WHAT IS A SLICE?
Well, if you've clicked on this page then you probably know only too painfully what a slice is. At best it's a weak shot that seems to start straight but bends annoyingly off target at the end of
it's flight (and spins further away on landing) and at worst ii's a ball that starts offline and bends further offline never to be seen again!
So what causes it? If you're a left handed player then please reverse these instructions and definitions.
So, a slice is a shot that misses to the right but starts left of the target or sometimes straight at the target. It is however caused by the club travelling to the left of your target line
through impact, so the problem is often that the more your ball misses to the right the more you try to swing to the left which, either makes it slice more, or worse still ends up going way left (a
pull). This swing path is known as 'out-to-in' but can also be 'in-to-in'.
So how can the same swing produce a ball flight that can miss both left and right by such a huge amount? The answer is in the angle of the clubface at impact. If the angle of your clubface is to
the right of your swing direction through impact (open) then a slice or a push slice will occur. If your clubface points in the same direction as your swing path or to the left (closed) then a pull
or a pull-hook will result. Please note; if your ball misses left but starts straight at, or left of your target, you are NOT 'hooking' the ball (even if it bends further left), this is a pull or a
Understanding these principles is the first step towards curing your slice ...... and/or what you may previously have called a hook ....... it is impossible to be a slicer and a hooker with the
same swing path!. You will more than likely be a slicer with your long clubs (driver, fairway wood, hybrids, #4 iron etc.) but often pull the ball left with your mid to short irons - leaving you
puzzled at how a swing that feels the same can miss both left and right with different clubs.
So what are you doing that causes this to happen? We know you're swinging to the left through impact but how is your body making this happen. Well there of course many reasons for this, but by far
the most common are these: -
- Poor weight transfer in the forwardswing. You may find yourself stuck on your back foot at the end of your swing. This is known as a 'reverse pivot' and this pivot around your
back leg causes the club to travel too much to the left through impact. Also known as 'hitting from the top' or 'casting' this is by far the usual cause for many problems with your ball flight
....... particularly slicing/pulling, but also topping and fatting.
- Over the top: Your downswing may return 'over the top' or 'above the (swing) plane' of your backswing. This slight loop in your swing will produce an out-to-in swing path through
impact and result in a slice to the right or a pull to the left. This fault is often caused by the same symptons described in No.1 above .... i.e. hitting from the top.
These are the two primary causes of the slice but how are we going to fix them?
- Poor weight transfer: Where your weight is (i.e. on your right or left foot) has a major influence over the path of the club through impact. Try making a practice swing where you
deliberately hang back on your right foot as the club swings through ...... which direction does the club travel in through the bottom of your swing? Now make a swing where you feel that the club
travels very much to the right through the bottom of your swing ...... note what happens from the top of your backswing ........ your weight will move forwards first and your hips will clear quickly
to allow room for the club to fall into the right place in order to swing to the right through impact. You must then force these things to happen when you hit the ball, remembering that no one makes
a bad practice swing so your practice swing may feel ok, but something dramatically different may be happening in the swing you use when you are actually hitting the ball.
- Over the top: You may not feel that your swing comes back down 'over the top' or 'outside' of the way you swing back in a practice swing but it may well do when you hit the ball.
You must feel that your hands and arms do NOT initiate the downswing (the most common cause of most ball flight and ball stiking problems) ....... you need to practice the correct timing sequence
from the top of your backswing through to your finish. The correct sequence is (from the top of your usual backswing): weight to left foot, hips start to clear, body unwinds, arms follow body .....
the last thing to come through should be the head of your club. You should be balanced fully on your left foot and facing the target at the end of EVERY swing - if you are not then your timing
sequence is out of sync.
Practice drills/fixes. These apply to both of the above faults:
- Swing to the right. You will be swinging to the left currently so exaggerate swinging to the right through impact. You may miss a long way right to begin with but you will soon learn to square
the clubface quicker through impact if you persevere.
- Low to high: You are currently swinging down steeply and to the left so we want to reverse this. Take your normal set-up then move the club so it is on the ground about a foot to the right of
your right foot. You are not hitting a ball with this drill but get the feeling of swinging through to a full finish from this position. You will get the feeling of swinging from low to high and more
'around' the ball as opposed to high to low like your existing swing.
- Swish the grip: Turn your club upside down and hold the shaft just beneath the head of the club in your right hand only. Stand roughly in your normal set-up, swing back and powerfully 'swish' the
grip through to a full finish. This is your natural golf swing and you should feel that your legs and hips are involved as much as your upper body - this is a true swing, everything else is just a
hit at the ball.
- One handed shots: Use the above drill with the club the right way up but still held in your right hand only (hold it towards the bottom of the grip). Using an 8 or 9 iron with the ball on a low
tee hit some shots with your 'natural' swing as described in No.3 above. You will also appreciate the true weight of your golf club with this drill.
NB: If you are playing right handed but are naturally left handed (or vice versa) then you have a different set
of issues and drills 3 and 4 may not work for you.
Have some coaching!
We hope these descriptions and tips will help you understand your swing a little better, but the only way you can be sure of exactly what your faults are ..... and therefore that you're trying to
fix the right thing, is by having a lesson or regular coaching from your local qualified golf professional. Do not take advice from your friends, family or 'mates' as it is nearly always
counter-productive however well-meaning the advice is.