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Stephen Newcomb

hitting slices when going over water

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As of late I have noticied that when I hit over water I end up slicing it. I'm guessing that I am either gripping the club too tight or speeding up my swing trying to muscle it over. Being that I am a beginner I was hoping some people would be able to either confirm that these are common reasons for slice or add additional common mistakes people make when they slice it.

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Overswinging can definitely exaggerate swing flaws, including flaws that result in a slice. When I first started playing golf, I had a similar mindset. I felt like I needed to "muscle" the club to get the ball to travel high and far. For beginners, especially men, I think it's important to learn how to trust the club and use nice controlled swings.

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Is the water straight in front of you or in front and to the right (assuming that you are a righty)?  Swinging "away" from water can often times cause the ball to turn back towards the water.

And yes, I think a grip that is too tight or a swing that is too fast might leave the club face open, thus causing a slice, but some of this is dependent on the rest of your mechanics.

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Originally Posted by MEfree

Is the water straight in front of you or in front and to the right (assuming that you are a righty)?  Swinging "away" from water can often times cause the ball to turn back towards the water.

And yes, I think a grip that is too tight or a swing that is too fast might leave the club face open, thus causing a slice, but some of this is dependent on the rest of your mechanics.

I am a righty. There are two holes that I accomplish this on and both are par 3's. The first hole has a pond 15-20 yards from the tee on the left and a creek that runs across the tee box at the same distance. This hole also has a bunker on the right so I am for the left side of the green, but end up near or in the bunker (about 20-25 yards from where I was aiming). The second hole is a lake that starts about 20-25 yards from the tee with the majority of the mass on the right. You can hit around it, but if you go over it the distance is about 120 yards from the tee. The second hole I also aim for the left side of the green but end up in the rough on the right side (about 30 yards from where I was aiming). When I first started playing I was always trying to muscle it over and my form was as bad as it could be, with me hitting it fat and it either ending up short of the creek or in the water.

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How long are the holes,carries, and what club are you hitting? Water is a purely mental challenge and makes us do things that make no sense. Something you might want to try might be to take some practice swings with your sand wedge before going to the tee, focusing on an easy,smooth tempo and shorter swing (unless these holes are long).

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Originally Posted by VealCutlet

How long are the holes,carries, and what club are you hitting? Water is a purely mental challenge and makes us do things that make no sense. Something you might want to try might be to take some practice swings with your sand wedge before going to the tee, focusing on an easy,smooth tempo and shorter swing (unless these holes are long).

The first hole is about 130 and I use a 9 iron. The second hole is about 150 and I use an 8 iron. These two holes I take a couple extra practice swings really concentrating on a smooth swing along with the other things I mentioned earlier.

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another possibility is that to avoid hitting the water, you are setting up for a fade/slice by aiming to far to the left of the water.  This could cause you to use an outside in swing that will impart fade spin on the ball.

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hitting 'over' water shouldn't cause a slice to worsen

most golfers slice (amateurs)

if you 'hook' the ball the old wisdom was you had 'too much of a good swing'

you see slicers all day on water holes where the water is right of them for a right handed golfer and they aim left of the water and the more they aim left the worse their slice gets

but carry water you shouldn't worsen the slice, it's usually aiming left of water worsens a slice for 'most' amateurs who already slice

a carry over water could just make you anxious

so over gripping maybe

a good way to calm yourself before any shot is to build into a routine a huge EXHALE

you step up to ball

take big breath and huge exhale

that will immediately loosen every muscle in your body

I do that right before I start backswing

then I pull the trigger and I'm loose and it doesn't matter what is in front of me

As long as I know my target line is within my normal carry distance

It flies

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Originally Posted by 1player

a carry over water could just make you anxious

so over gripping maybe

a good way to calm yourself before any shot is to build into a routine a huge EXHALE

you step up to ball

take big breath and huge exhale

that will immediately loosen every muscle in your body

I do that right before I start backswing

then I pull the trigger and I'm loose and it doesn't matter what is in front of me

As long as I know my target line is within my normal carry distance

It flies

Thanks, for the tip. I just recently have been making good consistent contact with the ball. I think this is due to a change in my pre-shot routine. This is something that can easily be worked into my routinel. Will have to try.

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The tips for alignment and relaxation are good keys to focus on. Aim for the center of the green and not "away" from the water.  Have your partner make sure that you are aimed for this target line - remember that your feet will essentially be parallel to the target line that the ball will hopefully travel.

Also, as you say you are a beginner, I think you may be underclubbed.  I think that many beginners would have difficulty consistently hitting the 8 and 9 irons to the distances you are attempting. Perhaps taking one club longer might also promote a more relaxed swing thought - maybe less tension knowing you don't have to "muscle up" to get that 9 iron to carry 130 yards.

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Originally Posted by VealCutlet

The tips for alignment and relaxation are good keys to focus on. Aim for the center of the green and not "away" from the water.  Have your partner make sure that you are aimed for this target line - remember that your feet will essentially be parallel to the target line that the ball will hopefully travel.

Also, as you say you are a beginner, I think you may be underclubbed.  I think that many beginners would have difficulty consistently hitting the 8 and 9 irons to the distances you are attempting. Perhaps taking one club longer might also promote a more relaxed swing thought - maybe less tension knowing you don't have to "muscle up" to get that 9 iron to carry 130 yards.

My previous post about carry distance may be confusing some people. The distances I mentioned are the distances to the greens. Carry distance for the first hole is 40-50 yards, with back of the green being 130. The second hole is 150 to the back of the green with carry distance of 90-100. But I will try, along with all the other holes, as I usually am coming up just a few yards short of the green. I have a question though. If taking a longer club would promote a more relaxed swing wouldn't I be hitting it way past the green since I would be hitting it better?

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A smoother swing with a longer club can make all of the difference.  Since I don't always (or often) make the kind of contact that I'd like I'll take a club that will get me to the middle of the green if there's a front pin, back of the green for a middle pin, and over the green for a back pin.  If I hit the ball perfectly I'll be long, sometimes really long, but if I hit it 80-90% of perfect I usually find myself in a very playable location.  Until my ball striking improves to the point that I'm hitting most of my shots on the sweet spot this approach seems to work for me.  The only problem comes on a good day of ball striking where I find myself with a few downhill putts from behind the hole until I make the appropriate adjustments in club selection.

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