Pro Page – A Few Simple Cures for Slices and Hooks

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Do you hit your tee shots to the right? Do you pull your irons to the left? If this is you, then you need to take a look at the factors that help create this outcome. The ball flight you are seeing does not lie, and you need to figure a few things out to alleviate this problem.

First, we will look at the swing path and the clubface at impact. Spinning the ball from left to right is basically the difference between the degrees the path differentiates from the clubface at impact, or if the clubface is open to the swing path at impact. (Shaft lean at impact and the part of the clubface that makes contact with the ball can also play a large factor.) If the path is four degrees left (across your body meaning left of the intended target) and the face is square, the ball will spin to the right. But if the path is six degrees left and the clubface is six degrees left, the ball will go straight to the left. Conversely, if the path is two degrees right and the clubface is four degrees right the ball will spin to the right starting right. Basically, the clubface to swing path factor is what produces the flight.

So how do we fix it? The first things I look at are grip and alignment. Most slicers have a weak left-hand grip that is too much in the palm and not enough in the fingers. This grip will result in an open face at impact and holding the club in your palm will create tension in your wrist and forearm. So we need to strengthen the grip a little (or a lot) and get the grip in your fingers. If I just left you like that you would probably hit everything a mile left but it would feel better.

Now that the clubface is squaring up, we need to get your alignment squared up to the target. Most slicers aim right and swing hard to the left. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work very well. You just pull it more left and spin it righter while wearing out your back and arms at the same time. If you get lined up correctly you will feel like you are aiming left of the target and you will probably hook or pull hook the ball. With the ball traveling left consistently, you won’t need to swing left anymore and will want to swing more to the target or even a little right.

Now that we are aligned better and have a proper grip we will have to figure out how to stop going left. If your arms are the power supplier in your golf swing, you will have a hard time not pulling it left or hooking it. Let your legs supply the energy from the ground up and your arms will stay to your right longer on the downswing and your weight will shift to the left. If you get your weight left with the arms to the right (and not racing around your body), you will have a hard time pulling the ball and should produce straight shots that may even draw a little.

Your best bet in your quest to hitting more solid and straight shots is to see a PGA golf professional. Have them help you with your fundamentals so that your set up is balanced, relaxed, and square to the target. Then you can use YOUR swing to play great golf!

Nate Gray is the Head PGA Golf Professional at Fire Ridge Golf Club in Grafton, Wisconsin. Before Fire Ridge, Nate spent the previous seven years as a full-time golf instructor. Although he loves to help his students win championships, Nate hopes to resume a fuller schedule of competitive golf in the Wisconsin PGA Section events following his second shoulder surgery in the last three years. When Nate has free time his likes to spend it with his best pal Twigs. His lesson rates start at $40 per half for juniors and $50 per half hour for adults, plus he offers numerous lesson packages to customize your experience. He can be reached via email at ngray@fireridgecc.com or by phone at (262) 375-2252.

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Nate Gray

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