The New Rules

Tom Stickney, PGA, outlines the new rules for ballflight

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HIGHER IS BETTER
Okay, so the best way to influence your launch is to have more dynamic loft at impact. That means you need to learn how to hit up on the golf ball. Hitting down with less loft can cause you to hit the ball below the center line of the face, causing a low-launch, high-spin ballflight that isn't desirable (the ball will shoot up too high and fall out of the sky with no roll upon landing). The quick fix? Add some shoulder tilt at setup with the right shoulder below the left. This will help you hit the golf ball on an ascending angle of attack, helping you add dynamic loft and hit a higher ball with less spin.

FOR MORE SHOT-MAKING CONTROL

THE FACE CONTROLS THE INITIAL DIRECTION
Provided that the ball is struck in the center of the clubface, the clubface angle is what determines the initial direction the ball flies. By "center of the face," I mean if you deviate from the center, a phenomenon called "gear effect" comes into play, which can skew your ballflight to the left or right depending on what side you miss the sweet spot. Toe hits curve left, heel shots curve right. Centered hits do what you like.

So, what does that mean? It means if you want to hit a true draw that flies initially to the right of the target and then curves back to the left toward the target, then yes, you have to approach hitting a draw with an open face. And by "open," I mean open relative to the target line and not the path the clubhead travels on (more on that in the next column ).

To fade the ball, it's the opposite. The clubface needs to be closed relative to the target line at impact. This will cause the ball to start to the left then curve back to the right.

For long, we've assumed that the way to hit a draw was to have a closed face and a fade was executable with an open face. And truth be told, that still holds true. It just depends what the clubface angle is relative to. And no, it's not the target line...


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