Slic­ing – A Dif­fer­ent Take on Golf’s Neme­sis

Golf Today Northwest - - News - by BOB DUN­CAN, PGA

Neme­sis: An op­po­nent or ri­val whom a per­son can­not best or over­come. Slic­ing in golf is quite com­mon. It hap­pens to the best of them - even Tiger Woods was not im­mune. Ev­ery slicer out there wishes a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion would ma­te­ri­al­ize out of the blue, but an ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion can be had in a se­ries of re­la­tion­ships. Here’s a dif­fer­ent take, and just re­mem­ber, even when you think you have kicked it, think of Tiger. There are 5 re­la­tion­ships at which we want to look: 1. Loft & Shaft Flex 2. Pos­ture & Grip 3. Ball Po­si­tion & Tee Height 4. An­gle of At­tack 5. Shoul­der Move­ments 1) Loft & Shaft Flex The lower the loft and the stiffer the shaft flex, the more op­por­tu­nity there is to slice it. Think of loft this way: For a very high loft, like a 60 de­gree wedge, you re­ally can­not slice it. Ev­ery de­gree of loft you go down will im­part more sidespin, a lower launch, and more di­rec­tion loss. Higher lofts go straighter and that means that 9.5 or 10.5 will not go as straight as an 11.5 or 12.5. And for slower swing speeds, there are driv­ers on the mar­ket in any loft up to 18.5 de­grees. Start with a high loft, and then test each lower loft. When the ball starts go­ing crooked you know you’ve gone too low. 2) Pos­ture & Grip When you set up, your rear shoul­der should be lower than your for­ward shoul­der. In fact, it should be quite a bit lower be­cause your rear hand is a full hand’s width lower than your top hand. To add to that, your spine an­gle should be tilted slightly to the rear, all of which will af­fect #4, An­gle of At­tack. For the most part, di­rec­tion is

most eas­ily af­fected by chang­ing the po­si­tion of the for­ward or top hand. Many slicers start with a very neu­tral grip, with the top hand thumb pointed straight down the mid­dle of the grip – let’s call this the 12:00 po­si­tion (or, “north” on a com­pass). This is a prime po­si­tion to cause a slice. As you turn your top hand far­ther to the rear, the cor­re­spond­ing di­rec­tions of the en­su­ing shots moves the ball flight away from the slic­ing di­rec­tion. If you turned your hand all the way to place the thumb in the 3:00 po­si­tion (or “east”), chances are good that you would se­verely hook the ball. 3) Ball Po­si­tion & Tee Height As you move the ball po­si­tion far­ther for­ward, the tee height should be­gin to raise. For ex­am­ple, if the ball po­si­tion was out­side of your for­ward foot, you would need the tee height to be very high so you could catch the ball on the up­swing of the swing arc. Be­cause you are rais­ing the tee height, if you go un­der the ball and “sky” it, that means that your club was on its way down when it met the ball. 4) An­gle of At­tack This is what you’re af­ter…you want to catch the ball at ei­ther the bot­tom of the arc of your swing, or slightly af­ter that so you would im­pact the ball slightly on the up­swing. If you im­pact the ball on the down­swing the ball will have a great deal of back­spin which causes the ball to “bal­loon” up, and the club­face will be very dif­fi­cult to “square up” and is usu­ally open. What you’ll no­tice is that the ball may go high, but it will not be “bal­loon­ing”, and these higher shots will go straighter. 5) Shoul­der Move­ment Here’s the kicker, and prob­a­bly the part of this that you may not have heard be­fore. In the back­swing start by try­ing to make the rear arm and shoul­der very re­laxed and pas­sive, al­low­ing it go where the for­ward shoul­der says – it just gets out of the way. When you reach the top of the back­swing here’s the big dif­fer­ence: in swing­ing for­ward try to make sure that the rear shoul­der “stays in­side of the for­ward shoul­der” or “goes un­der the for­ward shoul­der”. This will cause the rear arm and hand to fol­low the rear shoul­der in­stead of swing­ing out and “over the top”, de­liv­er­ing the club from in­side of the tar­get line to a level im­pact, or slightly on the up­swing (see video). So that’s it: Use a higher loft, a softer flexed shaft, get your rear shoul­der lower than the for­ward shoul­der, start plac­ing your top hand more and more to the rear on the grip, start rais­ing the tee and mov­ing the ball more for­ward in your stance, and don’t let the rear shoul­der get ex­posed to the tar­get line early. Easy peasy! Each of these ad­just­ments af­fects the ball flight – Sound com­pli­cated? Or, try just nos. 1 and 5 and let’s see how you do! Let’s get rid of your neme­sis.

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