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Would you work on : face or path ?


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General question – I’m a decent ball striker that started to play regularly in the last year – and I think I’m pretty well educated in the golf swing (biomechanics and technical aspects) … and a few threads recently : Obee’s wedge play + green preference (for longer or wider ones) had me thinking about distance / dispersion… I’m also aware that face angle at impact is the determinant factor in ball flight starting direction (I’ve read up to 85%)…

 

So, suppose one is not a complete beginner (and I know is not a ‘or’ question but rather a ‘and’) but if you had to work on feels for his swing… to try and minimize dispersion (driver, irons, wedges) but also control distance, trajectory, spin… would you try to get him to develop a more consistent swing path – or working on face control / release at impact… it seems to me that almost everyone is working/asking questions about hips, arms, OTT, shallowing, etc. to try and find a consistent in-to-out swing but way less discussions on consistent face to path control in the hitting zone…

 

Basically trying to figure out, for example, if my driver dispersion cone would be tighter if I worked more on face to path (and probably indirectly hitting the sweet spot more often) albeit with an in-to-out, neutral, out-to-in swing (just saying that I figure that it’s difficult to work on face to path control if path isn’t constant in itself)… rather than a constant motion but having no idea if the face is a tad open, flat, closed at impact…

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For a better player isn't face to path control mostly a reaction? I know that if my path was more consistently closer to neutral I would play better (tends too far right). Outside of a grip change I don't know that I could consciously control my face to path outside exaggerated moves to hit big curves, and even that is mostly setup and path changes. I'm not really thinking about what the face is doing through impact, but if I'm seeing a certain flight creep in I know my path is probably getting too far right. I still think a consistent path allows for a consistent face-to-path.

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Neither. I would strictly work on 2 things.

 

Balance #1 - when you address the ball, take a stance that you would ve most sturdy to resist a push from any direction.

 

#2 routine. Don't walk up to the ball and feel like you are pointing at the flag. Get behind your ball pick an intermediate point a foot infront and line your face up to that point. Then take your stance. If you are hooking, open your shoulders left of target line at address, if you are pushing or fading move your shoulders right of target line.

 

 

Doing this will get your face consistent. 

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41 minutes ago, mgoblue83 said:

Face angle is way more important than path for almost everything related to playing consistent golf.

 

That said the more speed a player has the more path will curve the ball.

 

I think its the opposite. Most newer players paths that I see are so extreme it forces the face to be extreme just to keep it on the planet.

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1 hour ago, MtlJayMan said:

General question – I’m a decent ball striker that started to play regularly in the last year – and I think I’m pretty well educated in the golf swing (biomechanics and technical aspects) … and a few threads recently : Obee’s wedge play + green preference (for longer or wider ones) had me thinking about distance / dispersion… I’m also aware that face angle at impact is the determinant factor in ball flight starting direction (I’ve read up to 85%)…

 

So, suppose one is not a complete beginner (and I know is not a ‘or’ question but rather a ‘and’) but if you had to work on feels for his swing… to try and minimize dispersion (driver, irons, wedges) but also control distance, trajectory, spin… would you try to get him to develop a more consistent swing path – or working on face control / release at impact… it seems to me that almost everyone is working/asking questions about hips, arms, OTT, shallowing, etc. to try and find a consistent in-to-out swing but way less discussions on consistent face to path control in the hitting zone…

 

Basically trying to figure out, for example, if my driver dispersion cone would be tighter if I worked more on face to path (and probably indirectly hitting the sweet spot more often) albeit with an in-to-out, neutral, out-to-in swing (just saying that I figure that it’s difficult to work on face to path control if path isn’t constant in itself)… rather than a constant motion but having no idea if the face is a tad open, flat, closed at impact…

"hips, arms, OTT, shallowing, etc." These are foundational to sequencing and are huge determinants of club face control, this does not just simply promote an in to out path. Proper sequencing will improve both face and path, but yeah, face takes priority all day over path. 

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Face for sure first and then path, but again a solid set up and grip goes a long long way. See a lot of 80s golfers that have a messed up grip funky and set up...that will prevent them from moving up a level...causes compensations in order to make it work. 

 

But at the end of the day, strike is KING. can you strike the face in a good spot. if you can do that you must be doing something right. 

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They are linked, if you are on a monitor and making tweaks to impact one thing, it can and will directly impact the other. This is where the whole chasing numbers issues can come in play. You work on the swing, face and path repeatability are byproducts. If you are making real changes, you might have to relearn how to control the face with the new pattern. In this case chasing face numbers can be a detriment to progress if you are using that as your end goal vs focusing on making a movement change.

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5 hours ago, aramirez24 said:

I feel like it has to be face control. On the trackman yesterday I felt like I was swinging really well path wise, but my face angle was like -5 shut and there's no way I could play like that. Now I'm trying to figure out if it's a grip or flip issue. 

I had the same revelation on Monday night with my trackman session.  My instructor and I really broke down the swing into super small parts where I could get better feels about how my face needed to be more square to path (did a ton of small swings, think 8-to-4 o'clock) to sync up body and hand/face feels.

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21 minutes ago, toddmanley said:

I had the same revelation on Monday night with my trackman session.  My instructor and I really broke down the swing into super small parts where I could get better feels about how my face needed to be more square to path (did a ton of small swings, think 8-to-4 o'clock) to sync up body and hand/face feels.

Yes sir I've been doing 9-3s in my garage every single day trying to ingrain that feel. Sometimes my full swing will barely travel farther than my 9-3 swing. Shows just how much I'm leaving on the table.

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i’d add that pretty much everything we golfers do affects path and face - some one more than the other but it is not an either or.
 

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Path is naturally more consistent, about 2x more consistent than face on average. Knowing that path is more consistent, I think getting the face under control (less variability and close to path) is key.  If your face is under control and you know what your shot pattern is, alignment can changed in order to create a functional shot.

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When I read posts and links in threads like this, I shake my head and chuckle. Part of its confusing, the other part doesn't make sense, there you have it.  I suppose it depends on just how anal a person is in segmenting their swing, and how much they want to get in their own way using sci-fi mechanics. LOL

 

What ever swing mechanics you have that puts the club-face properly on the ball, use it.  Don't get all nutso-scientific unless your golf plan is scratch or better and seriously compete against real golfers.  Very few people, including professionals have picture pur-dee languid swings like Ernie Els.  Its simply about squaring the club face at impact and proper thinking around the course.

 

I am a hitter of the ball.  I see where I want the ball to go, look at the ball, and put the club head squarely on the ball.  I am self-taught, so there's nothing scientific about my swing mechanics, except it's effective - last round finished 2 over. 

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Through the course of a lot of live lessons and self-study over the last year I've been able to get my swing path very close to neutral on a consistent basis. However when using driver I've continued to fight leaving the face wide open through impact. 


My coach and a good fitter both helped me with some setup cues and I've tried all kinds of moves and drills designed to get the clubface to be square or closed at impact. Motorcycle move, stronger grip, closed stance, you name it. I could never reliably execute any of those on the course. Whenever I tried to add speed to my driver swing I would hit long blocks or slices. 

 

A few weeks ago I noticed during practice sessions that the balls I hit out to the right were actually going farther than the ones I drew or hit straight. This told me that when I successfully add speed I'm still making good contact, but leaving the face open. Super frustrating. 

 

This Shawn Clement video and it produced a huge A-HA moment for me. The way he explains this concept makes perfect sense. Essentially he's saying to rotate the driver shaft a tiny bit closed and re-grip it that way. He explains why this actually produces a dynamically square face instead of a dynamically closed face. 

 

When I use this cue it really helps my setup, rotation and release. I get into the reverse K setup with my right arm lower than my left and the clubface soles perfectly square. I feel like I can really go after it and my old high draw flight has returned. 

 

I've noticed that using a tiny dose of this with my irons also works well. By setting up with the face rotated a tiny bit closed, I feel like I can really release it and I pick up more distance and spin. 

 

 

 

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This is a common problem for many I believe it is due to an unenviable position of the right hand and elbow on the downswing that requires a lot of work to get the clubface closed.

 

My solution is the Mike Austin method which apparently is no longer taught anywhere I've seen. If anything the current methods are completely opposite in that they they teach turn the shoulders first and the clubhead will turn later. In the Mike Austin method its the complete opposite - the hands turn over first thus locking down the right hand and elbow - in effect creating mechanical lag. From this point I don't think it's possible to hit a slice. In fact I have a friend who I am teaching golf and when he gets it right his push slice is gone and his driver distance increases from 180 to 240.

 

The Austin setup is very specific and the right hand is forward more so than the other method. The left hand and arm need to be very relaxed to turn over early. There are lots of videos and info on the web. If you have tried everything else you might as well try this, it used to be very popular in fact.

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BTW, I find that the Austin method is also easier on my lower back plus one "rebounds" off the right side which adds a lots of easy power. The rebound is built into the technique as is the downswing, there is no manipulation of the club everything just goes to the target. No swing thoughts are needed on the way down and the right hand can release w/hookingif done right. I am 56 and 5'6 but can still manage over 110 mph with my 2 wood, even more if I really swing at it.

 

I don't understand why this method is no longer taught. I do see that many golfers take their particular method as the best and get contentious when other methods that do something completely different are promoted, but at the end of the day there is more than one way to swing a club. The hardest part about the swing is getting the setup and takeaway correctly, the rest of the swing is just that, a swing.

 

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On 7/31/2021 at 12:23 AM, iSwing said:

Knowing how the trail arm functions one works on both face and path at same time. 

 

Yea getting the trial arm working down and in to shallow opens the face a bit.

 

What would you guys rate as the biggest factors for consistent face angle? Factors like flipping/overall wrist movement, trail arm, rotation through impact, balance, reactions/compensations, etc?

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