9 Ball Flight Laws Detailed!

In the game of golf, there are 9 different shots a golfer can hit in regards to the curve of the ball.  These 9 shots include:

Shots That Start Straight:

  • And fly straight
  • And draw
  • And fade

Shots That Start Right:

  • And fly straight
  • And fade further right
  • And draw back towards the center

Shots That Start Left:

  • And fly straight
  • And draw further left
  • And fade back towards the center

Ultimately, there are 9 shaped shots you can hit in golf.  What can help every golfers is understanding the relationship between the club face and the swing path and how these different shots are hit. 

Understanding the ball flight laws can help a golfer make an adjustment mid round when they are hitting a shaped shot they do not want to and also when they are practicing and hitting a shot that they desire, they can continue hitting this shots and groove a stock shot. 

Below, I will break down the 9 different shaped shots that you hit and what the clubface and swing path numbers might be.

You will notice some links to fix some of the bad shot shapes that golfers often battle with!

I would highly recommend using a Launch Monitor to help measure your swing path and club face.

What Are The Ball Flight Laws?

The basic idea is that the ball will start in the direction that the club face is pointing at impact.  From there it will curve based on the swing path relative to the club face.  For example, if your club face is 2 degrees right and your path is 4 degrees right.  The ball will start right and curve left towards the target, which is away from the swing path direction.

Ball flight laws (complete overview)

9 Ball Flight Laws

#1: Shots That Start Straight And fly straight

This is a shot where the golfer has everything pretty much squared away.  More than likely the clubface is at around 0 degrees and the swing path is at around 0 degrees.  Give or take a degree or two and you might have the slightest fade or draw at the very end of the shot.

Golfers might think this is the desired shot, but it is actually rather difficult to hit this shot on a consistent basis.  If you miss by a degree or two with the swing path and your club face is perfect square, the ball will curve away from your target and end up further away from the pin. 

The goal is to create a shot that starts right or left of the target and curves towards the target.

#2: Shots That Start Straight And Draw

This is the shot we are referencing above.  If the clubface is square, the shot will start straight.  If the club face is at 0 degrees with a 2 degree path to the right, the ball will start straight and curve away from the target and end up left of the target.

The golfer needs to make a simple adjustment and get the clubface just slightly open and a path slightly more right to have a simple push draw stock shot in their bag.

What causes a hook in golf?

#3: Shots That Start Straight And Fade

The only difference in this shot from the shot detailed above is the swing path is to the left.  The face remains at 0 degrees with a swing path to the left.  As we know the ball wilil curve away from the swing path, resulting in a shot that starts straight and fades away from the target.

#4: Shots That Start Right and Fly Straight

This is often referred to as a pushed shot.  The shot that starts right and stays right.  Often ending up as a shot just a bit offline or if the numbers are more drastic in the trees to the right.  Here are two examples: the clubface is 2 degrees open with a 2 degree swing path to the right.  

This is a shot that will start just to the right and fly straight missing the target by a little bit.  The option example is a clubface that is 9 degrees open with a 9 degree swing path to the right.  This is a shot that is blocked right and might end up out of bounds.

Push Shot in Golf (Complete Overview)

#5: Shots That Start Right and Fade Right

This is a tough shot to deal with.  Sometimes this is referred to as a double cross. The golfer might be trying to hit a push draw and instead hits a push fade.  This shot is often up way off line and starts away from the target and then curves further away from the target.  

An example of this includes a club face that is 5 degrees open with a swing path that is 3 degrees open.  So we are starting with a shot that starts right and then curves away from the swing path even further and continues to the right.

Why Does My Golf Ball Curve to the right?

#6: Shots That Start Right and Draws Left

This is known as a push draw.  When the golfer can get an ideal 2 degrees open club face with a 4 degree swing path, they can play this stock draw all day long.  It works with the driver and approach shots with irons.  Most golfers try to live in this world with their push draw.  It helps them eliminate trouble by having a predictable shot pattern during their round.

Draw Shot in Golf (Complete Overview)

How to Hit a Draw with the Driver

#7: Shots That Start Left and Fly Straight

This is often known as a pulled shot.  Once again, we can have two different levels of pulled shots.  The one that barely misses the target, maye a 2 degree closed club face and a path that is 2 degrees left.  Or a clubface that is 8 degrees left with a swing path that is 8 degrees left as well.  The golfer can live with one, but not the extreme situation.

Why Am I Pulling My Driver Left?

#8: Shots That Start Left and Draws Left

Depending on the amount of curve, this is a shot that can be referred to as a pull hook.  The shot starts left and curves further left.  The pull hook might have numbers that look like a club face that is 5 degrees left and a swing path that is 1 degree left.  The ball will start left and curve hard to the left.

Why does my golf ball curve to the left?

#9: Shots That Start Left and Fades Right

This shot can either be a fade or a slice.  For example, if the clubface is 2 degrees closed and the swing path is 4 degrees left, you will have a slight fade back towards the target.  However, if the clubface is 3 degrees closed with a swing path of 10 degree left, you are going to have a pull slice (common among beginners).

Fade Shot in Golf (What, How, Why and When)

How to hit a Fade with Driver!

How to Measure?

I would highly recommend a launch monitor like the Skytrak of Mevo+. These two affordable options can give you the instant data you need for feedback to make adjustments or to engrain certain feels for a one or a variety of shots! You can also see a shot tracer to help you visualize the shot you just hit. This is an impressive and helpful feature!

My Skytrak has been a great addition in my golf journey! Game improvement will happen with the right technology and time put into the golf game!

Ball Flight Laws and Fundamentals

Every golfer ultimately has to be good at three things in golf to play at a quality level.

  1. They must be able to control the low point in the swing (impacts quality of strike).
  2. They must be able to have a predictable start line and curve of the ball (ball flight laws).
  3. They must have enough speed and distance to play the course.

Ball Flight Laws: Stock Shot Drill

If you are looking for a drill to help you control the face and the swing path, check out this stock shot drill below!

Stock Shot Drill

  • At the driving range, set up an alignment stick about 6-8 yards in front of you, straight down your target line.
  • If you have a second alignment stick, set the stick 3-4 feet right of the first stick (for a draw) or left of the first stick (for a fade).
  • Complete your initial assessment see how many times out of 10 you can start the ball to the right or left of your target.  Pick one side and measure your game at this point.
  • The goal is to eventually get 7 out of 10 shots to start to the correct side and draw back towards the target.

Here is the drill being explained by Kyle Morris:

My Secret To Golf Improvement

Let’s face it, in order to get really good at golf, we must practice frequently.  About four years ago, I made the leap and invested in a golf simulator build for my garage.  I went with a SkyTrak Launch Monitor and the TGC software and can now play over 100,000 courses including Augusta, Pebble Beach, Bethpage Black, Whistling Straits. St. Andrews and many other of the top 100 courses in the world.

This golf simulator setup, which is more affordable that you might imagine, has been a game changer.  I can now play golf everyday of the year regardless of rain, snow, cold weather or time of day.  I can practice or play rounds of golf.  I can stand in the 11th fairway at Augusta and with the auto-rewind feature I am able to practice my approach shots from various differences.

It is worth checking out through Rain or Shine Golf as they offer some incredible packages along with financing offers that are difficult to beat.

Some direct links to Rain or Shine Golf for pricing and financing:

Take Action – What You Can Do Today to Get Better

What does this mean for you?  I believe in the following recipe to get better:

1 – Improve your motion in the golf swing by identifying a golf instructor.  Here are some options:

Here is a list of golf instructors that we have reviewed:

2 – Train to swing faster and improve your swing speed.  Here are some options:

Looking to gain more Speed and Distance in your swing. Two Options:

3 – Understand course strategy and work to break through your next barrier.  Here is a series on breaking through:

We have provided guides on how to break 100, 90, 80 and 70. Check out more below, if interested.

4 – Practice Frequently

Did you know that I build a golf simulator in my garage and have played over 500 rounds of golf on my SkyTrak system?  It has been a game changer and one worth checking out. Here are some of my other posts on golf simulators frequently asked questions:

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