The harsh reality we all faced when starting out this beautiful game is that nowhere in good golf is there room for a slice. A ball that starts to the right of the target and moves further right of the target can never be beneficial, no matter what the situation – yet the slice persists and haunts many a beginner golfer to this day.
It is by far the most common error made in golf with an estimated 80% of all golfers affected, therefore it should come as no surprise that it is the most common reason for golfers getting lessons and the most commonly searched fix on the internet.
The first step to curing your slice is realising why you are slicing it – and this is the step I feel most golfers skip. They want to know the fix and they want to know it fast, but unfortunately the golf swing is so unique that a one-size-fits-all cure simply does not exist. You have to understand which parts of your swing or set-up are causing your ball to move in the way it moves and then from there you can search for drills and tips to eliminate the slice from your life.
First things first, you must differentiate a slice from a fade, because while slices are always bad, fades are not. There are many great golfers, including tour professionals who use a fade or cut as their go-to shot including the long-hitter Dustin Johnson. Getting rid of a slice does not necessarily mean you should adopt a draw, and having an open mind to what shot shape you want to hit can be beneficial in developing a consistent swing that produces accurate results.
How To Cure A Slice
Causes and Fixes
A slice will always result from the following two factors: an open clubface and/or an in-to-out swing plane. The presence of any one or both of these factors will always result in a ball that’s starts right and that is imparted with slice spin.
Square It Up
The position of the clubface at impact is what decides the starting position of your ball. Countless sessions of Trackman analysis have shown that it is clubface position and not the path of the club that determines the direction of initial ball flight. With this in mind, the first step you want to take towards curing your slice is making sure you are squaring up the face of your club at impact so that the ball starts on a line directly at, or even just left of the target.
This mistake is very common on tee shots as it can be harder to tell when the face of your driver is square or open. Driver heads with a little line that sits perpendicular to the target are the easiest to square up, but a good way to get your clubface pointing towards the target is to try and get the top line of the crown of the driver ‘square’. This may often feel as though the face is too closed but if you just trust your swing you will immediately get a ball that starts on line.
Slicers have a tendency to aim left in anticipation of the big ballooning left-to-right curve that is about to follow. Unfortunately, this tends to reinforce the type of swing plane that contributed to the slice in the first place. ‘Trying to hit the ball left’ will cause you to take the club back inside of the target line on the backswing and then across the target line on the downswing and a clubface that is moving left through impact. Instead of compensating for the slice, this swing ends up imparting more spin onto the ball and starts making your game dependent on the slice shape.
Rectifying this takes a lot of guts and trust in your swing. Essentially you have to set up aimed directly down the middle of the fairway and make a swing that results in the clubface moving right through impact. The reason this is hard is because at set-up, you feel as though you are aiming too far right and that swinging right through the ball will only make things worse. In reality, when the path of the club moves more to the right than the direction of the clubface, draw spin will be imparted and your ball will fly pretty straight, maybe even with a bit of right-to-left movement.
Drills and Tips
Quick fixes for slices caused by incorrect set-up are numerous and easy to bring into play. As previously mentioned, squaring up the clubface can prevent a slice caused by you blocking the ball right. Another quick and easy tip is to strengthen your grip slightly. What this means is that you should rotate your right hand (if you are right-handed) slightly clockwise around the grip of the club so that you can see the tip of your right index finger. This frees up your wrists and allows them, together with your arms, to release and roll over during impact, greatly improving your chances of a square clubface.
The best way to get your club moving right through the ball is to picture a clock face on the ground with your ball in the centre, so that 12 o’clock is lined up with the target. At set up, line your club up with 12 o’clock and take a few practice swings with the club moving through 1 o’clock. Get used to the feel of this new swing plane, and then step up to the ball and try to repeat the exact same 12-1 o’clock combo. It might take a while to get used to, but it should get your ball moving with neutral or even right to left spin.
Frequently Asked Questions
I’ve done all this, but I’m still slicing it – what’s wrong?
If you’ve corrected clubface position and swing path, then the issue may be that your lower body is turning through the shot faster than your upper, causing your body to be ‘open’ to the target. Try and slow it all down and feel like you are starting your downswing before your lower body rotates through.
Is there any technology that can help me correct my slice?
Yes. There are loads of different technologies to help you analyze your swing and understand where you are going wrong. Here are some of the best golf swing analyzers.