Technical Tips

October 2016

3 keys you need to understand about impact to play better golf
By Tom Stickney II

Impact is the point where the golf ball is programmed by your swing to fly high or low, with curvature or dead straight. Most golfers don’t understand exactly how the relationship between the club head and the golf ball at impact determines how your golf ball flies in the air, however, so in this article I will dissect what happens at the moment of impact. After reading this, hopefully you will have a better idea of what the true goal of a golf swing is, and how you can produce greater consistency in your game.

Here are 3 keys you need to understand about impact to play better golf.

1. Your address position and impact position are NOT the same


The address position (left) and the impact position (right).
It always amazes me how many golf magazine articles say something like, “See how the impact position mirrors the address position.” This is simply not the case.

A Tour Professional’s body at address has certain fundamental characteristics that we all know: a semi-bent left wrist, a flat right wrist, an almost perpendicular angle of their shaft to the ground, shoulders and hips that are somewhat square, and a spine that is tilted a touch to the right of center, as well as forward from the hips.

But at the impact position, all these characteristics change. The only thing that stays the same is the golf ball; it’s still sitting on the tee or on the ground. If you’re trying to re-create your address position at impact, you’re more than likely “quitting” on the shot, which will cause you to lose lag, distance, and consistency every time.

2. The Difference Between Impact and Golf Ball “Separation”

Impact is the point where the club first touches the ball. It’s during this time that the ball briefly adheres to the club face — for about 0.75 inches — as the clubhead moves in its orbit through impact. “Separation” occurs very rapidly after this.

Separation is the point when the ball rebounds off the clubface, and it’s here that the ball is programmed how to react during its flight. Most players believe you must impact the ball with a square clubface, and hit the back of the ball while the clubhead moves down your intended target line. That’s not the case. We now understand that doing so is incorrect, and will produce inadequate impact alignments. My last key will explain what’s truly important about impact: face-to-path differences.

3. Face-to-Path Differences Controls Curvature

The face-to-path ratio for this swing was -12.4, creating a draw. As you can see, the club path was well right of the face angle at impact.

Thanks to Trackman, we now understand why a golf ball flies the way it does. Assuming you hit the center of the club face, shot curvature is created by the difference between the club face and the club path at impact, and is highly influenced by changes in spin loft. The bigger the difference between the face-to-path ratio, the more the ball will want to curve.
As we reduce loft, and thus decrease spin loft, the ball will curve even more. This is why you can have the same face-to-path ratio with a sand wedge and a driver, and the wedge shot will hit the green while the driver shot will finish in the trees. So the key to controlling your golf ball is to:

  1. Make sure you’re contact shots on the center of the club face 
  2. Manage the differences between your face-to-path

You should now have a better idea of what happens during impact. From there, it will be easier for you to envision what your teaching professional wants you to accomplish, and why.

Practice with a purpose.

Full Article found here.



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