In this series dedicated to curing your slice, some drills focus on achieving a correct swing path, while others teach you to roll the hands over through impact. This drill will help you do both.
Golfers who slice often exhibit an “in-and-up” position on the follow-through, with their left elbow bent close to their side and the back of the left hand facing the sky. This results from an outside-to-in swing and a failure to release the hands and club.
We're looking for the position you see in players who draw the ball, where the left arm is extended and the back of the left hand faces down. This signals an on-target path and full release.
The drill is quite simple. Using a mid-iron:
After 10-15 short ones, make some longer, faster swings with the same goals. Work up to full swings from there.
Done correctly, this drill will have you hitting shots that start right of target and, with the harder swings, draw back to the left.
Slice Golf Shot Drills
There are few things in golf quite as frustrating as trying to fix a slice. Once the slice has found its way into your game – and it is an issue that affects nearly every single golfer at some point – it can be extremely difficult to eliminate. Most golfers will face the slice early in their golf experience, as they have not yet learned the techniques necessary to deliver the club on the proper path time after time. Although the slice can feel like a life sentence when you are in the middle of trying to fix it, you should take comfort in the knowledge that millions of other golfers have corrected this poor ball flight, and you can as well.
One of the best ways to eliminate the slice is through the use of some drills. Golf practice drills are a great way to address just about any issue that you might be having in your game, and the slice is certainly included in that list. When you use a quality drill, you give yourself the chance to actually feel the changes that need to take place in your swing. Instead of just being told what you need to do in order to improve, using a drill allows you to take action. This should help to speed up the learning curve, hopefully allowing you to eliminate the slice in short order.
Of course, as you already know, nothing is going to come easy in golf – especially when it comes to trying to rid yourself of the slice. Sure, golf drills are a great help, but you should still expect to do plenty of hard work on your way toward a better future on the course. Once you have the right drills available to you, there will be plenty of practice time required to allow those drills to have the desired effect. It is highly unlikely that you will be able to succeed after doing a drill just one or two times. Rather, you will probably need to repeat the same drill over and over again for several practice sessions before real changes start to take hold. As long as you have the patience for this process, however, you should be successful in the end.
While most people think of their driver first and foremost when they think of the slice, this is actually a ball flight problem that can affect each and every club in your bag. The ball will slice more off of the driver because it is the longest club, but you can certainly slice iron shots in much the same way. No matter what club you happen to be holding, it is important that you work hard on getting rid of your slice as soon as possible. Why? Well, if you allow the slice to linger for too long, the mistakes that you are making within your technique will be harder and harder to break. Each swing you make which results in a slice is another one that is added to your memory – and the memory of all of those poor swings is going to be harder to erase as time goes by. Address this problem right away to give yourself the best possible chance to wipe out the slice moving forward.
All of the content below is based on a right handed golfer. If you happen to play left handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.
Creating Some Width
Generally speaking, a narrow golf swing is one that is always going to be at risk for creating a slice. Specifically, a swing which is narrow going back away from the ball will be likely to cut across the ball from outside-in when impact rolls around. So, with that in mind, one of the biggest things you can do going forward in order to eliminate your slice is to work on adding width to your backswing. By putting plenty of distance between yourself and the club during the early stages of the backswing, you will be placing the club on a good path which should eventually lead to a solid strike that steers clear of any slice spin.
For our first drill, we are going to work on a move that will help you add width to your takeaway. You aren't actually going to hit the ball when performing this drill, so you don't even need to be at the driving range at this point. As long as you have a club, a ball, and somewhere to safely make swings, you will be good to go. When you are ready to perform the drill, please follow the steps below –
- For this drill, you are going to want to use one of your mid-irons – a seven iron is a great choice, but any one of your mid-iron should work just fine. As mentioned above, you aren't going to actually be hitting any shots in this drill. However, you are going to be using a golf ball to assist with the execution of the drill itself.
- Place your golf ball down on the ground and take your stance as you would for any regular iron shot out on the course. Even if you aren't at the driving range, try to pick out some kind of target in the distance to use as a guide for your stance. Alignment is a key part of playing great golf, so never miss out on a chance to practice your ability to get aimed up properly.
- Now that you have taken your stance, lift the club head up in the air and place it back down in front of the ball. Rather than setting up with the club behind the ball as you would do for a regular shot, this drill is going to have you start your swing while the club is sitting between the ball and your target.
- At this point, you are going to go ahead and start your swing. Of course, you are immediately going to contact the ball when you start back, as the club is currently sitting in front of the ball. The goal with your takeaway is to roll the ball away from the target as you swing back from address. Keep the club head low to the ground as you complete the takeaway, pushing the ball back as you go.
- One the club head moves up off the ground above the level of the ball, you will just continue on with the rest of your swing as usual. When the swing is finished, you can retrieve the ball, set up again, and repeat the drill as many times as you would like.
In order to roll the ball back directly away from the target, you are going to need to maintain good extension throughout the takeaway. If your swing gets narrow right from the start, the club will come off the ball and you will barely be able to roll it back at all. Or, if you use your hands and wrists prematurely to elevate the club, you will go right over top of the ball soon after the takeaway has begun. The only way to succeed with this drill is to keep your hands quiet while using your shoulder rotation to turn gradually away from the target. When you do so successfully, your swing will be off to a great start and you will be one step closer to avoiding the dreaded slice.
The Split-Grip Drill
One of the reasons that many golfers wind up hitting a slice is the fact that they allow their hands to get too involved with the golf swing at a variety of points between the takeaway and impact. While your hands and wrists do need to be involved with the swing to a degree, they also need to be able to just 'go along for the ride' while your body rotates back and through. If your hands are too active, you will wind up sending the club head off-track – and a slice may be the end result.
Specifically, many amateur golfers allow their hands to be too active during the transition from backswing to downswing. When you get to the top of the swing, your hands should actually be quiet and passive while your lower body does the job of starting everything toward the target. Unfortunately, this is a concept that is difficult to many golfers to grasp. Instead of quiet hands at the top, slicers use their hands to redirect the club, and that redirection is often what is known as an 'over the top' move. Basically, the hands force the club to move over the proper swing plane, meaning the club will be forced to attack from the outside as it comes down. In the end, the club cuts across the ball at impact, slice spin is created, and the ball turns quickly to the right once in the air.
If you suspect that your hands may be too active during the golf swing, try using the split-grip drill outlined below. This drill is going to force you to take some of the hand action out of your swing, and it should help you reduce (or eliminate) your slice as a result. To perform this drill, simply follow these steps –
- You are going to be hitting some shots with this drill, you so will need to be at the driving range. While you can technically perform this drill with any of the clubs in your bag, using a mid-iron is a great way to get started.
- Place a ball down on the ground in front of you and pick a target down range that you can use to orient your stance. You will not be able to hit the ball anywhere near your normal distance while working on this drill, so select a target that is roughly half of what you would normally use for the club you are holding.
- With your target selected, go ahead and take your stance and address the ball as you would for any regular shot. However, before you make your swing, you are going to split your hands on the grip so that they are at least a few inches apart. You should leave your left hand in place at the top of the grip, but your right hand should slide down the club roughly 4 – 5''.
- Now that your hands are split, go ahead and hit the shot. You aren't going to want to swing too hard with this drill, as the release at the bottom of the swing isn't going to work nearly as well as it does when your hands are together. To start, make very gentle swings, and gradually pick up the pace slightly as you get more and more comfortable.
- Do your best to hit each shot solidly to the target, and focus far more on making clean contact than generating any kind of significant speed. After hitting a handful of shots with your hands split apart of the grip, put them back together and hit a few shots with your traditional grip.
So what is the point of this drill? First, by moving your hands apart on the grip, you are going to mostly take away your ability to move the club over the top during the transition. Since your hands won't be able to manipulate the club head so easily, you will be forced to move the club with your body rotation instead. This is exactly what you want to be doing, as controlling the swing with your body will make it easier to swing along the right path. Also, splitting your hands is going to take away the temptation to 'cast' the club early in the downswing, another common problem for slicers. Overall, this is a drill which is likely to feel a bit odd at first, but it has the potential to dramatically improve the way you swing the club.
The Headcover Drill
This is a popular anti-slice drill, and it is one that you may have even seen in use at the driving range by other players trying to correct their ball flight. You are going to be using your driver with this drill, as well as the headcover that protects your driver when not in use. Also, you will need some range balls to hit, a few tees, and a target down range that you can use for each shot. Unlike with the previous two drills, you are going to be making your 'normal' golf swing in this drill.
To set this drill up, you should first put a tee in the ground and set a ball on top of the tee. Having already selected a target for your drives, you should be able to quickly picture a target line for your shot. If you are having trouble visualizing the target line for your shot, stand behind the golf ball so that the ball is directly between you and the target itself. When in this position, you are standing on an extension of the target line. If necessary, you could lay a piece of string (or some other object) on the ground in order to physically represent the target line for the shot at hand. Of course, you will want to move this visual aid before you actually hit any shots.
Before you step up to make your swings, you are going to need to move the headcover into place to be able to perform this drill correctly. You are going to set the headcover on the ground just to the outside of the target line and slightly behind the ball. In other words, as you are standing over the shot, you should see the headcover to the right of the ball and on the other side of the target line. There should be enough room for your club to swing through impact on a good plane without actually hitting the headcover. However, the headcover should be close enough that an errant swing will cause you to make contact with the headcover prior to hitting the ball.
The purpose of this drill is obvious – to help you keep the club from coming into the ball from the outside. It is that outside-in swing path that is responsible for the great majority of slices in the game of golf, so learning how to deliver the club from the inside should be one of your top priorities. Since the headcover will be in your way when swinging down if you come from the outside, you won't have any choice but to attack from inside-out. It may take a few repetitions before you get the idea, but the visual reminder of having that headcover in the way should be all you need to quickly correct your path. Use this drill from time to time as part of your usual practice sessions and improvement should be soon to follow.
The three drills included above should get you most of the way toward the goal of eliminating your slice. Results should not be expected immediately, but you can start to see progress after just a couple of quality practice sessions. However, even the best drills have their limitations, and at some point you are going to have to go back to making your normal golf swing without any of the drill modifications in place. When that happens, you have to have a good plan for how you are going to swing the club in order to avoid a slice. To make sure you give yourself the best chance of succeeding when the drills are finished, be sure to keep these tips in mind –
- Take your time. One of the common ways that golfers fall into a slice pattern is simply by rushing through the golf swing. If you don't give your swing time to develop naturally, it will be hard to use your lower body properly – and when the lower body doesn't work right, the slice is always a possibility. Take your time, especially at the top of the swing, and only deliver the club to the ball after your lower body has cleared through the shot.
- Don't open up. If you are fighting a slice, you might be tempted to open up your stance to the left in an effort to give yourself some room for the ball to fade back to the target. This idea makes sense on the surface, but unfortunately it can actually make your problems worse in the end. When you open your stance, you will be even more inclined to swing across the ball through the hitting area, as your feet will be open to the target. Do your best to stay square to the target line, and work on eliminating your slice rather than just playing for it.
- Stay behind the ball. As you swing down toward impact, your head should not be drifting past the ball and toward the target. Instead, your head should be staying back while your lower body does the job of moving toward the target aggressively. When you keep your head back, it will be much easier to keep the club on plane and attacking from the inside. This is a move that feels foreign to many golfers, but learning how to stay back is one of the best things you can do when trying to get rid of the slice.
There is nothing fun about playing golf while fighting a slice. Watching the ball turn quickly to the right in the air over and over again is a frustrating experience to say the least, and you aren't going to shoot any good scores when a slice is your standard ball flight. Fortunately, it is possible to break this pattern, and the drills included in this article are a great place to start. Get down to work on the drills we have provided, and there should be light at the end of the tunnel in regard to getting rid of your slice. Good luck!