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Unraveling the Mystery of Club Path,Club Face, and Ball Curvature in TrackMan

TrackMan has revolutionized the way you can analyze your own swing. When you practice at Alta View it gives you invaluable data to understand the intricacies of club and ball interactions. One key aspect of this analysis is understanding the club path and the angle of the face relative to the path and how this plays significant role in shaping your shots . In this article, we'll explain the concept of club path and face to path and how they relate to the golf ball's curvature.


Why Do I Need To Understand This

When you are hitting shots on the course and the shot ends up way too far left or right of your target, if you have practiced with Trackman you should be able to know how much of it was a bad club path and how much was a bad face angle. Pay attention of these key metrics when you practice and it will train you with the right feelings so you can know how to self correct on course.


What is Club Path in TrackMan?

Club path refers to the direction the clubhead is moving at the moment of impact with the golf ball. In TrackMan, it is measured in degrees and describes the horizontal movement of the clubhead relative to the target line. Club path can be classified into three categories:

  1. In-to-out path: When the clubhead is moving from inside the target line to outside the target line at impact, it creates an in-to-out path. This is usually associated with a draw or hook shot shape, as the clubhead is moving rightward (for a right-handed golfer) at impact.

  2. Out-to-in path: The opposite of in-to-out, this occurs when the clubhead moves from outside the target line to inside the target line at impact. This path typically results in a fade or slice shot shape, as the clubhead is moving leftward (for a right-handed golfer) at impact.

  3. Neutral path: When the clubhead moves directly along the target line at impact, it creates a neutral or square path. This typically helps produce a straight shot with minimal curvature.

What is the Face to Path Metric in TrackMan?

The face to path metric in TrackMan represents the angle difference between the clubface and the club path at the moment of impact. It is also measured in degrees and plays a crucial role in determining the ball's curvature. A positive face to path number indicates that the club face is open (point4ed to the right) relative to the club path, while a negative number implies that the club face is closed (pointed to the left).


A positive club face angle will create a backspin that is tilted to the right (not a direct up and down backspin) and this causes the ball to curve to the right during the flight of the ball. A negative face angle will create a backspin on the ball that is tilted to the left. This causes the ball to move to the left during the flight of the ball.


Golf Ball Flight Laws

  1. The ball starts predominantly in the direction of the club face angle at impact.

  2. The ball curves away from the club path.

  3. The greater the difference between the club face angle and the club path, the more curvature the ball will have because the backspin on the ball will have more tilt.

Ball Curvature Based on Club Path and Face to Path Metrics

Now that we understand the basic principles behind club path and face to path, let's see how they affect the curvature of the golf ball:


Draw:

  • Club path: In-to-out (a positive number for the right handed golfer)

  • Face to path: Negative (closed club face - i.e. left - relative to the path)

  • The ball starts close to the direction where the club face is pointing and curves away from the in-to-out path, resulting in a right-to-left curvature (for a right-handed golfer). You are looking for a ball that launches right of the target and curves the the left back to the target line.

  • Note that if you start with an out to in path (negative) and have a closed face (negative) you will get a ball that launches left of the target line and curves left - a pull hook.

Fade:

  • Club path: Out-to-in ( a negative number for the right handed golfer)

  • Face to path: Positive (open clubface - i.e. turned to teh right relative to the path)

  • The ball starts in the direction of the open clubface and curves away from the out-to-in path, leading to a left-to-right curvature for the right handed golfer. You are looking for a ball that launches left of the target and curves back to the right.

  • Note that if you start with an in out out path (positive) and have an open face (positive) you will have a ball that launches to the right of the target and curves to the right - a push cut.

Sample Shot

In this sample shot, this shows a slight fade. The path is slightly left and the face is turned to the right of the path. This leads to the very small positive spin axis of 2.3 degrees (backspin tilted slightly to the right) so the balls curves just a small amount to the right. Because the face to path number was a smaller number than the club path, the ball launches a small bit to the left of the target line and had a slight curve back to the right during the ball flight.



Pay Attention When You Practice

When you practice with TrackMan pay attention to what you swing feels like that generates these various combinations. If you always have a weak fade and you want to hit a more powerful you need to understand what it feels like to have a positive path for the club and close the face more at impact. Work on all the various combinations of the path and face so you get a sense of what it feels like so when you're on the course you will know that feel you need to be able to get rid of shots that are going too far left or too far right.


In future blog posts we will review various mechanical items if you swing to be aware of that will impact your club path and face to path angles. Here is a video that can get you started for items to look for as you review your video.




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