Swing Breakdown: Key Metrics for Shaping your Shot
From the direction your club travels to the position of your club head on impact, golf is all about angles when it comes to shaping your shot. As golf technology continues to progress we’re only going to see a lot more shot tracking and analysis in the future of the sport. But what do all of these measurements or metrics mean to the amateur golfer?
For this article we wanted to break down the essential metrics every golfer should know when shaping their shot. If you’re going in for professional training or using SwingTrack Studio, our shot tracking and analysis software, you will want to be familiar with the following golf swing metrics:
Club head speed
The faster your club head speed, the further your ball is going to fly. This metric helps you to judge the likely distance of your shot. Just to give you an idea of what carry distance to expect with your club head speed, check out this image:
While you may think that your journey to a better handicap starts with a stellar club head speed, consistency is a key pillar of strong golf play. Unless you’re consistently hitting the ball well, a high club head speed will just mean your ball is going to fly farther in any direction. You will want to maintain a consistent club head speed throughout play as well. If you’re going all out on your initial swings and tiring out early, then maybe you need to cut back so you can last the entire game. Swinging too hard is also a great way to injure yourself, so make sure to know your body’s limits. Now, as for the shape of your shot, that is going to depend far more on the following metrics.
Club face angle
Also known as face-to-address, this measures how much your club face has opened or closed on impact, compared to its start. A club face that is open is one that is angled away from you while a closed club face is angled towards you. A club face that is flat against the ball on impact is known as a square club face.
As a right-handed player, depending on whether it’s open or closed will determine the likelihood of the ball’s initial flight from impact being right or left respectively. As a left-handed player, the inverse is true. Thus a higher degree of club face angle will typically predict a more significant starting path.
Club path angle
Your club path measures the direction your club head is moving on impact with the golf ball. The data is displayed as an angle determined by the club path in its relation to the center line of the golf ball or target. If your club is coming inwards from the outside, this is called “outside-in”. If it’s approaching outwards from inside, this is called “inside-out”.
Certain club path angles, when combined with certain club face angles, will result in different kinds of golf shots. If you’re not familiar with these kinds of shots, here is a great image courtesy of GolfTec:
Finally, face-to-path combines the previous two metrics to determine whether your swing is giving the ball a clockwise or counter-clockwise spin and the degree of that spin. This helps predict the expected curvature of the ball’s flight. The face-to-path angle is calculated as the difference between your club face angle and club path angle. The size of this difference determines the magnitude of expected curvature while the openness or closedness of this metric determines the kind of skip you’ll see. Use this metric to make sure you’re getting the kind of spin, and thus shape, you want on your shot.
We hope this quick breakdown of key shot metrics helps make your next training session more interesting! While data and metrics are great to understand the mechanics of a golf swing, making changes to your swing is a whole other story. For that, we highly recommend looking at drills online or visiting an instructor and using a swing analyzer like the one in our SwingTrack simulator to drill your swing and gauge your improvement.
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