May 26

Upgrade The Driver To Fix A Slice?

Golf Club Fitting


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I recently was asked this question, about upgrading drivers to fix a slice, in regards to switching out a Bio Cell driver for the newer King model.  This is what I said:

In a word: no.  In more words: switching drivers isn’t an automatic guarantee to fix a slice.

Qualified answer: if your Bio Cell isn’t fitted to you, but the King is, you’ll see a difference. If the Bio Cell is fitted and the King isn’t, you’ll get “buyer’s remorse”.

Let’s dig a little deeper, shall we?

You slice because you leave the clubface open at impact and/or cut across the ball with your swing. The only things, from a club perspective, that can change that is the length and weight.

You see, when OEMs (a la Cobra, TMaG, Nike, etc.) do their testing, it’s either with robots or Tour Pros. Robots will always find the “sweet spot” with a square clubface- unless they’re set up to miss.

Tour pros are Tour pros for a reason: they’re pretty freaking good. But they can make a few videos showing the talent hitting the ball- they don’t even have to show the ball in-flight- to make people think they’re getting something “tour approved”.

fix a slice
Still gaming it!


Speaking of the Tour, let’s take a look at one of the bigger hitters: Bubba Watson (a southpaw, like me, which is why I’m using him). Let’s take a look at the PGA Tour’s “Driving Distance” page.

Bubba’s easy to find, as he’s always in the Top 10. Anyway, as of this writing (05/23/16), Bubba’s distance is 306.7y. But let’s go back in time, which you can do, with a tab at the top of the “leaderboard”:

2015: 315.2
2014: 314.3
2013: 303.7
2012: 315.5
2011: 314.9
2010: 309.8

One year not-withstanding (’13), he’s been pretty consistent in his driving distance. That “anomaly” could just as easily be explained as a down year, or Bubba choosing to hit driver less off the tee as anything equipment-related… so it’s hard to say. But outside of that, he’s really close to the same output.

As an aside, do you see something… odd… about his stats?  Sub-310, 315ish, 315ish, sub-310, 315ish, 315ish, sub-310.  Weird, isn’t it?  I don’t want to get side-tracked, but it’s something that just stuck out at me as I typed them out…

Anyway, back to the point!

But wait… he changes gear every year, right? That’s part of having an equipment contract, but shouldn’t he be getting MORE distance every year?

The simple answer: nope, as everything worth putting in the Rules pertaining to clubheads has already been maxed out, long before 2010. The other things, like movable weights, has little, if any, significance outside of chasing numbers on a launch monitor.

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But there’s one thing Bubba (and the rest of the PGA Tour) does that the vast majority of amateurs don’t do: they get fitted for their sticks.

Did you know Bubba games a 44.5″ driver, and that 44.5″ is the Tour average?

The King is sold off-the-rack at 45.25″, which is actually tame compared to a lot of other offerings (some over 46″!). Why, then, are amateurs sold clubs longer than what Tour pros use? Don’t worry, as I already answered it earlier- distance sells, and if you can validate numbers, no matter how small, they can be marketed without fear of customer litigation.

If the driver is the only club you slice with, it’s likely that the length is too long for you.

Don’t fret, though, as most off-the-rack offerings are too long for nearly EVERYONE.

When the club’s too long, it’s harder to square the face at impact. Granted, lessons are the #1 way to eliminate a slice… but think about this: how many home runs could you hit with a bat that’s too long and too heavy for you to swing properly? How much harder would it be to bowl with a ball that’s too heavy, with finger holes too small?

That’s the essence of golf club fitting. No, you won’t magically start having regular 300 bowling games, or hit 50 HRs a season with fitted equipment; talent and ability is where most of that “magic” happens. You won’t magically fix a slice, or gain 20 more yards, or hit more greens in regulation.

But fitted equipment will put you in the right starting spot to let that talent- your talent- do its thing.

So, if you made it this far (thanks!), and you’re wondering if “upgrading” your driver will help you fix a slice, it’s possible… but you need to do what pleases you.

If you like your current gamer, you can have it retrofitted to specs that can help you. You can also buy a new driver, if you want; just make sure THAT club is fitted to you.

NOT that “hit and hope/find the so-called best of what’s available” thing they call a fitting you get in most big sports chains- a REAL fitting.

The specs you need to focus on:
-Grip Size
-Swing Weight
-Overall Weight (controlled through the shaft, as most all driver heads across all brands/models will be roughly 200g)
-Shaft Flex (if you like the feeling of a particular shaft, you don’t have to change it if you don’t want to; a good-fitting shaft helps you feel the head throughout the swing, which helps you develop a good swing rhythm, as well as good timing on the release- a slice fixer!).

Do that and either enjoy your new club, or find new life in your current one.

About the author 

Justin Blair

Justin Blair is the founder of Green Lantern Golf. When he isn't bringing his 10+ years of excellent craftsmanship experience to golf club fitting, building, and repair, he's geeking out about Star Wars (he's watched them all about 8,437 times!) and things like the MCU and LOTR, he's drinking mead and craft brews. If you wanna know more, check out my About Page!

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