Chapstick on Driver: The Trick to Avoiding Hooks & Slices?

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Key Takeaways

  • Applying chapstick to your driver face can lower spin by reducing friction against the ball, resulting in longer and straighter drives.
  • While illegal in tournament play due to USGA rules, it can be a useful training aid to identify swing flaws and improve fundamentals.
  • Recreationally, it can help amateur golfers minimize hooks and slices, keep the ball in the fairway, and make the game more enjoyable.

Every golfer wants to add distance and improve their precision off the tee.

Applying a layer of chapstick on your driver face can help you achieve both!

Though illegal in tournament play, recreational golfers can take advantage of the reduced backspin and sidespin from chapstick to hit longer, straighter drives.

Read on to learn about how chapstick works to increase distance and straighten drives, and whether you should give it a try in your next round.

How Does Chapstick on Driver Work?

Using a layer of chapstick on the driver face reduces friction between the clubface and the golf ball, which reduces spin. This results in straighter shots, with fewer hooks and slices caused by sidespin. However, it’s illegal to use chapstick on the driver in competition golf according to USGA rules.

So, does chapstick on a driver actually work — or is it just a gimmick?

Essentially, chapstick affects how the ball reacts off the clubface in two ways:

  • It reduces backspin — increasing the distance
  • It reduces sidespin — reducing the dispersion

Let’s explore the reason for these effects.

Reduced Backspin

Many amateur golfers struggle with distance off the tee due to backspin.

Backspin is caused by friction between the clubface and the ball, causing the ball to climb too high in the air. This reduces the carry distance, while also reducing rollout as the ball lands with a steeper angle and relatively low velocity.

Using a layer of chapstick on the driver face reduces backspin by minimizing friction between the clubface and the golf ball.

This results in a more punchy shot, where the ball penetrates the air at a flatter angle with less backspin and more rollout — increasing overall distance.

While there are other methods of reducing spin, like using a low spin driver shaft, putting chapstick on the driver face can be a quick and simple fix.

Pro tip

It’s also vital to consider launch angle. If the tee shot is launched too low, the total distance will be reduced.

Reduced Sidespin

Another component that amateur golfers tend to struggle with is sidespin.

When the clubface cuts across the ball at impact, this generates a sidespin commonly known as slice or hook spin. This makes for unpredictable tee shots, and it becomes very challenging to consistently hit fairways.

Applying chapstick to the driver face reduces sidespin in the same way that it reduces backspin. It minimizes the effect of friction.

This causes the ball to travel straighter off the clubface, with less left or right curvature. Effectively, this helps you hit the ball straighter.

Pro tip

Clubface angle is important, regardless of sidespin. Too closed, and the ball will travel left. Too open, and the ball will be blocked out right.

Vaseline on Driver Face: Worth a Try?

Vaseline on the driver face produces the same benefits as chapstick: reduced backspin and sidespin, resulting in longer and straighter tee shots.

This is demonstrated with supporting launch monitor data in the video below, which illustrates how using Vaseline on golf clubs inhibits spin:

Is Chapstick on Driver Illegal?

According to USGA Rule 5a, “The face of the club must be hard and rigid and must not impart significantly more or less spin to the ball than a standard steel face.”

Therefore, it’s illegal to apply chapstick on your driver in competition golf as this would breach this rule by making the clubface unnaturally soft.

A way to measure the hardness of the face is to use a fingernail. If it leaves an imprint on the face, then it doesn’t satisfy the “hard and rigid” requirement.

That said, recreational golfers can choose to play the game however they like for maximum enjoyment. Rules such as this strictly apply to tournament golf.

is chapstick on driver illegal

Should You Use Chapstick on Your Driver?

In my view, there are two main reasons to consider using chapstick on your driver:

  • Using it as a training aid
  • Making golf more enjoyable

Let’s explore each reason in some more detail.

Using It As a Training Aid

Firstly, using chapstick on the driver can help you recognize flaws in your swing.

For instance, golfers who typically slice or hook the ball often have to reduce swing speed in order to minimize the effects of the sidespin.

Using a layer of chapstick on the clubface allows you to create more swing speed with very little sidespin, even when the club path angle is not perfect.

This can help to improve the fundamentals of the driver swing, allowing golfers to focus on improving club path angle without the frustrating slices and hooks.

Furthermore, removing the sidespin from the equation helps you to identify the true face angle of the driver at the point of impact.

If the ball goes left, the face is too closed. If it goes right, the face is too open.

Making Golf More Enjoyable

Secondly, golf is hard. For the average golfer, any slight hack to make the game a bit easier should be welcomed, so I strongly recommend giving it a try.

Nobody enjoys consistently missing fairways. If you’re playing recreationally and looking for some relief with the driver, consider trying chapstick on your driver.

While it’s illegal to use in competitive golf, the common golfer needs every bit of help to navigate this seriously challenging game!

should you use chapstick on your driver

Final Thoughts

To summarize, adding chapstick to the driver face has two key effects:

  • It reduces backspin — increasing the distance
  • It reduces sidespin — reducing the dispersion

While it’s illegal to alter the clubface in tournaments, hitting the ball straighter off the tee would make golf more enjoyable for any amateur golfer.

So, if you’re looking for a bit of fairway forgiveness and tired of wondering how to hit a driver straight — why not give it a try?

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Hailing from the South West of England, Jake has been playing golf for over a decade. He founded Pitchmarks with the aim of helping everyday golfers like himself learn more about the game, through instructional content and honest gear reviews. He has a degree in Architecture and a passion for golf course design, along with a lofty goal to play the world's top 100 courses.