Best Driver Spec's For Those Who Slice Their Shots, Golf Tip

Slicing the ball with the driver is one of the most frustrating and common faults amongst amateur golfers.




Time after time players see the ball start near the target line but then arc and swerve away, finishing well off target and usually in trouble. There are many different swing faults that can cause a slice to occur but players can also help reduce the amount of curve through the air by ensuring the club they use is of the correct specification.

A slice shot is caused when the club travels from an out-to-in swing path with the club face open to that path and the target. For a right handed golfer, this sees the ball start to the left of the target before swerving right and finishing well right of the target. This swerving through the ball is created by clockwise spin imparted by the open club face at impact.

There are a number of things players can do to alter their driver set up to help combat this ball flight, here are two.

Loft

Many amateur players use a driver which has too little loft. Not only does this decrease the amount of launch angle they can create but also increases the amount of side spin. If players struggling with a slice used a driver which had more loft, the open club face at impact would be countered by the extra back spin.

Shaft Flex

As with loft, many amateurs could hit straighter and more consistent drives if they used a shaft with the correct amount of flex. All too often players use shafts which are far too stiff for their swing speed, they would be much better off shifting down to a softer shaft which will allow them more time to square up the club face at impact.

Best Driver Specs for Those Who Slice Their Shots

Best Driver Specs for Those Who Slice Their Shots



If you have any experience at all in the game of golf, you already know that you can't simply buy a better game. Sure, you can spend thousands of dollars on fancy equipment, but that gear isn't automatically going to make you a better player. Golf will always be about skill more than it is about gear. Professional golfers get great results from their high-end equipment, but that is because they have trained for a lifetime to use it correctly. If you learn the right skills and fine tune them over time, you can get excellent results from many different kinds of clubs.

With all of that said, you do need to make sure that you are using equipment which is a good match for your game. By using the wrong clubs – meaning clubs with the wrong specs – you will make this game harder than it needs to be. As you know, golf is extremely difficult all on its own. There is no sense in making it any harder by using the wrong clubs. Match up your equipment to your abilities and better results could be right around the corner.

In this article, we are going to talk about your driver specs. Specifically, we are going to talk about how having the right specs for your driver will help those who are struggling with a slice. Make no mistake – buying a new driver is not going to magically fix your slice or anything like that. What it will do, however, is give you the best chance to straighten out your ball flight. By using the right club along with making improvements to your technique, you can hopefully move toward a future on the links where the slice is no longer something that plagues your game.

Before we start talking about equipment, we should take a moment to talk about the problem of the slice in general. Countless golfers have some degree of a slice, and those with a bad driver often get quite frustrated with the problem. In fact, some golfers will even wind up leaving the game because they just can't have any fun while sending one ball after another into the woods. There is no doubt that the slice is frustrating, but you need to put that frustration to the side if you are going to have any hope of actually correcting this problem once and for all. It is hard to be clear-headed about an issue when you let it get the best of your temper. Forget about all your frustrations and poor shots and just take a rational approach to eliminating the slice. With a clear head and a positive attitude, straight shots may be just around the corner.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

Two Problems

Two Problems



While it is possible to hit a driver with just about any club in the bag, we are talking about the driver in this article. That makes sense, of course, as the driver is the club that gives the average golfer the most trouble. When you hit a slice with an iron, the ball may only drift slightly off line before it comes down. With a driver shot, on the other hand, the ball could wind up many yards to the right of your intended target. Slices with the driver can be extremely damaging to your score, and you might lose quite a few golf balls along the way as well.

The average slice is caused by poor swing technique. However, using the wrong driver specs can take a faulty swing and make it even worse. The two specs which are most important in this discussion are the loft of the driver, and the stiffness of the shaft. Let's take a closer look at these two topics below.

  • Driver loft. The average golfer uses a driver which does not have enough loft for his or her game. Most likely, this is the result of taking the lead of the players on the PGA Tour. If you are to check into the details of the equipment used by your favorite player, it is likely that he uses a driver with a loft of somewhere between 7* - 9.5* of loft. There are a few exceptions, of course, but most players fall within that range. Unfortunately, if you copy those loft numbers when picking out your own driver, the results are unlikely to be good. That is simply not enough loft unless you have the same kind of swing speed as a professional golfer. Without enough swing speed to create significant backspin at impact, most of the spin that is imparted on the ball is going to be sidespin. With too much sidespin and not enough backspin, your shots will quickly curve off line in most cases. By adding loft, you can increase the amount of backspin you place on the ball, and your shots should hold straighter as a result. Also, adding backspin is going to help the ball stay in the air longer, meaning you might be able to carry your shots longer down the fairway. The exact loft number for your game will depend on a number of factors – we will get further into this topic later in the article – but you should know that it is almost certain you will need more loft than the top pros.
  • Shaft flex. The other area of the driver where most golfers go wrong is shaft flex, and again we can probably point the blame at the professional ranks (although it isn't really their fault). Most top male professional golfers use an 'x-flex' shaft in their driver, meaning the shaft is considered to be 'extra stiff'. These players need this kind of stiffness in their driver, of course, because they have tremendous swing speed. Without such a stiff driver shaft, the club head would fall behind during the downswing, and their shots would be high, short, and usually off target. If you actually do have a swing speed that is in line with those in the professional ranks – something up above 110 MPH usually – there is a good chance you'll want to use an extra stiff shaft. That is simply not the case for most amateurs, however. The typical golfer doesn't swing the club that fast, and doesn't need an extra stiff shaft as a result. In fact, you might not even need a stiff shaft – the average player will be best served with what is known as a 'regular' flex. By using the right shaft flex for your swing dynamics, the ball is going to respond properly to the swing you make. Does that mean all your shots will be good ones? Of course not – you still have to make a good swing to get a good result. All it means is that your good swings will be rewarded with good results, which might not have been the case before.

The two main keys to finding a driver with the right specs for your game are shaft flex and club head loft. If you can get those two points right, you are almost certain to have the right driver in your hands. Many golfers get distracted when they shop for new clubs by all kinds of different bits of technology and modern design, but everything really comes down to loft and flex. Keep it simple, focus on those two points, and walk out of the pro shop with a driver that can serve you well.

Signs of Trouble

Signs of Trouble



If you are already a golfer, you already have a driver. In that case, you might not think much of the bad shots that you hit with your driver. They are just bad swings, right? Not always. Sometimes, the poor shots you hit from the tee can be proof that you are using the wrong club.

In this section, we are going to highlight some of the signs of trouble that you should be watching for when playing off the tee with a driver. If any of these are present in your game, it might be time to make some changes.

  • Driver ball flight is different from the rest of your clubs. This is a major sign that something is wrong with your equipment setup. You should see a relatively similar ball flight pattern with all of the clubs in your bag. The driver is going to be the most dramatic, of course, since it hits the ball the longest distance. However, the general shape and pattern of your shots should be the same across the board. If you are hitting relatively straight shots with your irons, for instance, you should not be hitting a wild driver with your driver. If that is the case, you need to take a careful look at the specs of your driver to ensure they aren't causing you problems.
  • Unusually short tee shots. If you aren't getting much out of your drives from a distance perspective, there may be an equipment issue at play. Specifically, if you are using a shaft which is too stiff for your swing speed, only a small amount of energy is going to be transferred from your swing down to the ball. The stiffness of the shaft is going to get in the way, the shaft won't bend enough, and your shots will be short. Think about your distance in relation to other golfers with your irons, and then your driver. Do you keep up with the irons, but fall well behind when playing from the tee? This is a common problem for many golfers, and the driver setup is usually to blame.
  • The dreaded balloon. The ideal ball flight with a driver goes something like this – the ball takes off on a relatively flat plane, it climbs gradually into the air, and then falls back to the ground again while still moving quickly down the fairway. This is the kind of shot you will see on the PGA Tour, as it is the pattern which leads to the greatest amount of distance. Unfortunately, you might not be seeing this kind of shot in your own game. Instead, you may be hitting shots which take the dreaded balloon path toward the target. These shots start low, spin up into the air, and fall quickly back to earth – without ever moving very far down the fairway. Not only is this kind of shot useless from a distance perspective, it is impossible to use effectively in the wind.

You shouldn't have to think too hard about whether or not you have an equipment problem with your driver. In fact, you probably already know, even without heading to the range or course to hit some balls. Playing with the wrong driver setup is making golf harder than it needs to be. The sooner you can correct your equipment problems and establish a shaft/loft combination that works for your needs, the sooner you may be able to wipe out the slice once and for all.

Finding the Perfect Fit

Finding the Perfect Fit



By now, it should be clear that you need to make sure to have the right combination of driver shaft and loft in your hands when you step up to the tee. But how do you find that combination? Without personal knowledge of the club fitting industry, it can be difficult to find answers on your own. Fortunately, there are plenty of professionals out there ready and willing to help.

There is a good chance that your favorite local golf course offers club fitting services to help you find the right driver (or any other club you may wish to acquire). For a small fee, the facility will allow you to use their launch monitor with the help of a qualified and trained pro. The pro will have you hit a series of shots which will be measured by a high-tech computer. With that data in hand, recommendations can be made regarding the specs of your ideal driver. This information is like gold in the hands of a golfer, as it has the potential to unlock some significant improvements.

If you are going to look for a new driver in order to optimize your performance – and hopefully reduce your driver – it is a great idea to complete a club fitting session. When you go for your club fitting, keep the following tips in mind.

  • Avoid preconceived notions. If you head into the fitting already thinking you know which driver will be best for you, it will be impossible to get optimal results out of the process. Instead, go in with your mind as a blank slate. Be open to a variety of possibilities, and take the advice of the pro to heart. This is a person who works full-time in this field, so they will have a good understanding of how to setup a driver for the needs of a specific golfer.
  • Don't try to impress the machine. This is a common mistake. When a golfer knows that he or she is being measured on the launch monitor, they will often 'dial up' their swing a little bit in an effort to max-out their numbers. After all, who wouldn't want to see how fast they can swing by giving it all they have? That might be fun in the moment, but it will limit how much useful information you can get out of the process. A better idea is to make the same exactly swing that you are going to use on the course. This is the swing that needs to match up with your driver selection. Set your ego to the side when you go for a club fitting and use your normal swing throughout the process. Doing anything else would just be a waste of time.
  • Accept the advice. Any golf teacher or fitting professional will tell you just how many people fail to listen to their advice. Even though the golfer is paying for the time of the instructor, the player often thinks they know best. This is not only a silly line of thinking; it is also going to ruin the club fitting process. You are coming to the pro for help, so be open to their help. Again, this is another time when you need to set your ego to the side. You should feel free to ask questions – there is nothing wrong with asking questions – but don't assume that you know better than the person who does this for a living.

While golf is known as an expensive game – and that is often true – getting fit for the right driver is not particularly costly. Most golf facilities provide this service for a small fee, and the fee may even be refunded if you decide to buy a driver from their shop. Call around to a few different facilities in your area to find the best deal on a professional club fitting. Once you go through this process and come out with a driver that has been perfectly matched to your swing specs, you can be confident that your equipment will no longer be standing in the way of great drives. From that point forward, it will be all on you to produce the swings necessary to hit the ball down the middle of the fairway.

A Few Slice Tips

A Few Slice Tips



We have now covered what you need to know about your driver specs and how they can affect your ball flight. Hopefully, you have either determined that your current driver is doing the job, or you are going to schedule a club fitting to get your equipment on track. In this last section, we are going to step away from the topic of equipment to provide you with a few quick tips on ways to reduce or eliminate your slice.

During your next practice session, keep these simple tips in mind.

  • Slow down your tempo. Most slicers rush through their backswing, as well as their transition from backswing to downswing. Hurrying through the swing is a great way to hit a driver, as the club never has a chance to drop down into the right position. By slowing down – especially at the top of the swing – you will be better able to swing the club down from inside-out, which is the path needed to avoid slice spin.
  • Keep your hands out of the takeaway. It might be hard to believe, but many slices are caused by mistakes in the takeaway. This doesn't seem like a particularly important part of the swing, but it is. During the takeaway, be sure to keep your hands and wrists as quiet as possible. This type of motion is going to lead to a wide backswing, which will help you keep the club on plane for a solid strike.
  • Pay attention to balance. It is common for golfers who struggle with a slice to have poor balance. Specifically, those with a slice usually lean toward the target during the backswing, only to reverse directions and lean away from the target in the downswing. This is a costly mistake, as it will force the club to move 'over the top' in the transition, and you will be left to hit across the ball from outside-in. To fix your balance, do your best to take lateral motion out of the golf swing. Stay balanced during the backswing, and focus on rotation in the downswing rather than sliding from side to side.

We hope the advice provided in this article will help you steer clear of the slice as you move forward with your game. Golf is supposed to be fun, but there isn't anything fun about watching your ball sail off to the right of the fairway time after time. Even if you have been struggling with a slice for years, don't give up – you can find your way back to the fairway with a combination of improved technique and the right equipment. Good luck!