One of the most frustrating shots that plague amateur golfers is the dreaded slice.
It can get really old stepping onto to the tee box and being terrified if there is water or OB right.
And what do most golfers do to fix the slice?
An even bigger slice!
If you’re hitting a slight fade then you should aim to the left of your target and play the soft, left to right cut. But if you are slicing the golf ball, aiming farther left is only making your miss even worse.
If you want to learn how to fix your slice then you are in luck. I’ll cover what causes a sliced golf shot and simple drills to help you hit it straighter.
What is a Slice?
First off, the slice is the #1 miss for 99% of amateur players! Feel lucky if you are part of the 1% who have nightmares of going left.
A sliced ball goes left to right (for a right-handed player). But even worse, the shot loses distance as it’s moving sideways, instead of straight, and creating sidespin.
What Causes a Sliced Golf Shot?
Like anything in golf, there is rarely one single thing causing a specific shot. But based on what we know about ball flight laws, the only reason you slice the ball is that the clubface is open at impact. The key is to identify why your clubface is open (or wide open) at impact.
The main reason the club is open at impact is that you come into the ball with an over the top swing motion. Since you are coming over the top it will usually start left and slice back to the right. How far right depends on how open the clubface is at impact.
This can happen for a variety of reasons.
Reason 1: Active Upper Body
As the great Ben Hogan said, “The downswing is initiated by turning the hips to the left. The shoulders, arms, and hands -- in that order -- then release their power.”
If you’re slicing the ball chances are you almost always start the swing with your shoulders or arms, not your lower body. When you have an overly active upper body it will cause you to rotate and pull the ball with an open club face. This creates the annoying pull slice that plagues the majority of amateur golfers.
Your overly active upper body could be because of an incorrect plane on your backswing, quick transition or lack of flexibility. Keep reading for an easy drill to help program an inside to outside swing path.
Reason 2: Bad Alignment
As I briefly mentioned in the beginning, some golfers make the slice worse by aiming farther left. While this seems like a good solution I’m sure you’ve seen one of your buddies try this and end up pull slicing it even more.
Reason 3: Weak Grip
4 Ways to Stop Slicing The Golf Ball
Enough of the reasons why, you are here to learn how to stop slicing the golf ball. Here are four solutions to help minimize your slice and maybe even turn you into a player who draws the golf ball.
1. Check Your Equipment
Your equipment can have a huge effect on the flight of your golf ball. Golf is already hard enough, don’t make it harder with equipment that doesn’t match your swing.
The first thing to evaluate is your shaft flex. If your shaft has too much flex it makes it much more difficult to square the face at impact. Check with a golf store near you to test your swing and make sure your shafts, especially your driver shaft, don’t have too much flex.
Here is a general guide for shaft selection for your driver based on the carry distance and swing speed.
The Simple Guide to Selecting the Right Shaft
Also, most drivers today have adjustable clubface settings. If your driver does come with a tool, make sure you have it set to neutral or draw biased setting. The last thing you want is your clubface promoting a fade at setup.
In our guide to the best drivers for a slicer, we recommend the perfect driver to bring that slice back into the fairway.
2. Adjust Your Setup
To quit slicing the ball you might need to work on your swing path. If you’re coming over the top you need to work on creating an inside to out swing path. One of the easiest ways to do this is to drop your right foot back slightly at address. This will naturally create an inside to outside swing path and give you more room to swing out toward your target.
Again, most slices are caused by an over the top motion on the downswing.
When adjusting your setup, make sure to check your grip as well. Most players have a grip that is too weak with thumbs down the handle. Make it stronger by turning your hand to the right when you grip the club. This will automatically promote a more closed or square face at impact.
Lastly, don’t forget to check your grip pressure as well. While most players want to “grip it and rip it” with the driver, this is 100% the wrong mentality.
In reality, your driver should be your lightest grip pressure other than a bunker shot! A “death grip” will only create more tension in your arms. This causes you to try to guide the ball instead of swing free and out toward the target.
Try out these two drills to start changing your over the top habits:
Drill #1: Practice a Baseball Swing
Step 1: With a 7-iron practice a baseball swing where you wrap the club behind and then around your body as if you were hitting a baseball. Keep the club level.
Step 2: After a few swings begin to roll your hands over sooner. This will promote the feeling of squaring or even slightly closing your hands at impact. A square clubface will create a straight shot and slightly closed will help produce a draw.
Do this 10-15 times on the range before hitting your driver.
Drill #2: Muscle Confusion Drill
Step 1: With a 6 or a 7 iron, keep your feet together and make as much of a backswing as you can. The club should be lower than normal as your feet are together creating a narrow swing path.
Step 2: Without moving any part of your body let gravity drop your arms. Your right elbow should hit your side and allow the club head to fly out. This should make the butt end of the club come up close to your face.
This is a practice drill that you do not do with a golf ball! If you are doing this incorrectly the club will wrap around your body producing the pull slice.
One more word of caution, once you fix your slice do not continue to do this drill. Unnecessary repetition of this drill could lead to developing a casting move in your swing. Trust me, you don't want that!
3. Don’t Aim Left
As I mentioned, aiming left only makes the slice miss even more to the right. Instead of aiming farther to the left, try to tee off the right side of the box. This will give yourself more fairway and room to work the ball off the left side of the fairway or rough. Adjusting your aim is a short-term fix but won’t help the bigger issues causing your slice.
4. Square The Club Face Earlier
Your clubface at impact determines if you slice, draw or hit the ball straight. The higher swing speed and longer shaft of a driver make squaring up this club the hardest. Again, if you are hitting a monster slice your clubface MUST be open at impact. You need to work on squaring up the face sooner on your downswing.
Use this drill from Tiger’s ex-swing coach, Hank Haney:
Hank Haney Slice Drill
Step 1: With a driver, hover your driver roughly a foot off the ground. This will naturally level your swing and help promote the inside to outside swing path. It will also help you feel the clubface turning over at impact.
Step 2: On your practice swings you want to feel yourself squaring the clubface roughly 2 or 3 feet behind the golf ball before impact. It will feel like your left hand is squaring up and turning the clubface.
Practice this drill with 5-10 practice swings the next time you’re on the driving range. Ideally, this will help promote a swing path to the right and square the face at impact. This drill will help you create a slight draw if done correctly.
Final Thoughts on Slicing the Golf Ball
Don’t settle for the weak slice with your irons and woods. Just because this has been your miss doesn’t mean it has to be that way forever. By switching to the right equipment and using these drills you can begin to change your swing. If this miss has plagued your game for some time, understand that it might be overnight but it is absolutely fixable in the long run.
Once you learn to swing on the right path and square the clubface at impact you will hit the ball farther and straighter than ever. Make sure you practice these tips on the range instead of trying to implement mid-round.
If you notice the slice seems to be getting worse as the rounds continue, don’t be afraid to switch a to 3 or 5 wood of the tee. The driver is the hardest club to square up and clubbing down can help you keep the ball in play more often.