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Science plays a large role in determining the flight of a golf ball. Understanding physics laws and their influence to shot shapes is crucial to a golfer looking to maximise their performances. This article will explore shot shaping, the variables that alter flight and the effects they have on ball control. 

Draw Shot: A draw shot is ball flight that (for a right-handed golfer) starts right of target and finishes back online. This shot shape is a result of the golf club moving right of target whilst the club face aims at the target.

This puts the perfect combination of backspin and sidespin onto the ball resulting in a draw. The backspin on the golf ball provides the lift and the right to left side spin produces the movement back to target.


A fade is the opposite where the ball moves from the left (for a right-handed golfer). There are a variety of shots you should look to master if scoring low and beating your handicap is the goal. Once you can understand and put into practice the different laws that effect ball flights, you will be able to navigate your way around a golf course with great ease. This is because you will understand more in greater depth how your ball flight will move in different wind conditions.  

Likewise, if you can control your height of flight you will be able to get out of sticky situations. For example, if you play a tree-lined golf course and you miss a fairway the likelihood of having to chip out of the trees is high multiple times per round. But if you can shape your ball flight, you can turn a chip out bogey hole into a low draw/hook next to the green and get up and down to save par.

In addition to this, when approaching a green if you can control the flight and spin on the ball, you will be able to at a later stage, control how the ball spins to the flag, even if it’s just with pitching. You may be able to guarantee your ball stopping quicker or bouncing and releasing up the green as you have controlled the ball flight using the flight laws.

Other shot shapes and how they are manufactured.

Slice Shot: A slice deviates and curves massively away from target. This shot (for a right-handed golfer) starts right of target and finishes ever further away in an aggressive way. This excessive spin causes dramatic flight curvature. It is likely you will lose a ball with this shot. The cause of a slice is a result of a wide-open club face with an in to-out club path which moves right of target too. A hook shot is the opposite of a slice so (for a right-handed golfer) the ball starts left of target and works aggressively away from the target to the left.

Straight Shot: For a straight shot to occur the club face will be aiming at the target and the swing path will also be moving towards target in a Neutral manner (no right to left or left to right bias).

Low ball flights are a result of reducing the loft on the club face either before or during the swing. This will likely add distance to the ball as there is less loft on the club at delivery. This is a great shot to master particularly for links players keeping the ball out of the wind, or those who play on large golf greens.


Hitting high ball flights is the opposite of the low flight where loft is added at address through alterations in ball position or sometimes during the swing. A very effective way of navigating around tree lined courses. Angle of attack can also affect low and high flights.

In conclusion, ball flights can be influenced by a multitude of variables such as back spin, sidespin, loft, angle of attack and swing path. The more you play around with shot shaping the more rounded your game will become and it is likely that your scores will tumble. You will gain supreme ball control being able to master even one or two of these ball flights on demand.


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