Hitting a driver that starts out straight and then suddenly veers off course making a depressing curve to your dominant side is not how you want to hit a golf ball.
I am talking about that wild curve that heads for the deep rough, deep into a hazard, or even out of bounds. All golfers have hit the dreaded slice at some stage in their golfing experience. I know because I have seen many and experienced it first-hand.
It is one of the greatest robbers of power and distance. And everyone despises the shot.
Often it will cost you some shots or even result in a lost ball or two, or three.
That is the dreaded slice, and we will look at how to stop a slice off the driver.
What Causes a Slice?
There are several causes for hitting a slice with your driver, but there is one constant factor that you can resolve swiftly.
That is an open clubface at impact.
If your clubface is closed, you will tend to pull your shot irrespective of whether your swing path is outside-in or steep.
With an open clubface, an outside-in swing path exaggerates the fault and causes a big curve to your strongest side (right for right-handed golfers and left for left-handed golfers).
Another common cause of a slice is an outside-in swing path.
In the initial part of your downswing, your club is outside the line of the ball (or further away from you than it should be).
To compensate for this, you tend to pull the club to the inside just to make contact with the golf ball.
The combination of an outside-in swing and an open clubface are the major causes of the dreaded slice due to the excessive sidespin exacted on the golf ball.
A posture that is too upright will tend to put weight too much back into the heels and this is often accompanied by a backswing that is too upright. This will produce an outside-in swing path on the downswing.
Allowing for some bend at the hips so that the arms can relax, and hang will allow you to be balanced and athletic. This will enable you to make a flatter backswing to counteract the steepness of your backswing.
The most common cause of an open clubface is a weak grip that will directly reflect in the clubface that is open at address. A neutral golf grip will provide more control over your golf shots. Tightening your hands in a neutral grip will not affect the direction of the clubface.
You may find that your leading hand is too far underneath the club at the point of set up. This inevitably opens the clubface and contributes to your slice.
A stronger grip (neutral grip) will enable you to square the clubface through impact fighting your slice.
This video will give you some insight into how to grip your driver.
Arms Separating From the Body
One of the great stabilizers of a square clubface is to keep your elbows tucked into your sides throughout your swing.
Moving your elbows away from your body reduces the amount of control that you can exert on the club to square the clubface and creating more power.
Chronic slicers often flare the trailing elbow outwards, away from the body, during the backswing. With the elbow away from your body it is difficult to produce an inside-out swing path.
The simplest way to create the inside-out swing path is by pulling your trail elbow to your side and slightly ahead of your body during the downswing.
A good exercise to counter loose elbows is to tuck a medium-sized ball between your forearms without dropping it during your swing.
Not Flexible Enough
Some golfers are in the fortunate position to be flexible and can swing around their bodies.
Others are less flexible and with age the flexibility reduces. Flexible golfers can produce long backswings resulting in a wide arc and high swing speed.
If your flexibility is limited getting your body to rotate on your backswing thus creating torque could be quite a challenge.
Turning your trailing foot outward will create more flexibility and allow you to get the club into a more powerful position in your backswing.
What Can You do to Stop Slicing Your Driver?
There are several remedies to fix the slice off the driver’s face.
Flatten your swing plane to swing the club from inside-out. This will minimize the chance of hitting a big slice, not eliminate it. An open clubface, even on an inside-out swing will still create that awful slice.
Shift your weight onto your leading foot during the downswing.
Hanging back in your downswing will make it extremely difficult to close your clubface sufficiently to eliminate the slice.
With the weight on your front foot, you will be in an excellent position to drop your hands and swing inside-out. Furthermore, this will enable you to close the clubface to hit a straight drive or even a draw.
Don’t aim to your weaker side!!! Many a golfer has fallen into this trap.
The further the ball slices, the more the golfer tends to slice.
By aiming further away you tend to increase the outside-in swing, and this creates more sidespin and a bigger slice.
Pushing your leading shoulder forward will change your alignment significantly. This may even enable you to create an inside-out swing path!! A draw may still not be bestowed upon you, but as long as the slice is gone you will be smiling.
Many Tour professionals prefer to hit fades and still end up in the fairway. Even though a fade loses distance, the rollout of the ball can be controlled better than a draw.
Make sure when you aim left, though, that we’re talking left side of the fairway – not fifty yards into the rough.
Ball position plays a significant role in getting the most distance and direction off the tee. His is also the simplest cause of a slice to notice and fix.
The best place to tee the golf ball for a drive is inside your leading heel.
If the ball is positioned too far back, it can cause a slice and/or a pop-up.
When the ball is positioned too far forward, you will reach for the ball causing a loss in power and distance.
Once you have found the correct position in your stance to place the ball for your driver swing, you have to find the correct tee height.
The driver swing is aimed at hitting the golf ball on an upward trajectory creating less spin thus promoting a straighter flight and more distance.
A downward angle of attack produces weak distance and slice inducing spin
The lack of weight transfer during the downswing will contribute hugely to hitting a slice.
Transferring your weight during a golf swing is a relatively simple concept that contributes to many a swing fault. Executed properly it will add major distance and consistency to your shots. Failing to execute it properly will result in inconsistent contact and direction.
A lack of weight transfer during the driver swing will leave your weight on the trailing foot creating an outside-in swing path. This is a recipe for disaster and a major slice.
The last step in the swing sequence is the release of the club after impact when you rotate your forearms. It’s impossible to complete your swing without the release action.
Rotating your forearms too late leaves the clubface open this resulting in a slice while doing it too early will close the clubface too early producing inconsistent results.
As the swing is generally complete within fractions of a second the timing of the rotation
To practice your timing of the release you could hold something in your hands and do a full swing.
When your forearms touch, you release the object in your hands.
An early release will let the object fly towards the right. A late release will throw the object towards the left.
A perfect release will throw the object towards the target.
The direction of your divots is a good indication of your swing path. The divot of a slice generating swing path will start farther away from you and end up closer to you.
A way to change the direction of your swing and the divot is by placing an alignment stick pointing away from the impact zone in the direction of an inside-out swing.
Chasing after the alignment stick during the downswing will produce the feeling that you are throwing the club away from your body. An inside-out swing will fight your slice.
The dreaded slice is known to golfers around the globe and hated by all.
You would much rather hit a baby fade if you can’t draw the ball. And many professional golfers prefer the fade.
There are many reasons for hitting a slice. Fortunately, there are just as many fixes to cure you of the slice. If you are one of the unfortunate golfers besotted by the dreaded slice, go ahead and work on the tips provided.
Soon you will be slice free and enjoying your golf.
Enjoy playing your golf from the fairway!!!
- How To Hit A Fade – Tips To Achieve A Controlled Fade
- How To Hit A Draw – Tips To Achieve The Sought-After Manoeuvre
- How Much Are Golf Lessons? Are They Worth The Money?
Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.