- Career In Golf
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Ball Flight Laws have been around for many years, and allowed us to see what was happening to the face and path through impact in the golf swing, through some simple tests.
As technology has evolved we are now better equipped to accurately see what is happening to the ball through such new equipment as Trackman/Flightscope Launch Monitor devices. It utilises Doplar radar to track the path of the ball, and now gives us more precise data when calculating the club path and club face through impact, along with many other important readings for the modern golf coach.
The Ball Flight Laws of old were considered a good tool to help people become more consistent with their golf swing, but they could only be as good as the information that was available at the time. Now we have much more accurate ways of finding the correct readings, which has changed the way that many golf coaches now view the golf swing. Obviously Ball Flight is still just an effect that we see and the flight of each shot we hit is down to the swing mechanics of the individual person hitting the ball.
Knowing the new Ball Flights wont cure people unless you have a good grasp of the causes of the problems, but with the combined knowledge of the two you can make great strides with people. The draw back is cost, as most Doplar radar systems are still very expensive, starting from around £6,000 up to £20,000, which for most golf Pro’s is too big an investment, but as with all technology, prices will come down and there will be some affordable versions on the market soon.
The following information should help you understand the new ideas a little better, but if you are interested in knowing more on this subject, we will be holding a Launch Monitor/Ball Flight day later in the year. We held this CPD day in Spain recently and it was a real eye opener for the members who attended. My thanks go to EGTF Master Teaching Professional Martin Park, for his research into this topic and the delivery of the information in Oliva Nova at the CPD day.
The most important factors in dictating where the ball will go are:
• The swing path
• Position of the clubface relative to the swing path at impact
The swing path is responsible for the initial direction of the ball.
The clubface position at impact is responsible for any side-spin which may be imparted.
PGA Training Manual 1992
Information changes in golf on a regular basis. It is our responsibility to adjust our thoughts and theories once new, proven information comes along. Sometimes this is not easy when you have been teaching a method for a long time, but it is vital for your credibility to try to arm yourself with the best information available.
Face angle at impact now becomes the major point when starting the ball in the direction that we want. If we can create a consistent swing path along with good face angles, the ball will travel in a more constant direction, allowing us to stand on the tee box or fairway and visualise our shots with much more confidence.
Face & Path travelling Face open to the path
in same direction through travelling through impact
For every degree of spin axis tilt, the ball will curve 0.7% of distance it flies.
E.g Spin axis is tilted 10 deg (10 x 0.7% = 7.0%),
Ball flies 200 yds
Ball will curve 14 yds in the air (200 x 7%) (Tuxen, 2009)
For every degree divergence between face aim and path direction at impact:
Driver will tilt spin axis x4
• 6 iron will tilt spin axis x2
D-Plane is more vertical with same path/face combo
So, we now have new information that can help give better lessons. Understanding that control of the club face is key to starting the ball in the direction we want, fits in with the EGTF theories that the root cause of virtually all problems in the golf swing come from a poor set up. Grip and posture have always been vital cogs in the golf swing. A good grip allowing the clubface to return on the correct angle at impact and good posture allowing the club to travel on the correct path around the body.
If you are fortunate to have some of the great new technologies available to you, then the level of service you are giving to your customers will increase. If not, try to incorporate as much of the new findings as you can into the lessons you give. As mentioned earlier, there are ways in which to increase your knowledge, CPD days. The next one on Ball Flights is planned for Spain in November. There are also some PDF files in our Dropbox folder about the Trackman findings on Ball Flights.
I have attended a fair number of CPD Courses in my 10 years as an EGTF Professional, and so travelled through to Forthview Golf Academy for Stewart and Bill’s latest offering on Teaching with New Technology.
There were four of us on the Course, Betty Sworowski, Bob Lamb, Philippe Pineau and myself. Since the four of us hadn’t met before, introductions took around 20 minutes. Anyone who knows Stewart will understand that his introduction took about an hour!!
As usual, the information provided on the Course was first class. Topics ranged from the Force Plate, D Plane and new Ball Flight Laws. We discussed all of the above and more in detail as well as having to look at some of the latest training aids. The one we were all impressed with was Swingbyte. Swingbyte attaches to the club shaft and provides all the feedback you would require when analysing the swing. The figures are not as accurate as Flightscope or Trackman but are in the “buffer zone”, so the information you get is more than good enough to work with.
As I said, I have been on numerous CPD Courses over the years and have never been disappointed. This time proved no different . The way GAASP and Balance provides the building blocks of the golf Swing, CPD Courses provide building blocks in your knowledge and ability to analyse and teach golfers how to enjoy and play better golf. I would encourage all of you to put one or more of these days into your diary. Neither you or your pupils will be disappointed.
Thank you again to Stewart and Bill for a great day.