Understanding your clubface angle at impact can save you thousands of $$$$ in lessons!
The nine different ball flights are classified according to their initial direction (straight at the target, left of target or right of target), and then the curvature of the ball flight after taking this initial direction (continuing in a straight line, curving to the left of the initial direction or curving to the right of the initial direction).
In this example below, the ball starts 1.8 degrees to the right of the target and finishes right of the target as shown in the illustration.
The club path angle is 0.1 degrees to the right or from the inside. Essentially this path is straight at the target at impact. The club face is 2.4 degrees open at impact.
The launch direction of 1.8 degrees is controlled by the face angle of 2.4 degrees open. Some quick math shows 1.8/2.4 x100 = 75%. Exact to our 75% rule of thumb in this case.
In another example we are working with a very similar set of numbers. Now the ball is starting left.
The club path is basically traveling at the target at impact. Now the face angle is closed by 2.3 degrees to the target line and the shot starts 1.8 degrees left of the target and finishes left.
Both of these shots illustrate the club face angle has a large influence over the starting line of the ball.
Why is this important to know?
On the second illustration most golfers and teachers would say that “you came over the top of it!” In fact this is incorrect. The path was traveling 0.1 degrees from the inside or essentially straight at the target. It was only an error in club face control that caused the shot to start and finish left. Swinging the club path out to the right without consideration for the club face could be disastrous. A minor adjustment to the release of the club face could be all that is required to send the ball on a straight ball flight.