by Kevin McKinley, PGA Assistant General Manager
As an instructor in the golf industry for over 20 years, it’s safe to say that I think I’ve seen it all. Students often think they are alone when it comes to their particular swing flaw, but I quickly reassure them, they certainly are not. Many golfers refer to their slice as a swing flaw, but in all actuality, a slice is typically the resulting ball flight of what could be several swing flaws working together. Understanding the cause of the slice is so important when it comes to correcting it. So let’s dig in.
What Causes a Slice in Golf?
A slice happens when a sidespin is put on the ball, causing it to curve to the right for a right-handed player and to the left for a left-handed player. Sidespin to the right is caused when the clubface is open (pointed right) relative to the path the club is traveling as the club impacts the ball. This not only causes sidespin but also a glancing blow, which causes issues with direction and distance.
How to Avoid a Slice in Golf
So fixing the slice should be simple, right? Just get the clubface square at impact, and we’re good. Not so fast! Often, years of slicing comes with years of that particular golfer teaching themselves to compensate so they can tolerate the slice. An example of compensation would be a golfer aiming their shoulders to the left, which, in turn, caused their swing path to go to the left. Thus, simply fixing the clubface might cause a golfer to hit pulls directly to the left. There are two common flaws that cause most slices: grip and alignment.
Adjust the Grip to Rotate the Club
The first place I look to help a golfer cure a slice is to analyze, and many times, change, the student’s grip. It certainly isn’t always true, but many slicers have what we call a weak grip, which means the hands are rotated too far toward the target on the grip.
A quick adjustment that I often make is to have the student ensure that they can see the knuckle of their index finger on their left hand when they are at their normal address position and in some cases, they should see the knuckle of their middle finger as well. The right hand should also be rotated away from the target accordingly. This will certainly feel awkward, and the student should get into the habit of regripping the club after every swing they make so they can get used to what it feels like to put their hands on the club in a different way. The more they practice, the more natural this new grip becomes.
Re-align to Straighten the Shot
Interestingly, a grip change often helps with the second place I look, which is alignment. Very often, a slicer will point their shoulders, feet, and hips to the left of their target. When a person’s hands are rotated away from the target on the grip, many times this gets their shoulders a little closer to aligned properly but usually not exactly where we want them. Getting the feet, hips, and shoulders all parallel with the target line will make it much easier for the student to swing the club down the line, as opposed to across the line.
3 Drills to Correct a Slice
Once the pre-swing fundamentals are good, it’s time to introduce some drills to allow the golfer to feel what he/she needs to do differently to straighten their drive.
- Drill 1 – This drill helps the golfer feel the club square up: In slow motion, I have the golfer take the club away to where it’s parallel to the ground. At this point, the logo of their glove should be facing straight forward. When the golfer swings (in slow motion) the club to where it is parallel to the ground on the other side, the logo of the glove should be facing behind the golfer.
- Drill 2 – This drill helps the golfer feel the club path come from the inside to out: The golfer should set up normal, then prior to starting their swing, move their right foot straight back about 3 to 4 inches. The golfer should make swings and even hit shots with their right foot back to give them the feeling of swinging the club from the inside rather than across the line.
- Drill 3 – Golfers can practice hitting shots with the ball above their feet. This drill promotes an inside to out swing.
Fix Your Slice with a PGA Professional
Since every golfer is different, my recommendation is to find a qualified PGA Professional in your area to assist you in curing your slice. The PGA Professionals at Treetops have nearly 100 years of combined experience helping golfers get better. Join us in one of our many instructional programs that fit your schedule and your budget. Most importantly, continue to enjoy the game of golf.
If you have questions about golf lessons, leagues, or tee times at Treetops Resort, call us at (866) 348-5249.