Visual effect of golf shots on TV

I’ve noticed that every shot I see televised, the ball seems to seriously slice. Sometimes it seems the ball will go so far right that it’ll land on another course.

What causes this? I’m sure it’s the angle of the cameras, but it’s so damn annoying (to me anyway) that I’d have to think they’d correct for it and come up with different angles.

2 questions. 1) Does anyone else notice this? and 2) why is it so glaringly obvious? What’s the deal with the ball seeming to go straight right when seen on Tv/

I think there have been threads on this, but yes, the ball does look like it’s going right most of the time. Mainly because the cameraman is not standing directly behind the golfer.

I’ve had the same observation for a long time, and always wondered about it. I’ve considered the camera-angle explanation, but it seemed unlikely to me that the camera angle would be consistently “off” in one direction. On the other hand, I know nothing about how golf events are filmed, so perhaps there’s a reason they set up at particular angles.

A thread from a couple months ago.

Just a WAG, but most golfers are right-handed, right? So they’d swing with the club on the right side, relative to the direction they’re aiming in, correct? And it’s probably more interesting, to those who watch golf, to be able to see what the golfer is doing with his hands than to just see a shot of his backside, so the put the cameras a bit to the right of the golfer. This means that when the shot goes forward, it moves across the camera’s field to the right.

That’s a good thought. We can use Mickelson as a control.

Alright here is a visual of whats going on:

… …| …/
… …|…/
… |/
… |
…F/… |
…L/… |
…O/… | Camera
…G/… |

As you can (hopefully) see straight for the Golfer appears to be off to the right for the Camera. For the Golfer’s shot to appear straight he would have to pull the ball off of his straight line to the straight line of the Camera.

The way he played in the Open it’s hard to separate the camera’s effect on apparent ball flight from that of the golfer. That makes for a lousy control group.

The high power zoom lenses used in golf telecasts will compress distances — the ball doesn’t seem to be travelling much forward to or backward from the camera, which in turn exaggerates the lateral movements of the ball. What seems like a wild curve through the television camera actually progressed in a larger arc than appears.

Another case for the optical illusion is that the announcers, who are almost all former pro golfers, can tell almost immediately if the shot is going to hook or slice badly.

The camera angle is the key. On those instances where the camera is directly behing the player you can see the ball goes pretty straight. Sometimes right straight into the woods. Golfers generally don’t like to have someone standing directly behind them unless they are a long way away. But if the camera is a long way away someone might wander into the shot so the camera operator wants to be reasonably close. When close the place to be is somewhat behind and off to the right of the player as viewed from behind. That’s for a right handed player.

Players have to tolerate people fairly close behind them when on the tee, but out in the fairway they like to be pretty much alone. You will notice that the caddy never, ever stands behind the player on a drive or fairway shot.