Science of Golf – Shot Dimensions

golf shot height and length



As we’re practicing and analyzing each golf shot that we hit, consider that there are three dimensions worth looking at in terms of ball flight.

The first dimension everyone thinks about is the distance that the ball travels. Normally, we break this down into how far the ball carries in the air versus how far it rolls on the ground.

The second dimension is the direction that the ball travels in. With this, we’ll consider where the ball starts as well as of course where the ball ends. Did the ball go straight in a particular direction or did it curve? Perhaps a shot that starts to the left of the target might curve and finish to the right of the target. This will be important information as we consider each golf shot.

The third dimension is trajectory, whether the ball travels high or low. We might consider launch angle and spin rates when it comes to trajectory. For example, backspin helps the ball stay in the air, and too much or too little spin will cause the ball to float, or balloon, versus diving or falling out of the sky.

Putting is a unique aspect of the game in this regard, because we are effectively only operating in two dimensions. The ball does not leave the ground. We will use all of this terminology in our instruction.

In summary, there are three dimensions that we consider with each golf shot. There is the distance that the ball travels in the air and on the ground. There is the direction that the ball travels in and whether it went straight or if it curved in flight. Lastly is the trajectory or height that the ball reaches including launch angle and spin rates.