They cause you to lose distance, accuracy, and your temper… yet most golfers don’t know how to fix a slice.
It doesn’t matter how many chipping or putting drills you do… if you can’t hit the fairway, it’s tough to play great golf.
What causes a slice?
The most common cause of a slice is an outside-in swing path. This means that through the initial part of your downswing, your club is outside the line of the ball (or further away from you than it should be).
In order to make contact with the ball, you compensate by swinging the club from outside the line of the ball, to inside this line.
Combine this with an open club face, which comes from a natural instinct to counteract your outside-in swing path, and you’ll have your ball spinning through the air like a ping-pong ball (and probably going OB).
How to fix a slice?
If this sounds like you, you probably watch players hit long, controlled draws and wonder how in the hell they do it. Fortunately, there are simple solutions that you can use to fix your slice.
These 7 simple steps will show you how to fix your slice and start hitting straighter golf shots.
The steps are ranked in order: 1 being the easiest to implement, 7 taking the most practice to perfect.
For the purpose of this article, we’ll assume you’re a right hander. If you’re a lefty, just flip the directions and use the same steps.
Step 1: Don’t Aim Left!
We all know the feeling: you crush one off the tee and see it flying down the middle of the fairway.
Gradually, it starts to fade right. This fade becomes a slice, and before you know it the ball is sailing off into the thickest group of trees on the course.
A common response for golfers who regularly slice their drives is to aim left.
Of course, this makes sense: if you’re confident your ball will move significantly left to right, aim left.
Unfortunately, this only makes the problem worse, as the player is then forced to continually make the same mistake in order to keep the ball in play. This reinforces a bad habit, something we don’t want to do.
Play as though you’re going to hit your good shot. Maybe your best shots still fade a little – so be it.
Many PGA Tour professionals prefer to hit fades. If this is the case, sure, aim left.
Make sure when you aim left, though, that we’re talking left side of the fairway – not 50 yards into the rough.
If your best shots go dead straight, aim that way, and if you sometimes hit a little fade, play for it. You don’t want to encourage bad habits.
You might be surprised how often you play the shot you set up for.
Step 2: Position Your Golf Ball Properly in Your Setup
Of all the causes of a slice, this is perhaps the most simple one to notice.
Many players have the ball too far forward in their stance (meaning too far toward the target).
This will inevitably result in an outside-in swing path, as the golfer will be reaching for the ball, and won’t be able to properly release the club (see Step 7) prior to impact.
Move the ball further back in your stance.
This is an simple solution to fixing a golf slice, and one that can have an immediate impact.
Slide the ball a little further back in your stance, and you’ll find you can swing much more naturally. How do you know where in your stance to position the ball? If you’re hitting a driver, the club which is most likely to cause a devastating slice, the ball should be slightly inside your left heel.
Step 3: Take Note of your Divots
As has been covered, when you hit a slice, generally your club has travelled on an outside-in swing path through your downswing.
A great way to know check your swing path after hitting an iron shot from the fairway is to check your divot, it will be pointing to the left of your target, reflective of the right to left path of your club.
This step is not so much a tip to fix your slice as a great way to recognize why you hit one.
Take note of your divots.
They can provide you with vital information about why you just hit a slice, and more importantly, how severe your outside-in swing path was.
As you begin following these steps, and move closer to consistently crushing shots straight down the middle, use these divots as a performance marker.
Gradually, your divot will begin to point closer and closer to the target, and you can take this as a sure sign that you’re improving your swing habits.
Step 4: Fix your grip
The 4th step to eliminating your slice comes before you swing.
A proper golf grip is a guaranteed way to get more control over your golf shots.
Many slicers will find that their left hand (assuming a right handed golfer) is too far underneath the club at the point of set up. This inevitably opens the club face, and contributes to your slice.
To combat this issue, rotate your left hand clockwise until you can see three of its knuckles.
This stronger grip will enable you to keep the club face in the correct position through the point of impact, and contribute to eliminating your slice.
If you’re not 100% confident in your hand positioning, don’t panic. There are special molded grip trainers that can assist. They are molded to instruct you where your hands, fingers and thumbs need to be positioned.
Some even combine a grip trainer with a tempo trainer like this one:
SKLZ Golf Tempo & Grip Trainer
This tempo trainer helps improve a golfer’s swing tempo and plane. The training grip provides the correct hand position for the right golf grip, and it has two weight adjustments for iron and wood practice.
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It’s the perfect tool to keep next to your desk or anywhere you want to get some extra practice swings in.
Step 5: Keep Your Elbow Tucked in During Your Backswing
Now let’s focus on your swing.
What we want to do is to avoid starting your downswing from outside the ideal swing path.
So how do you fix a slice swing?
Fix your back swing.
The simplest way to do this is to focus on your right elbow (again, assuming a right handed golfer).
If you are a chronic slicer, you will likely find that your right elbow flares out, away from your body during your backswing.
This forces the club high and away from you, and causes you to pull it back across the ideal swing path during your downswing.
This movement will impart left to right spin on the ball, while the excessively steep downswing will send the ball much higher than you want it, resulting in a loss of both control and distance.
During your backswing, try to keep your right elbow as close to your body as possible.
Though it may initially feel uncomfortable, it will force you to keep your club on a better swing path throughout the backswing, allowing you to swing straight through the line of the ball on your downswing and follow through.
Golf Slice Towel Drill: Hold a towel between your right elbow and body throughout your swing. This will force you to keep your elbow in throughout your swing.
Another way to make sure your swing path is straight is with a swing path trainer, like this one:
EyeLine Golf Speed Trap 1.0
The Speed Trap was developed to help you do two things: hit it longer and straighter. This training aid is small and compact in size and comes with a soft carry bag. The rods give instant feedback on path of the club.
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It’s great for practice swings at home and the perfect tool at the range to get instant feedback on your swing path.
Combine it with the towel drill mentioned above and you’ll be shocked at how straight you can hit the ball.
Step 6: Transfer Your Weight
Transferring your weight during a golf swing is a relatively simple concept, yet many players are not doing it correctly.
On the most basic level, your weight should move more towards your back foot as you swing back, then return towards your front foot as you begin your downswing and hit the ball.
A common mistake amateur golfers make is to transfer their weight onto their back foot during the backswing, and leave it there through the downswing and follow-through.
Leaving your weight on your back foot causes you to open your club face, and swing outside the line of the ball.
This often occurs with players who are also not properly releasing the club (see Step 7).
The perfect recipe for a big slice.
Learn how to properly transfer your weight during your golf swing.
A simple way to practice this is to place something next to your front foot, and touching your left thigh during your set up. This can be a golf bag, or any object which will stand up straight and reach your thigh.
As you swing back, your thigh will move away from this object slightly, indicating the transfer of weight towards your back foot.
As you begin your downswing, if you properly transfer your weight your thigh will again come into contact with the object.
If you leave your weight on your back foot, your thigh will stay separated from the object, and you will likely see your ball swinging out to the right with a big slice.
Step 7: Release the Club Prior to Impact
Releasing your club is often the final step in fixing your slice.
“Releasing” refers to rotating your forearms through impact with the ball.
You might not be aware of it, but at some point during your swing you will rotate your right hand, wrist, and arm over your left – it’s impossible to complete a follow-through without doing it.
The problem many slicers have is that they don’t do it until far too late, meaning the club face is far too open when you strike the ball.
This can not only cause the ball to spray out to the right, but also contributes to the left to right spin which creates a slice.
There is only a split second between timely forearm release – and a straight drive – and a forearm release which comes too late, which means developing a proper release can take some practice.
A proper release is one of the most important to get right because while incorporating 7 of these simple slice fixes will help you get rid of the dreaded slice, if you continually release the club too late your results will remain inconsistent.
A great drill to practice releasing the club happens to be a pretty enjoyable one:
Take an old club to a wide open space, preferably with no people around.
Imitate your normal swing, however as you feel your right hand and forearm rotate over the left, let go of the club completely.
Send it flying (told you it’d be fun)!
Most likely, you will end up releasing it way up in the air and to the left, maybe even over your left shoulder.
This is because your release occurred too late.
The idea is to throw the club in the direction of your target, while maintaining an actual golf swing.
When you can do this, do it again. Then do it again, and again, and again, until it feels natural.
Follow these simple steps to fix your slice and start hitting straighter golf shots!
For most chronic slicers, a number of these problems will be applicable.
Fortunately, many of them are interrelated, meaning if you focus on solving one, others will naturally follow.
For example: if you position the ball correctly in your stance, you will automatically find it easier to release the club at the right time, and likewise if you properly transfer your weight.
Another important thing to remember is that, in attempting to fix your slice, you don’t need to develop a draw.
Many professionals often play a fade.
As the great Lee Trevino once said, “you can talk to a fade but a hook won’t listen”.
You simply need to reduce the amount of movement on your ball enough that you can justify calling your shot a fade, rather than a slice.
From there, you can work on developing a draw.
These changes may feel strange at first… stick with them!
You’ll be smashing drives down the middle of the fairway in no time.