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Golf swing advice

El MuchoEl Mucho Registered User regular
edited August 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey all,

I did a search but didn't find anything on tips or tricks for getting rid of a wicked slice. So if anyone is an avid golfer and has some advice for a fairly new golfer it would be much appreciated.

Just a note this will be my third year since I took up the sport and I thoroughly enjoy the game despite how frustrating it can be for a beginner. The biggest problem that I have right now is almost entirely concerned with my driver. No matter what I try to do or advice I take I seem to consistently slice my drives to the right (I am a right handed golfer). Doesn't matter if I change my stance, adjust the amount of power I swing withl, the ball always drifts right. It is terribly discouraging cause I have been at the driving range fairly frequently and no matter how much practice I get with my driver nothing changes. If I use my 3 wood then the slice disapears and I can drive the ball about 220-250 yards. However I do find that when I get rushed or get flustered which can happen fairly frequently for me that the same problem extends to my other clubs.

If any experienced golfers have any tips or things that I can at least try at the range I would be very grateful.

Thanks for your time.

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    amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    usually a slice is caused by one or more of a few different things.

    1) first, make sure your clubs are the right size, get them resized if you need to have them longer or shorter.

    2) don't get too close to or too far from the ball when you take your stance, this is the biggest reason for a slice or hook because you're not getting a solid swing and follow through.

    3) my trainer always taught me to keep my grip just in front of the ball, and my left foot (or right foot, if you're a leftie) closer to the ball. What this means is don't line up to the shot with the ball dead center to you, be a little behind it.

    4) Try turning your club head inwards just a little, you'll get less height, but it could give you more carry depending on how hard you swing.

    5) Keep your eyes down, and on the ball, just like with baseball, make sure your back foot pivots just like with swinging a bat when you follow through, and don't swing too hard. It doesn't take a lot of effort to drive a golf ball, the club does all the work. A smooth swing means you won't be coming up so hard that you'll get off balance, and knock the ball whatever direction.


    If you've already got the basics of the swing just work on those tips, and be prepared to hit about a hundred to two hundred balls a day, two or three days a week, before you start getting good.


    edit: a lot of people will tell you to just move your stance in the direction opposite the slice to correct the problem, but that's horrible advice. Eventually you'll work your swing out, and that is a crutch, not a solution. It does a lot more harm then good.

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    RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Take some lessons with a pro. The best way to loose a friend is to ask them for golf advice. The problem with asking amateurs for advice is that we have all developed bad habits that allow us to personally strike the ball with consistency, but cannot be applied to other people in any way, shape, or form.

    Also pick up a copy of Ben Hogan's Five Lessons. My father-in-law gave it to me and although I still suck, the diagrams and explanations are extremely well-written and helpful. Unlike asking for tips from us, learning the fundamentals in this book will definitely help you: http://www.amazon.com/Five-Lessons-Modern-Fundamentals-Golf/dp/0671612972

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    El MuchoEl Mucho Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Yeah, I have been told by people I golf with to just aim further left, but I always thought this was a just avoiding the problem. I will definatley give what you suggested a try, and thanks for the reply.

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    truck-a-saurastruck-a-sauras Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    you wouldn't have a youtube video of yourself hitting balls would you? Hard to diagnose a problem without seeing your swing. You could be opening up your hips too early in the drive through the ball. You could be opening up the club face. Honestly it could be so many different things.

    If you live anywhere near Central New Jersey I'd love to help out and could probably diagnose your problem in about 5 - 10 minutes. Been golfing myself for 20 years now......wow am I really that fucking old? Either way I've been through all the struggles learning to swing. Be prepared though. Even when you do learn to hit the ball perfectly the frustration never ends.

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    amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I second the get lessons advice. I took lessons for five years straight, three times a week, starting when I was either seven or eight, and it paid off. It's amazing how much you learn through lessons and just hitting a ball over and over again at the driving range.

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    GanluanGanluan Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I agree about asking for advice from others, but I don't think even pros are necessarily the best bet. I've seen two different golf instructors give opposite advice on how to fix a swing problem. There are so many different body and swing types, everyone seems to have different ideas. Jim Furyk is an example of a guy with an unorthodox swing who plays incredibly well.

    With that said, there are still key fundamentals that you should always keep in mind - alignment, grip, ball position, etc. The book previously mentioned is a good resource for this kind of thing.

    Golf, like any sport, has a lot of mental blocks as well. I've found I play the best when I don't take it so seriously and can have fun even if my swing turns out less than stellar. My worst recovery shots and putts are the ones that happen when I'm mad about the previous shot.

    As far as aiming further left - that can work if you're just out to have fun now and then, but you'll be mad when you have a great swing and your ball goes sailing right where you aimed :P

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    zhen_roguezhen_rogue Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    My slice was caused by my swing starting further away from my body, and during the downswing it moved closer to my body.
    Essentially, I was putting a little 'english' (spin) on my ball, similar to the way you'd curve a billiard ball, tennis ball, or ping-pong ball by swiping it with your implement, rather than hitting it square.

    A few hours at the range and some practice solved the issue.

    zhen_rogue on
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    El MuchoEl Mucho Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Thanks for all the advice. I don't have a video of my swing but I could try and get one. The problem I have with taking lessons is that it is a lot of money to spend on something that I don't plan to play competively. I want to be a good golfer but I don't want it to get ruined by the stress of competitive play. So I can't really justify the cost of lessons.

    I have also noticed that my swing is worst when I know I am being watched by people I don't know. I have this huge fear of people judging me whenever I try something new and I consider myself still a newbie to golf. So a busy golf course kind of stresses me out.

    EDIT: Thanks for the offer truck-a-sauras but I live in Canada.

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    truck-a-saurastruck-a-sauras Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    stryker116 wrote: »
    I agree about asking for advice from others, but I don't think even pros are necessarily the best bet. I've seen two different golf instructors give opposite advice on how to fix a swing problem. There are so many different body and swing types, everyone seems to have different ideas. Jim Furyk is an example of a guy with an unorthodox swing who plays incredibly well.

    With that said, there are still key fundamentals that you should always keep in mind - alignment, grip, ball position, etc. The book previously mentioned is a good resource for this kind of thing.

    Golf, like any sport, has a lot of mental blocks as well. I've found I play the best when I don't take it so seriously and can have fun even if my swing turns out less than stellar. My worst recovery shots and putts are the ones that happen when I'm mad about the previous shot.

    As far as aiming further left - that can work if you're just out to have fun now and then, but you'll be mad when you have a great swing and your ball goes sailing right where you aimed :P

    certainly correct about the fundamentals and even Jim Furyk fits into the fundamental swing. When you disassemble his swing it is the same as all the other pros. The only thing that truly counts is the downswing and ball impact. Furyk has the unorthodox looking backswing, but on the downward swing he hits the ball the same as everyone else.

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    LaPuzzaLaPuzza Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    1) Lesson from a pro. After trying to self-teach for years, I gave up and got lessons. I went from might hit the ball to not too bad golfer in about 5 lessons.

    I found I was hooking shots left (I'm a rightie) like mad at the begining of this year. I decided to totally screw up my feet, just to clear my head. Eventually, I moved my right foot like a foot back from the ball, so I was standing crooked. I hit my next 10 shots dead straight. Then I moved my foot back and the ball kept goign straight.

    I don't know what I did, but I managed to remove my mistake from my muscle memory and reset my swing.

    LaPuzza on
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    EvylEvyl Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    For a slice, normally the problem is one of two things:

    1. Not rotating the hips enough
    2. Not rotating the wrists enough

    In either scenario, the club face will not rotate around enough to hit the ball squarely, resulting in a slice.

    Number 1 is the usual culprit - especially for men, so here's a couple of questions:

    When you take your back swing, does your front knee bend a little?
    When your swing is finished, is your stomach facing towards where the ball was supposed to go?

    If you answer no to either question, work on swinging more with your hips.

    Evyl on
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    truck-a-saurastruck-a-sauras Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    The Furyk thing got me thinking about one issue you could have with slices.

    When you setup to the ball draw an imaginary line out straight towards your target and that it 12 o'clock and straight behind you is 6 o'clock. Now the most common swing path is on your backswing pull towards 7 o'clock and on your downswing from there drive out towards 1 o'clock. I refer to this as the inside to out swing path.

    Many people who slice cut across the ball. By that I mean, on the downswing they are swinging towards 11 o'clock. Often it is compounded by the backswing where they pull back towards 5 o'clock and then drive out towards 11. This I call the outside to in swing path which is cutting across the ball. And if you do this it will result in a slice all the time or violent line drive snap hooks (which result you get depends on the orientation of the club face also)

    Don't be like Furyk. his backswing goes towards 5 o'clock and then corrects himself at the top of the swing and does the inside to out swing path. Sure it can be done, but it takes that much more effort to force the correction after the backswing.

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    GanluanGanluan Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    The Furyk thing got me thinking about one issue you could have with slices.

    When you setup to the ball draw an imaginary line out straight towards your target and that it 12 o'clock and straight behind you is 6 o'clock. Now the most common swing path is on your backswing pull towards 7 o'clock and on your downswing from there drive out towards 1 o'clock. I refer to this as the inside to out swing path.

    Many people who slice cut across the ball. By that I mean, on the downswing they are swinging towards 11 o'clock. Often it is compounded by the backswing where they pull back towards 5 o'clock and then drive out towards 11. This I call the outside to in swing path which is cutting across the ball. And if you do this it will result in a slice all the time or violent line drive snap hooks (which result you get depends on the orientation of the club face also)

    Don't be like Furyk. his backswing goes towards 5 o'clock and then corrects himself at the top of the swing and does the inside to out swing path. Sure it can be done, but it takes that much more effort to force the correction after the backswing.

    Good idea. I've had a slice creeping back into my game (but only with the driver) recently, and I know it's because I'm swinging across it. Even when I know what I'm doing wrong, it's hard to fix.

    Ganluan on
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    El MuchoEl Mucho Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I don't think my knee bends on the back swing, and I am not entirely sure my stomach is facing where I intended my ball to go but rather where my slice went. Is there anything I can do specifically to make myself swing more with my hips?

    EDIT: truck-a-sauras, when I first started golfing my girlfriends brother would help me properly align my shots by placing clubs at my feet with which I could aim and and a club on the other side of the golf ball and told me to try and come straight down the length of the club laying on the ground. He also told me to ensure my left arm was straight on the back swing. This fixed my slice with every other club but my driver. Is this the basic idea of what you are explaining?

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    truck-a-saurastruck-a-sauras Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    El Mucho wrote: »
    I don't think my knee bends on the back swing, and I am not entirely sure my stomach is facing where I intended my ball to go but rather where my slice went. Is there anything I can do specifically to make myself swing more with my hips?

    swinging more with your hips isn't the way to think about this one. many players slice because they clear their hips before making impact with the ball and by clearing the hips I mean their hips and torso are at the near completed position before the club hits the ball. In this scenario this means the club is coming through late and just from the orientation of your body the ball is being forced out to the right. If you start thinking "more hips" you'll get even worse.

    One good thing I have learned is that at the point of impact with the ball you actually want to look exactly as you did when you addressed the ball. Well that is the concept that helps correct some issues, technically it won't be "exactly". But if at the time of impact the club face is the same as the time of address it should keep it straighter. If the club isn't ahead or behind of your starting position at the time of impact you'll hit the ball better. Same thing with the hips and so on. When you address the ball take a moment and take that situation in and try and conceptualize being back there when impacting the ball.

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    truck-a-saurastruck-a-sauras Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    El Mucho wrote: »
    I don't think my knee bends on the back swing, and I am not entirely sure my stomach is facing where I intended my ball to go but rather where my slice went. Is there anything I can do specifically to make myself swing more with my hips?

    EDIT: truck-a-sauras, when I first started golfing my girlfriends brother would help me properly align my shots by placing clubs at my feet with which I could aim and and a club on the other side of the golf ball and told me to try and come straight down the length of the club laying on the ground. He also told me to ensure my left arm was straight on the back swing. This fixed my slice with every other club but my driver. Is this the basic idea of what you are explaining?

    The club at your feet is excellent for seeing where you are aiming. That however shouldn't be the swing path of the club. You'll want an inside to out swing as I described earlier, it isn't drastic though, in fact is is close enough to straight back and straight forward that it will be troublesome for a while.

    And left arm straight is good. Stick with it. Ben Hogan used to put a small towel in his armpit to teach the concept. Tuck it under your arm, if you are keeping your arm straight the towel will stay through the swing and if it drops you can make slight adjustments.

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    EvylEvyl Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    El Mucho wrote: »
    I don't think my knee bends on the back swing, and I am not entirely sure my stomach is facing where I intended my ball to go but rather where my slice went. Is there anything I can do specifically to make myself swing more with my hips?

    swinging more with your hips isn't the way to think about this one. many players slice because they clear their hips before making impact with the ball and by clearing the hips I mean their hips and torso are at the near completed position before the club hits the ball. In this scenario this means the club is coming through late and just from the orientation of your body the ball is being forced out to the right. If you start thinking "more hips" you'll get even worse.

    One good thing I have learned is that at the point of impact with the ball you actually want to look exactly as you did when you addressed the ball. Well that is the concept that helps correct some issues, technically it won't be "exactly". But if at the time of impact the club face is the same as the time of address it should keep it straighter. If the club isn't ahead or behind of your starting position at the time of impact you'll hit the ball better. Same thing with the hips and so on. When you address the ball take a moment and take that situation in and try and conceptualize being back there when impacting the ball.

    I disagree - in the scenario in your first paragraph, it's their shoulders and/or wrists that are the problem, not the hips. The hips are supposed to lead the swing. An excerpt from golf.com:
    THE SWING: Once your left-leg brace is set, it's time to pivot. Follow this sequence:
    • Turn your left hip toward your target
    • Drop your hands and arms downward without losing the hinge in your wrists
    • Turn your shoulders only in response to your hip pivot and hand movement

    The important thing to remember is that your shoulders move last. This allows you to save all of the energy that you built up in your backswing for impact, and, more importantly, to keep your club on plane.

    If your hips are square to the ball at the time of contact - you aren't swinging properly.

    Evyl on
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    truck-a-saurastruck-a-sauras Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Evyl wrote: »
    El Mucho wrote: »
    I don't think my knee bends on the back swing, and I am not entirely sure my stomach is facing where I intended my ball to go but rather where my slice went. Is there anything I can do specifically to make myself swing more with my hips?

    swinging more with your hips isn't the way to think about this one. many players slice because they clear their hips before making impact with the ball and by clearing the hips I mean their hips and torso are at the near completed position before the club hits the ball. In this scenario this means the club is coming through late and just from the orientation of your body the ball is being forced out to the right. If you start thinking "more hips" you'll get even worse.

    One good thing I have learned is that at the point of impact with the ball you actually want to look exactly as you did when you addressed the ball. Well that is the concept that helps correct some issues, technically it won't be "exactly". But if at the time of impact the club face is the same as the time of address it should keep it straighter. If the club isn't ahead or behind of your starting position at the time of impact you'll hit the ball better. Same thing with the hips and so on. When you address the ball take a moment and take that situation in and try and conceptualize being back there when impacting the ball.

    I disagree - in the scenario in your first paragraph, it's their shoulders and/or wrists that are the problem, not the hips. The hips are supposed to lead the swing. An excerpt from golf.com:
    THE SWING: Once your left-leg brace is set, it's time to pivot. Follow this sequence:
    • Turn your left hip toward your target
    • Drop your hands and arms downward without losing the hinge in your wrists
    • Turn your shoulders only in response to your hip pivot and hand movement

    The important thing to remember is that your shoulders move last. This allows you to save all of the energy that you built up in your backswing for impact, and, more importantly, to keep your club on plane.

    If your hips are square to the ball at the time of contact - you aren't swinging properly.

    Yes you are correct. That is why I tried to add in that qualifier of how it won't be "exact". In my experiences issues with the hips and noticing problems there really is only useful to experienced players. Due to the motion of the golf swing the hips will naturally turn as you come through the ball with no thought or effort. There are too many things to remember for the swing. Start telling a newer player too many things and they get all messed up and frustrated. I could easily see telling someone about hip turns and they start to develop that horrible swaying motion in their legs or they'll over rotate drastically and develop a ridiculous John Daly type swing where everything just goes too far.

    Trying to get back to the original starting position has worked out very well as a training mechanic for me as it helps maintain club head orientation, not getting my hands ahead or behind the club overall, also it has helped with tempo and swing speed.

    All this is why everyone is saying to take lessons or find some friends who know the game to teach you. Everything gets overly complicated and convoluted in text. Trying to simplify something like this isn't easy and could cause even more issues if you interpret it differently than it was intended. Practice and hands on training is always best as you can see and feel what is going on as you learn.

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