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Controlling the curve is a positive sign that a player has control over their swing. Curving the ball a predictable amount is one of the features that separate the best players from the rest of us. In this post is going to talk just about the math behind the relationship between the path and face to hit curving shots that return to the target. For each of these shots, we will presume a centered contact and either a push draw or pull fade.

The picture of Sergio (created by James Hirshfield) has been floating around the internet for quite some time. It lead me to research what is the right relationship needed to curve a ball but still have it land at the target. Was this the right relationship? We all know that no one swing 20 degrees right that plays for a living but is 2 to 1 ratio the correct ratio.

The answer is yes and no. It depends. It depends on the amount of spin loft. Spin loft is a launch monitor term for the difference between Dynamic loft and Angle of Attack. Remember, path below is the path of the club at impact and centered contact is assumed.

Here are some hard numbers from the launch monitor:

10 degrees of Spin Loft (Dr or 3wood) path needs to be 1.5 times farther from the target line than the face (example: Path 3 degrees inside out, face 1.5 deg open)

20 degrees of Spin Loft (3I-5I) path needs to be 2 times farther from target line than the face (example: Path 4 degrees inside out, face 2 deg open)

30 degrees of Spin Loft (6I-9I) path needs to be 3 times farther from the target than the face (example: Path 3 degrees inside out, face 1 deg open)

40 degrees of Spin Loft (9I-PW) path needs to be 4 times farther from the target line than the face(example: Path 4 degrees inside out, face 1 deg open)

50 degrees of Spin Loft (SW) path needs to be 6 times farther from target line than the face. (Example: Path 6 degrees inside out, face 1 deg open)

This info should tell you that controlling the curve with longer clubs is much more difficult because of the small (1.5 deg) difference between path and face relationship. Most of us could have guessed that. Also, it’s more difficult to curve the ball with lofted clubs. Finally, controlling the face and path relationship is constantly changing through the set.

Does this mean you shouldn’t try to curve the ball? I don’t think so. It should just give you a better idea of what you need to produce to get the correct face and path relationship to start the ball away from the target line and curve it back to the target line. It should also give you an idea of how to prevent the ball from crossing over the target line.

I hope this information helps you understand better what needs to happen to create what you want regardless of your system for pattern development. Please consider sharing with your students and other coaches by forwarding the email or by using the social media icons at the bottom of this post.

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