3 Ways to Eliminate the Slice for Good
By Anne Cain, Master Instructor, PGA TOUR Golf Academy World Golf Village
The recently relaunched Golfshot app not only gives you the ability to track your percentage of fairways hit, but also where you miss them. With a simple swipe of your finger, you designate whether you hit the fairway or missed it short, long, left, or right. At the end of the round, the app tallies your total percentage of fairways hit, along with the percentage you missed left or right.
Most recreational golfers miss their fairways to the right, a result of the dreaded slice. Either the ball starts right of the target line and continues to curve to the right, or it starts left and bends sharply to the right. The more open the clubface is relative to the path the clubhead is traveling on, the more it slices.
To fix a slice, you have to first get your ball position right so that it has a better chance of starting on line. Secondly, you have to get your swing direction moving more to the right, or approaching the ball from inside the target line. And lastly, you have to learn how to square the clubface better through impact. Here are three moves you can make that will accomplish all of these things and get you hitting more fairways.
STEP 1: PLAY IT FORWARD
With a driver, place the ball directly opposite the tip of your front shoulder. I’ve given approximately 16,000 lessons and I’d say 99 percent of the golfers get this wrong, and play it too far back in their stance. If you play the ball too far back you don’t give the clubface enough time to square up. For every inch the ball is placed too far back in your stance, it travels off line (i.e., to the right) between 15 and 20 yards, even if your face is square to the path. You’re then forced to make some compensation (i.e., coming over-the-top on the downswing, falling backwards to get behind the ball, shortening your arms to avoid hitting the ground, etc.) that can lead to a slice. The more forward the ball is, the better chance you have of contacting it at the low point of your swing or slightly on the way up, with the face square to your target line. This will allow you to hit a straighter ball at the optimal launch angle.
STEP 2: GET LEANED AND FLAT
Tilt your spine to the right so that your left ear is even with the zipper on your pants, and your upper body is fully behind the ball. This will help you launch the ball higher and will encourage a flatter swing (i.e., more around your body). The flatter your swing, the easier time you’ll have swinging to right field, or from the inside, when coupled with a square clubface, you will produce a right-to-left draw. The more I can get a golfer to feel like they’re hitting a baseball or skimming a rock across a pond sidearm, the better their downswing path is. As a drill, set up in your golf posture with your back to the wall and rear end gently touching the wall. While maintaining your posture, turn your hips and shoulders back and try to get the knuckle on your right index finger to touch the wall at about shoulder-height. This flat, Matt Kuchar-like top-of-backswing position will help you swing down more from the inside.
STEP 3: HIDE THE KNUCKLES
A common slice tip is to feel like you’re turning the knuckles on your left hand down to the ground through impact, which helps to encourage more clubface rotation. There’s nothing wrong with this advice, except that I think it happens much too late for the average slicer. If they’re trying to square the face at the ball, they’re much more likely to roll or flip their wrists. It’s much easier to hide the knuckles during the early stages of the transition, when the club isn’t moving as fast. As you start down from the top, immediately try to close the clubface, which you do by bowing your left wrist. Make the knuckles on your left hand roll under the club shaft. The earlier you start this rotation, the better chance you’re going to have of squaring the face at impact. Important: Do not tip the shaft out, toward the target line, as you bow the wrist. The clubhead has to stay behind your back (as if it were dragging down an imaginary wall behind you) as you do this, otherwise you’ll have no chance of swinging the club from the inside and hitting a draw.
Anne Cain is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher and Master Instructor at PGA TOUR Golf Academy World Golf Village in St. Augustine, FL.