Clubface angle at impact plays a big role in the initial launch of a golf ball. This is something for golfers to consider strongly when assessing their ball flight and misses.
For many years it was believed that the golf ball’s initial launch was determined by the path of the club. It was thought that the curve was determined by the relationship of clubpath to clubface. Over the last decade, research in golf science has shown that roughly 80% of the ball’s initial launch is a result of the clubface angle at impact, and that spin results from clubpath relative to the face angle.
The role of clubface angle in assessing your miss
Everyone has a common miss, either to the right or to the left. Understanding the combination of path and face that create the miss can help you self-correct.
The left miss
There are two different types of left misses.
1) In the first type of left miss, the golf ball is pulled straight left, without much curve. Here the clubface and clubpath are both aiming left the same amount at impact.
2) In the second, the ball launches fairly straight but then hooks hard to the left. The hook results from a square face at impact with a path that is to the right. This is difficult to correct: a golfer’s instincts are to swing more to the right, but that only exacerbates the problem.
Alignment at address
Alignment at address is another factor influencing ball flight.
If you don’t have a TrackMan or other launch monitor, use an alignment stick to select a target that is less than half the distance that the golf ball will travel. This will give you a good look at the initial launch of the ball to help you self-correct if necessary.
Of the six primary fundamentals in golf, clubface and clubpath are lag factors that are influenced by the other four: balance, posture, rotation, and speed. That being said, there’s still a clear case for better understanding of what influences ball flight.