shoulder. Don't use more than about 60% power on the swing. The clubface
should slice ACROSS AND DOWN THROUGH the sand, behind the ball. More than
any other shot on the course, follow through is essential to lift the ball
out of the sand. If you want the ball to stop more quickly, hit the sand
about 1 inch behind the middle of the golf ball. If you want the ball to
run, you need to hit about 2.5 inches behind the middle of the ball. Use
this method and your days of poor sand play are behind you, but of course
nothing comes without practice. Find a course in your area that has a
chipping green with a bunker you can practice out of. After a while, your
confidence will skyrocket.