How to stop slicing? That’s long been the biggest goal among golfers. Most of them slice. Worse, most golfers don’t know why, and don’t know how to stop.
The art of slice fixing is best approached not necessarily by trying to stop slicing, but rather by learning what it takes to hit a draw. By draw, I don’t mean a hook, since hooked shots often are the result of golf swings that aren’t that different from swings that produce slices. Hitting draw shots requires a different approach. As you can see by what I’m doing here, an effective draw means applying sidespin from right to left onto the ball.
With that basic understanding in mind, let’s look at a few ways to cure your slice and start hitting draws once and for all. You’ll see results immediately if you follow my simple steps outlined on the next pages.
Hands forward, hands rotating. Take a look at this sequence, ordered from top left to bottom right. The shaft of my Truth club is black on one side and white on the other, with the parting line right down the center. As I move into the ball, notice how my hands remain in front of the clubhead well through the hitting area. That’s the first key. Second, look how the shaft is rotating from black to white. This rotation is critical, since it helps to square the club at impact, all the while imparting draw spin on the ball. Practice this “hands forward, hands rotating” technique to ingrain the proper “draw feel.”
HOW TO STOP SLICING: ADJUST YOUR GRIP 2 O’CLOCK TO 10 O’CLOCK
Go from 2 to 10 in a split second. Through the hitting area, the shaft of the club should point at 2 o’clock before impact (think as if you were standing in the center of a clock with 12 in front of you). Just past impact, the shaft should point to 10 o’clock. The key here is to consistently rotate the hands through the hit, even after you make contact with the ball. If you stop rotating your hands, you’ll slice — no matter what. Keep those hands turning!
Toes up or down? If you’ve heard that you should have the toe of the club pointing up through the swing to help fix your slice, I’m afraid you’ve received some faulty instruction. Here’s why: To effectively square the clubface at impact, whether hitting a draw or not, you have to continually close the clubface, even past impact. If you’re trying to swing and hold the toe up through the hit, the body will have to aggressively rotate more to compensate–a move that most average golfers simply can’t do.
Here’s how we do it. Starting from in front of the ball until after you make contact, the act of closing the clubface is what you need to do to eradicate a slice. Slice fixing won’t come from an address position with a closed clubface and maintaining a shut face at impact. That’s what most slicers incorrectly try to do, despite how difficult that can be to pull off. Instead, it’s key to understand that the act of closing the clubface is what kills a slice, not the need to square the face at impact.
Hit a few 30-40% shots and emulate this position with the toe down, as you see here. The ball should go low and dribble off to the left. Once you do that consistently, dial up your speed. Keep swinging faster and concentrate on getting into this position. Soon your body will react differently, and that low, left dribbler will transform into a straight, or drawing, golf shot.
HOW TO STOP SLICING: OPEN FACE
The secret to straighter shots is to hit with an open face. If you followed the advice on the previous page, you know you need to rotate the clubface through impact. Now, it’s just a matter of dialing back your release to the point where the clubface, although still closing, hits the ball with a slightly open face. Why, you ask? Because the toe is moving faster than the heel, and the added momentum of the toe will, in turn, add draw spin upon contact with the face. In other words, the ball will compress more toward the toe, causing the ball to draw, even if the clubface is a hair open at impact.
I know it sounds counterintuitive, but my years of research prove this! Too many golfers are fixated on squaring the clubface through the shot, failing to realize that the only way to eradicate a slice is to continually rotate the clubhead through the ball. (If you try and hit the ball with a square face, you’re likely to hit a big hook.)
Practice making swings so you feel as though your hands are closing through the ball, and work on releasing the hands a little later than you’re maybe used to. It takes some trust, but as long as you’re steadily closing the face, that slightly open-face angle will produce a straight shot.
In addition, by releasing yourself and your mind from forcing your body to square the clubhead, you may find that this technique helps you swing more naturally and easily.
Point the shaft to the right. Now that you’ve learned to close the clubface continuously and how straight shots can come from a slightly open face, you need to take that hook and turn it into a draw. The simplest swing thought you can have is to try to point the shaft to the right of the target in your followthrough. This will help you swing more from inside the target line to outside the target line, further enhancing the effects of a right-to-left ball spin. Notice that, as I emulate this position, I haven’t neglected the importance of rotating my body to the left as well as shifting my weight onto my forward leg. These two things help me to swing from inside-out, again, a critical move if you want to get rid of pull slices (and pull hooks) and start hitting straighter, or more drawing golf shots.
Don’t neglect a solid stance. When I teach, I try to make the golf swing as simple as I can so that all golfers can become better players. When it comes to having a good stance, it’s something anyone can do, and it sets the stage for the right sequence of motions to take place. Stand so your arms hang naturally below your chin, your knees are flexed, and your back is straight, but not overly rigid. Some golfers like to hover the clubhead over the ground, as I’m doing here, which makes starting the swing an easy task.
HOW TO STOP SLICING: IMPACT VS. SETUP
Impact vs. setup. If you’re trying to return to your setup position at impact, you first need to realize the similarities and differences in the two positions. As for similarities, my spine angle, head position and plane are the same. But the rest of my body is drastically different. At impact, my hips and shoulders have opened, my hands are ahead of the ball, and my left foot is raised to indicate most of my weight is on my forward leg. Remember what should be similar, and what should be different. That’s key here.
Today’s adjustable driver heads are the real deal, and with a few clicks of a wrench, you can close the clubface. This makes it even easier to eliminate a slice.
Better rotation will lead to a better extension. Finally, if you follow my keys for fixing your slice, the last element you should work on is your ability to extend through the hitting area. By properly releasing the club, you’ll find that your body is in a more rotated position, making it easier to extend your arms, as I’m doing here. If you release too soon, the chances of your followthrough collapsing are greater than if you rotate the club and body more effectively. By keeping your arms in front of your chest, extending the arms is a piece of cake.
Now, get out there and try these tips, in the order in which I presented them. Your slice won’t disappear instantly, but it will diminish the more you practice and stay determined!
Based in Southern California, A.J. Bonar is one of America’s top teachers. He hosts several golf schools each year. For more information, visit www.ajgolf.com