Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Operation Kill My Slice: Off Balance Stance

"Operation Kill My Slice:  Off Balance Stance"
By Sean & Stef Mysel

As you read these articles, there's something I hope you do when it comes to golf advice and lessons...

My goal as well as the goal of many of the teaching pros I speak with is to try and change your mind about "conventional" golf advice.  We want you to have the attitude people have when they had when Mac computers busted on the scene...we're different and smart!

I want you to think about curing your slice in a far different way.  Not like this way in the NY Times with the anti-slice golf ball, although I must admit it is pretty funny.  Let's talk about some of the things you might here before we get into today's golf lesson in Operation:  Kill My Slice!

Many golfers I talk to have a wide array of reasons why they slice the golf ball.  Usually they are:  I swing too fast, my head moves, or my favorite...I think the club is built to slice the ball.  Yes, I swear under oath I've heard this one before.  Let me tell you what I see and I would bet many of my colleagues see, it's normally you're way off balance and sliding forward or your swing plane is too steep, or frankly both at the same time.

Today we're talking balance...

In July 2007, Dave Pelz wrote an article for discussing the differences between PGA Tour players and your everyday weekend hacker.  In the piece, there are statistical breakdowns for distance, putting and sand play.  While talking about driving, Pelz mentions that golfers swing so hard they nearly fall over.

That's ridiculous!  I'm not the expert Pelz is in teaching, but I've rarely seen people who are regular golfers swing so hard they come off balance.  They come off balance because they have faulty set ups.  In fact, in terms of swinging too hard, I would argue that more people could use some extra pop on their swings.  But I digress...

When looking at the balance of the golf swing, we have essentially a couple things to look at.

First, what does our foot positioning look like.  Are the feet too narrow, too wide or just right?  Let's assume we have a driver in our hands.  What most golfers do is take a stance that is too narrow for that club, in essence they take a stance for a wedge to hit a club that is almost four feet long.  We need to match the stance with the club we are using but also the size of golfer we are.  If you are 6'5", don't take a stance for someone who is 5'6". This is like Shaq riding in a SmartCar, probably won't make a lot of sense having that narrow of a stance.

 Widen it out some, even a bit past shoulder with if necessary.

Next, check how your toes are pointed, yes that's right your toes.  Often times I see golfers with both toes pointed perpendicular to the target line or straight at the ball.  Try flaring at least your left toe out, this will help you turn through the ball without fighting so much resistance with your set up.  Here's are some pictures to illustrate the differences:

What does all of this do with slicing the golf ball?  Here's the low down.  Most people when they get off balance tend to make a weight transition that is more of a slide than a turn.  It's true that you will make a slight lateral move forward to initiate your downswing, but what happens far too often is we slide all the way forward instead of letting ourselves turn.

What happens from here is we get our bodies in front of the golf ball and thus push the club face open and voila!  There's your slice!

Try this going forward, find the max swing speed you can use and still stay on balance.  Push the limits and see where you top out in terms of club head speed.  Next, try widening your base more so you can handle the longer clubs like the driver.  Finally, experiment with different set ups to find the one that works best for you.

What do you think?  How does your stance affect your swing?