One of the main features to come out of the recent advancement in golf coaching technology is the importance of impact and its various characteristics. Indeed some aspects of respected coaching and professional training manuals in the not so distant past can be torn to pieces as they are now considered incorrect.
Strike location on the clubface and clubface alignment is largely responsible for where the ball goes and how the flight of the ball reacts. That may sound obvious but until recent times the path, or travelling direction of the club head, was considered at least as important as club face alignment and the strike location was rarely mentioned.
Here are some examples of strike locations on the clubface that we see most often and the resulting expected flight characteristics:
High/ Toe Strike
This will normally start to the right of the target line and a higher than average launch angle but then will draw back with an ‘over spinning’ type flight. It will also have a low spin rate so although the dipping flight may reduce the carry distance slightly, it will run out further. This can produce a deceptively long total distance.
Low/ Heel Strike
Normally a higher handicap strike location which produces a weak shot that lacks distance. The ball will launch low and left of the target line and fade back. This produces too much spin which reduces distance further in addition to hitting a weaker part of the club face. Normally accompanies and ‘out to in’ swing path. Not an effective impact location.
Low/ Centre Strike
With the vertical curvature on driver faces a low strike has less loft to use and therefore the ball will launch on a lower trajectory and with low swing speeds this will result in a low flight overall. Higher swing speeds will achieve more spin and therefore the ball will start low and climb into the air and although this can look impressive the results are less so, with the additional back spin sapping distance.
High/ Centre Strike
This strike will produce a high launch, high overall flight and reduced distance. If the strike becomes a ‘sky’ and marks the club where the top of the face joins the crown of the club this normally indicates the club head is descending too steeply into the ball.
Optimum Centre Strike
A centre strike will launch the ball with the true loft of the club and minimise any curvature due to an off centre hit. Match this with a good club path and angle of attack into the ball and this strike will maximise your club head speed with a highly efficient flight.
How do I know where I’m striking the ball?
Sometimes it’s difficult to tell the strike location and when we ask a player where in the clubface they have struck the ball, about half the time it’s the complete opposite end to what they think!
Here in the studio, we use the GC2 HMT launch monitor system which tells us accurately where the strike location is on every shot, amongst a whole load of other data. For this article I have used face stickers to identify the strike which also serve the purpose to get this information. Another tip is a certain foot spray, sprayed onto the clubface will show the strike location and this can then easily be wiped off with a damp cloth. A simple internet search will detail this. At least once you have the information of the strike pattern of your shots, it gives you a starting point to improve the efficiency of your strike.
GC2 HMT Information
The GC2 HMT data provides a fantastic insight to the impact conditions that is simply not possible to know without a good quality launch monitor.
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