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Ball Flight Laws

Written by Darren deMaille


Posted on November 22 2019

The New Ball Flight Laws

For the entire history of golf instruction The PGA of America theorized one set of laws that dictate the flight of a golf ball. The PGA Teaching Manual (the bible for golf instruction) and many generations of teaching professionals have believed that when a golf ball is struck, assuming it was hit in the center of the club face, it will start in the direction the golf club was traveling and then curve towards the position the club face was pointing.

With modern technology it is now clear that this theory is incorrect.  Today’s ball flight monitors measure club face and swing path angles and prove that that the golf ball will leave the club face closer to the direction it is pointing rather than the path or direction it is traveling.  There have been many who have challenged these laws in the past and now are saying, “I told you so”.  Let’s look at the “Old Ball Flight Laws” and what are proven to be the new ones.

old-ball-flight-lawsAccording to the “Old Ball Flight Laws” there are three directions the ball will start on, to the right, to the left, or on the target line.  This direction is established by the path the golf club is traveling when the ball is hit.  After the direction of the club path is established, the ball will curve away from the starting direction if the club face is either open or closed to the club-head path.  If the club face is oriented square to any of the associated paths, the ball will have no curve and fly straight in the direction of the club-head path. 

These laws will dictate 9 different ball flight combinations.  Modern ball flight monitors prove that the “Old Ball Flight Laws” are inaccurate. 

new-ball-flight-lawsThe “New Ball Flight Laws” are based on the fact that the ball's flight pattern is primarily dependent on the club face orientation at impact, and that approximately 85% of the ball's initial flight direction is determined by the club face orientation while only 15% of the initial flight direction is dependent on the club head path at impact.   A well-struck ball will always leave the club face very close to the direction it was facing, then curve relative to the difference between the club face and club path at impact. 

What does this mean to the average golfer?  The average person needs to understand that in order to hit a ball to a target they must control the club face orientation at impact.  A person’s grip is going to have the most influence on the club face.  Most people slice the ball resulting from a club face that is open, most likely coming from a weak grip.  For those of you who hook the ball, your grip would be the opposite, too strong.  To fix a weak grip for a right-handed golfer, he or she needs to rotate their hands clockwise on the club. 

Turn them enough so that when you look down at address you are able to see 3 knuckles of the left hand.  If you hook the ball you need to rotate your hands the other way and should only see one knuckle.  Grip changes are never comfortable and require some time and patience to groove, however it is the best way to influence a faulty club face position.


The “Old Ball Flight Laws” dictate that a golf ball starts primarily in the direction the club head is traveling, and that it will then only deviate if the club face is open or closed. 

Modern technology proves that this is not the case.  The club face is the overriding factor to controlling where a golf ball goes.  Learn to use the correct grip to fix the faulty club face in your swing.  For more help fixing your grip send us a video and we will send you back a complete analysis FREE of charge.

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