Just about everybody hates a slice. This isn’t an opinion. It’s fact. Golftec, the instruction company that has given more than seven million lessons at its nearly 200 locations, revealed two details about its customers: 96 percent want to hit anything but a slice, and only 8 percent come to Golftec hitting a draw. The slice, friends, is still golf’s most confounding swing fault, or as Nick Clearwater, Golftec’s vice-president of instruction calls it, “an epidemic”. The good news is that it’s a very fixable problem. Yes, by all means, see a quality instructor. A slice is caused by the most common of swing flaws: swinging the club down steeply on an out-to-in path with an open face to that path at impact. This creates sidespin that sends the ball curving weakly to the right.
“It’s really just a misunderstanding of how to make the ball curve,” Clearwater says. “People keep swinging farther to the left hoping the ball will go the way they want it to. It doesn’t work.”
The latest draw drivers cannot correct your out-to-in swing path, but they can help negate the slice spin imparted at impact. How can we say this with such certainty? Well, we put the new draw-bias drivers to the test and found they really do what they’re designed to do. For our test, we had average golfers hit the latest draw drivers without telling them what they were testing, and we measured the results against their own drivers using a Foresight Sports GCQuad launch monitor. Seventy percent of the golfers hit the draw drivers more to the left (12.2 metres farther on average compared to their regular drivers). Interestingly, they also hit the draw drivers farther – 5.2 metres on average. It’s worth noting that these results were immediate – fewer than five swings for each player.
Drivers that are designed to fight a slice have been around for decades. Traditionally, they had severely closed faces, but the new models we tested look very much like a typical driver. The technology might be nicely hidden, but the results are very apparent. The key to these new drivers is internal weighting that shifts the centre of gravity (CG) towards the heel. There are adjustable drivers on the market that allow golfers to load the club’s moveable weights towards the heel, but those tend to be less effective than the fixed internal weighting on the newest draw drivers. In some models, the amount of weight is more than double what you would typically find for an adjustable driver in its most extreme draw setting.
The benefit of concentrating so much weight in the heel is that it creates a larger area of the face that launches shots with draw spin. “This player has the face open at impact, and everything we do with this club in terms of CG bias is helping to solve that problem,” says Todd Beach, chief technical officer of R&D for TaylorMade. “When you move the CG to the heel, no matter where you hit it, it produces more draw.”
Draw-bias designs also encourage a straighter ball flight by featuring higher lofts, lighter shafts and more upright lie angles. There’s even evidence that with the CG closer to the heel, draw drivers help average golfers return the face to square at impact because the CG is closer to the shaft.
The driver slice might be the most discouraging shot in golf. Among other things, it leaves you with a longer second shot, and it deals a blow to your confidence. In the absence of fundamentally changing your golf swing, draw drivers can be
a way to improve your scores and attitude.
“It’s the simplest fix for so many people,” says Paul Wood, vice-president of engineering at Ping, who estimates that at least half the players could benefit from a draw driver. “It’s joyous to watch when you put a draw-bias driver in someone’s hands, and the ball is going farther and straighter. Honestly, I think it’s the best-kept secret in golf.”
Left to Right:
1. Tour Edge HL3 OS
The large cupface provides more hitting area, and the offset shape and upright lie angle help fight those right misses.
2. Cobra FMax
A deep, heel-bias centre of gravity, plus offset and a lighter swing-weight, fight a slice and launch shots high. Larger grips provide more swing control.
3. TaylorMade M4 D-Type
With 41 grams of weight in the heel, this driver puts almost twice as much mass towards the draw side than the company’s moveable weight M3.
4. Callaway Rogue Draw
Internal and external heel weighting, combined with a slightly upright lie angle, yield more draw to your flight.
5. Ping G400 SFT
Heel-side weight gives your shots more draw spin. A lighter swingweight makes the club easier to square.