The vast majority of golfers struggle with a slice, and the majority of slicers are plagued by the “reverse pivot.” This means their weight transfer on the backswing and follow-through are the opposite of the correct motion.
The proper weight shift during the golf swing (for a right-handed golfer) is onto the right foot going back, then to the left foot as the club swings down and through. The golfer who reverse-pivots hits the ball with little power and an open clubface, causing a weak slice.
Practiced thoroughly, the “weight shift two-step drill” will reverse your reverse pivot. It works best using a mid-iron, but any club will do.
1. Standing slightly narrower you normally do, address the ball in the middle of your stance.
2. When starting the backswing, gently left your left foot completely off the ground.
3. Transition to the downswing by placing the left foot back on the ground, lifting the right foot as you follow through.
Practice this motion until you're making consistent, solid contact with an authoritative ball flight. Return to the two-step golf swing drill – also a great way to improve your balance – anytime your reverse pivot rears its ugly head.
Best Slice Correction Tips in Golf
Mention the word 'slice' when talking to a group of golfers and you are likely to hear a lot of muttering, and even a few four letter words, in response. Golfers hate the slice, as it is perhaps the single most difficult problem to fix in all of the game. Players who are stuck with a slice pattern in their games often find it difficult to even enjoy playing golf – and some will give up the game forever after failing in their attempts to correct the problem. If you are stuck with a slice at the moment and it is making it hard for you to enjoy the game, don't give up hope. It is absolutely possible to fix your slice, however it is going to take a little bit of effort and hard work on your part.
One of the biggest problems that the average golfer faces when it comes to fixing the slice is the issue of frustration. Most golfers are so frustrated with the pattern of seeing the ball curve quickly from left to right (for a right handed player) that they can't approach the issue from a rational, patient perspective. There is no room for emotion when trying to fix your swing – you need to put your temper away and simply deal with the mechanics that need to be fixed. With this in mind, it is often a good idea to take a couple of weeks away from the game before returning to work on your slice. If you feel like you are beyond frustrated with your inability to correct the slice, put your clubs away for a week or two before going back to the range. That time away should help your emotions to settle, and when you return you can think clearly about how you are going to get on track.
In the content below, we are going to address a number of potential fixes for your slice. It is important to note that not all of these tips are going to apply to every golfer. There are a variety of ways to create a slice, so a tip that works for one golfer may not help another at all. Once you understand each of the tips below, it will be your job to head to the practice range to work through them one at a time. It may take a little bit of trial and error to find the solution that is going to work for you, but that effort will be worth it when you see your ball start to fly straight once again.
It should also be pointed out that there is a big difference between a slice and a fade. A fade is a very playable shot – in fact, it is used by many of the top golfers in the world. A slice, on the other hand, is mostly useless, and it will leave you in trouble nearly every time. Although they turn the same direction in the air, a fade and a slice have very little in common in terms of how they are struck. A fade is a shot that is hit with a good path and a slightly open club face. A slice is a shot that is hit with a poor outside-in path, along with that same open club face. Before trying to fix your slice, be sure to confirm that you are actually hitting a slice in the first place, rather than a controlled fade.
All of the instruction 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.
One of the first things you should try to do in your golf swing if you are fighting a slice is to add width in your swing as you move away from the ball. The first couple of feet of your backswing are extremely important in terms of avoiding the slice, as getting through the takeaway properly will make it far more likely that you can return to impact on a good plane. The average golfer who fights a slice struggles with a narrow takeaway, and that seemingly simple mistake can have a disastrous effect on the rest of the swing. Nearly every professional golfer uses a wide takeaway to set the club on a path toward a successful strike, and you should follow this lead.
If you would like to make a wider backswing in an effort to eliminate your slice, pay attention to the following tips –
- Quiet hands early in the backswing. This is the point that so many golfers get wrong. Thinking they need to move the club quickly away from the ball, many golfers engage their hands early in the swing. That is almost always going to be a mistake. Instead, you should keep your hands quiet and out of the action while the rotation of your shoulders works to move the club away from the ball. By using only your shoulders to move the club, you will 'sweep' the club head back away from the target, which is exactly what you should be trying to do. That wide sweep will give you plenty of room to work with later in the swing, and it will make it far easier to avoid the slice when all is said and done. If you have a tendency to use your hands actively in the takeaway, work on this point right away before moving on to any of the other instruction included below. Only when you are able to get your hands out of the takeaway properly will you be able to say goodbye to the slice once and for all.
- Stay balanced. Golfers who fight the slice often move their body weight toward the target as they turn the club away in the backswing. This is known as a 'reverse pivot', and it is one of the fastest ways to create a brutal slice. You should be trying to stay nicely balanced in the backswing with your weight evenly distributed between your feet, as this is the best way to deliver the club on a good path over and over again. Keep your weight centered (not moving left or right) as you turn and you will be able to avoid the dreaded reverse pivot and the poor ball flight that comes with it.
- Slow it down. Rushing through the backswing is another way to wind up with a narrow, unfinished backswing. Not only will rushing your tempo mean the club will usually wind up too close in to your body, you also won't have enough time to finish the backswing properly. Those who rush in the backswing are generally left with a narrow swing path and a short shoulder turn – both of which will conspire to create a slice. Work on making slow backswings that emphasize tempo and rhythm, and you will find that the club winds up in a much better place a majority of the time. Fixing your tempo alone probably won't totally eliminate the slice, but it will certainly take you in the right direction.
Adding width to your backswing should be among your first priorities when you are working to eliminate the slice. Nearly every golfer who hits a slice on a consistent basis has a narrow backswing, yet many of those players look for fixes in other places rather than addressing this underlying cause. Find a way to keep the club farther from your body as you swing back and the rest of the pieces of your swing just might start to fall into place.
When you fight a slice, you will inevitably hear one specific piece of advice from another player in your group, or maybe someone on the range. They will see you slicing the ball, and in and effort to help, they will encourage you to 'aim left'. After all, if the ball is curving from left to right, wouldn't it make sense to aim farther left to give it more room to curve? No, in fact, that is a bad fix, and it will only lead to greater problems.
This is another point where it is important to remember the difference between a fade and a slice. If you are a player who uses a fade, then yes, aiming slightly left to account for your ball flight is exactly what you should be doing. However, we aren't talking about a fade here – we are talking about a slice. When it is a slice that you are dealing with, no amount of change in your aim is going to make things any better. You are still hitting a shot that is wildly out of control as it turns from left to right, and you need to fix your swing mechanics if you are ever going to play up to your potential.
The reason the advice to aim out to the left can be so damaging to your game is the fact that you may actually be making your slice problem worse in the process. It is one thing to turn your entire set up to the left in order to change your aim, but most players will wind up in an open stance when they try to make this adjustment. They will turn their feet and shoulders to the left, while the club face remains aligned somewhere near the target. In effect, the player has now encouraged a swing from outside-in, even though they were already swinging along that path to begin with. In the end, the golfer is left with a dramatic slice that will usually be worse than ever before.
Don't fall into this trap based on bad advice. The way to get your game back on track is not to open up your stance and aim way to the left – it is, instead, to work on your fundamentals and correct your swing. So, while you are working on other ways to correct your slice, such as those included in this article, do your best to keep your stance as square as possible. Of course you can aim down one side of the fairway or the other based on the situation, but don't try to use aim as the sole solution to your ball flight problem. Work hard to keep everything square with the target you have selected and your swing will be better prepared to function properly once the right slice fixes have been put into place.
Finish the Backswing
If you don't finish your backswing completely, you are likely going to hit a slice – it is just that simple. When you cut the backswing short and rush into your downswing, the club will not have time to fall into the 'slot' properly. It is important that the club attacks the ball from the inside on the way down if you want to hit a straight shot or even a draw. However, that isn't going to happen with a short backswing. When the turn is cut off prematurely, the club will be forced up away from the body and it will only be able to hit from the outside, leading to a slice. While it is tempting to get in a hurry to hit your shots, especially if you are nervous about the outcome, time is your friend when it comes to the golf swing. Avoid the temptation to rush down toward impact and your ball striking will be better in the end.
One of the best ways to learn how to finish your backswing each time is through the use of the counting drill. Quite simply, you are going to count to four while making your swing, with the time between each number remaining steady and consistent. You can count out loud if no one is nearby on the driving range, or you can count in your head if there are people that you don't want to bother. The counting drill is best done with a long club, but you can technically use it with any of the full-swing clubs in your bag. Use the following steps to complete this drill successfully –
- Set up over the ball and take your normal address position. As always, you should pick a target for this shot, and plan out your ball flight ahead of time. If you would like, you can even stand back prior to taking your stance in order to visualize the shot that you hope to hit. Going into this level of detail will only make your practice even more useful when you head back out onto the course.
- Once you are settled in to your stance and you are ready to swing, go ahead and begin your takeaway. As soon as the club begins to move, go ahead and count 'one' (again, you can either count out loud, or in your head). For each shot that you hit, this first count of 'one' should match up with the beginning of the takeaway.
- As the swing continues, you are going to count 'two' when you get halfway back in the backswing. In other words, you should count 'two' when the club is parallel to the ground. Be sure not to rush to get to this point – allow your swing to develop naturally and only count out the number 'two' when you have reached that parallel position.
- The number 'three' is going to be counted when you get to the top of your swing. As you transition from backswing to downswing, count 'three' and start the club down toward the ball aggressively.
- As you might imagine, you will count the last number, 'four', when you contact the ball. Since the downswing is so much faster than the backswing, there isn't a need to count another number in between the top of the swing and impact. You should be swinging as your regular full speed when doing this drill, and you should notice a nice rhythm developing as you count out each number.
- Repeat the drill as many times as you like, remembering to avoid feeling rushed at any point during your practice session.
The whole point of this drill as it relates to the slice is to make sure you are able to finish your backswing properly. By counting your tempo out loud , you should have a better idea of how long it actually takes to finish the backswing, so you will be less tempted to transition early and head down toward impact before you are ready. Specifically, pay attention to the amount of time you spend between counting the numbers 'two' and 'three'. If you feel like you are having to rush between 'two' and 'three', try to take a little more time at the top of the swing before making your transition. Even just a slight adjustment to your timing may be all it takes to get your swing nicely back on track. Hopefully, with the improvement of your timing will come an improved ball flight, and your dreaded slice will be history.
Hands Win the Race
The best golf tips are the simple ones, and it doesn't get much simpler than this – your hands need to beat the club head to the ball each and every time you hit a shot. As you transition from backswing to downswing, pretend like your hands are in a race with the club head, and you need to make sure that your hands are the winner. In other words, your hands should be over the ball or just slightly beyond it before the club head gets down to impact. If you can hit on this point time and time again, your slice will almost certainly become a thing of the past.
Why will this help you eliminate the slice? It all comes back to swing path. When you swing down with your hands in front of the club head, you will almost certainly be swinging on a good path (coming either straight into the ball, or slightly from the inside). This is not the path that the average amateur golfer uses when they are fighting a slice. The player who deals with a slice will usually push the club head in front of the hands early in the downswing, and they will never quite recover from there. You have likely head the term 'over the top' with relation to the slice, and that is exactly what happens when you push the club head in front of the hands. By using your hands too much from the top, the club goes 'over the top' in the transition, which puts it on an outside-in path and a slice is the sure result.
It is best to avoid overthinking this point, as becoming too mechanical in your downswing is always a bad thing. That's why the tip itself is designed to be so simple – just make sure your hands win the race, and everything else should take care of itself. Drive your hands down toward the ball aggressively while the club head hangs behind and it will be hard to produce a slice even on your poor swings. You should understand right up front that this kind of change is going to take some time to become comfortable within your swing, so be patient and give it time to come around on the range before you go back to the course.
Hopefully, you will find the cure to your slice somewhere in the content above. While the slice is certainly a frustrating problem to deal with, it does not have to be a life sentence. By working on your fundamentals and taking a patient, mechanical approach to the issue, you should be able to locate a fix in the relatively near future. While you would have probably have preferred to not deal with the slice at all in your golfing experience, there will be a great sense of satisfaction when you do mange to overcome it once and for all. Good luck!