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Impact Golf- 4 Factors

By William Kipp, Teaching Professional

Colorado Golf Schools at Estes Park


Golf swings are as individualized as people. With this in mind, we must realize that two golfers will never swing exactly the same. The key to better golf is not to try and swing like someone else, but to achieve a more correct and consistent flight pattern with your golf ball. In this and future columns I hope to help you play better golf through understanding and improving the impact of your golf club and golf ball. Impact Golf…


Your golf ball is your best instructor, and learning to play your best golf involves understanding what your golf ball is telling you. The flight (or non-flight) of your ball will tell you, on every shot, exactly what your clubhead was doing at impact. The flight of your ball reflects no set ideas about swing theory; it doesn’t know how you grip the club, whether your head remains still, or left arm stays straight…all that matters to the ball is what your clubhead is doing as it strikes the ball. So much of golf instruction today fails to mention what the club does when it hits the ball and how the golf ball then behaves. Yet the behavior of the ball is, or should be, every golfer’s number one concern.


There are basically four conditions which describe how your clubhead strikes the ball. These impact factors  are clubface alignment, clubhead path, angle of approach, and clubhead speed. These four factors determine your golf ball’s initial direction, the degree and direction of its sideways curve, its trajectory and the distance it travels. Once you become able to recognize which of these impact factors was incorrect by observing your ball’s behavior, and how to properly adjust your grip, aim, stance, and posture to improve your impact (instead of simply reacting by instinct) you will have a lot of fun playing golf. You will begin to control your golf ball instead of letting it control you!


Your impact factors are primarily controlled by the way you grip and aim the club, align your body and posture before you swing, and the path you swing the clubhead on through impact. One of the reasons golf is such a difficult game is that one (or more than one) bad shot often leads the player to react in instinctive ways which only make the mistakes worse. Changing the way you grip the club and set up to hit the ball will feel uncomfortable at first, because you have become comfortable in your bad habits…so stick with the changes and soon they will become both productive and comfortable!


In future Impact Golf articles I will more fully explain each of these impact factors, and how each of them is influenced by your grip, aim, stance, and posture – the “address positions” every player assumes before he or she swings the club! So keep reading over the next several weeks as I share some of what I know about playing your best golf.


William Kipp has played on several regional professional golf tours, and was a collegiate player at Kansas University. He is an employee of the Estes Park Golf Courses, and is the Teaching Professional for Colorado Golf Schools at Estes Park is Recognized by the

PGA of America



 John Herlong, PGA

(Director of Golf)





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Midwest, USA


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