It’s a beautiful day on your local golf course, your buddy steps up to the tee and knocks a solid ball right down the middle of the fairway. After admiring his shot for a second, you grab your driver, tee up your ball, aim 50 yards left into the trees and proceed to hit a massive slice that eventually ends up in the fairway.
Sure you hit a fairway, but you’re 30 yards behind your buddy’s tee ball and he doesn’t let you forget it. Yep, you hit the good old banana ball off the tee. You may play it to perfection, but that slice is killing your distance and accuracy, plus your golfing buddies routinely razz you about it. Follow along and I’ll take you on a magical journey to curing that slice once and for all.
The slice is basically a golf shot that curves away from the golfer. That means a shot that curves to the right for right-handed golfers and curves to the left for you golfers that stand on the wrong side of the ball. Please no hate mail, I love my lefty golfers. The slice is generally a glancing blow at the golf ball that commonly produces a weak, high shot. It can be caused by a few things, but the most common is a swing that follows an out to in path. A slice can also be caused by your grip, an open clubface or even your golf club if it doesn’t fit you properly.
ELIMINATE THE OBVIOUS - Fix your club
Let’s first look at your driver. Most of my clients that slice shows up with a driver that has too low a loft. They are trying to overcompensate for the high curving path of the slice. Bad idea! Flatter surfaces like low lofted club faces create MORE sidespin on not so great hits.
More side spin means a bigger slice. Try using a driver that has more loft like a 10.5 or 12 degree to assist in producing less of that dreaded side spin. Also, club manufacturers now offer adjustable drivers that allow you to move weight around.
If you have an adjustable driver, let’s move that weight towards the heel of the club. This will help you close the clubface during your swing and make eliminating your slice just that much easier.
NOW THAT YOU’RE SWINGING THE CORRECT CLUB - Relax on the grip
Alright, we’ve started you on the journey to straighter shots, now let’s look at your grip. The most important notion I can tell you about the grip…..RELAX. Tons of golfers try and strangle the poor driver to death. Relax your hands and allow them to work. Besides holding the club too tight, most slicers hold the club with a very weak grip pointing both thumbs straight down the shaft. Rotate your hands into a stronger grip by turning them towards your rear foot. If you’ve done this correctly, you should be able to draw imaginary lines up your thumbs to your shoulder.
YOU’RE NOT BATTING CLEAN-UP FOR THE YANKEES - Nice and easy there
That’s right, you’re not trying to hit home runs in the major leagues, so stop trying to pull the ball out of the park. A good golf swing attacks the ball from the inside, similar to hitting it to the opposite field in baseball. Here are my favorite drills for eliminating that out to in swing path.
- Grab yourself a golf ball and try tossing it sidearm as if you were trying to skip a stone across a pond.
- As you “skip” balls try to concentrate on how it feels to lead with your elbow and snap the wrist at the last second.
- Repeat this drill as often as you need to regain that feeling.
- This drill also works well for golfers who have trouble feeling a proper weight shift.
The Orbit Drill or the Big Circle Drill
- Get set up in your normal golf posture and position with your driver (make certain to grab the club with your new grip).
- Rotate the driver in a giant circle, up over your head and back around to where the ball would be.
- Focus only on the circular motion. The club head should look as though it is orbiting your body.
- You should notice that the club is taking an in to out path as it approaches where the ball would be.
- Repeat this drill for 10 full circles.
The Reach for the Sky Drill
- This is a continuation of the Orbit Drill.
- Start in your normal driver set-up position where the club would be behind the ball.
- Lift the club until it points straight to the sky. Your hands should be roughly in front of your face.
- Turn your shoulders until your back is pointed at target. You should almost feel like you’re in the same position as at the top of your backswing.
- From here start the Orbit Drill again, but do not make a full circle. Stop at your normal finish.
- Hopefully, you can feel the club drop into a shallower plane and approach the ball from the inside.
- Once again repeat this drill for 10 cycles
After working on these drills, the key will be to convert it to an actual swing. Start by taking ½ or ¾ swings and try to feel the club making that circular motion. Once the motion feels good and solid go ahead and swing away. Your tee shots should start finding fairways and be noticeably longer.