The slice is a ball flight which starts right of the target line before curving left in the air and finishing well left of the target.
This destructive and depressingly common ball flight affects tens of thousands of left handed golfers across the world. For the slice to occur, a number of impact factors have to be present as the ball is struck. Firstly, the swing path must be from out to in, otherwise known as over the top or cutting across the body. Not only does a slice require this swing path but it also requires the club face to be open to the swing path but also the target line.
Changing a swing path may require a number of technical changes for the left handed golfer. The club face however could be altered by changing a player’s grip. A golf grip is subjective and can take many forms but there are broadly three main types of grip; strong, neutral and weak. These three types of grip will produce contrasting club face positions at impact. A strong grip will tend to closes the club face in relation to the target line, a neutral grip will tend to keep the club face square and a weak grip will usually leave the club face open. If a player is trying to eliminate the slice, the weak grip must be discounted and the neutral grip, although the preferred method, may also not keep the club face square enough to stop a slice. Below is a basic guide of how to achieve a neutral grip and the ways it can be adapted to create a stronger one.
1. Place the club face behind the ball keeping it square to your intended target.
2. Let the grip run through the base of the right hand, the top of the grip should begin at the joint of the little finger and run through the hand until it goes through the middle of the index finger.
3. Wrap the right hand over on top of the grip. When looking down, players should see two and a half knuckles. The V shape made by the thumb and index of the left hand should point towards the left shoulder.
4. The left hand sits on the grip (joined to the right hand with either an overlapping or interlocking grip). The right thumb should be covered by the fleshy pad of the left thumb.
5. The V shape made by the left thumb and forefinger should also point at the left shoulder.
If this neutral grip does not square the club face up at impact, the left handed golfer could strengthen the grip by moving one or both hands more ‘underneath’ the club. Effectively, this will mean when the player looks down, the right hand will show three or more knuckles with the left hand showing one or less. The V’s created by the hands will point just below the left shoulder. This stronger grip will cause the club face to close more during impact.
Although the left handed golfer should try to confront their slice by fixing the whole swing, using a stronger grip will enable them to send the ball away straighter and usually longer.