How many times have you stood on the first hole with such high hopes, only to see that first tee shot slice off into the right rough or even worse?
The second and third hole produces the same results, and by the fourth hole, you are aimed about 30 yards left of the fairway, just to try to get the ball somewhere in play.
Slicing can be an extremely frustrating problem, and it seems that the more you try to keep it from happening, the worse it gets!
From Golf schools to my Sunday afternoon round, slicing is definitely the most common problem I see. Fortunately, there are some things that can be done to get the ball to stop going to the right, and make your rounds more enjoyable.
When I see the ball curve to the right, we know that one thing happened for sure: THE CLUBFACE WAS OPEN.
Since your hands are the only connection to the golf club, there are three things that we can do with your hands to eliminate a slice:
1. Your Grip On The Club
First, you can turn your left hand more to the right, making sure that you can see at least the first two, if not three, knuckles on your left hand.
Another way to think of this is to make sure that the palm of your left hand is looking down and to the right (almost at your right foot).
If your palm faces directly away from the target, or worse yet, up toward the sky, you have guaranteed a ball that will head toward the right rough.
2. Your Grip Pressure
Second, it is really important to make sure that your grip pressure is extremely light. That will help the clubface to close during the downswing.
Keep this in mind:
TIGHT EQUALS RIGHT
If you are someone whose slice doubles or triples in size when you go from the range to the golf course, I would have you try this exercise during your next round.
As you are getting ready to swing the club away, the last thing you need to do is “SQUEEZE AND SOFTEN“. Think of your grip pressure as being on a scale from 1 to 10.
A 1 would be almost to the point where the club would slip out of your hands, while a 10 would be the way you would feel hitting the first shot in the 2001 Ryder Cup with Tiger Woods as your partner, playing against Sergio Garcia and Darren Clarke (don’t forget the millions of people watching your every step).
By SQUEEZING AND SOFTENING, you are able to relieve all of that tension at the most critical moment – the one second before and the one-second during your golf swing, and get that grip pressure down around 3 or 4 on our scale.
Get a better “grip” on your tension level during those two seconds and see your ball fly further and straighter.
3. Your Palm
Finally, imagine a tennis player hitting a “top-spin” forehand versus a “drop” or “cut” forehand. In the “cut” shot, the player’s palm would stay pointed toward the sky, while in the “top-spin” forehand, the palm would rotate down toward the ground.
It is this rotation of the forearm (both forearms for our purpose) that provides both power and accuracy. Learn to make your right palm look at the ground as you go through the shot, and your ball will soon begin to see a whole new side of the course – the left side.
4. The Split-Grip Drill
One great drill to feel this motion is called the “split-grip” drill. Assume your grip, but simply move your right hand about 3-4 inches down the shaft so there is a gap between your hands.
From this starting position, make some 1/2 swings and check your finish. Is the clubface looking down toward the ground, or up at the sky? If it is looking at the sky, you just hit a “drop shot”.
If it is looking at the ground, you just hit a “top-spin” forehand and may have even seen the ball curve to the left. Get good at this drill and you will really begin to understand the feeling of the clubface closing around the golf ball.
These may not be the “cure-all” to your golf game, but they are extremely helpful in starting to tame that slice. There may be other problems that need to be addressed, such as your address position, or takeaway, however, those things need to be worked out on the driving range with a qualified professional.
If you feel that you need help to get that ball to turn from right to left, please seek the help of a qualified teaching professional.
In the meantime, use your hands better, and you’ll find yourself hitting more fairways and having more fun!