Whether its a 6 iron, 8 iron, or 60-degree wedge, many golfers are curious about spin. How to reduce it. How to add it. How to control it. How to manipulate it.
In most cases, the reasoning for golfers wanting to understand more about spin has to do with their ability to control their shots better. Some may slice the ball, while others may hook it. In either case, golfers are looking to gain more control of their golf ball.
By definition, Face Angle is:
A measure of the face of the golf club, relative to the target line, at impact. The face angle can be square, open, or closed in relation to the target line.
With this in mind, it is fair to say that a neutral, or square clubface angle at impact is more likely to create a shot that flies straight to your target line. While open and closed clubface angles, in relation to your target line at impact, can lead to slices and hooks respectively.
Positive: The club face is pointed to the right of the target at impact or is “open” for a right-handed golfer.
Negative: The club face is pointed to the left of the target at impact or is “closed” for a right-handed golfer.
With this in mind, in order to hit a straight shot, the face will need to be square, or at “zero”, in relation to the target line at impact. If a golfer wants to hit a 10-yard draw, or a 20-yard fade, they will need to be aware of what the Face Angle is at impact in relation to the target line.
The more open, or positive the Face Angle is at impact, the more the ball will spin clockwise. The more closed or negative the Face Angle is in relation to the target line at impact, the more counterclockwise the spin will be.
Your Face Angle at impact is the primary contributor to where the ball starts…but that is just the beginning. Let’s next look briefly at Club Path.
By definition, Club Path is:
The direction the clubhead is moving in relation to the target line.
Many golfers are familiar with phrases such as “over the top”, “underneath the plane”, or “on plane”, and with these, one is generally referring to the swing direction. Just as with Swing Plane, Swing Path uses the three-dimensional position of the club head from approximately knee high to knee high on the downswing.
According to Trackman’s blog- “The overall motion of the club head on the downswing and post impact can be qualified to describe a person’s swing. This generalization of the swing is often the same as the measured swing direction. It is important to understand that swing direction is not the same as club path. Club path represents the motion of the club head at one point in time (impact); whereas swing direction uses hundreds of points from the club head during the knee high to knee high portion of the downswing.”
Now that you have an understanding of Face Angle and Club Path, we can finally put those two together and discuss Face to Path, and how it effects the spin you put on the ball.
A negative face to path would represent a face angle that is “closed” to the path, which would impart counterclockwise spin on the ball. A positive face to path would represent a face angle that is “open” to the path, which would impart clockwise spin on the ball. A zero face to path represents a face angle and club path that have the same value and would result in a ball that would have no side spin.
Remember, your Face Angle at impact is the primary factor in determining where your ball starts in relation to your intended Target Line. Where your Face Angle is in relation to your Club Path, or where your clubhead is moving in relation to your target line, will ultimately determine how much side spin is put on the ball.