Club Path & Face Angle

Club Path & Face Angle

 

When it comes to the golf swing, we have negotiables and non-negotiables. The non-negotiables are things that the golf ball “knows” (which isn’t much), and what it knows, it listens to every time! The ball knows where the club face is pointing at impact (FACE ANGLE), and it knows where the club is traveling through impact (CLUB PATH). Also, as examples, the ball doesn’t know what your grip looks like or what the top of your backswing looks like (not to say they aren’t important). But that’s why you can see Tour Players all over the place during the backswing, but they all look somewhat similar through club impact. 

Therefore, the two most important factors that influence start line and curve direction are Face Angle and Club Path

Fortunately, when practicing at Eight Under, Trackman accurately measures these parameters (along with many others). In this article, we will look at what numbers you need to achieve with Face Angle and Club Path to achieve a draw, fade, and other ball flights.

 

Quick TrackMan 101

Anything moving down the target line or pointing down the target line is 0.0 degrees.

Anything moving to the right of target line or pointing to the right of the target line is positive.

Anything moving to the left of target line or pointing to the left of the target line is negative.

 

How to Hit a Dead Straight Shot

Often when asking students in a lesson if they would like to hit a draw or fade, they answer with “I just want the ball to go straight.” The idea of straight sounds good, but to hit a perfectly straight shot you need to hit the exact center of the face, have a Club Path of 0.0° and a Face Angle of 0.0°. In all the years I have owned a TrackMan, that has happened only 15 times. Further, having a Club Path of 0.0° means the slightest variance in the Face Angle being open or closed would result in a two-way miss, meaning the ball curves the opposite direction you are intending.

If the best ball-striker in the world was hitting on TrackMan, they would be extremely consistent with their path and better than anyone else with their Face Angle control. However, I can assure you that even this person would have Face Angle variance, as it’s the hardest parameter in the swing to control.

 

Swing Bias

Considering the challenges with club face variance, and to minimize the number of two-way misses, I encourage a swing bias that creates a consistent DRAW or FADE Club Path.

 

What Club Path and Face Angle creates a DRAW?

The numbers I like to see for a right-handed DRAW player on Club Path are between a positive  2.0° and 5.0°.

For the ball to draw back to the target line, the Face Angle needs to be HALF the Club Path. For example:

Club Path = 4.0°

Face Angle = 2.0°

In these three examples, you’ll see a Club Path in the range we are looking for (3.6°, 2.0°, and 2.6°). However, because of the Face Angle, these three balls finished from 124’ 3” left to 61’ 8” right of target. That’s over half a football field left to right because of the Face Angle! 

Remember, the Face Angle needs to be half of the path!

 

What Club Path and Face Angle creates a FADE?

Numbers I like to see for Club Path for a right-handed FADE player are between -1.0° and -3.0°. For the ball to fade back to the target line, the Face Angle again needs to be half the path, assuming center face contact. For example:

Club Path: -2.0°

Face Angle: -1.0°

One question you might have is “Why is the fade range narrower than the draw range?” A draw player with a positive 5.0° and a 2.5° Face Angle will hit a draw with a significant amount of curve. The ball will also go a relatively further distance versus a -5.0° Club Path and a -2.5° Face Angle. Both balls will end approximately at the target line, but the first ball’s Total Distance will be greater than the second.

Here is another example of how influential the club face is. These three shots had an almost identical path, but the 5° Face Angle variance resulted in these balls being just over 85’ apart from left to right. Importantly, notice that the shot that had almost a 2:1 ratio of Club Path to Face Angle is less than 6’ away from the target line at 180 yards.

 

Important Things to Remember

Right-handed Player DRAW:

Club Path: +2.0° to +5.0°

Face Angle: Half of Club Path

Right-Handed Player FADE:

Club Path: -1.0° to -3.0°

Face Angle: Half of Club Path

Left-Handed Player DRAW:

Club Path: -2.0° to -5.0°

Face Angle: Half of Club Path

Left-Handed Player FADE:

Club Path: 1.0° to 3.0°

Face Angle: Half of Club Path

TrackMan’s definition of Club Path

The horizontal (in-to-out or out-to-in) movement of the club head’s geometric center at the time of maximum compression.

 

TrackMan’s Definition of Face Angle

The direction the club face is pointing at the center point of contact between the club and ball at the time of maximum compression.

Want to get your club path and face angle data?

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