Tuesday, November 1, 2005
Two Wrongs Make A Right
Don't fear flaws, use them to correct any type of ballflight
DRILL: Get Closer at the Start
Steep swingers need to stand closer to the ball. Here’s how to hug it at address. Hold a club in your right hand, then sole it squarely behind the ball and step in with your right foot so that the handle of the club rests against your right thigh. Step in with your left foot, then widen your right foot to about shoulder width for a full shot. Because you started with the club leaning against your body, your setup position will be nearer to the ball than normal, thus helping you to prevent toe hits. This drill is useful for every club in the bag. Remember, always pick a target and align your body not at, but parallel to that spot. You’ll see improvements immediately!
DRILL: Roll the Ball for More Width
Set a golf ball about a foot behind and just inside the target line from where you would normally place a ball at address. With your left arm only, gently use the back of your iron and roll the ball away from the target line. Use a cap or a basket to catch them. The ball should roll slowly, not quickly, into the basket. So long, deep divots!
Sometimes there are certain equipment tune-ups that can help you lessen a slice without making a single change to your swing.
Offset clubs are designed to allow golfers a split second more time to square the clubface through impact. Granted, it’s only a split second, but it’s enough to make a world of difference for golfers who slice. Offset clubs are available through the bag, including in fairway-wood and driver models.
2. Get More Flex
Slower swingers who slice tend to do so because they haven’t the speed to get the shaft to release through impact. The result often is an open face. To help get some closure through impact, try a more flexible shaft that releases sooner. Also, a lighter shaft may help you better rotate the club for squared contact. Don’t be hesitant to try lighter, more flexible shafts in your irons, too, as today’s iterations of both steel and graphite come equipped with lightweight options. More flex also will help add a few extra yards.
If the clubface is opening too much and stays open at impact, the means for balancing things out is to adopt a stronger grip where both hands are rotated well to the right on the grip at address. In most cases, this grip is considered to be too strong, but for a slicer, it’s the perfect remedy. If you’re concerned that a strong grip will turn your slice into a hook, consider the swing style of Fred Couples. Couples has a stronger-than-usual left-hand grip, but uses a cupped left wrist at the top and a fast turn to the target to keep the clubface in check. Keep in mind that cupping the left wrist usually promotes a slice, while flattening or bowing the left wrist generally will produce a hook. Another common balancing act for slicers is to simply preset the clubface closed at address. This helps the golfer who chronically slices to maintain a square clubface through impact.
DRILL: Front Loader
Another one of my favorite drills that tends to work beautifully is what I call the Front Loader. This drill is designed to help you feel a postimpact hand rotation for more of a hooking shot. Set your ball on a medium-height tee. Hold your club a few feet past the ball as if you were about 1⁄4 of the way into your followthrough with the toe of the club turned well past the heel. Swing back (don’t contact the ball in the backswing) to about a 3⁄4-length backswing then through, striking the ball with the front-loaded rotated feel. You should see the ball easily holding its line and perhaps even hooking a little left.
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