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Dennis Clark: More golf swing myths

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A few months ago, Dennis Clark wrote the popular instruction article “Three golf swing myths that can hurt your game.” Here are five more golf swing myths:

4. Myth: Hitting down on the golf ball causes more spin. 

Fact: It does not: Dynamic Loft, speed, and point of contact on the face control spin. That’s it. The angle of attack technically does not matter.  If you hit down OR up the golf ball, spin will remain the same if the dynamic loft and face contact point and speed remain the same. Nine iron spins more than two iron because of loft, not because the attack angle is steeper.

5. Myth: A club face square to the target causes the golf ball to fly straight.  

Fact: Sorry, just not the case. Read my previous article on the D Plane. A club face square to the path will cause the golf ball to fly without curve (left, right or straight).  It has nothing to do with the target line unless the golf club is traveling at the target at impact. This is rarely the case — perhaps a 3-wood off the ground occasionally.

6. Myth: A draw is hit with the club face closed to the target.  A fade is hit with the club face open to the target.  

Fact:  Please refer to myth/fact No. 2. The golf ball starts in the direction of the face and curves away from the path. So if you want to play a true right-to-left draw, the face should be open (pointing right of target) and the path should be in-to-out of where the face is pointing.  Just the opposite for a fade. So yes, in the Masters playoff Bubba’s face was left of the green and his path had the be extremely inside out.

7. Myth: Wedges go high, two irons go low.

Fact:  Not if they are both struck correctly. In fact, every shot you hit, regardless of the club you hit it with, will go the same height (about 35 yards, or 100+ feet high for tour pros). The reason they look different is the the wedge gets to its apex well before the driver does, but the apex will be the same, all things being equal.

8: Myth: Draws go further than fades.

Fact:  This is in the “yes but” category.  Yes, but only because draws are launched lower.  There is no evidence that left axis tilt (draw spin) runs further than right axis tilt (fade spin) whatsoever.  But the draw is produced by a club face that is closed relative to the path (and therefore slightly de-lofted) and a fade is produced by club face open relative to the path  (and therefore lofted). If they are hit at the same trajectory (which technically can be done) they will go the same distance, all thing being equal. So a draw hits “hotter” because the landing angle was lower.

How do I know all this? TRACKMAN tells me so. If you see ball flight through the eye of this amazing machine, you might never think of a golf swing the same again. It is truly revolutionary and scary accurate.  I see it all day every day and would not teach without it. Our years of “guessing” in golf instruction are over.

Analogy: An X-ray machine versus an MRI machine or 3-D vs 2-D.

Because of golf doppler radar technology, teaching world will never be the same. Every one of my lessons measures, not guesstimates the result of every shot.  Trackman measures 21 variables, ball flight and club delivery, which are all measured to plus or minus a fraction of a percent.  Teachers, don’t leave home without it.

As always, feel free to send a swing video to my Facebook page and I will do my best to give you my feedback.

Click here for more discussion in the “Instruction & Academy” forum. 

Dennis Clark is a PGA Master Professional at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, Pa., and Marriott Marco Island Resort in Naples, Fla. He has been a professional for over 25 years. You can learn more about Dennis on his website, http://www.dennisclarkgolf.com

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Dennis Clark is a PGA Master Professional. Clark has taught the game of golf for more than 30 years to golfers all across the country, and is recognized as one of the leading teachers in the country by all the major golf publications. He is also is a seven-time PGA award winner who has earned the following distinctions: -- Teacher of the Year, Philadelphia Section PGA -- Teacher of the Year, Golfers Journal -- Top Teacher in Pennsylvania, Golf Magazine -- Top Teacher in Mid Atlantic Region, Golf Digest -- Earned PGA Advanced Specialty certification in Teaching/Coaching Golf -- Achieved Master Professional Status (held by less than 2 percent of PGA members) -- PGA Merchandiser of the Year, Tri State Section PGA -- Golf Professional of the Year, Tri State Section PGA -- Presidents Plaque Award for Promotion and Growth of the Game of Golf -- Junior Golf Leader, Tri State section PGA -- Served on Tri State PGA Board of Directors. Clark is also former Director of Golf and Instruction at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. He now directs his own school, The Dennis Clark Golf Academy at the JW Marriott Marco Island in Naples, Fla.. He can be reached at dennisclarkgolf@gmail.com

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Jooma

    Oct 11, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    A golf ball spin is created only by the angle of attack of a golf club face and the friction between the ball and the club face.
    Steeper angle of attack creates more force therefore more friction resulting in more spin.

    • Justin

      Jun 30, 2013 at 1:04 am

      Sorry, but no. To both. Still believe every new drivet model will grant you x amount of yards, too?

  2. Jooma

    Oct 11, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    Draw will ALWAYS go further (assuming that the same force is applied) because the ball is trapped by the club face and thus more force can be transferred to it. Fade or slice is just sliding against the face of the club with the majority of force not being applied to the ball.

  3. James Lythgoe

    Aug 28, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    For Myth # 8, fades are struck with an open face which effectively adds loft to the club used. Draws are struck with the clubface closed or de-lofted. If you were to hit a fade or a draw with the same amount of loft, both shots would fly the same distance.

  4. James Lythgoe

    Aug 28, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Adding to Myth # 4 I would say having the back of the ball exposed to the clubface is a big factor in determining spin. Playing in Canada where the ball surrounds the back of the ball, it is very difficult to spin the ball. Go to Florida and the grass lies flat on the fairway so the whole back of the ball is exposed. You can really hit crisp clean shots from lies like that.

  5. Troy Vayanos

    Aug 25, 2012 at 4:28 am

    Some good ones her Dennis. It’s very interesting when you explain them like this compared to a lot of other generic golf instruction out there today.

  6. dennis

    Aug 24, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    There are no false readings but you have to read all the variables to get an accurate take on it. For example if you get a 4-degree closed face to path reading and right spin axis, you can calculate how much toward the heel the ball was it…

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