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Fix a slice with stronger grip?


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This is my first year playing, currently have an unofficial handicap of 25. I have been slicing my driver pretty bad. A friend of mine told me to try a stronger grip position to close the club head faster. I gave it a try and stopped slicing, now my shots start and stay too far left. 

I guess my question is 1) is a stronger grip a legitimate way to fix a slice or is it just putting a band aid on it? 2) since my shots are going so far left now is it a matter of finding a sweet spot between strong and neutral grip to straighten out my shot?

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2 hours ago, Northwoods88 said:

This is my first year playing, currently have an unofficial handicap of 25. I have been slicing my driver pretty bad. A friend of mine told me to try a stronger grip position to close the club head faster. I gave it a try and stopped slicing, now my shots start and stay too far left. 

I guess my question is 1) is a stronger grip a legitimate way to fix a slice or is it just putting a band aid on it? 2) since my shots are going so far left now is it a matter of finding a sweet spot between strong and neutral grip to straighten out my shot?

You might have answered your own question. Your stronger grip to fix your slice might just be too strong. Try backing it off a little to find a better club face/ball impact position. 

Also make sure your driver path to the ball is not out to in. An exaggerated example of the correct club head path might be similar to standing in the center of a large clock face with the club face traveling from 3 o'clock to 12 o'clock, and on to 9 o'clock. The club head would pass through the 2 o'clock, 1 o'clock, 11 o'clock, and the 10 o'clock positions. Some where around the 12 o'clock number would represent the ball impact position.

An instructor many years ago told me adjust my grip on the the club 1/8" of turn until I found the right grip. He called it his "1/8 inch rule"

This involved marking the shaft with a sharpie as a reference point, and turning my grip (hands)  one way, or the other from that mark, an 1/8 inch at a time.  

Edited by Patch
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Ah this is what I love about golf. So many opinions. So many people with helpful advice so many ways to hit a shot.

This is my opinion and take it for what it's worth. Personally, I wouldn't change to a quote unquote stronger grip unless it was absolutely the last resort. 

Watch the pros, or even the really good high schoolers. Other than occasional special shots, they all use a neutral, or pretty close to neutral grip. Now go to your local muni. I've seen guys who strengthen their grip so much they are literally grabbing the underside of the club. Jack Nicholas was adamant about this. I saw him give a seminar back in the late 80's. I'll never forget he said "If you put 100 tour pros in the room, they would all grip the club in exactly the same way." I think that's probably changed a bit over the years. But his point is still the same. Once you go to a quote unquote stronger grip you've limited your ability to get better. 

There are several boring books written about "dynamic loft", which basically means how the amount of loft a club has changes when you swing it as apposed to just setting the head on the ground. A lot has to do with the shaft angle, how far the hands have "turned over", your stance, and a mess of other factors. You don't have to understand all of that to play great golf, but at some point you need to start doing it either consciously or unconsciously to really "work" the ball into all 9 basic types of shots: high draw, low draw, medium draw, high fade, low fade, medium fade, low straight, high straight, and dead straight. If your hands are already torqued around on the grip, you severely limit your ability to perform all of these shots... especially on the course; where there are rarely any perfect lies. 

Again, this is my opinion and so you can do what you think is best for you. If you want to get good at golf, really good, I'd stick with a standard grip and go find a good teaching pro to help with your shot path. If I went to a teaching pro and he/she suggested quote unquote strengthening my grip to eliminate a slice, I'd find another teaching pro. 

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As @Patch referenced, the path is your problem. If you are launching straight and curving after then you are square. If you are pushing it, it is open. Unless you have a really weak grip already, strengthening it is just going to convolute things. Strengthening your grip might just cause a pull slice, which may put you in the fair way but will cost you yardage in the long run.

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8 hours ago, Northwoods88 said:

This is my first year playing, currently have an unofficial handicap of 25. I have been slicing my driver pretty bad. A friend of mine told me to try a stronger grip position to close the club head faster. I gave it a try and stopped slicing, now my shots start and stay too far left. 

I guess my question is 1) is a stronger grip a legitimate way to fix a slice or is it just putting a band aid on it? 2) since my shots are going so far left now is it a matter of finding a sweet spot between strong and neutral grip to straighten out my shot?

I played with a super strong grip to band aid a bad path for years. I think not the worse thing. Not that easy to fix path. That usually needs some guided work with a good instructor.  But if you do fix path you will rapidly see the need to relax the grip. As to how much, well, that's individualistic. 

 

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8 hours ago, Northwoods88 said:

is a stronger grip a legitimate way to fix a slice or is it just putting a band aid on it?

Band aid.  And there are others...aiming left, draw biased drivers, etc.  As mentioned, your swing path is probably out to in.  If you haven't already, feel free to start a "my Swing" thread and you'll get plenty of good advice.

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You can make your grip stronger, and continue to aim to the right (like about 90% of golfers… the other 10% are lefties that aim to the left, ha ha), and pull the ball with your out-to-in path and your left-aiming (relative to your stance) clubface… but most likely, you'll need/want to fix the path to have decent long-term success in golf.

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8 hours ago, Northwoods88 said:

This is my first year playing, currently have an unofficial handicap of 25. I have been slicing my driver pretty bad. A friend of mine told me to try a stronger grip position to close the club head faster. I gave it a try and stopped slicing, now my shots start and stay too far left. 

That is predictable. A slice is a severe out to in swing path. If you square the face up more to that swing path then the ball will start more left and may even curve left.

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Many years ago, I wound up being paired with a certain "Tommy Bolt" while in Florida for a family visit. Caught up to them as a single and played about 15 holes with him and his buddies. I was kind of fighting an "over fade", not a wild slice but would tend to end up in right rough all the time. Otherwise I had a decent game and a decent swing. After the 14th or 15th hole and ANOTHER right sider, Mr. Bolt made a suggestion; "Try turning your left hand a bit stronger- just the left hand. Leave the right where it is... But wait until you get back to the range to try it out" "Okay, thanks, Mr. Bolt" " Call me Tommy.." 

Welllll, being that I thought I had a decent game, I figured I would try it on the next tee. Just a *tad* stronger on the left hand, and swing.."

That duck hook went into the woods so fast I barely had time to see where it went. then from behind me I hear "You IDIOT! what I did I just tell you about waiting until you got to the range?!!!..." I turned around and he a big grin on his face and his buddies were cracking up... and so was I...

He had told his cronies- "This kid is gonna do it within two holes..."

So I did- I waited until we were finished, I went to the range for a bit, he walked over a few minutes later and gave a quick grip look see. A bit of fiddling with a slightly stronger left hand with a little ball position tweak and I was hitting them straight or with slight draws. 

So a grip change can influence the flight, but fundamentals need to be in place. I use it to work the ball occasionally when needed- a bit stronger for right to left and weaker for left to right. 

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I used to slice too. Then I was taught the noodle drill that cured my slice in about 15 minutes. Basically, go to the $0.99 store, get yourself a foam pool noodle and cut it down and curve it. Then place the noodle (in blue) down near the golf ball such that it will force you to make an in to out swing. This will help with the club head path. You will also want to have the club face be closed with respect to the club head path, but open to the target. This will create a nice push draw where the ball starts right then curves back to the target.

Of course you can use anything you want instead of a pool noodle. You can even use your driver head cover.

I would recommend practicing with a short iron eventually working your way up to a driver. Also might be a good idea to start off with half swings and slower swings to get use to the change (the ball will still curve).

I would also recommend to look up ball flight laws here on TST to get an understanding of how club path and club face affect the ball flight. 

image.png.edbd95404e791a643777805c5e5925a7.png

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22 hours ago, Northwoods88 said:

This is my first year playing, currently have an unofficial handicap of 25. I have been slicing my driver pretty bad. A friend of mine told me to try a stronger grip position to close the club head faster. I gave it a try and stopped slicing, now my shots start and stay too far left. 

I guess my question is 1) is a stronger grip a legitimate way to fix a slice or is it just putting a band aid on it? 2) since my shots are going so far left now is it a matter of finding a sweet spot between strong and neutral grip to straighten out my shot?

 

16 hours ago, ChetlovesMer said:

Ah this is what I love about golf. So many opinions. So many people with helpful advice so many ways to hit a shot.

This is my opinion and take it for what it's worth. Personally, I wouldn't change to a quote unquote stronger grip unless it was absolutely the last resort. 

Watch the pros, or even the really good high schoolers. Other than occasional special shots, they all use a neutral, or pretty close to neutral grip. Now go to your local muni. I've seen guys who strengthen their grip so much they are literally grabbing the underside of the club. Jack Nicholas was adamant about this. I saw him give a seminar back in the late 80's. I'll never forget he said "If you put 100 tour pros in the room, they would all grip the club in exactly the same way." I think that's probably changed a bit over the years. But his point is still the same. Once you go to a quote unquote stronger grip you've limited your ability to get better. 

There are several boring books written about "dynamic loft", which basically means how the amount of loft a club has changes when you swing it as apposed to just setting the head on the ground. A lot has to do with the shaft angle, how far the hands have "turned over", your stance, and a mess of other factors. You don't have to understand all of that to play great golf, but at some point you need to start doing it either consciously or unconsciously to really "work" the ball into all 9 basic types of shots: high draw, low draw, medium draw, high fade, low fade, medium fade, low straight, high straight, and dead straight. If your hands are already torqued around on the grip, you severely limit your ability to perform all of these shots... especially on the course; where there are rarely any perfect lies. 

Again, this is my opinion and so you can do what you think is best for you. If you want to get good at golf, really good, I'd stick with a standard grip and go find a good teaching pro to help with your shot path. If I went to a teaching pro and he/she suggested quote unquote strengthening my grip to eliminate a slice, I'd find another teaching pro. 

These two posts remind me of the first couple of essays in Harvey Penick's Little Red Book. They are entitled Golf Medicine and What's the Problem? They are both short, so I will quote them here.

GOLF MEDICINE When I ask you to take an aspirin, please don't take the whole bottle.

In the golf swing a tiny change can make a huge difference. The natural inclination is to overdo the tiny change that has brought success. So you exaggerate in an effort to improve even more, and soon you are lost and confused again.

Lessons are not to take the place of practice, but to make practice worthwhile.

WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?:  When teaching or learning what is wrong with a swing, first decide if the thing to work on is the swing itself or the angle of the clubface at impact.

 

Yes, strengthening the grip a bit can help cure a fade, but a full tilt slice? I wonder.

Let's face it, a lot of amateurs have no idea how to put their hands on a club! I've seen the right hand under the club grip many times! The most impactful was at a golf shop with a hitting bay, where a bunch of guys were trying to straighten out their friend for the NEXT DAY'S league championship!

These guys knew what was wrong with their friend's grip, but had no idea how long it would take to make the change. They'd set the guy up with a teed up ball and a Driver, and tell him to hit it. On a couple of swings he froze until he started to quiver! Then, his right hand would jump under the club, he'd snatch the it back, and try to hit the ball.

An exercise in futility. But here's one that worked. At least for a while.

Years ago, during Tiger's ascendancy, I was paired with a couple of black guys at a local course. One guy had a "meh" swing, but the other guy had a really nice swing and could hit the ball a long way. I suspect that he had some lessons.

The only thing was, he didn't really "slice" anything, but it would just sort of "bleed" out to the right. I couldn't see anything wrong with his stance or alignment.

We were on the 10th tee with his buddy still in the clubhouse, so we decided to hit. He hit another bleeder, and really started complaining about it. I asked him to tee up another ball and set up. Then I asked him to take his right hand off the grip.

His left thumb was right on top of the shaft, so I told him to turn his left hand just a smidge clockwise. No more than an eighth of an inch. He re-hit that drive right down the middle, as he did every drive on the back nine. He never missed a fairway!

All I'm saying is have someone who knows more than you look at your grip, and swing, and do not make radical changes unless absolutely necessary.

Edited by Buckeyebowman
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