Approximately 90% of golfers struggle with golf slicing. Learn what you can do to correct your golf slice.
A golf slice is a type of golf shot in which the golf ball curves dramatically in flight from left to right (for a right-handed golfer). The slice can be played intentionally, but is usually the result of a mishit. Slices are the most common problem for recreational and high-handicap golfers.
- For a right-hander, a slice curves to the right;
- For a left-hander, a slice curves to the left.
The unfortunate reality is that a large majority of players–maybe 90 percent–struggle with a slice.
What Causes a Golf Slice?
The Grip’s Role In Slices
The grip has little to do with the direction of the swing, but everything to do with where the clubface looks at impact (e.g., open, closed or square clubface position). Grips can be very individualized.
A grip that produces a perfectly straight shot for one player can cause a huge hook or a slice for another. That being said, you can make certain generalizations about the grip regarding slicing.
If your hands are turned too far to the left on the club, it’s much more likely to return with the face looking to the right at impact.
Here’s the guideline: In your stance, with the clubface square to the target, you should be able to look down and see at least two knuckles on your left hand. If you see three or even four, that’s fine—but at least two.
If that’s the case, your grip is not contributing to your slice. Another guideline is to look at the “V’s” formed between the knuckle and thumb on both hands. These should point up to somewhere near your right shoulder.
Slicing and the Golfer’s Stance
One would assume that if a golfer is missing often to the right, that he or she would eventually start to aim more to the left to compensate.
But that’s not true. Aiming to the left will cause the swing’s circle to be too far to the left, exacerbating the slicing motion.
Double check that your aim is not too far to the left, especially with your shoulders. You can lay a club on the ground, parallel to your target line, to check your aim. You can also have a friend check your alignment. Just make sure that your feet, knees, hips and shoulders are parallel to that club on the ground and to your target line.
Checking your stance and grip can often eradicate any slice without changing the hitting motion at all. Let the ball’s flight be your guide. If it’s curving less to the right, then you’re on the right track. If it’s flying straight or curving left, then your slice is cured.
Slice Causes in the Backswing
There are numerous backswing issues that can affect your impact position. For slicing, the two basic flaws are a backswing that is going too much up (too steep), or a clockwise twisting of the shaft, or both.
If your backswsing is too much up and not enough around, then the club is going to approach the ball on an angle that is too steep. A properly squaring clubface would then create an impact that is hitting the ground too hard. In an effort to hit the ground a bit lighter, the golfer with this problem often opens the face on the way through, causing a slice.
To fix this issue, take a look at your backswing at the top. Make sure the shaft is over your shoulder at the top, not over your head. To achieve this position, you may have to feel your left arm cross your chest just a bit, creating a flatter or more rounded backswing. You may feel a bigger turn this way too. Engaging those bigger muscles will only help you generate more power.
The next important element of the backswing will be the clubface position.
One of the biggest mistakes slicers make is to turn the club clockwise to begin the backswing (immediately opening the clubface on the takeaway, in other words). This movement feels like the club is going around properly, creating a good turn. Unfortunately, this opening of the club simply creates an open face at impact.
True, the clubface should “open” on the backswing, relative to the target line. However, this natural opening is done with the turning of the shoulders and torso, not because of a twist in the hands.
When you are making your backstroke, just hold on to the club. No effort to twist your hands or hinge the wrists should be made. When you get to the top, you can check for the proper position by looking at your left wrist. Lay a ruler underneath the face of your wristwatch, it should touch both your arm and the back of your hand. In other words, the back of your left wrist should be straight.
The way the ball flies will give you objective feedback about your swing. Afterall, your golf ball is your best teacher.
You’ll want to remember that you are improving if your 30-yard slice is now a 15-yard slice. No matter how strange a new move feels, always listen to what the ball tells you. If the ball is still tailing to the right in flight, then you’ll have to feel the club close sooner still. Not until you curve the ball to the left have you closed the clubface too soon! The feel can trick you, but the ball won’t.