Bump and Run Why You Slice Take II

By David AllenOctober 30, 2009, 8:00 am
We know it's difficult to find time to practice during the week. When a Saturday or Sunday tee time rolls around, you're hoping to find some spark or productive swing thought that will help you break 100, 90, 80 or whatever your scoring goal may be.
With the weekend warrior in mind we created Bump and Run, a weekly Q&A with some of the game's top instructors. Each Friday, a teaching professional will occupy this space and answer questions directed at improving your game. This week – making a return appearance – it's Kevin Walker, President & CEO of FuZion Golf and one of Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers.
Kevin Walker HeadshotKEVIN WALKER
President & CEO, FuZion Golf, Jupiter, FL


- Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers
- 2004 Horton Smith Award (contribution to education), New England PGA
- 1995 Colorado PGA Section Teacher of the Year

Notable Students (past and present): Brad Faxon, Tom Kite, Gary Hallberg, Mark Wiebe
Web Site:


Last week's Bump and Run, 'The Real Reason Why You Slice,' drew so much comments and debate on the site that we decided to bring Kevin back to talk more about path and face angles, ball flight laws, Trackman, and what causes that dreaded banana ball.

'The starting direction [of the ball] is really important,' says Walker. 'People really don't look at that enough, and the starting direction is determined by the clubface.

'The old ball flight laws will tell you that the path determines the starting direction of the ball, and the face relative to the path determines the curve of the ball. The truth of it is, the face determines the starting direction of the ball and the path relative to the face determines the curve of the ball. In some ways the laws are correct but they’re a little bit backwards. What they always thought was that the path determines where the ball begins its flight, and it doesn’t. It’s 85 percent face. '
To submit a question to Walker or one of our teachers, please e-mail bumpandrun@thegolfchannel.com and check back every Friday to see if your question got answered. 

Do you have any data to support your theory that the face, not the path, is what determines the ball's starting direction?

I’ll give you a hard number, right off Trackman. If your path is seven degrees from the inside, and your face is one degree closed to the target – not the path, that would be eight degrees closed to the target – the ball starts dead on the target line; it does not start off to the right where the path is.

It’s true that face relative to path determines curve, but the thing you have to understand is if you want to hit a draw, what side of the target does the ball need to start on? It has to start to the right, and if that’s the case, then the face needs to be open to the target. If the face is closed to the target, the ball will start either on the target line or left of the target line.

 Last week you mentioned the '50 percent rule,' which basically says if the clubface is two degrees open (to the target) at impact, and the path is four degrees from the inside (to the target line), the face is two degrees closed to the path. As a result, the ball will start slightly to the right of the target and turn back toward the target. Are there any exceptions to this rule?

The one time these numbers definitely don’t hold up is when you have off-center hits. I was working with Dean Wilson at the Players Championship last May, and his path was was four degrees from the inside and his face two degrees open, so the ball should have started to the right and turned back to the left; however, it kind of hung out to the right and stayed there. Every time his ball flight didn't match the numbers, we asked him where he hit the ball on the face. If he hit it on the heel, the gear effect would make the ball turn back to the right. If he hit it on the toe, it would make the ball turn back to the left.

Can you explain what the gear effect is?

I can’t give you the scientific definition, but I can tell you there’s bulge and roll on the face, so if you hit the ball toward the toe of the driver, because it’s a curved face, the gear effect will make the ball spin back to the left. It will start to the right, but spin back to the left.

We received a lot of comments about club-fitting after last week's Bump and Run. Can a fairly good player buy any club off the rack and still perform well with it?

Yes, but he’s going to have to adjust his swing from one club to the next, because it’s not going to match the rest of his set. What we try to do at FuZion Golf is get every club to have the same apex (high point) to its trajectory, whether it’s a sand wedge, 5-iron or driver. Of course, the apex is going to occur (closer or far away to you) relative to what club you’re hitting, but if your set is matched correctly in terms of weight and flex, then it will help control the spin rate.

Tiger Woods low, stinging iron shot.
A heavier, stiffer shaft will create a lower, more penetrating ball flight.
As the clubs get shorter, we want them to get progressively heavier and firmer. The reason is the heavier the shaft, the lower the spin rate. So when you get to a more lofted club – say, a pitching wedge – that’s going to have an increased spin rate, we’re trying to offset the spin by going into different profiles of shafts. This way, if you made one stock swing with every club in your bag, you’d see the same apex.

If you go in and buy clubs incrementally, then they’re probably not going to match. Can a player go out and adjust and hit good shots with each individual club? Yes, but the point is why should you have to adjust to every club.

Are you better off getting golf lessons first, or getting fit for new clubs?

They should go together, and that’s one of the foundations of FuZion Golf. We’re really the first high-end fitting and building company to tell you that you need to take lessons while you’re working on your equipment. We're developmental fitters.

I you go in first for a fitting then they're going to do a corrective fit, fitting equipment around your swing flaws. Once you get your new clubs, the only time you're going to be rewarded is if you make a flawed swing that the set was fit to. If you make an improved swing, you’re actually going to hit worse shots.

Developmental fitting is knowing not only what you’re doing in your swing right now, but what you’re trying to do in your golf swing. For instance, if you went in for a fitting and you were a steep, over-the-top, outside-in player, a corrective fitter would typically put you into equipment that’s anywhere from a half-inch to an inch over in length, and two to four degrees upright in lie angle because it makes up for the over-the-top move. What we would do is go in the other direction. Instead of going over-length and more upright, we’d build you a 6-iron that is under-length and flatter, and say go practice with it for a week to 10 days and come back to us. Your golf swing will absolutely change, because you'll start to adjust more to the club and shallow out your angle of approach.

One of our readers writes in that he's stuggling to get much air under his drives. His irons seem to flight out just fine, but his drives are very low in trajectory. He uses a 10.5 degree driver. Any thoughts?

Obviously, ball position and tee height will have a bearing on it, but you also have to look at the shaft profile. If you have a shaft that’s too heavy, too stiff, or both, what will happen is you’ll launch the ball lower with less spin on it. Your average weekend golfer needs some spin to get the ball up in the air. Angle of approach is also very important: If you’re real steep coming into the ball, you’re going to be trapping it. Make sure your ball position is forward in your stance, and get the sensation of hitting balls that are going high and out to the right, swinging from the inside and up to the right.

Another reader writes in with a slicing problem. He hits a slight draw (about three yards right to left) with every club except his driver, which he slices on a continual basis. Is there an explanation for this?

My bet is if we specked out his equipment his driver is going to have a completely different shaft profile than the rest of his clubs. If his driver shaft is too soft, then he’s not going to be able to square the face up consistently relative to the rest of his clubs. If he’s hitting a nice, little soft driver with his 3-wood all the way to his wedges, and he gets out his driver and all of a sudden it’s a different ball flight, my bet is the driver is not a good match to the rest of his set.

Related Videos from
Kevin Walker:
  • A Lesson from Ben Hogan
  • Fixing Your Slice on the Range
  • Fixing Your Slice with a Steady Club

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    Confident Lincicome lurking after 54 holes at Founders

    By Randy SmithMarch 18, 2018, 2:45 am

    PHOENIX – Brittany Lincicome is farther back than she wanted to be going into Sunday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she’s in a good place.

    She’s keeping the momentum of her season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic victory going this year.

    Her confidence is high.

    “Last year, I won in the Bahamas, but then I didn't do anything after that,” Lincicome said. “I don't even know if I had a top 10 after my win in the Bahamas. Obviously, this year, I want to be more consistent.”

    Lincicome followed up her victory in the Bahamas this year with a tie for seventh in her next start at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And now she’s right back on another leaderboard with the year’s first major championship just two weeks away. She is, by the way, a two-time winner at the ANA Inspiration.

    Missy Pederson, Lincicome’s caddie, is helping her player keep that momentum going with more focus on honing in the scoring clubs.

    “One of our major goals is being more consistent,” Pederson said. “She’s so talented, a once in a generation talent. I’m just trying to help out in how to best approach every golf course.”

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    Pederson has helped Lincicome identify the clubs they’re likely to attack most with on the particular course they are playing that week, to spend more time working with those clubs in practice. It’s building confidence.

    “I know the more greens we hit, and the more chances we give ourselves, the more our chances are to be in contention,” Pederson said. “Britt is not big into stats or details, so I have to figure out how to best consolidate that information, to get us exactly where we need to be.”

    Lincicome’s growing comfort with clubs she can attack with is helping her confidence through a round.

    “I’ve most noticed consistency in her mental game, being able to handle some of the hiccups that happen over the course of a round,” Pederson said. “Whereas before, something might get under her skin, where she might say, `That’s what always happens,’ now, it’s, `All right, I know I’m good enough to get this back.’ I try to get her in positions to hit the clubs we are really hitting well right now.”

    That’s leading to a lot more birdies, fewer bogeys and more appearances on leaderboards in the start to this year.

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    Returning Park grabs 54-hole Founders lead

    By Randall MellMarch 18, 2018, 2:09 am

    PHOENIX – In the long shadows falling across Wildfire Golf Club late Saturday afternoon, Inbee Park conceded she was tempted to walk away from the game last year.

    While healing a bad back, she was tempted to put her clubs away for good and look for a second chapter for her life.

    But then . . .

    “Looking at the girls playing on TV, you think you want to be out there” Park said. “Really, I couldn't make my mind up when I was taking that break, but as soon as I'm back here, I just feel like this is where I belong.”

    In just her second start after seven months away from the LPGA, Park is playing like she never left.

    She’s atop a leaderboard at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, looking like that’s exactly where she belongs.

    With a 9-under-par 63 Saturday, Park seized the lead going into the final round.

    At 14 under overall, she’s one shot ahead of Mariajo Uribe (67), two ahead of Ariya Jutanugarn (68) and three ahead of 54-year-old World Golf Hall of Famer Laura Davies (63) and Chella Choi (66).

    Park’s back with a hot putter.

    That’s not good news for the rest of the tour. Nobody can demoralize a field with a flat stick like Park. She’s one of the best putters the women’s game has ever seen, and on the front nine Saturday she looked as good as she ever has.

    “The front nine was scary,” said her caddie, Brad Beecher, who was on Park’s bag for her long run at world No. 1, her run of three consecutive major championship victories in 2013 and her gold medal victory at the Olympics two years ago.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    “The front nine was great . . . like 2013,” Park said.

    Park started her round on fire, going birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie. She was 6 under through five holes. She holed a wedge from 98 yards at the third hole, making the turn having taken just 10 putts. Yeah, she said, she was thinking about shooting 59.

    “But I'm still really happy with my round today,” she said.

    Park isn’t getting ahead of herself, even with this lead. She said her game isn’t quite where she wants it with the ANA Inspiration, the year’s first major championship, just two weeks away, but a victory Sunday should go a long way toward getting her there.

    Park is only 29. LPGA pros haven’t forgotten what it was like when she was dominating, when she won 14 times between 2013 and ’15.

    They haven’t forgotten how she can come back from long layoffs with an uncanny ability to pick up right where she left off.

    Park won the gold medal in Rio de Janeiro in her first start back after missing two months because of a ligament injury in her left thumb. She took eight months off after Rio and came back to win the HSBC Women’s World Championship last year in just her second start. She left the tour again in the summer with an aching back.

    “I feel like Inbee could take off a whole year or two years and come back and win every week,” said Brittany Lincicome, who is four shots behind Park. “Her game is just so consistent. She doesn't do anything flashy, but her putting is flashy.

    “She literally walks them in. It's incredible, like you know it's going in when she hits it. It's not the most orthodox looking stroke, but she can repeat it.”

    Park may not play as full a schedule as she has in the past, Beecher said, but he believes she can thrive with limited starts.

    “I think it helps her get that fight back, to get that hunger back,” Beecher said. “She knows she can play 15 events a year and still compete. There aren’t a lot of players who can do that.”

    Park enjoyed her time away last year, and how it re-energized her.

    “When I was taking the long break, I was just thinking, `I can do this life as well,’” Park said. “But I'm glad I came back out here. Obviously, days like today, that's the reason I'm playing golf.”

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    Joh on St. Patrick's ace: Go broke buying green beers

    By Randall MellMarch 18, 2018, 12:57 am

    PHOENIX – Tiffany Joh was thrilled making a run into contention to win her first LPGA title Saturday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she comically cracked that her hole-in-one might have been ill-timed.

    It came on St. Patrick’s Day.

    “This is like the worst holiday to be making a hole-in-one on,” Joh said. “You'll go broke buying everyone green beers.”

    Joh aced the fifth hole with a 5-iron from 166 yards on her way to an 8-under-par 64. It left her four shots behind the leader, Inbee Park (63).

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    One of the more colorful players on tour, Joh said she made the most of her hole-in-one celebration with playing partner Jane Park.

    “First I ran and tackled Jane, then I high-fived like every single person walking to the green,” Joh said.

    Joh may be the LPGA’s resident comedian, but she faced a serious challenge on tour last year.  Fourteen months ago, she had surgery to remove a malignant melanoma. She won the LPGA’s Heather Farr Perseverance Award for the way she handled her comeback.

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    Davies, 54, still thinks she can win, dreams of HOF

    By Randall MellMarch 18, 2018, 12:22 am

    PHOENIX – Laura Davies limped around Wildfire Golf Club Saturday with an ache radiating from her left Achilles up into her calf muscle at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

    “Every step is just misery,” Davies said after. “It’s just getting older. Don’t get old.”

    She’s 54, but she played the third round as if she were 32 again.

    That’s how old she was when she was the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year and won two major championships.

    With every sweet swing Saturday, Davies peeled back the years, turning back the clock.

    Rolling in a 6-foot birdie at the 17th, Davies moved into a tie for the lead with Inbee Park, a lead that wouldn’t last long with so many players still on the course when she finished. Still, with a 9-under-par 63, Davies moved into contention to try to become the oldest winner in LPGA history.

    Davies has won 20 LPGA titles, 45 Ladies European Tour titles, but she hasn’t won an LPGA event in 17 years, since taking the Wegmans Rochester International.

    Can she can surpass the mark Beth Daniel set winning at 46?

    “I still think I can win,” Davies said. “This just backs that up for me. Other people, I don’t know, they’re always asking me now when I’m going to retire. I always say I’m still playing good golf, and now here’s the proof of it.”

    Davies knows it will take a special day with the kind of final-round pressure building that she hasn’t experienced in awhile.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    “The pressure will be a lot more tomorrow,” she said. “We'll see, won’t sleep that well tonight. The good news is that I’ll probably be four or five behind by the end of the day, so the pressure won’t be there as much.”

    Davies acknowledged confidence is harder to garner, as disappointments and missed cuts pile up, but she’s holding on to her belief she can still win.

    “I said to my caddie, `Jeez, I haven't been on top of the leaderboard for a long time,’” Davies said. “That's nice, obviously, but you’ve got to stay there. That's the biggest challenge.”

    About that aching left leg, Davies was asked if it could prevent her from challenging on Sunday.

    “I’ll crawl around if I have to,” she said.

    Saturday’s 63 was Davies’ lowest round in an LPGA event since she shot 63 at the Wendy’s Championship a dozen years ago.

    While Davies is a World Golf Hall of Famer, she has been sitting just outside the qualification standard needed to get into the LPGA Hall of Fame for a long time. She needs 27 points, but she has been stuck on 25 since her last victory in ’01. A regular tour title is worth one point, a major championship is worth two points.

    Davies said she still dreams about qualifying.

    “You never know,” she said.