The chances are that you are one of those aspiring golfers who want to take their game to the very next level, nearer to the tag of professionalism. If that's the case, this article is for you. This article aims to help you learn about the most common slice in golf, know how to diagnose it, and most importantly, understand how best to fix it.
We will be thoroughly discussing fixing your slice in golf to ensure that you get that edge over your competitors in case of pure playing class.
What is a slice?
A slice in golf is when the ball veers off to the right side after being struck by a club. The main reason for this may be due to incorrect positioning of the body or an unresolved issue with your swing. Other variables include humidity, wind conditions and how much water is present on the turf.
How to identify if you have a slice?
There are certain symptoms that indicate that you might be suffering from a slice in your game of golf.
These symptoms are:
- The ball curves severely to the right even after hitting it squarely on middle-of-the-clubface (which indicates that there could be something wrong with your grip)
- Your ball frequently flies towards out-of-bounds markers (indicating incorrect path taken by your club during the swing)
- You are not able to get accurate distance with your next shot (indicating incorrect transfer of weight, which makes it difficult for you to obtain proper momentum and speed while playing a shot)
The most common reason for the slice
One reason for the slice can be a twisted face at impact. This is caused by incorrectly turning the back of the left hand upwards during the backswing. We will show you a simple exercise on how to train your slice away on the driving range. Here’s everything you need: tees, balls, and your favorite iron.
Step 1: Practice swings with a half swing
At the beginning of the swing, move the back of your left hand down. At the top point, the back of your hand should be in line with your forearm. There must be no kinks!
Step 2: Half swings with the ball
Perform half swings with the ball to get a secure feel for the movement. You can tell whether your movement is correct by the fact that the ball flight is straight or you play a small draw/hook.
Step 3: More speed
When the ball flight you want is consistent, you can increase your movement and gradually increase the tempo. If the slice comes through again, you should reduce your movement again (see step 2).
If you feel confident with your favorite racquet in full motion, you can also do this exercise with other clubs.
How to Avoid a Slice in Golf
There are several ways to make sure that you do not suffer from a slice in your game of golf.
1. Adjust your body position
While playing a shot, you should stand parallel to the target line. In case of a slice, you need to get closer to the ball and adopt an open stance with your feet positioned at 9:30 or 10:00'clock from the target. This will enable you to rotate your upper body more towards the target which enables a player's weight transfer in favor of a leftwards to swing path and also let the club come down on a steeper plane. Also, make sure that your right shoulder gets behind your chin while you are taking a backswing so that it becomes easier for you to shift forward going into the impact zone.
2. Hit down on the ball
In the case of slicing, it has been noticed that most golfers make the mistake of taking the club back too far and raising their hands before impact. This results in a steep downswing that fails to generate any real power due to loss of momentum. To avoid this, you need to take the club back further and hit down on it. If done properly, your weight will shift leftwards and you would be able to gain better control over your swing plane and speed during a shot.
3. Keep your arms relaxed
One major mistake that players committing slice indulge in is tensing or straining their arms as they start playing a shot with their hands leading the way for arms and shoulders rotation. In case you do so, chances are that your body's upper torso won't be able to get rotated enough to get the ball airborne. To avoid such a scenario, you need to make sure that your arms and upper torso are relaxed during a swing. This enables proper weight transfer which results in better shot accuracy and enables sufficient speed generation while playing a shot.
4. Play with 3/9 or even 9/3
Most players who slice play with 1/2 to 2:30 positions on their backswing. Instead of doing so, it is advisable to either go for 3/9 or even 9/3 positions while striking the ball as they enable proper alignment of feet and body leading into impact zone to hit straight shots without any curve. Keep in mind that slicing can be due to many reasons other than just these mentioned above. For instance, if you realize that your shots are often landing short of the target, then it might be due to a problem in your set-up and swing path. In such a case you need to ensure that your clubface is pointing towards the sky at the address and your left heel is raised slightly which will enable you smooth transfer of weight during impact. If you feel that your shots land too far off from the right side or they keep running on even after bouncing several times over the turf, then most likely there could be an issue with how much water is present on the turf and its direction. The amount of deviation depends on strength of wind speed which pushes it further up if coming straight from behind or makes it curve more if coming at an angle.
5. Enhance clubface stability and ensure proper weight transfer to the left side during the backswing
One of the most common reasons behind slicing is instability in clubface angle when a player takes his or her backswing towards hitting down on the ball. This is because when such a thing happens, your wrists would naturally bend which leads to you not getting enough power out of your swing since it fails to provide the momentum needed for generating speed while coming down upon the ball during impact. If you want to ensure that this doesn't happen, you need to hold your hands in position till the last possible moment and allow only hips and shoulders to rotate in favor of the leftwards path before playing a shot. Your head should remain stationary with respect to feet throughout the backswing and only at the time of downswing does it need to be moved slightly off-center towards the left knee.
Why Is Controlling the Clubface Essential?
To ensure that your slice is perfect in every sense, you need to focus on the clubface. Controlling the clubface is all you will need to perform exceptionally well with every single slice. There's no hidden formula to that.
You might be thinking, why are we focusing so much on controlling the clubface in the first place? Your face will determine the face of the club. The way you will be looking at it will control the clubface and, eventually, the shot's accuracy.
Here are three key ways through which you can improve your slice by focusing on the club.
Focus on the grip
The first one is quite obvious already. If you don't know how to grip the club properly, there's no way you can successfully improve your slice. That's why the amount of grip you are putting on the club is essential if you are someone who's looking for accuracy.
In the case of a fixed slice, you don't need to put too much force on the club's grip. A moderate grip level will be enough. The only thing you should ensure is that your grip level doesn't change from shot to shot. Doing this will help you manage your face better.
Checkpointing the clubface
Let's talk about the positioning of the clubface and how it can influence the slice dynamics. Checkpointing the clubface means that you can use an alignment stick as a checkpoint of the clubface with every slice shot. Remember, use the alignment stick only when you are practicing.
The first step of marking the checkpoint is to match the alignment stick with the spine angle. To do so, place the alignment stick on the ground and match it with your spine angle. Mark the point, and now you can use this point as a checkpoint for your club.
Once the checkpoint is set, it's time to focus on the clubface mainly. But this phenomenon only happens once the hit is made. You see, when you hit the ball with your club, it will rotate depending upon the intensity of the impact.
To minimize the impact of the rotating clubface, you need to carry out the laser butt drill. Once the hit is made, you need to make sure that the butt of the club is in the direction of the target. All of this must be done only when the club is parallel to the ground simultaneously.
More tips to fix the slice
Most players find it easy to swing the club along our shoulder and foot line. However, if the shoulder and foot line are "open", we make it easier for the clubhead to get to the ball from the outside and thus promote the slice. If you tend to slice, also pay attention to the following aspects during the backswing:
Most often we keep the racquet on the same plane on the downswing as we are on the backswing because that's easiest for the body. Players who fight the slice and get the ball from the outside often also tend to swing the racquet outwards on the backswing. Check your backswing in front of a mirror or with a video.
The smoother and further we can open up on the backswing, the more likely we are to give the racquet a chance to get neutral on the ball. Watch your shoulders. Are the shoulders erect and relaxed? Or cramped and leaning forward? The latter prevents shoulder rotation and thus favors the slice.
3 Drills to Correct a Slice in Golf
- The first drill you can do to correct a slice in golf is the hitting tee drill. In this drill, all you need is a tee, and you're putting green. Take three or four tees and place them at different angles from the ball on the ground until they form a straight line going across your ball. Begin hitting your balls with this line of tees facing forward towards the target. Once you hit a good shot, make sure that it hits one of those tees to ensure proper impact with your ball. This will help you learn how to keep the face closed at impact, which is necessary for slicing correctly.
- The second exercise that can help fix a slice in golf is called setup drill. To do this drill, take your normal putting stance. Keep your left heel down and push it towards the target line while keeping your right heel up in the air. This should be done while gripping the putter really hard with both hands to ensure that you don't slice it. You need to place this pressure on the ball throughout the entire putting stroke until contact is made with each putt. The more pressure you apply, the better results you will get from this drill.
- Lastly, there's also a "shadow swing" drill which can help improve your golf swing for slicing properly. All you need to do is take out a mirror and start making swings across it (like how an umpire does in cricket). Ensure that when watching yourself in front of the mirror, your shoulders are perpendicular to its surface. While doing this drill, ensure that during your downswing you're actually rotating your arms from inside to outside as you would in a normal swing.
As golf enthusiasts, we all are looking for ways and tricks to help us get the edge in our game. If you think you are the only one who makes such mistakes, you are making another mistake right here. If you are more oriented towards shots that can cover longer distances than average, you need to specifically focus on the slice and the placement of your clubface.
A little practice with this area, and you will be good to go for the next level of golf. But remember, guys, never leave the practice. It's the only thing that will ensure the upgrade of your skills.