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Analyzing golfers’ “favorite” shots on Trackman

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In a previous article, I showed you how the face and path interact in order to produce curvature on a golf ball. In this article we will examine the numerical data from the Trackman while I hit a few of our “favorite” shots!

The only thing I want you to focus on here is the relationship between the face and the path. When the face and the path diverge, curvature is created. The new rules of ball flight tell us that the ball starts in the direction of the face and curves away from the path. You will see these factors demonstrated below.

In the shot diagrams below: the blue line represents the path, the red arrow represents the face angle at impact, the purple line is the curvature of the golf ball, and the straight right line is your target line.

One note: Please assume that I have hit the ball in the center of the blade on each shot; thus there is no vertical or horizontal gear effect acting upon the ball the might skew the spin axis number a touch.

The Push Draw

ThePushDraw

  • The path is 4.9 degrees from the inside
  • The face is 2.1 degrees to the right of the target
  • When the face is left of the path (-5.6 degrees) but right of the target (2.1 degrees) the ball will begin the right of the target and curve back towards the target
  • Draws are hit with an OPEN face so the ball begins to the right

The Pull Fade

ThePullFade

  • The path is -3.5 degrees from out to in
  • The face is -2.2 degrees left of the target
  • Whenever the face is right (1.2 degrees) of the path (-3.5 degrees) with the face being left of the target (-2.2 degrees) the ball will begin left of the target and curve back to the right
  • Fades are hit with a CLOSED face so the ball begins to the left of the target

The Push

ThePush

  • Sometimes when hitting a fade people will “hold on” to the face too much through impact and this causes the ball to begin too far right of the target and curve further away from it
  • To numerically see this, you can see that the face is 11.8 degrees to the right of the target which is 13 degrees right of the path…the bigger the face to path relationship the bigger the curve in a perfect world
  • When the face is right of the target the ball will begin too far to the right…to begin the ball left of the target you would need a face that is left of the target but right of the path

The Pull

ThePull

  • As we all know, committing to hitting a draw is tough under pressure thus allowing the club to naturally release left of the path can be an issue
  • It is impossible to time the “release” of the club in the 1/10,000 of a second during impact; however, the over-emphasis of releasing the club can move the face too far left of the target and path
  • The path is from the inside at 4.5 degrees while the face is -8.5 degrees left of the target which is -13.0 degrees left of the path…thus the ball starts way left and hooks even further left
  • The key to learn here is that the face “releases” left of the path but NOT left of the target

The Double Cross Left

TheDoubleCrossLeft

  • Sometimes when hitting a fade you can get a touch handsy and pull the ball, “double-crossing” as it’s called.  When this happens the ball begins left of your target and never moves back to the right
  • As you can see the path is -9.8 degrees from out to in but instead of the face angle being RIGHT of the path, it is currently -3.6 degrees left of the path creating a pull hook
  • As stated the ball begins in the direction of the face and curves away from the path and if you turn the face left of the path then the ball will never come back

The Over the Top Slice

OverTheTopSlice

  • I’ve saved the best and most common of our favorite shots for last…the over the top slice!!!!
  • Here you can see that the path is -9.4 degrees from out to in yet the face is 1.3 degrees right of the target which gives us a 10.8 degree difference between the face and the path
  • Whenever the face is right of the path with a centered hit the ball will fall to from left to right
  • Anytime you swing left your mind knows that the target is right of your path thus you will tend to “hold on” to the blade in efforts to move the ball back towards the target…this puts the face right of the target and well right of the path and this will cause the big slice we all hate

Hopefully with these few sample shots you now understand now HOW these shots are created with centered impacts. As always, when we add in gear effect from toe and heel hits it can render the face to path numbers irrelevant as they can actually counteract one another. This is the reason why using face spray to audit your impact location can help you better chart your impact point, face, path, and spin axis number in the end.

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Tom F. Stickney II is the Director of Instruction and Business Development at Punta Mita, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (www.puntamita.com) He is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, and has been honored as a Golf Digest Best Teacher and a Golf Tips Top-25 Instructor. Tom is also a Trackman University Master/Partner, a distinction held by less than 15 people in the world. Punta Mita is a 1500 acre Golf and Beach Resort located just 45 minuted from Puerto Vallarta on a beautiful peninsula surrounded by the Bay of Banderas on three sides. Amenities include two Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses- with 14 holes directly on the water, a Golf Academy, four private Beach Clubs, a Four Seasons Hotel, a St. Regis Hotel, as well as, multiple private Villas and Homesites available. For more information regarding Punta Mita, golf outings, golf schools and private lessons, please email: tom.stickney@puntamita.com

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Rich

    Aug 27, 2014 at 12:27 am

    I don’t understand what you mean by a draw is hit with an open face. As to my knowledge the way to hit a push draw is to have the face between the original target and path. But the more the path is right the more closed the face is? Just curious as to what you mean by an open face.

    • chase

      Aug 28, 2014 at 9:48 am

      its open to the target line yet closed to the club path if that helps

  2. Brian

    Aug 22, 2014 at 12:37 am

    Would love to see the numbers for the “snap hook” and “pull hook”

    • tom stickney

      Aug 22, 2014 at 10:28 am

      Snaphook would be path way left of target…face further left of path. The pull hook is shown above under the term “pull.”

  3. Pingback: Analyzing golfers’ “favorite” shots on Trackman | Spacetimeandi.com

  4. Jeff

    Aug 18, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    I was wonder if you were working on shots for a tournament what would you do in your practice to make them predictable and reliable. Would you hit a push draw and then a pull fade changing the path more than the club face for curvature of the ball or would you hit a push fade and draw so that both club paths were more similar and it was the club face angle that is changing more? I need to get tournament ready in two months for the next season in Palm Springs and I get different answers depending on which local pro I talk to.

    • Tom Stickney

      Aug 18, 2014 at 8:40 pm

      I’d practice my stock shot until it moved too much the hit the opposite one for a bit. Come see me in pd this winter. I’m at bighorn. Back in late October

  5. hidraw

    Aug 18, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    The push draw is my go to….and pretty much my only. Hard part about this is it creates a fairly shallow angle of attack and my miss is normally thin….good news is that thin is straight and helps keep my scores in line with a lower handicap golfer. However, there is nothing better than a solid strike with a nice divot in front of the ball. Any advice to address? Thanks!

  6. ILMHoosier

    Aug 18, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Very nice article Tom. Just out of curiosity what club were you hitting?

    • Tom Stickney

      Aug 18, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      6 iron I believe. Early am, swinging easy

  7. Dakota

    Aug 18, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    I have worked at Dick’s for around the last year seeing the numbers on the launch monitor has really helped to understand a lot about the golf swing.

    • Tom Stickney

      Aug 18, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      Numbers help as long as you focus on the feeling you have to achieve them.

  8. Philip

    Aug 18, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    I like the descriptions with the numbers. This seems to be something I can wrap my head around. Until now I kinda knew what I was trying to do, but not with the confidence to pull it off.

    Much appreciated.

    • Tom Stickney

      Aug 18, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      Thx. I thought it would be cool to show both as well.

  9. NaborsX

    Aug 18, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Great info. Nice to see the swing feel in actual numbers. It’s always hard to get someone to understand the whole “swing right to go left” mentality.

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