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!
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