Stop Slicing The Driver!

Thu, 12/08/2011 - 17:49 -- Don Trahan

Today's tip comes from a question Kevin Wolfe sent in to DJ and me back in September when we did the first webcast of The Surge Show.

"I have a question about how to keep from slicing the ball. I have a bad back from a previous work injury. I had a pool table dropped on me and I have three ruptured disks in my lower back. I am hardly able to shift my weight from my right leg to my left leg when teeing off. So I usually slice the ball pretty bad on my drives but my iron shots are usually fairly good. I have used the ¾ swing method for quite a while. But I still have trouble slicing the ball.

Is there a drill or practice method I could use to help cure this problem?"

Kevin, I am sorry to hear about your work-related injuries but it is great to hear that you can still play the game. To answer your question, there are several things you can do to that should help you cure your slice. They involve your equipment, your setup and some drill work that may help you and anyone else that has an injury that limits their range of motion.

Since you mention the problem only in conjunction with your driver, and not your fairway woods or hybrids, and because you feel you are hitting your irons pretty good, I would venture to say that a large portion of the problem is with your driver. If you can, go to a qualified club fitter and have him check it out. More than likely the shaft is too long to fit your injury-influenced swing. While he's at it, have him put you on his flight monitor to help give him a sense of your swing speed, face angle at impact, etc. Given that you've probably lost some strength and speed in your swing, it may be you need a different shaft that will better match your swing profile. And if you've purchased your driver in the last few years, it's likely going to be one of those super-sized 460cc heads that require a fair amount of strength to get the face back to square at impact. Your fitter should have some smaller-headed drivers that you could test to see if this helps with your slice problem.

As far as setup goes, you could try flaring your forward foot 50-60 degrees (or wherever it works best for you). This may help you accomplish the weight shift you have difficulty in achieving at the moment. If you do go beyond 45 degrees, just remember that you'll need to move your forward foot back a little bit so that your forward heel lines up under your hip. Doing this will produce the least amount of stress and strain on your back and therefore may allow you a greater range of motion than you are currently experiencing.

With regard to drills, I would start with The Skipping A Rock Drill to determine what your actual range of motion can be with an exaggerated flare stance. Do this drill a number of times and if you can get to a point where your motion is fluid then pick up a short club and start making slow, almost lazy swings trying to mimic the same rock-skipping motion. As you become more confident, you can increase your swing speed to the point you are able to swing at full speed. Finally, take out your driver and repeat the process. If it is any longer than 42"-43" inches you may want to choke up on the grip to see if shortening the club will help. If you watch me demonstrate this in today's video I think you'll see what I mean.

This approach has helped many of my students who suffer from injuries that limit their range of motion so hopefully anyone reading this post with similar issues can benefit from this advice.

Keep it vertical!

The Surge

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Comments

Dstansbery's picture

Submitted by Dstansbery (not verified) on

Now I'm going to be confused reading these comments, another Dale S! Have to remember that I used my last name and not my first for the log in. Dale, I hope you've progressed further than I have learning this new swing. For some reason, I too have brain fade when I pick up the long clubs.

Dales S. :-)

Bob06905's picture

Submitted by Bob06905 (not verified) on

I have very large hands, will the training grip work for me or should I get the regular grip. I would like the training grip if it will fit.

NeilofOz's picture

Submitted by NeilofOz (not verified) on

Steve, hyperbole, isn't that similar to 110%, ie "a deliberate exageration used for effect" won't mention this any more as I
know how you feel about percentages, LOL.

Keith Kent's picture

Submitted by Keith Kent (not verified) on

Hi Steve & Robert, I couldn't wait until christmas and have just had a go with the swingrite. First impressions are I love it!

Firstly I cannot believe how much you have gotta go after it! I am no where near going after the ball so to speak, mearly going through the motions if you like.
On the first setting I found it a challenge to release on time or just after impact at first which with practice becomes pretty easy to release on time on this setting but still a challenge not to release too early which is good. Going down the settings is very interesting how you have got to increase speed but can feel the exact same release point regardless of club head speed!

Putting other aspects of the swing in to and out of the session you can see what works to improve something.
It was great when I tried a swing with very little transition getting on to the front foot which resulted in no release! compared to getting a good release with weight on the back foot then transition on to the front and up to a good finish!

What has been the massive real eye opener is how much I have just been going through the motions thinking I am putting in enough energy when I now know I haven't.

Just gotta find my balance between timing and energy as I know and can feel it is not all about energy put in to the shots.

I have only used it for about 20 minutes but feel I have learnt more about my swing than hitting 100's of balls at the range!

Sounds daft, but it is good to work on your swing and release with the end goal being a click instead of the pressure of a ball being there which can make you change your swing if the shot doesn't come off.
Practice swings with just a golf club are of no comparison to the swingrite, I would almost concider it a waste of time now I have experienced the swingrite!

Oh and the training grip is fantastic to get you in a good position and get the grip ingrained, got to say though I am happy my grip was in a good position anyway and fits the swingrite great.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

I know one guy that is a pretty good player that has played that way for years. As Hilbridan said he actually hits a dead straight pull but he's done it for so long that he knows to aim to the right so the ball goes at the target.
To me it's sort of one of those "when all else fails" things to try.
It's really just correcting the effects of a swing flaw by counteracting it with an opposite flaw in the set up, but hey, if that's the only thing that works.....

Roy Reed's picture

Submitted by Roy Reed (not verified) on

RM:  The weather here is just plain bad.  Too cold, lots of haze, and plenty of snow for everyone.  Thank goodness for a garage where I can set up my net and mat and make full swings my clubs and the SwingRite. R2

Boogm's picture

Submitted by Boogm (not verified) on

Steve, thanks for the heads-up, I'll send her one and if I'm headed up that way today I'll drop it in the Oneonta Post Office and make it a tomorrow delivery.

Swingsurgeon Tech Crew's picture

Submitted by Swingsurgeon Te... (not verified) on

Spread the word!  Post them in other places you visit as well.  We are working on it ourselves :)

Dragonhead's picture

Submitted by Dragonhead (not verified) on

Might just try the shot again from the fairway with the driver.Used the driver in UK in the wind and it worked well.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade (not verified) on

Sounds like over analysis Keith. I have found that it is not easy to swing the swingrite wrong. With the grip it gives you and the way it is weighted, it will only help you. My only advice is to not get too anxious to get the setting low too quickly. You may find yourself 'forcing' power and speed when timing and tempo along with balance are more important. I think you're going to love it! Fear not pal, "swing away".

John Caughill's picture

Submitted by John Caughill (not verified) on

Maybe we should rename it the level right elbow to get away from the derogatory connotations associated with the flying elbow!

richard in the uk's picture

Submitted by richard in the uk (not verified) on

i don;t use a   driver because i always get  a temendous slice. ive just had a thought what would happen to the ball flight if i set up with the face closed. i realise this is not a solution  but just curious if it would straighten it  out  at  all?

wongphil's picture

Submitted by wongphil on

My driver shots off the fairway don't go very straight. I use them for the natural low fade around trees for dog-legs to the right...

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

I would say in this case hyperbole would have been more like 1100%. Ha ha!
I guess they don't use those sayings down under.
When I went to baseball practice for the first time when I was 8 years old the coach told my dad I could hit the ball a "country mile". I remember asking my dad on the way home what the difference was between a country mile and a city mile. LOL

MikefromKy Go Bama. Go Irish's picture

Submitted by MikefromKy Go B... (not verified) on

Keith

Boys and there toys you better put that away before your better half catches you. LOL
Glad you are enjoying it. I hope to get a swingrite after the first of the year myself just need to safe up some cash after renewing my yearly range pass last weekend.

Roger

Hartshorn5's picture

Submitted by Hartshorn5 (not verified) on

Surge  I`ve been listening to you, and working your swing for a couple years now. I Would like to know how long you hit your 5 iron. Just as a frame of reference. I think I have the swing down fairly well but distance seems to be a problem.    Jack

Roy Reed's picture

Submitted by Roy Reed (not verified) on

Keith:  I just set my SwingRite as far past "9" as possible without it coming apart.  At that setting, you can make it "click" just about anywhere in the FUS.  I make all sorts of partial swings just to get the feeling of the correct release point.  I also have a women's SwingRite that I use for my female students, and it is even easier to "click" than the men's model. The SwingRite is a very, very good training tool - you will be amazed at all the stuff you can do with it.  R2

Boogm's picture

Submitted by Boogm (not verified) on

Hi Dale, thanks for your posting. Gotta love that flying elbow! Happy Holidays to you & yours. Now that you've broken the blogging ice don't be a stranger.
Stay in the present.

Roy Reed's picture

Submitted by Roy Reed (not verified) on

Keith:  One more thing that will help you get even more out of your SwingRite is a trick that Doc Griffin taught me - use a real golf ball placed in the correct ball position for the "club" you're using, and work on releasing or "clicking" the SwingRite at that impact point.  Since I've had to move indoors for the winter, I use a round flat disc on the practice matt as my reference point, and move it depending on the "shot" I'm making.  If I'm pretending to hit a soft lay-up, I'll set the SwingRite at 8 or 9 and work on "clicking" it at the correct impact point.  If I'm hitting my pretend driver, I move the ball (disk) forward in my stance, set the SwingRite to 5 or 6, and repeat the process.  It is simply amazing how well the SwingRite ingrains the correct feeling into your golf swing.  Our timing, tempo and release become very smooth and easy to learn.  I make 100 swings a day this way - it is great practice and I never have to hit a ball!  I also have a net for hitting real balls, but the SwingRite is what I always start with to ingrain the feeling.  Enjoy your new toy!  R2

wongphil's picture

Submitted by wongphil on

I think RF below is correct. Your description fits the out-to-in forward swing.  Usually, it is due to insufficient shoulder turn in the backswing. Whenever it happens to me, I focus on turning my left shoulder without manipulating the arms, so that in the forward swing, the turned shoulder swings back to face the target and will not pull the arms too far to the left...hope it helps...

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade (not verified) on

Surge, you made some good points about the driver and slicing. I found it to be all of what you mentioned including the profile of the shaft not just whether it is stiff/regular or otherwise. In my case a more tip half flexible shaft helps square the clubface and get it back to the ball in a position that is not open and flaring the ball right.
Another part of the equasion is that the driver is the longest club with the least loft. Most players would be better suited to a shorter driver with more loft, ie., 42/43 inches instead of 44/45 and 11/12 degrees of loft rather than 9/10.
Another factor is that we may tend to over swing or go at it a little harder with the driver and as a result miss the sweet spot and actually have less clubhead speed at impact because of leveraging the club (muscling it) rather than swinging it. Of course there are many other factors(such as swing across outside in) but these are some that seem to have a common thread with most slicers. Being a lifetime slicer myself I looked at all of these for a solution. I have to say though that most recently it has been the "how to to work the ball" videos from Surge that have helped me nearly illiminate the right side off the tee. I purposely set up for a draw on nearly every drive now. It has been working well most of the time and I am adding 20-30 yards. Again, just talking about the driver here. I generally hit a normal straight shot from the fairway and into the green.
PMG

ps the wife and I are playing 18 at 11am. Someones gotta do it!!

Tom Jans's picture

Submitted by Tom Jans (not verified) on

Rusty,

Did you remember to add some weight back to your driver after it was shortened? Surge calls it "magic dust" (lead tape to us mere mortals). It's really an important thing to do for anyone out there who is getting/has gotten their drivers shortened.

PMG

Tom J.

DocGriffin's picture

Submitted by DocGriffin (not verified) on

And just who says he's number 3? And are you really that unaware of who Revolution Golf is?  That's Don's ex partner and those of us here don't have much to do with them.  I'm pretty sure that you already knew that though.

You left out Bronson Wright, head of club fitting for Revolution Golf.  Be gone with ya!

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade (not verified) on

Bob, Fairly certain the grip will fit for you. If your hands are big it may force you to put the club/rip more in the fingers which may also actually be good training. I also have fairly large hands. I occasionaly have gone to even very large grips (such as the "jumbo max" and will still practice with the swingrite and it's training grip with good effect. What I work at in that regard is a couple swings with the swingrite, set it down and replicate the same gripand hand placement on my actual club (say a 9 iron) and practice my swing and release with it for a couple of swings then repeat. This ingrains the grip and 'click' feel for both. Make sense? Give it a go.

Dale S's picture

Submitted by Dale S (not verified) on

Hello Surge,

 

I was very interested in your reply some time ago to the two guys who
stated they were having trouble hitting their driver.  I switched to the ‘Surge swing’ about 18
months ago, and have had a similar problem hitting my 7, 5, and 3 woods, as well
as my driver.  After a completely
frustrating round with these clubs a couple of weeks ago, I headed to the
practice tee, and I may have figured out the root of my difficulty.  I discovered that I was not letting my right
elbow ‘fly’, as you have directed us to do. 
I have been able to form the triangle with my elbows at the top of my
backswing with my irons, but was not doing so with any club longer than my 7
wood.  I’m sure this is a habit left over
from my years of using the rotational swing. 
I am still having some difficulty letting my right elbow move into the
proper triangle position on my backswing with the longer clubs, but, when I do
so, the result is a nice straight shot with any of these clubs.

 

I hope this comment is helpful.  This is my first venture onto the Surge Blog.  I am very glad to be using the ‘Surge swing’.  I am 59 years old, and I have been golfing
since my teens.  In the last year, I have
been able to knock 8 points off my handicap, and my body is much happier after
each round.  I enjoy the daily videos and
comments; please keep them coming.  Best
wishes to you, DJ, and your families for the Holidays.

Dale

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

Sounds great Keith. Helps with conditioning too.

Three warnings (so far).

1. Don't leave it on the range before a round so somebody can steal it.

2. Stay away from dogs while swinging it.

3. Stay away from ceiling fans, or the ceiling.

Keep an eye out for Santa.;-)

NeilofOz's picture

Submitted by NeilofOz (not verified) on

Jim, there lies the problem with the driver. You said it "one of the
most gratifying shots in golf", what wasn't mentioned is that it's
one of the most mishit shots in golf and for numerous reasons which
aren't worth debating. I play weekly with several groups and I see it
all the time, "one shot wonders" most of the other shots are long and
in the bush. I'm now getting my three wood well over 200m and the
other day hit a 235M drive with it, so these guys that were "once apon a time" out hitting me are now either sitting either along side me on the fairway or in the bush. Thanks to Surge/Surgites/Blog.   

Roy Reed's picture

Submitted by Roy Reed (not verified) on

Right on T!  I think it is a very under-used training tool that could help a lot of golfers out there.  Have a great weekend.  R2 

Deb's picture

Submitted by Deb on

Thanks for the suggestions, Steve. And no, I can't hit a draw on purpose. I'm still just trying to hit 'em straight!!

Roy Reed's picture

Submitted by Roy Reed (not verified) on

Just wanted to personally thank you for all the very, very hard work you guys and gals put into this site - it is by far the best, most commom-sense site around.  Your efforts and customer service are just outstanding!  I and many other Surgites are doing our best to spread the "vertical word" to whoever will listen.  We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.  The Surge is helping us to establish excellence by forming the correct habits!  Plain and simple!  Thanks again, R2

Deb's picture

Submitted by Deb on

I too suffer from a relentless slice. Since I have been following the Surge swing, I am better able to diagnose why. I have boiled it down to not rotating my hands into impact (palms perpendicular). I think I have over practiced the backswing into impact position, and neglected the forward into the mitt movement. Flared feet, wide knees, PLHR,  all key.

dgaines's picture

Submitted by dgaines on

Hope you and Cindy have a nice afternoon. I am busy working on the cactus drill and some stretching in the basement. Trying to warm up after just shovelling the driveway. ( 3 inches of snow last night. )

Dan

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade (not verified) on

Great routine Roy, thanks.
How's your winter shaping up in Salt Lake? All indoors now I suppose. Sounds like you are able to stay in 'golf shape' regardless.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

Hey Dale,
Nice going!!!
Feel free to jump in on the blog anytime you want. Another idea or another view is always great.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade (not verified) on

Hi Dan. As it turned out Cindy and I had a great time and both played pretty darn good. It was a fun afternoon of golf.Cindy broke 90 for the first time shooting a 43/45 88. I had one bird, and six pars for a 44/40
84. It was one of those days that Cindy held her own and was close or on in regulation all day long. We both made a few putts and we were having such a good time that we didn't even realize we were on the last hole. We both said that we wanted to keep playing.
Two things I was doing different on the greens that was helping was one; I was keeping it simple and focusing on my line and pace. If I did both the way I planned I "made" my putt. If it went in I "holed" my putt. This took the stress off the typical make or miss mentality. Secondly, when I was judging uphill, downhill and pace I would think "back of the cup"- for an uphill and "trickle in the cup"- for a downhill. This works better for me than "hit it firm" or "hit it soft". Both of these are ideas I learned recently from the book,"Zen Golf". All I can tell you is it worked for me as I putted much better and was able to maintain a good attitude. It's Zen a good day:)
PMG

Jim Wile's picture

Submitted by Jim Wile (not verified) on

But Neil, if you can hit your 3-wood that well, there's just no reason you couldn't hit a properly fitted driver just as well.  The accent is on "properly fitted." 

Could you find a fitter who could match your driver to your 3-wood specs?

Roy Reed's picture

Submitted by Roy Reed (not verified) on

Brendan:  If you have time, talk to your teaching pro and see if he would be willing to become a certified PPGS instructor.  He just needs to e-mail Tom Jans and Tom can get the ball rolling.  I think the e-mail address is listed at the top of this blog under "instructors" category.  Good luck and let us know how things work out.  R2 

Simply Golf's picture

Submitted by Simply Golf (not verified) on

A new day brings clarity....I believe that I wanted to believe what I wanted to believe.

My epiphany is that my eyes, from their perspective, "saw" a club face more open open or shut. (see "Surge really does play the ball back in his stance....I can see it".)

Things are not always as they appear.
(Wow. Never heard that one before.)

To you and Robert F. , thx.

Keith Kent's picture

Submitted by Keith Kent (not verified) on

Keep an eye out for Santa lol, might have to be warning 1! As I have had it early..........

Yes, have already learnt to keep anything golf away from dogs, I have a 5 month old Westie!

I dare not do a proper swing indoors, when I do I am aware of the suroundings so don't swing properly anyway! very dangerous.......

Gfehr3's picture

Submitted by Gfehr3 (not verified) on

Hi Surge,

I noticed that when you start the video with an iron, the ball is pretty much way back of center. Is this what the normal ball position should be?

Keith Kent's picture

Submitted by Keith Kent (not verified) on

Thanks Robert, I am looking forward to working with it, I really need to get the swing ingrained.

Doc Griffin's picture

Submitted by Doc Griffin (not verified) on

Just depends if you were able to keep it closed.  It also depends on just what causes your slice.  No real way to answer the question except to say, try it out.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade (not verified) on

Way to go DH. Got the wife hooked. Mine too.
It'd amazing how well they do without all the tips and methods we fanatics have stuffedin our heads. They can just swing free and often hit it naturally well.
I let my gal tee it up any time and anywhere on the GC and she loves it now. Happy wife, happy husband!
PMG and include the wife (when possible:)

NeilofOz's picture

Submitted by NeilofOz (not verified) on

Dale, the flying right elbow, God bless it, but don't mention this to any
rotational player, they will laugh at you. 

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade (not verified) on

Great fun Kieth, I knew you'd love it. As Steve mentioned it really doesn't assit as far as vertical or flatter and rotational. however it rock for helping you learn to release where needed just past impact. Can't cheat on it. It really has helped me stop wasting stored energy at the top with thye cast move. It also helped me loose the weak fade and slice.
Well have fun and good golfing!

NeilofOz's picture

Submitted by NeilofOz (not verified) on

Jim, It's my next goal to be properly fitted with all
clubs, hopefully after a full recovery of knee surgery.
In the mean time I'm more than happy with my progress via the Surge.
 

Keith Kent's picture

Submitted by Keith Kent (not verified) on

Yes Roy, 1/4" or so in to the thread says the instructions.
Obviously at nine it is harder to find the release point so what is the key? It makes me slow my swing down but I have only had one really good session with it so far so have a lot to learn with regards timimg and release.

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