In the game of golf, no two people ever have the same golf swing. Each person has their own individual body with its own strengths, flexiblity and range of motion. The way one person swings a golf club may not work for another person, even if they are near in body types. Every golfer has to find the playing style that fits them to help them produce the results that they want. Players that know what is going to happen to the ball when they hit it, and what factors affect that moment of impact can effectively use their body to create the consistent powerful golf swing that they desire.
One thing that can help all golfers make immediate and positive improvements on their game is an understanding of the factors that affect the golf ball at the moment of impact by the golf club. Knowing what these factors are and how they affect the ball will enable you to understand what happens at the moment of impact and interpret the golf balls flight. When you understand what occurs and why, you can then make small adjustments to your swing and then see the effects on the next shot. The flight of the golf ball will tell you whether you were correct in your personal assessment and you made a good change towards a better golf swing. If you made a change that made the shot worse than before, all you should have to do is undo that change to your swing.
The moment of impact (ideally the golf club sweet spot hitting the ball) is a combination of four factors that will ultimately determine what direction and how far the ball will travel. The golf ball will react to these factors regardless of how they occur. The first important factor that affects your golf swing is the angle of the clubface at the moment of impacting the ball. The position of the clubface at the moment of impact is the most important factor influencing the initial direction and the spin of the ball. The clubface must point in the direction of the target you've chosen farther down the course. If the clubface is straight and perpendicular to the golf ball at the moment of impact, it will travel straight down the course with no spin.
The second factor at the moment of impact is the angle of the clubhead with relation to the golf ball. There is the horizontal angle of impact and vertical angle of impact, both of which are combined to determine the initial direction of the ball and the height of the golf balls flight path. The horizontal angle of impact determines the initial direction that the ball will travel. The vertical angle of impact will determine how high the ball will fly. Too low or too high and you lose distance in your shot.
Thirdly, the clubface must hit the ball on the sweet spot. The sweet spot is the area on the face of the golf club that will transfer the power of your golf swing to the golf ball. Transferring this power effectively will maximize its potential and carry the ball far and straight down the course (as long as the angle of the clubface and the club head at the moment of impact are good).
Lastly, the fourth factor that is important at the moment of impact is the the club head. The speed of your golf swing will determine how much power you transfer to the golf ball and ultimately how far it will go when you hit it on the sweet spot. The speed or power of the golf swing is not dependent on muscles alone. Other factors such as body flexibility and range of motion affect how a golfer employs those muscles in creating a fluid smooth swing.
The golf swing is not just picking up a golf club and trying to blast the ball down the course. It is a combination of many factors that if you can interpret, you can influence by making adjustments to your swing. Knowing what causes the golf ball to travel as it does will allow you to improve your golf swing and gain distance and accuracy on your shots. However, knowing the cause that produces an effect, and affecting that cause to produce the desired effect are two different things, both of which can be learned over time and with practice.