how to fix slice golf
There’s a reason why those who slice the ball seek to rectify it: there’s no place for a slice on the path to excellent golf. You can go from hitting a hook to playing good golf, but if you don’t learn how to stop hitting shots with an open clubface, you won’t get very far.
Unfortunately, a huge majority of players—perhaps 90 percent—struggle with a slice. They don’t have a good grip, they make a steep swing into the ball, and they don’t understand how the hands work in a good release. These factors combine to result in high, feeble strokes to the right.
One teaching method that has always worked for me is to identify a student’s primary defect and develop a strategy for practicing the opposite of that flaw. Exaggerate the fix as much as possible; feel the difference. That is how my new slice drill came to be. Slicers all over the world need a simple method to feel the right direction and plane. Starting with backward circles in the air, my three-step practice will have you experiencing a completely different swing form. (I’ll explain later.)
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After five minutes practicing the three steps (first we’ll check your grip and driver specs), you’ll be finding the left side of the fairway. It is always effective.
Get A Driver That’s Fit For The Job
Before you take your first practice swing, you should inspect your gear. Because of their high, weak ball flight, almost all slicers employ a driver with insufficient loft. The new adjustable drivers let you to raise the loft and shift weight to the heel of the clubhead. Instead of swinging a 9-degree driver and making it 10 or 11 degrees because you hold it open through impact, you want more loft so you can release your hands and turn a 10.5 driver into a 9.
SET YOUR HANDS SO THEY CAN RELEASE
Two grip errors almost always result in a slice. Many players have a too-weak grip, with their thumbs pointing straight down the handle. Strengthen your grip so that your hands are turned away from the target and your palms are parallel. Lines drawn from the base of your thumbs should meet at the point of your collar on the right side of your shirt. Furthermore, grasping too tightly prevents the hands from releasing via impact. Take a light grip.
MY 3-PART DRILL TO FIX YOUR SLICE
Okay, you’ve got the appropriate club and grip. Our objective now is to replace the swing loop you’re making—the pull-inside-then-loop-over-the-top one—with an opposite-direction loop. I used to try to get students to take the club back on an upright plane and then flatten it coming down, but they didn’t change much. I reasoned that there had to be a method for players to begin the ideal form early, so they could get it down through the ball. It turns out that it’s as simple as beginning with a basic clockwise circle (from the player’s point of view).
*Practice Drawing Circles: In step 1, position the clubhead in front of the ball and draw a large backward circle—starting toward the target, then over your head, then down and over the ball.
STEP 1: DRAW A BACKWARD LOOP
Take your regular posture, with the ball just inside your front heel, to test your new grip. Instead of soling the clubhead, place it in front of the ball. Then, using your hands in a leisurely circle, swing the club toward the goal, continuing over your head and then down and over the ball (above). Concentrate only on the loop. The club will naturally descend into a shallower plane as it approaches the ball, and your hands will begin to relax, or roll over, as you swing.
*ADD A TURN: in step 2, start from a normal setup, lift the club over your head, turn back and swing over the ball. The club will swing on a more narrow plane.
The next step is to incorporate some body turn into the drill, and to move the start of the loop from in front of the ball more toward your normal address position. Keep the loop continuing once you’ve grooved the clockwise circle motion (above) and add your shoulder turn. Start with the clubhead behind the ball and raise it above your head until your hands are in front of your face (ATurn your shoulders back and feel the weight of the clubhead on the shallower plane you’ve formed (B), then swing over the ball (C). You’re making half of a clockwise circle from above your head to the ball, which maintains the club on the inside route.
The shift from practice exercise to actual golf swing is the last phase in the process. Lift the club into a two-thirds backswing position, with your left arm in front of your chest (A). Then make your full backswing turn (B), and go from swinging over the ball to striking shots (C). You’ll continue to feel the backward loop that you started in the first part of the drill, and you should immediately see a right-to-left ball flight. It works for every golfer, at any handicap level. Just take it gradually, and do it in chunks. At our slice-a-thon, I toured the range and assisted dozens of slicers, and everyone, from a 20-year-old newbie to a senior citizen, understood it right away. They could see in five minutes that getting rid of their slice is the first step to playing to their potential.
BLEND IN A SWING: In Step 3, start with a two-thirds backswing, make a full turn and start hitting shots. You’re on the verge of making a proper swing—and losing your slice.
In Hilton Head, Hank Haney, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, runs the Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy.