The Truth About Golf (Part 1)

To achieve our maximum learning potential in golf it helps to have a little information on what we are required to do to make this difficult game work for us. So let’s begin our lesson here.

Our Equipment has been designed to do a specific job and knowing what that is, may help us understand what our aim is when hitting a golf ball.

Golf Ball Design
The golf ball has dimples to create drag when it is flying through the air.  A golf ball MUST be spinning backwards to stay in the air.  The dimples on spinning golf ball grab the air and force it over the top of the ball quickly and resist it underneath as it flies through the air.  The ball rides the subequent air wave at the front of the ball which creates lift.

To apply backspin to a golf ball we need a downward force on the back of the ball.

Golf Club Design
Each golf club in the bag is designed with a shaft that leans towards the target. That is if we place a particular club with the sole flat on the ground, the shaft will be angled forwards and this will be the true loft of the golf club. This will place the hands ahead of the clubhead. Our ball position is determined by how much each clubs shaft leans forwards. The SW for instance should be played from the middle of the stance as it has a great deal of shaft lean forwards while the driver is played near the front foot as it has only very minimal shaft lean forwards.

So in summary, our equipment is designed to help the ball stay in the air when we hit down on the ball.

The Golfers Swing
The golfer swings the club in a circle around his body on an incline plane. So where is the centre of the golfers circle and where is the bottom of the golfers circle?  We will break up the incline plane into its Horizontal and Vertical elements.  Below is the explanation of the Vertical Plane

The centre of the golfers circle is the target side shoulder (for RH golfers this is the left shoulder). The bottom of any circle is due south of the centre of the circle which places the bottom of the swing or “low point” below the target side shoulder. This will then mean the target side arm and the golf club make up the radius of the golfers circle.

When we put all this together…
• The golf ball needs backspin to create the lift it needs to stay in the air. To do this the golfer must hit down on the back of the ball.
• The club is designed with a forward leaning shaft so we impact the ball before the low point of the swing on the downward section of the arc.
• If we keep our target side arm straight the clubhead will continue on its natural swing arc trying to continue down to the low point of the swing which is why we should take divots.

The ball will get in the way of the clubs downward journey to the low point of the swing. The loft will launch the ball in the air and the downward blow will ensure the ball has backspin which will keep it in the air longer.  For most golfers, more backspin should, in most cases, equal more distance.  This is the reason golf professionals hit the ball a long way but also spin the ball on the green.

The following picture represents a right handed golfer from a face on point of view.

Once the student is armed with the correct information, they can then start to apply the correct Science of Golf to their own technique.  The easiest way to learn this is by starting with a small chip shot.

In The Truth About Golf (part 2) we will learn about the Horizontal Plane which explains why the club moves behind the golfer as well as up and down.

David Williams

Director of Golf & Coaching @ Rossdale Golf Club
Director of Golf & Coaching
Rossdale Golf Club
Aspendale, VIC. Australia

P: (03) 9580 4763

PGA Australia - Full Member since 2005
Callaway Golf - Brand Ambassador
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2 Responses so far.

  1. […] After showing Harry that his shaft was leaning away from the target at impact and that he wasn’t maintaining a Flat Left Wrist we talked about hitting down on the golf ball to impart backspin.  That information is located is the post THE TRUTH ABOUT GOLF – PART 1 […]

  2. […] The Truth About Golf – Part 1 Explains how golf equipment is designed to work and what you should be trying to achieve at impact. […]

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