When I ask golfers “what creates a good golf shot”, I am always met by either perplexed faces, or a string of cliches and myths. However, this short article will show you EXACTLY what creates a good golf shot.
One Thing First
The first part is to realize that everything the golf ball does is due to the impact interval.
The golf club strikes the ball, and they stay connected for approximately 3/4 of an inch. During this time, 7 factors influence how far the ball will go, the trajectory the ball will have, and the accuracy the ball will have (including any curvature). See the below video clip.
So, what are the 7 impact laws?
1 – Ground Contact
This is very likely the biggest differentiator between amateur and pro golfers.
With irons, the pros hit the ball first, then the ground. Amateurs (well over 95%) strike the ground first. This factor relates strongly to distance control – a key source to a lower handicap.
2 – Face Contact
Do you strike the sweet spot?
The professionals strike the face in a far more functional spot and with incredible consistency. Amateurs, on the other hand, can be more random with their strike, or can be consistently on the wrong part of the clubface.
This costs amateurs a lot of distance, and can make a player look foolish when they strike the extreme edges of the club.
3 – Clubface Direction
Want to know the quickest way to improve your shot direction? Improve where your club face looks at impact.
While there are other factors involved in direction, club face control is the single biggest factor.
4 – Club Speed
You will always be limited in your distance by the speed you can create. The pros hit the ball much farther because they are close to 50% faster than the average amateur golfer.
One thing is for sure, all else being equal, a faster clubhead speed = more distance.
5 – Swing Path
You can play great golf with a swing path that is offline (as Bubba Watson regularly demonstrates). However, your swing path will determine whether you are a fader of the ball (curve the ball to the right onto your target), or a drawer of the ball (curve the ball to the left onto your target).
6 – Angle of Attack
Steep/shallow? The angle of attack will have a strong influence on ground contact with irons, and will increase or decrease your potential for distance with the driver.
7 – Dynamic Loft
If you want to launch the ball higher or lower, you have to change dynamic loft. This is the loft you present to the ball at impact, and has a 60-85% influence on the launch angle.
The Important Message
The only way you can improve your golf is to improve the above factors.
You don’t have to improve all of them – a simple adjustment to ground contact alone can have significant effects on your game and scores. However, the more of these factors you improve, the better and more optimized your golf game will be.
Why, because these are the physical laws to which the golf ball abides.