Did you know that the strike location on the clubface of your driver can impact the ball flight of your drives? Sure, it is best to hit the ball on the sweet spot of the club, but did you know that producing off-center hits on the face of your club – especially towards the heel or towards the toe – can send the ball spinning sideways?
Read on to learn more about the gear effect and why it matters to your golf shots, especially to your drives.
What Happens if you Hit your Drive on the Toe
Ideally, when you hit a drive your driver will strike the ball in the sweet spot of the club. These shots will produce the ideal ball flight – all other things being equal – in large part because that’s where the center of mass of your club is located.
If you were to hit the ball towards the toe of the clubface instead, the club will twist slightly in your hands as a result of not hitting in the center of the club.
This twisting of the club, although it happens very fast, will send the ball spinning sideways in the opposite direction.
For a toe hit, the impact with the ball will twist the club in your hands in a clockwise rotation. This rotation at impact from the club will grip the ball as if it were a cogwheel. The ball will then rotate in the opposite direction, resulting in a counter-clockwise rotation.
In short, a toe hit with your driver will want to produce a draw spin (hook) on the ball, all other things being equal.
What Happens if you Hit your Drive on the Heel
The opposite will happen if you were to hit the ball towards the heel of your driver. In that case, the club will rotate counter-clockwise in your hands as a result of not being struck in the center of its mass.
Again, picture two cogwheels working together, one being the club and the other the ball. The club will turn counter-clockwise which means that the ball will want to turn clockwise.
In short, a heel hit with your driver will want to produce a fade spin (slice) on the ball, all other things being equal.
You can use it to help you self-diagnose shot errors such as slices and hooks or in order to help produce desirable ball flight under the right circumstances (draw or fade).