Slice Golf Shot Drills: Aim Left and Hit Straight

If you're saddled with an over-the-top swing path, it must be eliminated if you want to fix your slice. Period.

This drill will teach you to swing the club out to the right of the target, building an inside-out swing that not only kills your slice, but enables you to hit beautiful, right-to-left draws:

  • Choose a flag or other target, then place a club on the ground pointing directly at it.
  • Pick a second target, about 15-30 yards left of the first one.
  • Take your stance as though hitting to the second target (the left one). Your feet, hips, shoulders and clubface should all be aligned with the left target. Hit shots by swinging in line with the club pointed at the original target (to your right).
  • By swinging to the right of your body's line, you'll gain a feel for an inside-to-out path. In trying to do this, you'll be forced to adjust your downswing by keeping the arms closer to the body and leading with the hips, rather than the arms and shoulders.

    Depending on how deeply your outside-to-in swing is ingrained, it may take a good deal of time and practice to rid yourself of the old path and build a new one. But when you see the ball start right and draw gently back to the left, you'll know the effort was worthwhile.

Slice Golf Shot Drills

Slice Golf Shot Drills

You probably don't need to be told just how frustrating it can be to struggle with a slice. If you are reading this article, there is a good chance that you have been dealing with the slice for some time. Watching the ball curve off to the right time after time – for a right-handed golfer – is annoying at best, and downright demoralizing at worst. If you are going to get the maximum enjoyment out of this great game you need to find a way to straighten out your ball flight quickly. It isn't necessary to play great golf in order to have fun on the links, but you certainly will enjoy the game more when you are slice-free.

In this article, we are going to offer up a few drills which are designed to help you eliminate your slice once and for all. The ball doesn't slice by accident – this disappointing ball flight is a direct result of the technique you are using within your swing. Simply put, your slice will disappear as soon as your technique is improved. Tune up your technique through the use of the drills in this article and it is almost certain that your game will be better overall in your very next round. Progress doesn't usually come quickly in the world of golf, but eliminating your slice is one exception to that rule. Make the right changes, practice them for a short period of time, and get ready for a future filled with straighter golf shots.

The biggest hurdle between you and a slice-free golf game is not physical. Rather, it is a mental challenge that you are going to need to overcome. You are currently comfortable with your slice producing swing, even though it is not doing your golf game any favors. Many golfers are never willing to break out of this comfort zone, and they wind up paying the price in the form of continued poor play. The only way you are going to be able to get rid of the slice is by opening up your mind to a different kind of swing. Yes, this swing is going to be uncomfortable and awkward at first, but if you think about it, that is a good thing. The swing you are comfortable with is producing a slice, so naturally it will feel awkward to swing the club in a manner that produces a straight flight.

Before you get started on this process, make sure you have your mind fully committed to the goal of eliminating your slice. If you aren't 'all-in' on this task, you will likely give up at the first sign of trouble. There are sure to be some bumps along the way, but it will be worth it for you to see this through to the end. Picture yourself enjoying lower scores and more consistent play thanks to the lack of a slice - that vision of the future should be all you need to remain focused on the task at hand.

All of the instruction in this article is written from the perspective of a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

The Headcover Drill

The Headcover Drill

If you have a problem with the slice, it is almost certain that you have a problem with the path of your swing. Swinging along the incorrect path – one which moves from outside to inside through the hitting area – is almost always one of the main mistakes made by those who hit a slice. By correcting your swing path, you can quickly straighten out your ball flight, perhaps without making any other adjustments.

Of course, while that sounds easy, making this change is bound to be a bit complicated. You are comfortable with the swing you have now, even if it is now providing you with great results. To learn how to swing along a new path through the ball, try using the headcover drill, which will be described below.

As the name would indicate, you are going to need a headcover for this drill. The headcover off your driver would be perfect, as long as it is mostly soft. You are also going to be using the driver itself for this drill, as well as several practice balls, and a tee. Once you learn how to setup for this drill properly, it is a great one to add to your practice routine arsenal. Follow the steps below when completing this drill for the first time.

  • To get started, find a place to practice on the driving range where you will be able to focus. It is often a good idea to go down to the far end of the range in order to get away from the busy hitting areas. When practicing a specific part of your technique, you don't want to be too social – you want to just focus in on the task at hand. Of course, you will want the hitting area to be as flat as possible since you are swinging the driver, although this shouldn't be too difficult on most driving ranges.
  • The setup for the drill is very basic. You are going to pick out a target in the distance which is going to serve as the 'middle of the fairway' for all of these shots. It is always important to have a target in mind for your golf swings, even when practicing on the range. With a target picked out, set your club head down behind the ball in the proper orientation to aim at the target. Don't aim to the left to accommodate for your slice – the goal is to hit these shots as straight as possible. With your club head behind the ball, reach down and place the headcover on the turf. It should be positioned to the outside of the intended target line – in other words, it should be farther away from you at address than the club head. With a good swing, you will miss the headcover entirely without any problem. However, the headcover should be positioned so that a swing which attacks from outside to inside will make contact with the headcover before reaching the ball. It is this instant feedback that should help you improve your swing path.
  • With everything set, go ahead and hit a few shots. At first, don't be surprised if you clip the headcover on the way by. You are used to swinging from outside to inside, and it is going to take a bit of time before you can change that pattern. Stick with it, and do your best to make swings that come from the proper angle to avoid the headcover completely.

If you are struggling to make a swing which will allow you to avoid the headcover, focus on making a better turn away from the ball. Turn your left shoulder all the way under your chin, keep your hands quiet at the start of the swing, and make sure to stay nicely balanced. Without a good shoulder turn, it will be incredibly difficult to attack from the inside as intended. It takes time to complete a full shoulder turn, so don't be in a rush to get the backswing over with. Allow yourself to take the time necessary, and only change directions when you are sure the club is in the right position at the top of the swing.

The headcover drill is one of the best ways to get rid of your slice. You don't have to wonder if you are on the right track when using this drill, because you will get instant feedback if something goes wrong. As long as your problems with the slice persist, you should think about making this drill a regular part of your routine. In fact, it is a good drill to keep in your arsenal even after you have eliminated the slice, just to make sure those old habits don't creep back into play.

The Brushback Drill

The Brushback Drill

Our first drill was centered on improving the path that your club takes through the hitting area. This next drill is instead going to work on improving the path your club takes as it first moves back away from the ball. If you get this first move wrong in the takeaway, you will be playing catch up for the rest of your swing. Most players, especially those with a slice, underestimate the importance of the takeaway.

Unlike the first drill, you will not actually be hitting any shots when performing this drill. However, you will still need a golf ball, and you will need a place to make safe swings. The driving range would be the best place for this drill, of course, but it could probably be done in your backyard if you have enough room to swing safely (without actually hitting a ball). Follow the steps outlined below in order to perform this drill and improve your takeaway.

  • You are again going to start by picking a target in the distance. Even though you aren't hitting the ball with this drill, you still want to use a target to orient your stance. Always take advantage of any opportunity to sharpen your aiming ability, no matter what the situation may be. While picking your target, you should also set the golf ball down in front of you.
  • Instead of using your driver, you will need to use one of your irons for this drill. The seven iron should work perfectly, but you can probably use any iron that you like. Stay away from your wedges, however, as they really aren't designed in a way that will work nicely for the drill you are going to perform.
  • With an iron in hand, a target picked out, and the ball on the ground in front of you, it is time to proceed with the drill. As you set up to get started, you are going to place the club head down on the ground in front of the ball, rather than behind it. Put another way, the club head should be to the left of the ball, as you are looking down from above. This is obviously the opposite of how you would start a normal swing, but it is exactly what you need to do in order to perform this drill.
  • As you start the swing, you are going to push the ball back away from the target with the back of the club head. You shouldn't be hitting the ball – rather, you should be trying to roll it back in a controlled manner. The ball should roll along while being pushed by your clubhead for a few inches, then the club head should move up away from the ground and the ball will be released. As the ball continues to roll back away from you, feel free to finish the swing just as you would any other shot. You aren't going to hit the ball, of course, but you can still work on moving into a full, balanced finish while looking out at your target.

What is the point of this drill? It's simple – you are trying to take your hands out of the takeaway. Most golfers who slice the ball use their hands too actively during the early stages of the swing. That hand activity brings the club head to the inside of the target line, creating a stuck position that will eventually lead to an over-the-top transition. In other words, you can set yourself up for a slice right from the very beginning of the swing. Don't make that mistake. Keep your hands quiet, keep the club head low to the ground, and use the turning of your shoulders to move everything into position. If you can complete this drill successfully time after time, you will find that the club is immediately in a better position to steer clear of the slice.

The Counting Drill

The Counting Drill

As we move on to our last drill, we are again going to have you hitting some golf balls. So, of course, you will want to be at the driving range for this one, and you should have access to some practice balls as well as all of your clubs. Find a quiet end of the range for this practice session as well, since you will be counting out loud and you don't want to bother other golfers. Just as was the case with the first two drills, you can follow the steps below in order to put this one into use.

  • Once more, you are going to pick out a target for these shots before getting started. Since you will actually be hitting the ball this time, you will want to pick out a target which is at a realistic distance for the club you have decided to use. Feel free to use any club in your bag, and feel free to change clubs between swings to enhance the benefit of the drill.
  • With your stance set and your target picked out, you are ready to hit the shot. When your swing begins, you are going to count the number one out loud. You should say 'one' precisely when the club starts in motion. As the backswing progresses, you are going to say 'two' when the club is parallel with the ground, halfway through the backswing. 'Three' will be counted when you reach the top of the swing, and 'four' will be counted when you make contact with the ball.
  • The goal here is to make the counting in this drill as even as possible. You don't want to be rushing any particular part of your swing, so there should be nice spacing all the way from one to four. If you feel like you are having to rush to count one of the numbers, work on improving your tempo to even things out and get on track.
  • Hit as many shots as you would like using this drill, and feel free to vary your club selection as suggested above.

So what does this drill have to do with the slice? Those who hit a slice almost always rush through their backswings, which is a big part of the reason why the club moves over the top during the transition. If you can improve your tempo through the use of the counting drill, you may be able to clean up your transition and deliver the club to the ball on the right path to create a straight shot. In addition to using the counting drill for your full swing, you can use it in the short game as well. Work out a counting routine that makes sense for your putting and chipping and use this easy drill to keep yourself on track from a tempo standpoint.

Other Slice Tips

Other Slice Tips

The three drills we have provided in this article should go a long way toward helping you eliminate the slice from your golf game. Of course, there is a chance that you will still fight your slice from time to time even with the help of these drills, which is why we have included a few more tips here for your consideration.

  • Don't aim left. We know, we know – if the ball is going to curve to the right, it makes all the sense in the world to aim to the left. And it's true, this plan can help you keep the ball on the course when fighting a slice. The problem is that this method of aiming is likely to keep you in 'slice mode' for the foreseeable future. You want to break away from your slice pattern, which is why you shouldn't be aiming out to the left in the first place. With an open stance that is set up to the left of the target, you are encouraging an outside-inside swing path – the exact path you should be trying to get rid of. Do your best to aim at the target directly and work on sharpening your technique to eliminate the slice once and for all.
  • Stop swinging so hard. Believe it or not, swinging hard can actually contribute to the problem of hitting a slice. When you try to hit the ball extra hard, you will usually rush through the top of the swing – and the ball will curve from left to right in a hurry because of it. Golf isn't about raw distance as much as it is about control and precision, so leave your aggression at home and do your best to make smooth, controlled swings. While this lesson is helpful for slicers in particular, it can actually benefit any amateur golfer.
  • Use less club. In an ideal world, you will be able to eliminate your slice and hit the ball down the middle over and over again. Golf is a hard game, though, so your slice might not disappear as quickly as you would like. In the meantime, consider using less club from the tee to improve your odds of keeping the ball in play. For instance, hitting a three wood rather than a driver will calm down your slice, since some of the sidespin will be replaced with backspin. On particularly short holes, you might even be able to use an iron from the tee for added control over the trajectory of your ball.

It isn't very much fun to play golf with a nasty slice, but you don't have to resign to that being your future on the links forever. With the help of the drills listed in this article, you should be able to begin straightening out your shots relatively soon. Spend some quality practice time on each of the three drills above, and be patient while looking for progress. It can be tough to break free of the slice once and for all, but it is certainly possible as long as you are committed to the process. Good luck!