Monday, June 05, 2006

Curing My Slice (Now what did I break?)

Rather than struggle for weeks, months or years trying to figure out the problem on my own, I went to see a professional about the slice I developed with my driver. It came on quite suddenly and became more pronounced as the days and weeks passed. I was so frustrated that I couldn't figure out what I was doing differently.

I had to run an errand on the east side of town, so I called up Simi Hills this morning to see if there was an instructor available who could cure my slice in one magic session. Matt answered the phone and he said "I can do that, what time?" I love it when a plan comes together.

After I warmed up a little, he watched me take a few swings with my driver. Sure enough, I produced the dramatic slice I wanted him to cure. Ten minutes later I was hitting it straight or drawing almost every hit. We continued for about thirty more minutes to make sure I had the idea down. I did.

Familiar prescription

So what was the answer? First, he changed a few things in my setup. He had me position the club head right up next to the ball (I was placing it a couple inches back). My shoulders were pointing slightly left of my target line, and he fixed that (directing them to point AT the target - doh!), and he brought my hands back in line with the ball (I had them in front like an iron). Then he got to the heart of the problem in my swing. Mainly, I wasn't able to square up the club face because I was transferring my weight forward with a swaying motion, moving my head and shoulders forward as my weight shifted. I'd have to swing the club awfully fast and get really wristy to get the club face square at impact. Rather than do that, why not just keep my head and shoulders back and just let the weight shift in my legs like I'm supposed to do? And just for fun, how about if I actually turn my hands over and produce a draw? DUH! Sure, now I say duh. Sounds familiar... hmmm.... I seem to recall having that same reaction after that group clinic I attended when I completely lost my swing. The answer there was also to transfer my weight correctly. Trouble was, even though it was enough to give me my confidence back, I kept that swing thought and was over-correcting! Sure enough, that's right when I started slicing with my driver. I guess I could get away with it with the rest of my clubs at least most of the time. The longer the club, the bigger the slice. Funny how that works.

So, for the first clinic I shelled out 20 clams, and this lesson cost me 40. Actually, the lesson was $40, but when I went out to my car I discovered they were slurrying the parking lot right next to where I parked and my car was covered in black dust, so I guess I should add the cost of a car wash to that total. Anyway, I wonder what problem I'll develop now that will send me running out for the next magic fix.

Putting update

My new putter is feeling great, by the way. We played Malibu Country Club yesterday and even though I only hit 4 fairways and 1 G.I.R., I only had 32 putts! 32! I think that might be my personal best for putting! No thanks to their recent course modification, either. I was really disappointed they had removed the brass cups from the holes. No more *clangety-clang* when you sink a putt! That was my favorite thing about playing that course, dangit.

Now what?

Now I need to take my improved putting and my straightened-out drive and attack some course to see if I can make it all come together. Wouldn't that be special? Then I can go to work on the most important stat of all: G.I.R.s. Don't you just love this game?

Next post.


mediaguru said...

That's kind of how golf is. You think you have "it" only to find out there's something else that has gone wrong...

To me slicing or hooking is all about swing plane. You go outside/in for a slice and inside/out for a hook.

GIRs I've found are VERY important to a good round. In fact, they're the most crucial stat for me. When my GIR's are up around 75-80% I shoot 71-72. When they're below 50% I shoot 78-84.

Fairways hit doesn't matter much for me.

I'm working on a very detailed stat suite which I'll be releasing to the public soon...

Will said...

media: "fairways hit doesn't matter much for me." Depends on the course, no matter how far you hit it. On my home course, we penalize wayward tee shots with heavy rough, water, and sand. Not to mention ob on every hole. GIR is key, but if I miss a few fairways, there's no way I'll break 50% GIR.

golfchick: Your description of swing mechanics for the mid-handicapper was very insightful, thanks.

mediaguru said...

I'm mainly pointing out that when I look at my stats the over all score I shoot isn't effected much by wether or not I hit the fairway.

Now I'm not playing at the US Open either....

GolfNomad said...

My key thoughts when I tee it up are: 1. Keep your head behind the ball at impact. 2. Hit it inside. When my drives go awry these 2 things are the culprits.

Golfchick said...

The Wounded Duck (woundedquacker.blogspot.com) posted some interesting stats about GIRs from Golf Digest under the post title "KZ Golf and What to Buy." Here's a highlight:

(Number of GIRs=average score)
1=93, 2=91, 3=89, 4=87, 5=85, 6=83, 7=81, 8=79, 9=77, 10=75, 11=73, 12=71, 13=69.

Here's a quick way to remember the effect of GIRs on your score: "Three greens break 90, eight greens break 80, and 13 greens break 70."

The formula is "95 - 2 X GIRs"

mediaguru said...

(Number of GIRs=average score)
1=93, 2=91, 3=89, 4=87, 5=85, 6=83, 7=81, 8=79, 9=77, 10=75, 11=73, 12=71, 13=69.

That's WAY cool. See I told ya so.

NothingMan said...

For what it's worth, I had a similar problem with the slices. Now, I have almost completely taken the right side of the fairway out of my game. Now the left is there, and it never was before :-)

It was really as simple as opening my grip so my club would close more naturally. when I DO get wristy, that's when they go left
(straight as an arrow, but left).


Anonymous said...

I can't correct my slice at all when I play. I try a few hours at the range, try different techniques during my games...nothing works. :(