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New Golf Ball Flight Laws (via New England Golf Monthly Magazine)

November 10, 2011

I recently had an article published in the New England Golf Monthly magazine on what have the “New Ball Flight Laws” in golf.  You can view the article by going here and clicking over to page 20.  I am grateful to be a recipient of good information from those who research and share it as well as for the opportunity to pass it along.  Let me know if you have any questions or comments regarding this topic.  If you find this information useful, please feel free to also share it using the social media buttons provided.
Have a great day,

6 Comments leave one →
  1. November 10, 2011 6:40 pm

    There has been an attempt (Lord knows for what reason) to discredit the Ball Flight Laws in the PGA Teaching Manual and propose what is being called “New Ball Flight Laws.” The claim is that the original Ball Flight Laws in the PGA Manual were incorrect because they had the ball starting on the Path of the swing not the Face position. Of course the starting line will always be a combination of both with the greater influence coming from the Face, just as it says on page 34 of the PGA Manual. Much of this discreditation came from some noted teacher trying to prop up their status. I would guess that was then transferred to Trackman, a company who make a fine tool to measure several elements of club/ball contact and result. Actually the PGA Manual had it right 15 years before Trackman did. Their equipment and research provides additional information that was not available in 1990 when the Manual was published, but none of it makes the original ball flight laws invalid. PATH OF THE SWING… FACE POSITION AT IMPACT… SPEED (which in scientific terms is velocity)… CENTEREDNESSS (indicating that balls fly differently when struck on the face in places other than the center of percussion)… and ANGLE OF APPROACH OR ANGLE OF ATTACK. Please stop promoting NEW BALL FLIGHT LAWS…because there are none. Only additional information on the old ones. Gary Wiren, PhD author of the PGA Teaching Manual.

    • November 10, 2011 7:12 pm

      Dr. Wiren,
      I very much thank you for the comment here; yes I do recall the image on page 34 actually (very odd & random memory I have) where the ball started in between the path and face angles. I apologize to you as my stance is not saying and never said that the PGA Manual is wrong, more so that it has unfortunately been taught a bit differently than you accurately wrote. In fact, it is presented differently on some tests and checkpoints. My particular interest in the subject arose when I heard of PGA Pros losing students because the students had heard on television from commentators opposing info than what their teachers were instructing. This opposing info was that path started and face curved. I have often referred the recent idea as Enhanced instead of New; just like you pointed out when saying there is simply additional information. I was careful not to mention the PGA because of this. I now understand the title of New Ball Flight Laws can be misleading; I am guessing the additional understanding behind the laws prompted this new title amongst the golf world. I appreciate your comment here. It was a pleasure meeting you last summer in Chicago, I still remember your advice of being a specialist and a great putter. Thank you Dr. Wiren.

  2. November 11, 2011 9:03 pm

    Dr Wiren,

    If I may ask you a question. It seems quite clear from reading the manual that what you are saying is accurate. Were you aware that the PGA of America was teaching the opposite of what was in your manual? It seems strange to me that this subject was taught incorrectly for so many years by the PGA of America and yet you remained quiet. There’s no question that you were correct as many others were before you but why didn’t you ask the PGA to correct this mistake? I would love to hear your input on this matter.

    Thanks for your time and consideration.


  3. Niko permalink
    November 12, 2011 12:57 pm

    Dr. Wiren,
    I am going to start with the fact that Sara couldnt have been more right reagrding the ball flight laws. She did not hate on you or the PGA by any means. As a former PGM student, I was under the strong impression for years after looking at the 9 ball flights diagram (PAGE 33) that path started the ball and then face created spin at the end of the flight. Just like the diagram shows. I was confused after looking at PAGE 34’s image because it did not match up with the following definitions of path and face or the ball flight diagram on PAGE 33. This diagram illustrates path starting and face curving even if the surrounding manual language is neutral enough to now argue. The diagram is what we were taught to study and learn and teach.
    Additionally, after working 5 years in a club repair and demo store, I found the NEW ball flight laws to be more accurate. I am curious to as if you really wrote this comment, seeing as how someone with a PHD wouldn’t talk in circles and contradict oneself on numerous occasions.

  4. Michael permalink
    October 19, 2013 11:34 pm

    Why cannot the PGA come up with an article – or even better a section on their page where it is ONCE FOR ALL clearly stated how this works ? And I mean all 9 possible flights with face and path. If it’s along the old manual, even better. My PGA teacher believes in order to hit a fade (i.e. straight first, the curve to the right) the club face needs to be opened, but path straight. How can I argue against it, without having an official source ? And this because of the rules he learnt from PGA. So, PGA Professionals, please help the world to understand this. Thanks a lot, Michael

  5. March 28, 2015 7:36 pm

    The pro at our club still teaches path over clubface. I told him my ball starts as a straight pull and then draws about 5-10 yds at the end(which puts me in the roughj). He had me hit a few balls, then had me open my clubface and swing more inside out. The balls I hit were push fades. So now I’m hitting it to the right, but he couldn’t figure out why it was fading with an inside out swing. So, after much reading and watching online about the ball flight laws I now know that a ball can fade with an in to out path because the ball favors the face more than the path; and a ball can draw with an out to in path. Something else I learned was when your swing down your also swing out and when your swinging up your also swinging in.

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