When starting a lesson with a new client, I always ask the player if they know what causes the ball to start in the direction it starts. Many of them have started to give the right answer, but often times I still get the response of club path. It is because of that answer I feel it needs to be addressed.
For general purposes and to keep things simple, we will only talk about solid hit shots. Toe and heel balls espically with the driver will not hold this exact same concept, as a toe ball typically lowers spin and causes the spin axis to tilt left, and a heel ball increases spin and the spin axis tilts right.
It is very important for a player to understand this concept so they can make the proper set up and decision on the course. For example; if I hit a 5 yard draw with my 7 iron I will need to make sure I do not put my club face directly at the flag stick at address. The reason is because if I hit the shot I want, the ball will START at the flag stick and then curve 5 yards away. This obviously means if I hit a good shot, I will not be close to the pin. Instead, I need to put my club face 5 yards right of the pin and then let it work back. This is very start forward thinking I know, but I promise it is overlooked in a lot of players. The only time we would want to do this is when a pin is tucked on the right side of the green. Then if the player mishits it may end close to the end target, if not it will curve back and be safely on the green.
If the club face is controling the majority of the start direction, then curvature of course is caused by the path. Whenever these two are in the same direction we get our straight shots. So a 3 degree open face, with a 3 degree in to out path gives us a straight shot out to the right of our target. When the two measurements get far apart we start to see a lot more curve or axis tilt. So if we take the same in to out path of 3 degrees but the player brings the club face down to impact closed 3 degrees, we get a ball that starts left and because of the difference of 6 we get a ball that is now curving a lot left.
Understanding this is a huge help to players. With a bit of practice you can start to easily control the start and curve of the ball.
Here is a drill you can do to work on your club face control and help lower your score.