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Ball-Flight Laws

Acquiring knowledge about what makes your golf ball travel in various directions can prepare you to better control its flight. These factors are called Ball-Flight Laws. Understanding this information can help you to detect errors and make corrections.

First, a few definitions…

Target Line: The line running from your golf ball through to your target.

Clubface Angle: The direction the face of the club is pointing, relative to the target line, at impact.

Clubhead Path: The direction the clubhead is traveling, relative to the target line, when it meets the golf ball.

Clubhead Speed: Determines distance.

Effective Loft at Impact: Determines trajectory.

Understanding Ball-Flight Laws can help you make the appropriate adjustments required to alter the shape of your golf shots.

Every time we hit a shot, we create one of nine different flight patterns, three of which are considered to be “preferred”. (see diagram)

  • Clubhead Path at Impact determines the initial direction of the golf ball.
  • Clubface Angle at Impact determines the curve of the golf ball toward the end of its flight.

Ball-Flight Patterns


1. Preferred Ball Flight Patterns: #4, #5 and #6.

2. Although the end result may be suitable, it is an error to consider #3 or #7 to be efficient because in both cases, the golf ball did not start out along the intended target line.

3. It is also important to recognize how Ball Position and Alignment relate to the Ball-Flight Laws.

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