The slice has forever been the most plaguing miss for amateur golfers. To me I feel there are several reasons for this. Logically when we see our ball slicing to the right (for the right-handed golfer) it feels like swinging the opposite direction should fix the miss. Unfortunately, it makes it worse and the downward cycle can proliferate from there. Secondly most slicers have a poor transition and shift starting down. Without a good shift that uses the lower body first the only way to hit the ball first instead of the ground is to come over the top. An aggressive move from the top of the swing with the arms or upper body might feel powerful, but I can promise you by the time the club hits the ball it is not. In this article we will cover the following topics in the hopes of understanding how to fix a slice in golf.
- What is a Slice?
- What causes a Slice?
- How to Stop Slicing a Driver or Irons
- Practice with Swing Align
What is a Slice in Golf?
A slice is a ball that curves away from the players dominant hand. So for a right handed golfer a ball that curves right. The key word here is “curves”. A ball that simply goes straight right is a push, and is caused for different reasons.
A slice is a poor shot for several reasons. It causes a huge loss in distance and generally misses right of the target. A fade on the other hand is a controlled ball flight in which the ball starts left of the target and fades back to and finishes at the intended target. There is little to no distance lost with a fade. Some of the best players in history have hit a fade as their primary ball flight (Hogan, Nicklaus, Trevino).
The amount of curve on a golf shot increases with club length and less loft. Since the driver has the longest shaft and lowest loft, it generally will slice the most and get you in the most trouble. Therefore, learning how to fix a slice can put you in play more often off the tee and greatly reduce your score.
What Causes a Slice
The three major causes of a slice are as follows:
An open clubface.
This is the biggest factor in what causes a slice in golf. An open face at impact can come from a poor grip, improper wrist angles, and/or release pattern. Not that it is a must, but many teachers feel fixing the clubface first can make overcoming the slice much easier.
An outside-to-in swing path.
One of the paradoxes of golf. Generally, the more you try to swing left the more the ball will slice to the right. When your swing path is excessively outside-to-in you're stuck with two bad results. You can square the clubface and hit a dead pull straight to the left, or you leave it open and hit a weak slice. Neither are appealing or functional for your game.
Shots hit in the heel tend to make the ball curve more to the right than they would have if hit in the center.
How to Stop Slicing a Driver or IronsThe key in how to fix a slice is to understand that the clubface must be square (or slightly closed) to the direction of the swing path for the ball to not slice. If the clubface is open to the path the ball will always slice unless hit out on the toe. There are a lot of ways to change both the path and the face. It is important to find which ones are right for you!
Adjust Your Grip
A poor grip may be the number one cause of why golfers slice. Your grip is your only connection to the club. As Ben Hogan said, “Good golf starts with a good grip”. If you hold the club in the palm of the lead hand along with your trail hand placed on top of the shaft you will not be able to square the face and you will hit shots that are weak and to the right. As a result of this common grip problem most players will start coming over the top in an effort to square the club-face. My advice is to ensure the top or lead hand is holding the club as much in the fingers as possible. This will make it easier to be tension free, acquire the correct wrist angles and square the club properly to avoid an open face. In addition the bottom or trail hand needs to be more under than on top of the shaft. When the trail hand is placed too far on top the face will almost always open on the backswing. A good grip is the simplest golf slice fix.
Position the Ball Properly
Another simple golf slice correction is ball position. Ball position plays a critical role in how a player comes down into impact. It affects not only the club path but also the club face and the low point of the swing (where you hit the ground). This is not a one size fits all answer but in general players who slice the ball tend to have an overly forward ball position. The more forward the ball is the harder it is to come from the inside and the more difficult it is to hit the ball first. The generally accepted ball position is near the front heel for drivers and back near the middle for your short irons. As you move from the driver down through the set the ball generally moves back in the stance.
Monitor Your Stance
Taking the proper stance plays a big role in eliminating a slice. From the front view I encourage golfers to error on the side of being too narrow versus too wide. A wide stance can make weight shift difficult and consistent ball striking less likely.
When viewing the stance from behind I generally see two faults. First is the golfer who is sick of hitting it right will keep aiming more and more left. This makes it impossible for them to square the club-face because if they did the shot would go dead left where they are aiming.
Some slicers aim too far right which forces them to come over the top and hit a pull back towards their target. The problem is this stance creates a poor transition and downswing and makes changing their swing almost impossible.
Square the ClubFace
Here are three golf slice fixes that will help make sure the face is not open to your path at impact:
Take a stronger grip!
Try to see 3 or more knuckles on the lead hand and hold the club in the fingers and not the palm. Make sure the thumb on the trail or lower hand is pointed back up somewhere between your right collar and right shoulder.
Flatten your lead wrist!
Even with a good grip it is very possible to get the face open going back and or coming down if the wrist angles are incorrect. Make sure at the top of the swing the lead wrist is flat and in line with the forearm. Coming down you want it to be the same or even bowed. This will ensure the face is not opening on your downswing.
Release the club!
Many of the slicers I see do not release the club to help square the clubface at all. Their wrists freeze up, their arms buckle, and the lead hand stays above the trail hand almost until the finish. No matter how great the rest of the swing is this will always tend to produce a slice and a loss of distance.
Inside To Square Swing Path
Here are three golf slice fixes that will help make sure your club path is not outside-to-in:
Strong position at the top!
At the top of the swing the distance between the elbows should remain consistent to how they were at address. At the top focus on maintaining elbow spacing and don’t let your right elbow lift up or fly away from your body too far.
Start the downswing properly!
The downswing starts from the ground up. Even as the upper body and arms are still going back, the lower body is starting the downswing. Putting pressure into the lead foot early in the transition is a big key to getting back to the ball squarely from the inside with more power. Don’t pull with your arms or lunge with your body from the top. This causes an outside-to-in path which leads to a slice.
Tuck the Right Elbow!
Once the lower body starts the downswing the torso can quickly follow.. The trail elbow must work down and close to the body. This gets the club on an inside track and ready to be delivered and released squarely with body rotation and more power!
Fixing a Slice with Swing Align
Swing Align can help you stop slicing in so many ways from set-up all the way to the finish.
- To start, the highly visual alignment rod ensures proper set-up and upper body alignment that is so crucial to coming back down to the ball on a good path. If you open shoulders at set-up and you are already destined for a slice.
- On the backswing try to get as close to a 90 degree turn as possible. Being able to use the alignment rod to see if you are fully rotating will add power and depth in your backswing setting up an inside path coming down.
- At the top the connection belt will insure your elbow spacing is consistent. It keeps your arms from swinging too far and your right elbow from flying away from your body.
- During the downswing the connection belt keeps your arms and body connected and synchronized so you can feel what a powerful swing should feel like.
- At impact and into the follow through the connection belt helps you release the club squarely and with power. It is almost impossible to chicken-wing the lead arm through impact which is a major cause of an open clubface and hitting a slice.
Fix Your Slice with Swing Align!
Now that you understand how to fix a slice in golf and what you need to do to improve, do yourself a favor and make it that much easier by checking out Swing Align. Changes are hard for anyone and having a device to make it easier is invaluable. Commit to fixing your slice once and for all and let Swing Align take you there!