Ten ways to beat your slice or make the most of it

Published 27/12/2010 07:51:00

Most recreational golfers battle a slice swing. For some, the battle becomes their Waterloo - an exhausting fight that can never be won. If you're such a golfer, the game can become aggravating. I've seen the worst slicers fix their swings, so there's hope. The question is, do you want to dedicate yourself to practising more and eliminate your slice once and for all? If the answer is no, there's hope yet still. You just have to learn how to live with your slice.


Whether you decide to leave or live with your slice, it's important to understand why a sliced ball behaves as it does. A golf ball slices for two main reasons: 1) the clubface is open at impact; or 2) the clubhead travels from outside the target line to the inside through the impact zone with a face that's open relative to the path. Either scenario imparts a left-to-right sidespin on the ball, which causes the ball to slice to the right.


To eliminate a slice, you must know where the clubhead is travelling in your golf swing and be in control of the face position throughout. The secret is educating your hands to bring the club down first, before you begin to turn your hips. Furthermore, you want to keep your left shoulder and right hip quiet and allow them to react to-not lead-your swing.


In the following article, we've prepared five on-range drills that will help you ingrain these motions and turn that slice into a nice, powerful draw. For those of you who wish to live with your slice, we've also included five easy ways to adjust your game to keep that banana ball of yours from ballooning your scores. Whichever path you choose, you'll be on your way toward playing better golf.


Leave it!


1. Trace The Proper Path.

Grip the club about 12 inches above the clubhead and swing the clubhead back, making sure that the grip points directly at the target line at the top of your backswing. Then, swing the club down so the shaft lines up with your left arm and the clubface is square at the impact position. Focus on getting the club shaft and left arm to form one straight line at impact (above).


2. Get In Balance.

Place your heels about three inches apart and point your toes outward. Assume your normal posture with the ball off your left heel and make a balanced golf swing. The purpose of this drill is to promote the concept of the hands swinging the club and the body following. Golfers who turn their bodies before they drop their hands, or who are too shoulder-oriented, will have difficulty performing this drill. Make sure you finish with your hips and back foot facing the target. Focus on the hands swinging the clubhead, and you'll learn how to improve your balance, tempo, pivot and path.


3. Learn A Proper Release.

Grip the club with your hands split apart about three to four inches. Swing the club back with an emphasis on keeping it on the proper path. On the downswing, focus on releasing the club so that it points straight down at impact and then out toward the target at the beginning of the followthrough.


4. Square The Clubface.

Assume your address position and swing to hip-high, or until your left hand has extended to shake hands with an imaginary person on your left. The left thumb should point parallel to your target line . Now, swing to impact. Focus on pointing both thumbs down at the ball as contact is made. This will help you learn to square the face at impact. In the hip-high followthrough, the right thumb should extend to a mirrored handshake position, with your hips facing the target and the shaft lying parallel to the target line. By focusing on how your thumbs and hands move, you'll better control the clubface throughout the swing.


5. Curb Your Shoulder

Spin. Set up to a teed ball with your feet close together. Now, bring your right foot back and lift your right heel off the ground. Make a half-backswing and start the downswing by moving your hands and clubhead straight down. Your left shoulder will rock upward in the downswing. That's okay, just don't allow it to spin left of the target line until after impact. If you keep the left shoulder from spinning, you'll give your hands the freedom to extend the clubhead down and out through the impact zone. If your left shoulder spins in the downswing, you'll more than likely create an outside-in swingpath, experience a loss of balance and find it impossible to hit down the target line.


Live with it!


6. Check Your Grip.

You can easily increase the chance of squaring the club at impact if you grip the club properly. I find it best to grip the club with your left hand by your left side instead of out in front of you. You want to set the grip in your fingers to match the angle of the shaft. The key is to place the heel pad of the left hand on top of the grip, so that your wrist is on top of the grip (below, right). Tap the ground a few times to get a feel for how the left wrist hinges. Now, move the club in front of you and notice how the left hand is slightly bent at the wrist and how the "V" formed by your thumb and index finger points at your right shoulder. Wrap your right-hand fingers around the underside of the grip and mold the hollow of your right palm over your left thumb. The "V" formed by the right thumb and index finger should point to your right shoulder, as well. Grip pressure should be just tight enough so that the club doesn't slip as you release through the impact zone.


7. Plan Ahead.

Play your own game and expect your tee shots to slice. Tee the ball on the far right-hand portion of the tee box and aim down the left side of the fairway. Adjusting your aim in this manner effectively creates a larger landing area, increases the chance of keeping the ball in play and establishes the proper angle to accommodate your ballflight.


8. Play The Right Equipment.

Offset hosels help by giving you more time to correct any flaws you may have in your downswing and square up the face at impact. Also, make sure your clubs are not too flat. Clubs that are too flat normally cause the toe to contact the ground first, which opens the face and causes an even greater slice. And go with drivers with more loft. Clubs with more loft create more backspin and less slice-causing sidespin.


9. Balance Over Speed.

The most important factor in a golf swing is the motion of the clubhead and how you control it. To be successful, you need to apply power with grace and timing instead of being out of control and off-balance. The left hand establishes tempo in your backswing, while the right hand sets the tempo for the downswing and followthrough. If you can recreate the right tempo with each hand on the course, you'll experience greatly improved results.


10. Let The Clubhead Win.

To decrease the amount of sidespin, picture your clubhead coming from an inside-out path and reaching the finish line-your left toe-first. Your hands should finish second, with the shoulders bringing up the rear. Remember, once your hands reach the finish line, extend the clubhead out to the target in the followthrough.


1.  Nice! Happy new year to everyone, and a great 2011!

comment by Kelsy - 07/01/2011 05:54

2.  I slice like a mofo, I find fixing the clubhead path is the single best tip

Just focus on a square impact

comment by Mekes - 02/09/2013 19:21

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