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Curious.....So...Why is a slice so easy to hit?


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Most people who play golf have played other sports they pick it up and overpower the swing resulting in all upper body. This tends to cause an over aggressive move that cuts across the ball 98% of the time resulting in all sorts of wild misses mostly slices.

soccer is the only sport I played before golf. I've played other sports alongside golf, but I started golf young before those others.

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soccer is the only sport I played before golf. I've played other sports alongside golf, but I started golf young before those others.

Ok well every individual is different this is just what I have seen from hundreds of golfers over the years.

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So Mike, Erik....did you guys have ugly swings when you started? Did you have a slice? Maybe what differentiates pro golfers are those who simply have a "natural ability" for the golf swing. I mean, did these guys who are pros ever just hack away and worked hard to become so damn good? Or did they just have a pretty sound beginning and just polished what they had? 

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So Mike, Erik....did you guys have ugly swings when you started? Did you have a slice? Maybe what differentiates pro golfers are those who simply have a "natural ability" for the golf swing. I mean, did these guys who are pros ever just hack away and worked hard to become so damn good? Or did they just have a pretty sound beginning and just polished what they had? 

I'm happy you think I don't have an ugly swing now ;-)

Yeah my swing was so bad when I first started that my dad almost gave up on me and took me to my uncle (who was a legit scratch) for lessons. My uncle had me swing at tees, no ball because I was so bad. Years later he told he thought I might have been mentally challenged or something because of how much I was "chopping wood". 

So no, unfortunately I wasn't "naturally" gifted with a good golf swing, I had a significant OTT move and started off shooting 130 like a lot of beginners. 

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IMHO it's because people's natural tendency is to swing mostly with the arms which promotes OTT swing. But a proper golf swing requires turning of the shoulders which feel like unnatural movement. 

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I'm happy you think I don't have an ugly swing now ;-)

Yeah my swing was so bad when I first started that my dad almost gave up on me and took me to my uncle (who was a legit scratch) for lessons. My uncle had me swing at tees, no ball because I was so bad. Years later he told he thought I might have been mentally challenged or something because of how much I was "chopping wood". 

So no, unfortunately I wasn't "naturally" gifted with a good golf swing, I had a significant OTT move and started off shooting 130 like a lot of beginners. 

so......you're saaaaying there's a chance......

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I think Erik was on to something when he mentioned "down and out there". Especially the down part. I've noticed several responses involve the word "tendency." That is the mystery I'm questioning, why is "that" the tendency? Why is OTT the tendency and not inside out? I think Erik was closest with the idea being the ball is 'down there'. So many movements we do be it sport or work involve twisting, rotating shoulders, swinging arms, balance, etc...but striking something from the ground, and having to do it with accuracy in mind is unique to golf (especially considering the distances we are moving this object). I think it would be very interesting to take 100 athletically inclined individuals who have never played golf. Set up FlightScope or TracMan, then explain to them what over the top/outside in is and inside out. Then ask them which motion they believe they did, or felt. Would also be interesting to see how many of the 100 golfers sliced.

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I think Erik was on to something when he mentioned "down and out there". Especially the down part. I've noticed several responses involve the word "tendency." That is the mystery I'm questioning, why is "that" the tendency? Why is OTT the tendency and not inside out? I think Erik was closest with the idea being the ball is 'down there'. 

Swinging outward only makes sense if you shift your weight forward on the downswing. If you swing out and don't transfer the lower body you're going to hit the ground before the ball. An OTT swing "fixes" that. It's also really tough to swing out if you just make an "armsy", level pivot backswing. 

I agree that a big part is that the ball is lying on the ground and it's more intuitive to swing down and across than to swing down and out.

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When I started I had a wicked snap slice and thought I could fix it with something I'd read about swinging to where you don't want to go.  That just lead to an inside out swing which didn't fix my slice because my problem was getting the club face closed.   Last time out I was back to my old game of slicing again but a friend fixed it by having me move my right hand over my left a little more on my grip(to where it should be).  Turned my shots into a slight draw the rest of the day lol.  By now you'd think I'd have that grip thing down pat but I guess the Devils in the details in this game.

Edited by LagShaft
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I was just thinking about this in the last couple of days, as I am trying to correct my driver slice. I noticed that if I hit a 3 wood of the tee (lower and not as forward in the stance as for the driver), the slice is gone, and realized that teeing the ball higher and more forward in your stance, to get a positive angle of attack ( hitting the ball while the club face moving up) is basically a slice waiting to happen. Why? Because once  the club head bottoms out and is moving up, is has also passed the most outward point in its trajectory and has started to move out to in. If the club face is square to the target when it makes contact with the ball, there you have it: a slice.

Of course, other bad things can happen during the swing, but I believe this is why the odds are stacked in favor of hitting a slice with the driver. The funny thing is that PGA Tour pros tee up fairly low for the driver, and I remember reading somewhere that the driver angle of attack of the average tour pro is negative, which makes sense: if you want to promote a draw, hitting in to out will go hand in hand with hitting downward.

Next time at the driving range I'll try to tee up lower and further back in the stance to see if that helps.

 

Edited by bogdan101
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(edited)

When I started I had a wicked snap slice and thought I could fix it with something I'd read about swinging to where you don't want to go.  That just lead to an inside out swing which didn't fix my slice because my problem was getting the club face closed.   Last time out I was back to my old game of slicing again but a friend fixed it by having me move my right hand over my left a little more on my grip(to where it should be).  Turned my shots into a slight draw the rest of the day lol.  By now you'd think I'd have that grip thing down pat but I guess the Devils in the details in this game.

While that may have worked for you, for most slicers the fix is to change the path. Lots of slicers out there with faces aimed left at impact.

I was just thinking about this in the last couple of days, as I am trying to correct my driver slice. I noticed that if I hit a 3 wood of the tee (lower and not as forward in the stance as for the driver), the slice is gone, and realized that teeing the ball higher and more forward in your stance, to get a positive angle of attack ( hitting the ball while the club face moving up) is basically a slice waiting to happen. Why? Because once  the club head bottoms out and is moving up, is has also passed the most outward point in its trajectory and has started to move out to in. If the club face is square to the target when it makes contact with the ball, there you have it: a slice.

Just aim a little more right to offset that.

Also you won't slice because your AoA is positive, you might fade it though ;-)

Next time at the driving range I'll try to tee up lower and further back in the stance to see if that helps.

 I would strongly suggest you don't do that. Check this out.

How to Hit a Driver (Hit it Further and Stop Slicing!)

Edited by mvmac
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I have the feeling my slice comes from my years of playing baseball. I played baseball years before I took up golf. My baseball swing originates the power from the back foot with level shoulders trying to elevate a ball that is coming in at waist height. 

In baseball, if I got fully around on the ball it would be a hard pull down the left field line. If I was a little late or kept too much weight back it would be a slow grounder to the right side. For golf this translates into my pull hooks and weak slices accordingly. 

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Just aim a little more right to offset that.

Also you won't slice because your AoA is positive, you might fade it though ;-)

 

As someone who went from slicing to hitting pull draws I tended to aim right by default before I started working on positive AoA. The net result was what I thought were push fades but were probably just straight fades on a start line more true to what my setup was.... They went forever, but it's been very hard to train myself to trust a new aiming line. 

More OT though, I definitely agree that a lot of people slice due to overly armsy swings. I think this is also the reason a lot of people lack distance. This was certainly the problem for me. Once I got my lower body more into the swing I started hitting pull draws and gained a good bit of distance. 

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Just aim a little more right to offset that.

Also you won't slice because your AoA is positive, you might fade it though ;-)

 I would strongly suggest you don't do that. Check this out.

How to Hit a Driver (Hit it Further and Stop Slicing!)

That makes sense, but why do tour pros tee the ball low and have a negative aoa?

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That makes sense, but why do tour pros tee the ball low and have a negative aoa?

Not all of them do, the average is much closer to level than a few years ago. Rory, Bubba, Phil, Spieth, Holmes, all have a positive AoA. 

But to answer your question, it's because of their swing speed. If you swing at 120mph you can "get away" with 1-2 degrees down.

Edited by mvmac
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I'll take a quick stab at it and then if I change my answer upon further reflection (pretty busy string of days here, so it may be awhile), I'll do so.

 

Because the ball is "out there" and "down there."

 

The ball is out away from us, so I think a lot of people swing "out there" to try to hit the ball early in the downswing. This is also exacerbated because the ball is "down there" and people are not used to swinging along the ground to chop at something on the ground - they're used to swinging down at it, like you would to chop a piece of wood sitting on a low stump.

 

The target line doesn't help either - people want to get the club "out" to the target line quickly.

 


 

Another thought: people when they first learn the game tend to leave the face open and hit shots way right. The instinct is to then swing left (even though start line is governed more by face, "path is instinctual").

 


 

In other words, it's instinctual to swing out and then down. Whether because of the first reason or the second.

 

P.S. A lot of girls play with heavier clubs, and for them it almost seems like the opposite: it almost seems like the heavier club means they can't throw it out quite as much from the top, so the club drops behind them and they jump to generate speed, both (heavy club which falls behind them in transition, jumping which stalls body pivot) of which help the path be OUTward quite a bit.

I think I agree with this?  I would rephrase and say that it is instinctual to swing left.  If you are a right handed golf, the intuitive motion to hit the ball where you want it is to swing left.  Since we are facing roughly 90 degrees from our target, it makes sense to try and swing to the left, although the correct motion is to actually come down the right leg and THEN use the pressures in the feet to go left.  

Basically, I think that everyone just wants to get left too soon!  Including me :(

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