The golf ball flight is a result of how the club head meets the ball. The club meets the ball in a certain way because of how you swing it. So put another way, the consequence of moving your body determines how the club moves and how and where it moves determines the flight of the ball.
Before we go further, I must first outline some important points in relation to why the ball starts and flies in certain ways.
(The following information is assuming the player is right-handed).
There are three key issues: the first being where the ball starts in relation to the alignment of your body. The second is the direction that the ball moves during flight and the third is the trajectory of the flight. The following ball flight titles accurately reflect the shot type.
A ball that starts left of the intended target should be described as a pull
A ball that starts to the right of the target should be described as a push
A ball that moves to the right is a slice
A ball that moves to the left is a hook
Therefore, a ball that starts to the left of target and moves further left is described as a pull hook, whereas a ball that starts to the left of target and moves to the right is described as a pull slice. Likewise a ball that starts to the right of target and moves further right is described as push slice, and a ball starting right of target that moves to the left is called a push hook.
There are many different names used in golf and some people might argue with the names and shot descriptions that I have used. That is fine, I do not wish to change the golfing dictionary, but the terms used above allow us to understand that where the ball starts is primarily, but not entirely, a function of the direction of the swing. While how the ball moves in the air is primarily a function of the direction in which the clubface was pointing at the moment of impact.
Because you stand to the side of the ball, the club will naturally make a circular type movement as you swing. You can see from the diagram that we have a line from the ball to the target, which is called the target line. The player’s side of this line is called “in” and the other side is called “out”.
Normally we would expect that as your body turns to the backswing and the club moves up, that the club will be inside the target line. Now that the forward swing starts and the club moves back to meet the ball, it comes from “in”, meets the line, and then travels back “in” again after the ball has been hit. Now it is possible to describe a natural movement in relation to the target line as “from in to straight to in”. This swing will normally result in a ball that takes off directly to the target.
Next article: The flight of the ball continued.
By Tony Bennett