Golf Ball Flight Laws

Golf Ball Flight Laws

Understanding the ball flight laws of the golf ball is a very handy tool to have for golfers of all skill levels. For golfers that are serious about improving their golf games understanding these laws is vital and will give you invaluable insight into your swing. 

Below I will take a closer look at golf’s 9 ball flight laws and I will also unpack what each of them reveals about your golf swing. More often than not amateur golfers mistake a slice for a push and a draw for a hook. But not to worry, after reading this article you will have a clear understanding of the difference between these respective flights.

Golf’s 9 Ball Flight Laws 

Before I unpack golf’s 9 ball flight laws it is important to understand what club path is. Club path is defined as the direction (right or left) that the club head is moving in at impact with the ball. The direction of the club is measured in relation to the intended target line. In addition to the club path, the angle of the clubface is equally as important. These elements are used together when unpacking golf’s ball flight laws. 

To learn more about the technicalities of club path watch this video from leading launch monitor manufacturer, Trackman. 

Pull Draw

With a pull draw the initial direction of the ball is at the target with the ball drawing away from the target. When a player hits a pull draw the swing path is towards the target but the angle of the clubface is closed in relation to the club path and left of the target. 

Straight Draw

With a straight draw, the initial direction of the ball is towards the right of the target with the ball drawing towards the target. When a player hits a straight draw the swing path is towards the right of the target with the angle of the clubface closed in relation to the club path. With a straight draw, the clubface is square in relation to the target at impact. 

In most cases, a straight draw will see the ball finishing up to the left of the target. Just how much the ball draws will depend on the direct relationship between the club path and clubface angle numbers. For example, according to golf’s ball flight laws, a straight draw of one player might finish 5 yards left of the target and for a different player, this miss might be 10 yards left. 

Push Draw 

When a golfer hits a push draw the initial direction of the ball is towards the right of the target with the ball drawing towards the target. When a player hits a push draw the swing path is towards the right of the target with the angle of the clubface closed in relation to the club path but open in relation to the target line. With a push draw, the ball will normally finish fairly close to the intended target. 

Pull Straight 

With a pull straight the initial direction of the ball is towards the left of the target with the ball flying straight towards the left of the target without any curve on the flight. When a player hits a pull straight the swing path is towards the left of the target with the angle of the clubface closed in relation to the target but square in relation to the club path. 

Straight

When a golfer hits a straight shot the initial direction of the ball is at the intended target with the ball flying straight towards the target. When a player hits a straight shot the swing path is towards the target with the angle of the clubface square to both the target and the club path. 

Hitting straight shots consistently might seem easy but it isn’t an easy feat at all to repeat shot after shot. Naturally, most golfers will either tend to swing the club into out (open club path) or out to in (closed club path). 

Push Straight

With a push straight the initial direction of the ball is towards the right of the target with the ball flying straight towards the right of the target without any curve on the flight. The push straight is also known amongst golfers as a block. When a player hits a push straight shot the swing path is towards the right of the target with the angle of the clubface open to the target but square in relation to the club path. 

Pull Slice

When a player hits a pull slice the initial direction of the ball is towards the left of the target with the ball curving towards the target. The pull slice is also known amongst golfers as a fade. When a player hits a pull slice or fade the swing path is towards the left of the target with the angle of the clubface closed to the target but open in relation to the club path. 

Historically it was believed that a player’s clubface needs to be open in relation to the target to hit a fade, but thanks to launch monitor the truth about how a player hits a fade has been revealed. 

Straight Slice

With a straight slice, the initial direction of the ball is towards the target with the ball curving/slicing off to the right of the target. The straight slice is also known amongst golfers as simply just a slice. When a player hits a straight slice shot the swing path is towards the left of the target with the angle of the clubface square to the target but open in relation to the club path which is what causes it to slice off to the right. 

Push Slice

When a golfer hits a push slice the initial direction of the ball is towards the right of the intended target with the ball curving further right of the target. When a player hits a push slice the swing path is towards the target with the angle of the clubface open to both the target and the club path. 

Golf Ball Flight Laws

Final Thoughts

By understanding the basics of golf’s 9 ball flight laws players and coaches can get instant feedback about the player’s swing simply by looking at the shape of a shot. The start line of a shot and how it curves gives a good indication about both your swing path and clubface angle at impact. 

If you are working on improving either your swing path or clubface angle this feedback will give an update on your progress and will allow you to adjust accordingly during practice sessions on the range. By understanding these ball flight laws players can base their practice sessions on facts and not on myths which is what most amateur players do. 

This article was last updated on October 11, 2021 .

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Categorized as Balls
Bertine Strauss

By Bertine Strauss

Professional Golfer, 2016 LPGA Tour Rookie, The University of Texas Alum.