Fully Equipped mailbag: What gear tweaks will help me stop slicing and hit it further?
Welcome to another edition of the Fully Equipped Mailbag, sponsored by Cleveland/Srixon Golf, an interactive GOLF.com series in which we field your hard-hitting gear questions.
No offense to our fellow instruction writers and our all-star stable of Top 100 instructors, but sometimes a quick trip to a club-fitter or golf shop is all we have patience for when it comes time to stop slicing and hit the ball further. And while we will always suggest booking a lesson to see lasting improvements, it’s worth noting that there are a few things you can do with your equipment to help improve your score.
Let’s look at five ways you can lessen the banana ball and tack on more yards—all by making a few simple modifications to your golf bag—not your swing.
Slice remedy 1: Swap your shaft
Can’t stop blocking your tee shots to the right? It could be your tempo is too deliberate for your shaft and it’s releasing too soon. A softer flex will allow for more time (it’s milliseconds here and there, folks) to square up the face at the moment of impact.
Slice remedy 2: Adjust your bias
Fortunately, many drivers available today come with adjustable weighting and/or adjustable hosels for shotmaking customization. Weights placed more towards the heel will speed up the closing of the toe helping golfers square up the face. Also, a hosel configuration that is closed at setup will do the same.
Slice remedy 3: Go shorter
In addition to using a softer shaft to reduce slices, you could also try going a little shorter as well. A shorter shaft will make it easier to control the clubhead, again, helping you rotate the hands and square the clubface at impact. Furthermore, a shorter shaft will make a flatter swing into a more upright one.
Slice remedy 4: Add loft
The more loft you add, the higher the ball will go with increased spin. And when you increase backspin you lessen sidespin, helping you hit it straighter. Granted, there comes a point where more loft can rob you of distance, but hey if it’s landing in the fairway that’s a good thing.
Slice remedy 5: Go with a draw model
Some manufacturers make drivers specifically for slice reduction. Cleveland Golf is among them, having produced the Launcher XL Lite Draw driver, which comes pre-built for fighting a slice via heel-biased weighting, more loft and, despite our advice for a shorter shaft, it actually comes with a shaft .5” longer than standard. Nonetheless, it’s a slice killer through and through.
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Cleveland Launcher XL Lite Draw Driver
Distance remedy 1: Switch golf balls
This is an obvious one, but bears repeating because so many golfers make this mistake. Here’s what you ought to know. If you have a moderate to slow swingspeed (90 MPH and lower), you’re going to want a ball with a firmer outer core and softer middle. If you swing faster than average (above 90 MPH), you can use a ball with a firmer core and softer outer layers. Both instances will add distance where it’s needed.
Distance remedy 2: Go longer
A longer shaft can help you add more clubhead speed—a lot. An inch added can equate to up to 10 yards added distance, but be warned. Adding length isn’t a sure thing—you lose a lot of control and to reap the benefits of added length, you still have to strike the ball on the clubhead’s sweetspot.
Distance remedy 3: Skinnier grips
It may take some getting used to, but skinner grips can actually speed up the release of the hands helping to increase your clubhead speed. Funny enough, some golfers wrongly assume the opposite and have tried bigger grips to add distance. And while it’s possible for some that a thicker diameter could help, odds are a baseball bat-like grip will slow your hands down, not speed them up.
Distance remedy 4: Swap shafts
Swapping shafts isn’t only a slice fix, it can help you add distance. The key is in knowing which way to go. For some, a softer flex profile will help you hit it further. For others, it’s a stiffer flex. There’s no way we can recommend one or the other—we’ll leave that recommendation to an experienced fitter who can tell you which shaft to choose.
Distance remedy 5: Tee it higher
This is the easiest one in the bunch. All you need to do is tee it higher/use longer tees. This will help you hit up on the ball and produce higher tee balls with less spin for more penetrating launches and more forward roll. If you’re a fast swinger, you could even try what some long hitters do and try and strike the ball just above the sweetspot. This will reduce your smash factor, but the added launch angle and lowered spin negates the slight decrease in ballspeed while producing longer tee shots.
Want to overhaul your bag for 2022? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below.