The majority of golfers regardless of skill level are familiar with a slice. The slice is an errant shot that lands up in trouble more often than not, but there is more to a sliced golf shot than what meets the eye. Below we are going to take a closer look at the different causes of a slice and how to fix it.
Explanation of a slice
A sliced golf shot can be explained as a shot with either a wood or an iron that starts in the direction of the flag but then proceeds to slice off to the right for right-handed players and to the left for left-handed players.
More often than not golfers get confused between a fade and a slice. A fade is a controlled shot where the player intends to start the ball slightly left of the target and due to the spin on the ball, the ball will move towards the right and subsequently to the target.
Another common mistake that golfers make is to block a shot out to the right (right-handed players). Blocked shots with a wood or iron will start to the right of the target and it will finish on a similar line right of the hole as to the one it started on.
Different causes of a slice
Before we take a closer look at the different causes of a sliced golf shot it is very important to understand that every golf swing is unique and what causes one golfer to slice the golf ball might be completely different from that of another golfer.
Ideally, if you struggle with getting rid of a dreaded slice the best option is to seek the help of a qualified PGA Professional golf coach. With the help of a golf coach the root cause of your sliced shots will be identified and once that has been done the appropriate fix can be implemented.
Alignment is a basic fundamental of the golf game. Proper alignment might seem easy and intuitive but even some of the best golfers in the world struggle with alignment on an on-going basis.
If you were to set up with your feet and shoulders too far to the left of your target your mind will force your body to adjust subconsciously to try and hit the ball at the target. The result of compensating for bad alignment will be an open clubface at impact which is what will cause the golf ball to slice off to the right and into trouble.
To learn more about alignment click here.
The grip is another basic fundamental of the golf swing that many golfers struggle with on an on-going basis. The grip is the only point of contact that a golfer has with the golf club therefore it is of utmost importance to grip the club correctly since it has a direct implication on the angle of your clubface at impact.
If your grip is the cause of your slice it will normally mean that your grip is weak which prevents your hands from releasing the clubhead through impact. If your club head isn’t released your clubface will be open at impact which will cause the golf ball to slice off to the right-hand side of the fairway or green.
Swing path refers to the angle of your golf swing in relation to your target. If your swing path and clubface angles are both 0 degrees at impact the golf ball will go straight. If your swing path is – 3 degrees but your clubface is 5 degrees, the golf ball will start to the left of your target and curve to the right.
Launch monitors such as Trackman and Flight Scope are used to measure all of the numbers, but for the regular golfer all of this tech can be very confusing so for now we will stick to the basics instead.
An easy way to check your swing path is to look at the angle of your divots. If your divots are facing towards the left of your target and the golf ball is slicing off to the right this will mean that your swing path is too much to the inside and vice versa if your divots are pointing to the right of your target.
If you are struggling with hitting a divot and if all your shots are thinned slices it can be an indication of your swing being too steep. Steep angles of attack and out to in swing paths tend to go hand in hand. If all of this sounds confusing right now don’t worry, it will all become a lot clearer once we start looking at how to fix these mistakes.
How to fix a slice
Now that we have a better understanding as to what tends to cause a slice let’s take a look at how these different problems can be fixed.
Fixing your alignment can make a huge difference in your golf game. When you think of alignment it is important to think about your shoulders, hips, and feet. Amateur golfers often make the mistake of only thinking about their feet when it comes to alignment.
Alignment can be practiced both at home and out on the driving range. Place a golf ball on the ground and identify your target. Once the target has been identified place a club on the ground about 2 feet away from your golf as per the image below. It is important that this club is also aligned at your target.
Once the alignment club is in place set up to the golf ball, make sure that your feet, shoulders, and hips are aligned with the club on the ground. If you are hitting golf balls on the driving range, always use an alignment club, this will ensure that your alignment doesn’t go out over time.
Unfortunately, an alignment club can’t be used out on the golf course but a similar principle can be applied. Find a spot on the grass about 3 feet in front of your ball in line with your target, make sure to align your clubface with that spot.
Imagine a line that runs from that spot and back through your golf ball, your feet, hips, and shoulders need to be aligned perpendicularly with that line. In theory, this might sound easy but make sure to practice this out on the driving range.
If you think that your grip is the cause of your slice do the following drill to check your grip. Take any club in your right hand (left hand for left-handed players) and hold onto it halfway down the shaft, hold the club out in front of you perpendicular to the ground with the clubhead pointing to the sky.
With your left hand reach out and take a hold of the grip of the club by wrapping your fingers around the grip with your thumb pointing down the grip, make sure to keep your left arm parallel to the ground. Let go of the club with your right hand and lower the club to the ground.
With the club behind the ball proceed with adding your right hand to the club, you can either overlap or interlock your right pinky depending on your normal grip. Wrap the fingers on your right hand around the grip with your right thumb pointing down the shaft and with your right palm covering your left thumb. The V’s between your thumb and the rest of your hand should both be pointing at your right shoulder.
If this grip feels uncomfortable to you then it is safe to assume that your grip might have been the cause of your slice. Changing your grip is a tedious process that requires a lot of practice and patience but with time you will reap the benefits.
Fixing your swing path is easier said than done, it requires both patience and practice. The train tracks drill is a great way to work on your swing path. If you have alignment sticks, great, if not two clubs will work just as well.
Build a train track with the alignment sticks or clubs that are aimed at a specific target. The “tracks” need to be about 2 clubheads apart from each other. Once your tracks are in place you can start hitting balls, focus on swinging along the line of the tracks.
A slice is most golfer’s worst nightmare, but with the right plan of action, you can get rid of it. Keep in mind that adjustments to your golf swing take time and practice, don’t be deterred if you don’t see results instantly.