Slicing the golf ball is one of the most common problems that golfers experience on the golf course. Hit the ball straighter by working on a full backswing turn.
A slice golf shot can be described for a right handed golfer as one that moves through the air in an uncontrolled left to right curve. It is usually caused when the club head, instead of travelling straight through the ball towards the target, travels across the golf ball in an ‘out to in’ motion - that is right to left across the ball. At the impact position with the ball, while the club head is travelling to the left of the target, the club face points to the right of the target. This causes a glancing hit across the ball imparting spin that causes the ball to curve in the air from left to right. For a left handed golfer these actions are all reversed causing a right to left ball flight in the air.
A slice shot generally occurs due to the lack of rotation of the shoulders during the backswing away from the golf ball. Through this backswing movement, the club head should swing ‘on plane’ (in a shallow circle) around the body. This is created by the golfer turning the shoulders so that the hands and club finish just behind the shoulder line at the end of the backswing movement. Often golfers lift the golf club up steeply away from the ball with just the arms so that it finishes over the top of the shoulders and head at the end of the backswing. Here there is very little rotation of the shoulders and so the arc of the swing becomes too steep which causes the golfer to attack the ball from the top of the swing and slam the club outwards away from the body and downwards into the golf ball. In turn, this means that the club head swings across the ball in the aforementioned glancing hit fashion and can produce a slice shot.
The lack of rotation and a more arms and hands swing is generally caused by the golfer being too aggressive and attacking the ball early in the downswing because it feels powerful to do so. Alternatively, it may be that the flexibility of the golfer due to age or injury is limited which only allows the use of the arms rather than a turn of the body.
To gain more rotation, aim to power the swing with the hips, turning them more around the waist line which lets the shoulders rotate around the spine to their full extent. The club head can then swing around the body correctly and sweep through the ball towards the target which also allows the club face to rotate through the ball and hit a straight shot.
To practice a more rounded and bigger turn, from the set up position hold a golf club flat on the chest so that it lies across the line of the shoulders. From this point, turn the hips, keep the left shoulder high and turn the shoulders into the backswing as far as possible. Aim to get the back to face the target. If it is not possible to turn this far, check that the hips are also turning as they will release the shoulders to allow a full rotation. If it is still not possible then you have found your maximum turn which is ideal. Now repeat this exercise feeling the same level of stretch as the turn reaches the maximum again and again.
Set up with the club in your hand as normal and take a few practice swings, feeling that hip and shoulder turn. The club should travel lower and more around the body and should swing through the ball straighter with more momentum. Finally, try hitting some shots but rather than powering from the arms, make that turn from the hips and shoulders.
This exercise will straighten out your golf shots and gain easy power.