Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Curveball Not Limited to Baseball

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Curveball Not Limited to Baseball

Article excerpt

When practicing or playing, can you turn the ball left or right at will? Can you turn it around a tree to recover to your favorite wedge distance? Or can you draw or fade your shot sufficiently to hold its line against a crosswind?

Controlling the amount of turn we put on the ball is an art form. Perhaps never more so than Bubba Watson's shot from the pines on No. 10 at Augusta this year to knock off Louis Oosthuizen in their sudden-death playoff at the Masters.

So, what makes the ball turn -- that would be sidespin. To intentionally put sidespin on the ball, we must deliver the club face either open to or closed to the path or direction of our swing.

So to make the ball turn left, a right-handed player would need to close his club face to his swing path. Conversely, to make the ball turn right, he would need to deliver his club face open to his swing path. The greater the divergence between path and face the more the ball will turn, and conversely.

When we learn to control the turn of the ball, we get to play a wider golf course. That is, we can take the trouble on either side of the golf course out of play. Once I have my club face under control (i.e., I know, for example, I can deliver the face square or slightly closed to my swing path), I can take the right or left side of the course out of play.

How? Because I know the ball won't turn right of where I swing, I am no longer concerned with trouble on the right.

This allows me to aim my club face down the left-center of the fairway and then pre-turn my body slightly in my setup to align down the middle.

Now, when I swing down the middle, I produce a slight draw because my club face was set up slightly closed to my swing path and I knew, with certainty, that I could deliver it that way.

Conversely, when I have out-of-bounds left, I can align from the left side of the tee box, aim my club face down the left center of the fairway and then pre-turn my body slightly to ensure a swing path in the direction of the right center of the fairway.

Since I know I will swing slightly to the right of where my club face is aimed, I know I won't start the ball out to the left, so I no longer worry about the trouble on the left. …

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