by James Gatz
For many new players one of the most frustrating aspects of golf is the slice. For most whom have had played baseball or other types of racket sports the slice is more profound. The golf swing does not come as naturally and contradicts many of the habits learned in other sports. After some hard work and dedication most new players can straighten out their approach enough to have some kind of a respectable level of play. But that is not the case for the driver.
The Drive is the shot which holds the most prestige. For men, being able to drive the ball as far as possible, or further than anyone else, is a matter of esteem and confidence. Which is why it's also the most frustrating shot in golf for new players. Not being able to get out of the tee box with a good drive is the most demoralizing thing a player can do during a round. Keep it up for 18 holes and I guarantee you are not having fun. This can tend to dissuade players from continuing to work on their game or create anxiety when playing with others. With as expensive golf is already, most can't imagine paying for a lessons and without are helpless.
So for those who can relate to the depiction above here is my quick guide to solving the slice in your drive!
Step #1- Slowing it down
Before even going to the range, just head to your back yard. Grab a tee and some foam practice balls and head to a nice even spot. First we are going to go through our driving motion in a ten second pendulum rhythm. What I mean by that is we are going to extend the swing a full ten seconds from being set on the ball. We are going to do this a couple of times to stretch out and most importantly get your muscle memory working. Concentrate on your alignment and shoulders and the face of your club. Making sure it is square with the ball when it comes to the tee. Then slowly work into your follow through. During the follow through focus on your feet and your hips. Make sure they keep turning all the way through the swing. Finally find your end point. Get your muscle memory working to get them used to following through completely to the end of the full swing. Stopping your swing short is one of the largest factors that contribute to a slice. Do this a couple times of night or even when your just watching television. It may help to do this in front of a mirror as well. Once you have gotten comfortable with your motion start teeing up the practice balls and start with the same slow swing. Do not worry on hitting it far, all we want to do is tap it straight. Try to hit it two feet in front of you while keeping it straight. Then slowly start speeding the swing up. Every time you hit one straight, swing just a little faster the next. See how fast you can build up and still have a straight hit.
Step #2 - Hitting the Range
The driving range is where all the hard work takes place. Instead of bringing your whole bag, dedicate a training session to only your driver. Driving is the most strenuous swing there is, and requires a good amount of energy each time. It can be very tiring if you are driving 100 balls non-stop. When you get tired your body gets lazy effects your swing. It can be very frustrating when you do not have the energy to hit the ball as you would like. The key hitting 100 quality drives in a practice session is timing. I usually give myself an hour and a half or two hours of range time and split up the balls into 4 x 25 sessions. Each session is all focused on the same swing, and all with the same target. Pick a target that is in distance of your preferred quality drive. Not your best drive ever or your furthest, we want to work for consistency and the build the power. Now for the next part it is best to have a watch or stopwatch to be able to manage your time effectively. Take one minute intervals between each shot and create a pattern of how you approach the ball. Try to mimic it every time until it is an impulse. Between each 25 swing session take a five-minute break and account for every drive that hit the target. Repeat the same formula for the last 75 balls and try to improve upon your targets hit each round. When you are done add them up and keep it as a benchmark for improvement. After a couple of times with this regimen you will really be able to analyze what is helping and what is not.
Step #3 - Getting Club Fit
Most people are swinging a driver that isn't suited for them. The length, head size, shape, and weight are all factors that need to be considered when purchasing a driver. I would always avoid ordering a club online without having gone through the fitting process beforehand. Usually places that offer these services such as GolfSmith offer a discount on the club and the extra money you spend on the fitting will pay off over the long years of use you are assured. A professional will analyze your swing using cameras and the latest golf technology to deduce all the variables of your own unique swing. This is so important for anybody looking to made great strides in their game. Having a club that conforms to your natural swing allows for greater consistency and feel to be achieved overtime. You will be amazed how different each club swings and having the chance to try a variety will really make you feel more comfortable with your driver once you find the right one.
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