Ball Striking Basics

So, you wish to understand how to hit a certain shot? Great! To do this you will have a great advantage just by knowing the ball striking basics. This knowledge will increase your chances of improving at golf.

We will talk about the ball flight laws, how to use trackman to your advantage, how lie angles affect your shot shape, and finally how to take uneven lies into your calculation.

The New Ball Flight Laws

Many moons ago, golf technique was taught very differently from how it is taught today. When Trackman entered the market and made it visual how the club and the path affected the ball flight, the game changed for many instructors around the world. 

The new way of looking at it has been named the new ball flight laws and to improve at golf it's a big advantage if you know them.

Explained simply it means that the club face position at impact dictates what the starting line will be. The club path to the club face position will dictate the curve.

This creates nine different ball flights.

Make Trackman Your Friend

Nowadays, there are golf centres all over the place with simulations built on Trackman technology. This is great because now you have easy access to your statistics. Of course, there are so many stats that it might throw you off. You should learn the bare minimum to understand what your technique is doing to your ball striking.

Six Trackman numbers that you need to know

Face Angle = What's the horizontal direction of your club face at impact? This will create your starting line on your shot. If the face is closed, you will see a negative number, if open it will be a positive number.

Club path = The direction you are swinging the club in relation to where you are aiming. If you swing to the left of the target line (out to in) you will have a negative number. If you swing to the right, it will be a positive number, a positive club path.

Impact Location = The location on the club face where you are hitting the ball. Let's say you have a neutral face angle and a neutral club path and you strike the ball in the centre (the sweet spot), then it flies straight. However, if you mishit, the ball will create a small shape based on the impact location, for example if you strike the ball with the heel of the club face, you will still create a small fade even though all other things are neutral.

Attack Angle = The attack angle measures if you hit up or down on the ball. If you for instance have issues getting length on your drives, odds are that you are hitting too much down on the ball. The attack angle is closely correlated to the spin as well...

Low Point = This will show if you are hitting at the lowest point of your swing before (B) or after (A) the ball. Generally, you wish to have the low point after the ball with an iron and before the ball with a driver.

Carry = It's arguably the best number to look at for distance because it gives you something to work on for your real game. Know your carry and make the game on the course so much easier.

Read more in-depth about the six basic Trackman numbers

How Club Lie Angles Affect Your Shot Shape

Equipment can be a real bugger because if it's not set up correctly you can get an unwanted shot shape just because of how the club's sole interacts with the ground.

It's very important to know that it's about the impact here. It's not about what it looks like when you address the ball. Read more about loft and lie.

Lie too upright: the toe of the club is airborne at impact = the blade will close more than it should, thus affecting the face angle which creates a draw curve on the ball.

Lie too flat: the heel is airborne at impact = the blad will open slightly and create a fade-biased shot shape.

How to know your lie angles? The easy version is that you hit off driving range mats. They will often rub off on the sole = you can now see if it's rubbing off on the toe or the heel. 

If you want to go more in detail check out this video for an in-depth version.

So, all in all, if you don't have the correct lie angle, go to your pro and get it fixed. It's a rather small cost for getting much better equipment for you.

How Uneven Course Lies Affect Your Ball Flight

The dream would be to have flat neutral lies all the time but that's not life as we know it.

Most of the time you will play out of one of the lies described below. This is how they normally affect your ball flight:

Balls above your feet: This will create a draw-biased curve on the golf ball. The more loft you have on the club, the bigger the effect will be. 

Balls below your feet: This will create a fade-biased curve. The loft of the club has less importance here. 

Uphill slope: This will make the ball flight come out higher. You likely hit a full iron short because of the uphill angle.

Downhill slope: This will make the ball flight come out lower. You likely hit a full iron longer because of the downhill angle (the carry will be shorter though).

Check out this video for an in-depth explanation of how to adapt to the lies

I hope this information helps you! Good luck out there!

Petter Tärbe

Co-Founder at snöleo