Golf Ball Flight Diagram

The ball flight diagram below covers 9 different shot shapes and the names we give them.

I find that most amateur golfers label any shot that curves away sharply to the right (for the right-handed golfer) as a slice. But this isn’t the case…

A slice is golf ball that starts to the left of target and finishes to the right of target. If, as the ball flight diagram below shows, the golf ball starts right and then curves further right we call it a ‘push-slice’.

This isn’t just semantics or a case of golf professionals being overly fussy. What I might recommend to fix a slice could actual make a push-slicer’s problem worse and vice versa.

I’ve written a full, plain-English explanation of the ball flight laws in golf. I strongly recommend you read that article in conjunction with using the ball flight diagram below. Together, they will help you self-diagnose, and correct, any problem that might creep into your game:

Click here for the ball flight laws article.

Ball Flight Terminology (Right-Handed Golfer)

Pull-Hook (purple line)

Definition Ball starts left of target and curves further left of target.
What It Tells You Club face is closed at impact (pointing left relative to swing path). Your swing path may also be out-to-in but may also be straight or even in-to-out. Look at where your divots are pointing to determine your swing path.

Hook (yellow line)

Definition Ball starts right of target and curves back left to finish left of target.
What It Tells You Swing path is in-to-out (not necessarily a bad thing) and the club face is closed at impact (pointing left relative to swing path).

Pull (navy blue line)

Definition Ball starts and finishes left of target but stays straight in its flight (no curve).
What It Tells You Swing path is out-to-in and the club face is square to the swing path.

Fade (green line)

Definition Ball starts left of target and curves back right to finish on target.
What It Tells You As with a slice, the swing path is out-to-in and the club face is open at impact (pointing right relative to swing path). However, unlike a slice the ball must finish on the target line (not right of it) to be classed as a fade.

On Target (dotted line)

Definition Ball starts straight and stays straight in its flight to finish on target.
What It Tells You Your swing path is straight down the target line and your club face is square to the swing path (and target line in this case).

Draw (red line)

Definition Ball starts right of target and curves back left to finish on target.
What It Tells You As with a hook, the swing path is in-to-out and the club face is closed at impact (pointing left relative to swing path). However, unlike a hook the ball must finish on the target line (not left of it) to be classed as a draw.

Push (light blue line)

Definition Ball starts and finishes right of target but stays straight in its flight (no curve)
What It Tells You Swing path is in-to-out and the club face is square to the swing path.

Slice (pink line)

Definition Ball starts left of target and curves back right to finish right of target.
What It Tells You Swing path is out-to-in and the club face is open at impact (pointing right relative to swing path).

Push-Slice (orange line)

Definition Ball starts right of target and curves further right of target.
What It Tells You Club face is open at impact (pointing right relative to swing path). Your swing path may also be in-to-out but may also be straight or even out-to-in. Look at where your divots are pointing to determine your swing path.

Remember to see the ball flight laws article in conjunction with this ball flight diagram.