Golf Facts

October 8th, 2011 by John Graham Leave a reply »

Golf FactsGolf Facts. What are they? How many are there? These are questions I am constantly searching for. Golf Facts are the only things that teachers should be able to agree on. I certainly don’t claim to know what they are, how many there are but I think it will make for an interesting discussion.

Like any topic, there should be some things that are agreed upon by virtually everyone. Then there will be things that I’ve heard called as preferences. It’s usually these preferences that most teachers argue over.

This post will not be about the preferences. This will be about the facts. My goal is to list a few things that I consider as facts. Please feel free to add any or dispute my findings. Also accept the idea that if you (the reader) add a fact that it may get disputed by myself or someone else.

I don’t think the golf facts list is very long. At least the list that teachers can be using on a daily basis to help all golfers. So here goes.

Ball Flight - This is slowly starting to be accepted as a fact that the ball starts closer to the face than it does the path. For the most part, I just say it starts very near the face and curves if the face and path are different. Inside this is how draws and fades are created by the face and path relationship. Certainly, this all assumes centered contact. Which brings me to my next fact.

Gear Effect – The change in spin axis created when the ball is hit off the center of gravity of the club head. A fact that everyone should know and understand as it has a large influence on fact #1. Basically, a ball hit on the toe will shift the spin axis of the ball toward a draw and a ball struck on the heel toward a fade. That doesn’t mean all toe shots draw and all heel shots fade. It simply effects whatever spin axis was created by the face and path relationship and alters it in some amount in the respective direction.

Putts Break Downhill – The fact I have to actually write this down on “paper” is a little scary but here it is. Putts do not break toward mystical places or bodies of water. If they curve at all it is because they are rolling across a slope at a different angle than the slope is and the curve is always toward the downhill direction.

Honestly, this is pretty much what I have. As teachers and players, we all should be able to agree on these things. That they exist and we need to know and understand them.

Please add to this list. Remember. Just the Facts.


Here are some updates. One tweep felt that less than 70% shouldn’t be called close when it comes to initial starting direction. Fair enough. He also mentioned that gear effect is 3d which is also correct. Relative to the CoG hits lower than that will increase spin rates and above the CoG will decrease spin rates.



  1. Sara_PGA says:

    This is excellent, JG. The one thing I can think of to add would be something in a slightly different category but that is sometimes forgotten; at the end of the day, low score still wins. Thank you for sharing. This post is required reading.

  2. carletongolf says:

    Never thought about what Golf Facts there were in our great game, but do see there are so few is at the same time exhilirating and scary. I love, as a teacher, there are so many ways to help our players play his/her best, but at the same time not having one “right” way to do things makes it tough. Of course, the tough is what makes it so good!

  3. Jason Sutton says:

    Can we all agree that “Golf Is Hard?” great article John. The fact that the list can be so small shows the complexity of the game as a player and how difficult it is to teach it well.

  4. Brian Moore says:

    Perhaps another fact could be that iron shots are “MOST EFFECIENTLY” struck with a decending angle of attack. Although it is possible to hit an iron with a level or possibly slightly ascending angle of attack from a perched lie, I would hope that no teacher would have a preference for an ascending angle of attack with an iron.

  5. John Graham says:


    I would clarify that more. Would a player want to hit up on a ball from perched lie? I can think of instances that they might. Thoughts?


  6. Brian Moore says:

    Lets just say that from a fairway lie, the “most effecient” strike with an iron is created from a decending blow where the ball is being compressed between the clubface and the turf, as opposed to being “picked” or “scooped”.
    I would also agree that certain shots may well best be played with an ascending blow such as a high lob from a perched lie.

  7. John Graham says:


    I think I know where you are going but I would like to add one thing. The ball is not actually compressed between the clubface and the turf. Just comes right off the face into the air. There are some good super high speed video of impact with an iron that shows this.


  8. Brian Moore says:

    You are correct. I stand corrected:)

  9. Nevil Bland says:

    How about spin loft, all things being equal, the angle of attack won’t have any effect on the backspin rpms


    Regular flex means nothing across the industry, there are no standards between companies + many other facts to do with manufacturing tolerance

  10. John Graham says:


    Sounds good.

    Keep them coming.

    Do you use the idea of spin loft in your daily lessons?


  11. Yancy says:

    - A persons physical fitness (mobility, limberness, and strength) has a direct effect on their swing and what they can do with their swing.

    I wanted to add one that a steeper angle on the down swing has a direct effect on ball height keeping it lower than a more sweeping angle, but not sure how to put it in the correct terminology or if it is a fact as there might be someone that can return the club to the same loft of the club either way. I’ll let you make the call on this one…

    Great one JG!

  12. Nevil Bland says:

    Only in lessons to eradicate the pupils desire to hit down on wedges to create more spin and to allow them to hit down slightly on driver shots if that produces the most consistent results, instead of trying to hit up in the belief it will reduce spin

  13. JG:

    I just wanted to say:

    1. Great post #fact

    2. Guru is incorrect. Golf is super easy, that’s why almost everyone in America shoots mid 70s

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