Why Do I Slice My Driver Way More Than My 3-Wood?
Getting off the tee is a very daunting experience for many golfers especially when new at the game or at the first tee box with spectators eagerly watching on. When playing in a golf tournament or a golf day there is more pressure on you to get the ball into the air and flying a reasonable distance. The dreaded slice is a common fear and many golfers wonder – why do I slice my driver way more than my 3-wood?
The pressure combined with the thought of slicing the ball way out to the right will make your hands sweat and send a shiver down your spine.
That nightmare makes you wonder if you should not get rid of your driver for good. Do not despair, we will provide some information to aid you in hitting straighter shots off the tee.
Hitting a slice is the most common fault experienced by golfers at all levels although more manageable by professional golfers. There are many reasons for it, but the most frequent problem is that your clubface is not lined up on the target line and your swing path is from out-to-in.Your driver swing differs vastly from other clubs and you aim to hit the ball on the up. The arc is also much wider, and the swing builds up more speed. This means that a slight misjudgment can cause the path to be offline resulting in the dreaded slice.
Reasons you may be slicing your driver and how to fix them
The 3 most common reasons for golfers to hit the dreaded slice will be described below with ways to fix these problems.
The most common cause of a slice is an open clubface at impact. This in isolation would not cause a bad slice but in combination with the other faults creates a flight that moves from left to right.
Having a weak grip often results in the clubface being open at impact.
To rectify this, it is important that the grip of the driver is placed in the fingers of your leading hand and not the palm
Out to in swing path
When your swing path goes from right to left for right-handed players with an open clubface you tend to cut across the ball.
Often you will feel unsure of the ball flight that you can expect. If you manage to close the clubface you will pull the ball straight to the left and if left open it will result in a slice
Should I just start hitting my 3-wood off the tee
There is no definitive answer to whether you should hit your 3-wood or driver off the tee. Your abilities and comfort with the driver will determine which club you will use off the tee.
Some days are worse than others and you may not be able to hit your driver to your usual abilities.
The swing of a 3-wood is closer to your iron swing and much easier than hitting a driver. The shorter shaft on the 3-wood provides more control and consistency so if you are at that dreaded first tee and feeling the pang of nerves, don’t be afraid ton attack it with a 3 wood.
Should a beginner use a driver or 3-wood in general?
Starting golf is extremely intimidating with all the mechanics required to build a good swing. You can benefit from starting with a 3-wood and build your swing until you are comfortable with your swing and feel ready to use a driver. Probably best to try the driver out first to see how it goes.
Driver swing vs 3-wood swing
The driver and 3-wood swings are not the same. The driver aims to sweep the ball off the tee after the clubhead bottomed out and is on the upswing. This is what creates the extra distance.
You want to sweep the ball off the ground with a 3-wood thus contact will be on the bottom end of your swing.
A good swing with a 3-wood can create greater accuracy off the tee than a driver.
Average driver and 3-wood distances
The driver generally has a stronger loft than a 3-wood unless you make use of a strong lofted 3-wood.
Your swing speed will determine the distance that you achieve.
During tests conducted by Golf Digest, it was found that golfers with average swing speed hit the 3-wood only approximately 14 yards shorter than their driver. Should you spray the ball with the driver it may be more beneficial to use your 3-wood.
Hitting your 3-wood beyond your driver
The loft of your driver must match your swing speed to achieve the longest distances. Golfers with slower swing speeds should have drivers with a higher loft while golfers with faster swings could get away with low lofted drivers for maximum distance.
Driver vs strong 3-wood
The most frequently used lofts on drivers are between 9 and 12 degrees for golfers with medium to high swing speeds.
The loft of a 3-wood is more frequently in the 14 to 16-degree range. When your 3-wood has a lower loft that is closer to that of a driver and more suitable to your swing speed it will result in the gap between the two being minimal.
Something to keep in mind when purchasing a stronger lofted 3-wood is that it may more difficult hitting it off the deck.
Slicing my 3-wood slightly as well
The slice is not just limited to the driver. The same swing faults that you find on a driver can affect all the clubs in your bag. If you experience the slice of your 3-wood, it would be advisable to visit your local golf professional to evaluate your swing.
There are 3-woods available that will counter your slice to an extent, but it is better to solve the cause of the slice rather than the effect
3-Wood vs 3-hybrid vs driver off the tee
Deciding on the club to use off the tee must consider all the factors. It is easier to swing a hybrid club than a driver or 3-wood.
The distance to hazards and potential problem areas can dictate which club you play off the tee.
In windy conditions using your 3-wood would create the optimal distance as it can spin less than your driver and have a lower trajectory while the hybrid is aimed at a higher trajectory.
Higher loft vs adjustable driver
Driver loft and swing speed go hand-in-hand. The higher your swing speed the lower the loft that you can set your driver to. Low swing speeds will struggle to get a low lofted driver in the air and lose a considerable amount distance.
If your swing speed is below 85 mph select a driver with a loft between 12 and 14-degrees, mid-swing speeds between 85 and 104 mph require lofts between 10 and 11.5 degrees and fast swing speeds over 105 mph require lofts below 10-degrees. Some professional golfers like Bryson DeChambeau play with a 5-degree lofted driver.
An adjustable golf driver is a driver with any degree of adjustability. It is easier to change your loft as you improve and increase your clubhead speed.
Settings on a driver that can often be changed are the hosel to set the loft and lie angle, movable weights to set the CoG (center of gravity) for lower or higher ball trajectory and ball flight shaping from left to right or right to left
Slice fighting grip
The neutral grip is the best way to fight a slice without creating new difficulties. The neutral grip will enable you to close the clubface and roll your wrists at the end of your swing.
This video should give you more clarity on the grip you need to use in order to rectify a slice.
The neutral grip is achieved by:
- Place the grip in the fingers of your leading hand and not in the palm of your hand
- Putting your leading hand’s thumb over the grip flowing towards the bottom of the club
- The V-shape between your thumb and index finger of the leading hand must point to your trailing shoulder
- Bring your trailing hand towards the grip and take up your preferred grip whether it be interlock, overlap, or baseball grip.
- Place the grip in the fingers of your trailing hand
- Place the thumb of your trailing hand on the opposite side of the grip
- The V-shape formed between the thumb and index finger of the trailing hand must point at your trailing shoulder
3-wood tee height
The height of your 3-wood on the tee is quite different from the height of a driver. The recommended height for a 3-wood is to allow 1/3 of the ball to show above the top of the clubhead.
Just because the ball is higher than what it would be on the fairway does not mean you have to swing harder and faster at it to get it in the air and get more distance. When teed up retain your regular swing for your 3-wood to get the accuracy you are looking for.
Sweep the driver
The driver is the most difficult club in your bag to hit effectively and consistently. Furthermore, the driver swing contrasts with the downward swing that you use most effectively on your irons.
For the best results, you want to sweep the ball off the tee after the clubhead has reached the bottom part of the swing. The intention is not to strike the tee but to lift the ball off the tee into a high trajectory for the maximum distance.
You are not expected to take a divot when hitting a driver and the upward swing reduces the amount of spin for more distance.
Bump leading hip forward at address
Generating an effective and sound swing starts with a balanced and athletic stance when addressing the ball. Your stance will differ between the driver and other clubs to enable you to swing through and up towards the ball with a driver.
Most professional golfers push their leading hip slightly towards the target at the address to allow them to have their shoulders in a balanced position over the lower body enhancing the in-to-out swing path.
Aim right to fix slice
A common mistake that golfers make that slice the ball is to aim further to the left to counteract the slice. This often results in adding more slice to the ball and associated loss in distance.
By aiming right and adjusting your swing from inside out towards the right you will counteract some of the main reasons for hitting a slice. By aiming right and not adjusting the other causes of a slice you will end up further right and deeper in trouble
Best driver to fix a slice
The right driver can go a long way to help you correct your slice.
Callaway Mavrik Max
Manufacturers often build an offset into the clubface to help you fight your slice. It will be advisable that you first get the basics of the grip fixed and the correct swing path before spending a fortune on a driver to assist you in reducing the slice.
Callaway’s Mavrik Max is the result of Callaway utilizing a supercomputer to produce over 15,000 clubface designs to produce this draw-biased driver. It is available in lofts of 9 degrees, 10.5 degrees, and 12 degrees.
The AI-designed Flash Face SS20 architecture makes use of FS2S titanium that is 6 grams less than traditionally used materials.
There are weight ports in the heel and back of the sole for extra forgiveness and fighting your slice.
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Best strong 3-wood for off the tee and fairway
Ping G400 Stretch Fairway wood
For extra distance off the tee using a strong lofted 3-wood, the Ping G400 Stretch Fairway wood comes with a loft angle of 13 degrees.
It generates low spin thus keeping the ball low while generating great distances.
It is aimed at golfers looking for a replacement for the driver off the tee and is not the easiest 3-wood to hit off the deck. If you have no problem getting the ball airborne you will benefit from hitting this fairway wood.
A wider head size brings extra forgiveness on your mishits without losing out on distance.
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Best hybrid for driving off the tee
Mavrik Max hybrids
The Mavrik and Mavrik Max hybrids were designed through the use of AI to create a series of 3 hybrids. The AI design created different thicknesses for every loft in the range.
Mavrik is available in lofts of 18, 20, 23, 26 degrees and Mavrik Max is available in lofts of 19, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33 degrees.
It contains unique faces that are produced from complex forged geometries that are produced in a separate factory from the rest of the head.
Watch this video on YouTube for a good explanation on why you slice your driver and how to get rid of it.
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The slice is the most hated ball trajectory in the game of golf affecting many golfers especially beginners and high handicap golfers.
To fight the slice, manufacturers invest loads of money in research and development to produce the best possible equipment to assist you in getting closer to the draw flightpath.
However, you can make some changes to your grip and swing path to improve your ball flight and obtain the utopia of hitting a draw. If you still hit a slice after trying grip and swing changes, visit your local professional club fitter and golf trainer.
Hi, I am Matthew, a mid handicap golfer who likes to play as much as possible. I love trying out new gear and this blog is where you can find all the gear I have tested over the years!