Of all the shots you can hit in golf, a slice is the most common — and arguably the most frustrating.
A slice is defined as a shot that, for a righthanded player, starts to the left before peeling off in a banana shape to the right. It is a shot most beginner players struggle with. It is very difficult to control a slice because of how far the ball curves. Also, because of the amount of spin on the ball, the shot generally loses distance.
This might not be as noticeable with shorter shots, but it is hard to play with a slice off the tee.
What causes a slice? The easiest answer is that a slice occurs when the clubface is open — pointing to the right for a righthanded player — while the club itself is hitting the ball while coming across your body. If you are standing behind a golfer, this would mean the club starts to the right and comes to the left, “slicing” across the ball.
So how can it be fixed? Here are a few methods for turning your slice into something different:
1. Strengthen Your Grip
Your hands are your only connection to a golf club, so they need to be attached properly. Most golfers who hit a slice have a weak grip. This means that their left hand is more below the club while their right hand is more on top. For a lefthanded player, it would be the opposite. This type of grip naturally opens the clubface and makes a player vulnerable to a slice. Moving your left hand more on top of the club so that you can see two knuckles on your left hand allows the club to release towards the target.
Changing your grip will feel uncomfortable at first. You will notice that the ball may hook horribly from right to left when you first try it. This is a natural part of fixing a slice. In order to fix it, you have to start by hitting the exact opposite shape. Once you do, you can learn how to straighten your shot.
2. Correct Your Aim
Most people who hit a slice have an easy-to-correct issue: they aren’t aimed correctly. The majority of slicers have their club aimed at the target but their feet and body aimed well to the right. This creates the effect of feeling like they have to swing more to the left. This is going against where their body is aimed to the right.
Opening your stance, which means to aim more to the left, will allow the club to travel more from the “inside” of your swing path on the downswing. This means that the club is closer to the your body before you hit the ball.
3. Shallow Out Your Swing
Slicers often struggle with becoming too steep in their swing. This means that the club is traveling to the ground more like an axe and less like a croquet mallet. The steeper your swing, the more spin is added. This can exacerbate the effects of a slice.
To shallow your swing and put less spin on the ball, you will want to feel like your club is closer to the ground as you start your swing. The more “depth” you can create on your backswing, getting the club further away from your body, the shallower your swing.
4. Learn How to Release the Club
Golf clubs are designed to follow the arc of a golf swing. If you were to hold a club waist high and swing it like a baseball bat, you would feel the need for your arms to “turn over”. In other words, your left arm would be on top as you swing back and your right arm would be on top as you swing past your body.
Doing this drill allows you to feel how the club should travel through the ball. Most players who hit a slice are not allowing the club to “turn over” as it was designed.
5. Do Away With Tension
It’s counterintuitive, but holding a golf club tightly is not productive. It actually hinders you from hitting the ball farther, and straighter.
A good visual is to picture holding a small bird in your hands. You want to hold it firmly enough so that it won’t fly away, but you also don’t want to hurt it. You want to be able to feel the weight of the clubhead as it goes back and through. This is critical for allowing the club to release through the ball instead of holding the face of the club open and not allowing it to rotate.