After having my first golf lessons and they going out of the course for a number of rounds, it was inevitable that there would be one area (more than others) that I was going to need help with. That area is without doubt off the tee with the driver. Therefore I have set about trying to be more consistent, and this is what I am doing.
When I look at my game after my first lessons there have been lots of improvements. The biggest being that the horrible shank (straight left and straight right) shots have almost disappeared. If I do mishit or fluff a shot it invariably goes straight but not far.
There are 3 areas which I need to improve if I am to improve my handicap (when I eventually get one – more on that soon!).
- Driver off the tee – discussed in this post
- Consistently taking ball then ground with irons – too often a great (pork chop style) divot is taken and the shot is “fatted”.
- Putting – massive topic and will deal with later!
1. Getting rid of the horrible slice with the driver
Like many golfers, I was (and still am a little) a slicer off the tee. In fact most of my shots want to go right if they are going to move. With irons this is less of a problem as they have less movement. But with the driver this movement can be exaggerated and this means you really get in trouble.
Too often, off the tee with the driver ends up way right, often with a lost ball or out-of-bounds and then you are playing 3 from the tee, with no guarantee that you won’t do the same thing again.
The internet for help
As you do these days the first thing is to look for some help on the internet. I almost immediately found Rick Shiels YouTube channel and a series of videos on removing your slice.
I was optimistic at first but having watched video one, it all started to make sense. The issue is that my clubface is right of my club path. Therefore you have to first correct your clubface to go left of your path and then correct your club path.
Watch the videos below if you like!
These techniques worked well for me. The one that made the most change was the simplest one, changing my grip.
Changing the grip
This was changing the grip to be a stronger grip with the left hand and making the right hand sit down the side of the club. This has the effect of making is much harder, physically for you clubface to open to the right and much easier for it to close to the left.
“A lot of the time a sliced shot, an open face, can be fixed by grip.”Rick Shiels, PGA Gold Professional
Once I had changed my grip I was then hitting draw or hook shots which were going – left, left, left!
Altering your club take-away
Another tip was to make sure that when the golf club is draw back from the ball, make sure that the club face is pointing more towards the ground rather than towards the sky. This has the effect of closing the club face at impact making sure that you hit the ball more left and remove the slice.
“In the backswing, we are looking for a club face that is aiming more towards the ground.”Rick Shiels, PGA Golf Professional
After watching the videos, I went out onto the driving range and started hitting some balls, putting these different techniques into practice.
The results were really good and I was definitely hitting a lot less slices, but more left shots or complete hooks. I guess that was an improvement on the slice!
The next steps was to improve the path of the swing.
Some more lessons with the pro
For this, I went back to the PGA Professional at my local club, for a specific lesson with the driver and getting more consistency.
The clock face
We started to think about placing a clock face from above the stance in order to try and improve the swing. Imagine that your target line (where you are trying to hit the ball) is at 12 0’clock.
The first thing was to get the line of my shoulders being square to just past 3 o’clock and moving the right shoulder back a little so that you can swing around it and the left hip.
Then the final part was to imagine that you want to hit the ball towards 1 o’clock on the clock face.
These changes did start to make a difference. Shots were not arrow straight, but then most peoples swings, including the professionals aren’t either, but they were going straighter than usual. Most importantly the majority of the shots I hit (I would say 85 – 90%) would be in play if hit off the tee on the course.
A new driver?
During the lesson the pro allowed me to have a go with his Ping driver which was far better quality than mine. I was impressed, the club felt much better in the hand and easier to swing consistently. The balance was also better feeling a little lighter in the head. However at over £350 I not sure it was that much better.
That said, it will be the first club to replace from my budget set once I have started playing – and of course saving up!
The quest for better golf continues…. 😀