Here’s a fascinating video of what impact looks like. Notice two things: first, how much the club slows down at impact, especially in the driver swings. A lot of swing speed gets removed when the club meets the ball.
It looks like the club doesn’t slow down when you see players hit on TV, but I’ve read that impact removes about 30% of swing speed (Newton’s Third Law), and this video confirms that number to be in the ball park.
The second thing to notice is what happens to the clubface when the ball is hit off center. Do you see the clubface turning? That’s because impact was off-center. That decreases the distance of the shot, because some of the energy of impact is being used to rotate the clubface.
Note also that the film of the sand wedge does not support the myth of backspin being created by the the ball rolling up the clubface. It’s time to put that notion to rest.
The clubs, in order, are:
Did you also notice, with the putter, how the ball skids across the grass before it starts rotating?
You might not think that a putt has trajectory, but it does. The skid you’re seeing here is what you want. If your putter face is too lofted at impact, or too delofted, the ball will hop, not slide, and distance will be affected.
Contact between the club and the ball in these shots lasts 1/2,000th of a second.