Flight path of a ball

The flight path of a golf ball can have many different shapes. Each shape has a name in the golf language. The names depend mainly on the direction the ball takes off and the direction it turns in the air.

The initial direction of the ball’s flight depends primarily on the movement direction of the club head at the moment of impact. The ball may either start straight in the intended impact direction or deviate to the left or right (push or pull).

pull and push ball golf flight path

The curvature of the flight path in the air depends on the rotation of the ball about the vertical axis (sidespin). Depending on the direction of the turn and the player’s intentions, the strike is defined as:

draw hook fade slice ball golf flight path

Characteristically, the names of the shapes do not depend on whether the ball is flying to the right or to the left. However, they refer to the relation of the direction of the of the ball path curvature with the address position (the right-handed or left-handed) of a player  (outside, inside).

The basic shapes of the ball flight are shown in the picture.

Ball flight shapes

If the ball does not start straight and additionally turns in the air, the shot shape names become more complicated. This is shown in the figures below.

Slice shape

Hook shape


In addition to the above shapes, many not so successful shots have slang names such as: dribbler, duff, flyer, skull, worm burner and others.



Menu path:

update: May 2022