Fighting the slice : How designers help you go straight

     

If you’re the type who wants to lose weight without breaking a sweat or cutting out the fries, this article is for you. Granted, a more permanent slice cure can be had by toiling on the practice range. But in the meantime, technology is here to help.

The benefits of offset

The more offset the clubhead, the more closed at impact it tends to be. Why? An offset hosel moves the club’s center of gravity (cg) farther away from the shaft in terms of the target-line direction. During the downswing, the club’s cg tends to fall in line with the centerline of the shaft, with the clubhead tending to catch up with the hosel through impact. The more it does, the better chance you have of squaring the clubface. Offset also delays impact a split-second longer, which gives the face time to rotate back to square.

A face-angle fix

If a golfer hits the ball 200 yards on the fly, a 1-degree change in the delivery of the face angle at impact can reduce a slice by as much as five yards. To make any real difference in correcting a slice, you need to find a driver with a face angle 1 to 2 degrees more closed than your current clubhead.

Flex appeal

A shaft bends backward at the top of the swing and forward through impact. At the same time, the clubhead goes from open at the top to closed at impact. If a shaft is too stiff for a golfer’s swing speed and hand action, the head will tend to stay open at impact, causing shaft is too flexible, the head will be too closed at impact. For slicers, a softer-flex shaft will help the clubface square up at impact.

The great grip debate

Some experts think a smaller grip size will increase hand action through impact: The more your hands can release, the better chance you have of closing the clubface. Others believe small grip diameters make the forearm muscles tighten, which is counterproductive to establishing a repeating swing. However, all parties agree that proper grip fitting is all about comfort.

Shafts: ‘Tip weak’ is the answer

At impact, a shaft is bowed in two primary directions. The one that affects slice is the lead-lag position. It plays a major role in the clubface closing at impact. Golfers are not strong enough to maintain maximum acceleration through impact, so in all cases the shaft is decelerating or bent toward the target to one degree or another. Shaft manufacturers design tip-weak shafts to help the clubhead deliver a more square blow at impact and a slightly higher launch angle.

Slicing your irons? Check lie angles

Having too flat a lie angle on an iron tends to send the ball right, because the clubface points right of the target. Also, with a flat lie angle, the toe could contact the ground first, sending the heel out in front and opening the clubface. The reverse is true with a lie angle that errs on the upright side. The club would point left of the target and the heel would touch the ground first, causing the toe to close coming into impact. Although you really don’t want to hit the ground before the ball, an upright lie can help reduce your slice.

Use a low-spin ball

A ball does not slice on its own. The cause is a club-face that is open in relation to the swing path. A ball that spins less (such as a solid-core distance ball) will help reduce a slice, since less spin obviously means less sidespin, too. A ball must be aero-dynamically and inertially symmetrical; one that could correct a slice in midair would be nonconforming.

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