The following drill forces you to hit the ball with an inside-out motion, so you'll naturally stop doing whatever it is that creates your slice.
- Using any club longer than a 6-iron, place a plastic range ball basket (or similar object) about 18 inches behind the ball, and just outside the target line.
- An outside-in swing path will cause you to hit the basket; the goal, then, is to hit the ball with the clubhead approaching from inside the line.
In order to consistently miss the basket and make solid contact, your body will make the adjustments needed to properly route the club on the downswing. In short, this means starting the downswing by feeling the left heel touch the ground, which initiates rotation in the hips, torso and shoulders. The arms will pull the club downward and inside the line.
Voila! No more slice.
Simple Drills to Fix Your Slice
If you stand behind the tee line on nearly any driving range in the world, you are sure to see a collection of amateur golfers struggling with the slice. Hitting a slice is the biggest problem that faces the average golfer, and almost every player has dealt with it at least once through the years. Most new golfers will start out hitting a slice before they learn how to get their body and the club in the right position to deliver the club face squarely onto the back of the ball.
One of the biggest problems with the slice is that it is hard to play even decent golf while you are slicing most of your shots. A sliced shot will not only sail way to the right of the target (for a right handed golfer), but it will also tend to come up well short. Your swing doesn't have to be perfect in order to get the ball around the course, but you will likely need to eliminate your slice before you are going to make any real progress on the scorecard.
There is good news, however – for most golfers, the slice is a problem that only needs to be fixed once. As soon as you learn what it feels like to make a proper golf swing with the club in the right positions, you should be able to remember that feeling so you can recreate it over and over again. That doesn't mean that you are going to hit a perfect shot with every swing, but it should at least allow you to steer clear of the slice. This doesn't have to be a lifelong battle – invest some time and energy into fixing the problem now and you can forget about it once your ball flight straightens out.
For years, golf teachers have been trying to teach players how to fix the slice. It is a difficult task, however, because there are so many variables involved throughout the swing. Not every slice is created equal, so you will need to find the perfect solution for your specific swing technique. With that in mind, the content below contains a variety of drills that you can use in an attempt to correct your mechanics and get the ball back on line. Not all of these drills are going to be helpful for you personally – but you need to test them out on the range before you can discover which one or two will help you the most. Even just using the drills below for a few swings at the start of each practice session can go a long way toward making the slice a problem of the past.
All of the instruction below is based on a right handed golfer. If you play left handed, please reverse the directions as necessary.
The Extension Drill
A lack of extension in the backswing is one of the leading causes of the slice. When you allow the club to get in close to your body early in the backswing, you are setting up for an 'over the top' move during the transition of your swing. It is this over the top move that creates an outside-in swing path through impact, which is ultimately what causes the ball to slice. If you can create more extension during the early stages of your backswing, you will provide the club room to fall to the inside during the transition – meaning you will be far less likely to swing over the top.
Making a narrow backswing is a common fault among amateur golfers, but it is one that actually can be fixed rather easily. Since the extension of your swing is determined within the first few moments of starting back away from the ball, you only need to correct the way you start your swing in order to get on a better path. Use the following drill to improve your takeaway and add much-needed width to your backswing.
- Take your stance with any one of your clubs in hand. For this drill, it doesn't matter which club you use, as you won't actually be hitting any balls.
- Once you are settled in to your regular address position, take your right hand and slide it down the shaft of the club. Your left hand should remain in place. Continue to move your right hand down the club until it is past the bottom of the grip. You should now have your left hand at the top of the grip and your right hand grabbing directly onto the shaft itself.
- With your modified grip completed, begin to make a practice swing. You will notice right away that you can't make your normal move away from the ball due to the altered position of your right hand. As you start the takeaway, the club should remain further away from your body because you won't be able to hinge your wrists like you may have been doing with your regular swing. Continue to move the club back away from the ball while keeping your right arm extended. Once the club gets to a position that is parallel with the ground, return to address and repeat as many times as you would like.
This is a great drill to do in between swings on the range. You can do a couple of repetitions of this drill, then hit a few shots, and go back and forth. Even though you obviously aren't going to use this split grip during your regular golf swing, you will hopefully be able to carry over the feelings that you had when making this modified takeaway. Width is an important element in the backswing, as it can help you build power in addition to taking away your slice pattern. Spend plenty of time on the practice range working on this simple drill and you should find more extension in your backswing almost immediately.
The Squat Drill
Standing up at the top of the swing is another common cause of the slice. At address, you should be in an athletic stance with plenty of flex in your knees (if not, work on improving your stance before moving on). As the backswing develops, it is your job to maintain the flex in your knees all the way up to the top of the swing. Ideally, you will reach the end of your backswing with your lower body in a similar position to the one it was in at address.
Unfortunately, your job is not yet done when you reach the top of the swing. You still need to pay close attention to the movement of your legs as you change directions and head down toward the ball. The key mistake that you have to avoid at this point is losing the flex in your knees during the transition phase. Some players get into the bad habit of standing up tall right at the top of the swing, which will force the club over the top, again leading to a slice. Your lower body should stay engaged while transitioning forward so you can drop the club into the 'slot' and attack the downswing aggressively.
One of the best ways to avoiding straightening your legs at the top of the swing is by using the following drill. The drill will exaggerate the correct movement, so you don't want to use it to actually hit balls – you simply want to use it to help you feel the right mechanics. After a few repetitions of this drill, you should notice a difference in the way your lower body works at the top of the swing.
- For this drill, just like the previous drill, you can use any club in your bag. This is another drill where you won't be actually hitting any shots.
- Take your normal stance prior to starting the drill. Make sure you have plenty of flex in your knees, and keep your back straight and chin up.
- Swing the club up to the top of the backswing and pause. You should be balanced well enough to hold this position comfortably. If your balance is off at the top of the swing, work on correcting that issue first before continuing with this drill.
- Once you have found a balanced position at the top of your backswing, use your lower body to squat down slightly and then stand back up. Basically, you should be using only your knees to make this movement, while the rest of your body is held still. In total, you should do three squats while you are holding the club in position.
- After completing three squats, finish the golf swing by taking the club down through 'impact' and on up to a balanced finish. You can repeat the drill as many times as you would like. It might be helpful to alternate between doing one repetition of the drill and hitting an actual shot with your normal swing.
So what is this drill going to do for you? After performing the squats, you will start to feel how your lower body should move down slightly at the start of the downswing. This shouldn't be a dramatic movement – there should just be a slight squat into your legs while you are dropping the club into position. From there, your lower body turns aggressively toward the target and the club rips through the hitting area. Most importantly, if you are squatting down slightly as your downswing starts, you will be certain to avoid the standing up motion that can lead to a slice. As long as you maintain your knee flex – or slightly increase it – as the downswing begins, the club is unlikely to go over the top.
The Power Drill
A large number of golfers are never able to get out of the pattern of hitting the slice time after time, especially off the tee. Struggling with the slice can be highly frustrating because it seems that nothing will solve the problem when you are out on the range trying anything you can to get the ball to fly straight. To some degree, the slice is so hard to solve because many of the things that the average golfer does to correct the slice actually will make it worse.
A popular myth among some amateur golfers is that the slice is caused by swinging too hard. Many players believe that they are trying to hit the ball too hard, and as a result, they are swiping across the ball at impact. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. The players you see on the PGA Tour swing incredibly hard, hitting the ball well over 300 yards in some cases, and they don't struggle with a slice. Hitting a slice is all about having a fault in your technique – it has nothing to do with how hard or soft you happen to swing.
However, if you choose to buy into this myth, you could wind up making it more difficult to solve your slice once and for all. If you think that your aggressive swing is causing the slice, you might be inclined to back off on the power in order to straighten out your shots. When you decide to swing softer, you will actually increase your chances of hitting a slice because your lower body won't be moving through the hitting area correctly. In a good golf swing, the lower body and torso turn hard to the left as the club is coming down – this action enables the club to find the proper path, and great shots are possible. However, when you attempt to swing slower, your body won't turn properly through the shot, and your arms will have to move outside the target line in order to find their way down to the ball. In the end, the result is a swing that comes from outside-in across the ball, creating the exact slice spin that you were trying to avoid.
With the understanding that swinging hard is actually a good thing (as long as you can stay on balance), it will be helpful to use a drill that promotes an aggressive golf swing. To perform this drill, follow the steps below during your next trip to the driving range.
- Unlike the previous drills, this is a drill where you will actually be hitting golf balls. While it is possible to do this drill with any of the clubs in your bag, your driver is the best option as it is the club that you are most likely to slice.
- To get started, take your driver from the bag and set five range balls aside to use in this drill. Before hitting any shots, pick out a target on the range that you can use to align your stance. It is important that you take the time to pick a specific target and then align yourself to that target before every swing. If you skip this step, you won't be able to evaluate the quality of your swings because you won't know where you were aiming in the first place.
- Place the first ball of the five you have set aside for this drill on the tee and hit a drive at your target. However, instead of hitting with full power, try to hit this shot with only approximately 50% effort. Don't shorten your swing to cut back on the power – you should still make a full shoulder turn and lower body rotation through the ball. The idea is to simply swing the club slower while using your normal mechanics.
- For the next shot, up the power slightly to around 60% effort or so. Continue this pattern through the set of five shots until you are hitting the final ball at 100% effort. You can repeat this process of hitting five successively harder shots as many times as you would like.
The point of this drill is to teach you what it feels like to go after the ball with 100% effort. By starting soft and working your way up, you will gain an understanding for how to stay on balance no matter how much effort you are putting into the swing. Once you turn it loose on that last swing, you should feel totally in control of your body and the club. Learning how to make a hard swing while balanced is important in the fight against the slice because you will no longer to tempted to swing soft in order to stop slicing. With good mechanics and solid technique, you can swing as hard as you want and the club will stay in the correct positions – in fact, swinging hard with the driver is the best way to keep the club on track and avoid the dreaded over-the-top mistake.
The Counting Drill
Tempo plays a big role in the slice as well. Players who fight with a persistent slice tend to rush through the golf swing, especially during the transition from backswing to downswing. Good golfers, on the other hand, understand that there is no reason to hurry through the swing, and they take their time in order to put the club in just the right position. If you would like to get rid of your slice once and for all, work on your tempo just as much as you work on the physical positions within your swing.
This drill is going to help you learn how to maintain an even tempo throughout the swing. It doesn't matter if you use a fast or slow tempo, as long as that tempo is steady within the swing – and steady throughout the day. Changes in tempo are never a good thing, as they will lead to unpredictable ball flights, including the slice. Work on this drill during your next trip to the driving range and you can quickly add consistency to your ball striking.
- This is another drill that is best completed with your driver. Since the driver is the longest club in the bag, it is the one that requires the best tempo in order to strike cleanly time after time. You can certainly do this drill with other clubs, but you will be best served to start off with the driver.
- As always, pick out a target for your shots before you make any swings. You will be hitting balls with this drill, so take your time and align your stance carefully with the target that you have selected.
- You are going to be counting from one to four while you hit each shot in this drill. If you are alone on the driving range, feel free to count out loud. However, if there are others around who you might bother, it will probably be best to count in your head.
- When the club starts to move back away from the ball, count 'one'. As the club reaches the halfway back position (where the shaft is parallel with the ground), count 'two'. Count 'three' as you reach the top of the backswing, and count 'four' at impact. Ideally, the space between counting each number will be nearly identical, as that would indicate an even tempo from start to finish. Hit as many shots as you would like while counting from one to four.
Counting out your tempo is a great way to spot problems in your swing. For instance, if you find that you are getting to 'three' quicker than you should, you will know that you are cutting your backswing a little short (leading to a slice). Work out any tempo issues that you find until your counting is even from the takeaway all the way through to impact.
If you take the time to work on each of the four drills above, you should be able to straighten out your slice in the near future. Don't get frustrated if you don't have success right away – the slice is a difficult swing fault to correct. Stick with the process and use these drills frequently at the range until you begin to see the desired results.