Using the new ball flight laws to give yourself a lesson

(for right handers) All you have to do is understand a few things. Generally speaking, the farther forward the ball is, the more left the swing path will be and for a ball farther back in the stance, the swing path will be more to the right. If the ball is straight, the club face was square to the path. If it hooks the face is closed to the path. If it slices, it is open to the path.

So all you have to do is look at your divot and what the ball is doing and you know exactly what your swing is doing.

When I used to hold the lag way too long, I played the ball pretty far back in my stance…which makes sense to me now as it is easier to get to the ball.

As you all know, I am trying to rediscover my old swing and add some natural release to it. Well, last week my divots were going way to the right and I was hitting a straight push, or a ball that was starting barley right and drawing way too much.

Using the new ball flight laws I understood that I was either not releasing properly and the club face was square to the path but way right of the target…or I would release it and it was left of that path and the ball would start on a decent line, but then draw too much. The path was too far from the inside as a result of the ball being too far back in may stance.

The farther forward the ball got, the farther left the path got…until I got the ball flight I wanted.

If you understand the new ball flight laws, you just have to look at your divot and ball flight and you can tell what is going on.

I moved the ball farther forward in small increments till the divots were only slightly right and the ball was turning to the target…and viola, a great ball striking day.

Anyone at any level can do this. It isn’t a magic pill, but you can definitely help your game long term, as well as day to day. All you have to do is adjust for a recurring miss. This may have been a bit confusing, but reread it and it will make sense.




  1. Wally

    Monte when you played baseball as a kid you instintively knew how to hit ball left or right. In golf when you won the championship you instintively knew how to keep it on the grid and keep it long you just have to DETOX from all this techno crap and LET it fly

    • Monte Scheinblum

      Wally, while I agree with everything you said, today’s post was not meant to be techno. It is a guide to help you with ball position.

  2. Bob34

    In the for what it’s worth category; instincts will only take you so. Having said that, I like how Monte is providing simple adjustments or helping to slightly refine an instinct that’s just a little off such as understanding the ball flight laws, they’re really not hard to understand which makes it easy to adjust your swing to get the ball flight you want. Most of it is ball position, grip, and/or setup, simple stuff. It’s funny because using the term bandaide has become taboo in golf instruction but in my mind, that’s exactly what’s needed way more often than the major surgery most pro’s provide now-a-days…

    • Bob34

      I meant to say; “instincts will only take you so far.”

      • Bob34

        hmmm… I don’t see the edit function.

  3. rojoass

    For what it’s worth & I’m not trying to add to Monte’s already great post.
    I’ve found this approach should be applied to the putting stroke also. Done properly it’ll help eliminate the pull & push (off-line)

  4. Wally

    I know

  5. S.

    (An EDIT function? Wish I knew how that works, since I’ve produced some bad typos in the past.)

    Anyway, for the “new” ball-flight laws, this article (with videos) is about the best I’ve seen:

    Among other things, it says: “For decades, the PGA Teaching Manual has contained some incorrect information pertaining to a golf ball’s flight. That information can be summed up as follows: ‘The golf ball starts on the direction of the swing path and curves back to where the clubface was aimed at impact.'”

    I saw Corey Pavin say that, just this morning.

    I suppose I could research it, but I wonder if the “new” laws were derived from an Iron Byron, or real top-tier players. If from an Iron Byron, then I’ll take the old laws.

    The article LINKED above says, “In January, 2009 Trackman – makers of a popular launch monitor – publicly released information in their newsletter.”

    Where the face points at impact…hmmm, what if the face is turning over through impact, and it’s not straight clubface into the ball, but rather (for that micro-second) a slightly rotating face? Maybe, call it the AJ Bonar effect.

    I think it would make a huge difference whether the new laws were derived from a machine, because a machine doesn’t work the way a human body does.

    • Monte Scheinblum

      No, they were also derived from high speed photography of humans hitting the ball.

      I have done tests myself and they are correct. For example, I took a 7 iron and made a divot that went 50 yards right and the ball took off left of the target and hooked.

      • s.

        Maybe the new laws are more applicable to a duck hook or a banana slice.

        I’m guessing that if a top-tier player wants to draw or fade, the face is very slightly open or closed, and the alignment is only slightly left or right.

        With such tiny adjustments, I wonder what all the fuss is about.

        At 300 yards, a 1º deviation is 5 and 1/4 yards.

        2º at 300 yards gives you 10 and 1/2 yards. Maybe players aren’t trying to draw or fade it more than 2º on a drive. With those slight adjustments, maybe the old laws work okay.

      • Monte Scheinblum

        The old laws work OK if you are not having swing problems and are just working on hitting good shots. They can be confusing if you are hitting it bad and having swing issues.

      • Bob34

        I’m pretty sure the new ball flight laws were validated by trackman but not sure if the trackman system was totally responsible for initiating them. Personal opinion is that the old ball flight rules confused the hell out of me. With the old ball flight rules there is no way that my divot could point right of my target but the ball start left of it and go even further left but that’s what would happen. With the new ball flight rules, that makes perfect sense. I.e. Face angle slightly left of target but severe in to out swing path…

        Simple way to look at it is exactly opposite of the old rules (path dictates where the ball starts and face angle dictates curve). The new rules: Ball starts the way the face is looking and curves based on path. The bigger angle between the face and the path, the more curve. A long with poor instruction, THIS IS WHY people haven’t improved. To get the ball to go further right people would swing more inside out and to get the ball to go further left people would swing more outside in which is exactly opposite of what you need to do to cure those problems. How can anyone get better doing the opposite of what they should be doing…? OK, I feel better now 🙂

      • Cal

        The new ball flight rules (D-Plane) were formulated by Theodore P Jorgenson in his book The Physics of Golf published in the 1990s.

        Sounds like an ideal book for you Wally.

  6. rojoass

    OK nice little rant Bob. I like that.

  7. Wally

    What is the penalty to the ball if the the ball knowingly violates these new rules. Did Ben Hogan, Tom Watson,San Snead, and Jack Nicklaus work under the old or the new rules. Don’t think about it, go the range hit a couple of thousand balls, TAKE NOTES (ball position, width of feet, etc.) and figure it out, Look at you hands, if they are not calloused you ain’t workin’

    • S.

      Nicklaus = old rules. As Monte said, “The old laws work OK if you are not having swing problems and are just working on hitting good shots.” From “Playing Lessons with the Pros” TV show, Pavin and Ogilvy = old rules.

      The problem with the old rules is that they were for pros to work their shots, and the new rules are for diagnosing problems that are more likely encountered by amateurs. The old rules didn’t have anything to do with altering the swing path in relation to the ball, or ball position. Only the alignment of stance and clubface was changed. Once the setup was altered, the pro took his normal swing as if nothing had changed.

      Of course, various other pros had their own tweaks and swing-thoughts. Some opened and closed their stance (instead of just aligning differently).



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