Slice Golf Shot Drills: Baseball Swings for Better Rotation

Golfers who slice often fail to release the club correctly, meaning their right forearm and hand – opposite for a lefty – don't roll over the left through the impact area. Therefore, the clubface remains open (pointed right) and imparts rightward sidespin.

Obviously, the goal is to deliver the clubface in a square position, or ever so slightly closed, when it meets the ball. Practicing a baseball-like swing is a great way to ingrain this action:

  • With your normal golf grip, hold a club at waist height so the shaft is parallel to the ground.
  • Swing to your right (backswing), then to the left (through-swing).
  • On the backswing, you should feel the hands and forearms rotate and the clubface open, with the right palm and clubface pointing to the sky.
  • The right arm and hand should roll naturally over the left when passing in front of you (in other words, the impact zone).
  • On the follow-through, the right palm and clubface should point to the ground.

If your arms and hands don't rotate sufficiently, make sure your grip pressure is light enough to allow free movement. Make a continuous series of swings, back and forth, rotating the hands and forearms. It's OK to move the lower body as you would during the golf swing.

That rolling sensation and action will cure your slice. As a bonus, you'll enjoy a boost in power, too.

Slice Golf Shot Drills - Baseball Swings for Better Rotation

Slice Golf Shot Drills - Baseball Swings for Better Rotation

If you are currently struggling with a slice, you can be sure that you aren't alone. The slice is a common malady in the amateur game, although that probably doesn't make you feel much better while watching yet another shot sail off to the right. You don't care how many other golfers are dealing with a slice – you just want to finally hit the ball straight. Fortunately, the slice can be fixed, just like any other problem you may be having in your game. As long as you are willing to put in some work on the range you can look forward to a slice-free future.

In this article, we are going to provide some advice on how you can correct your slice moving forward. Specifically, we are going to talk about how you can draw inspiration from the swinging motion used in another sport to improve your golf game. That's right – we will turn to baseball to find a better golf swing. This might seem like an unusual way to correct your technique, but it will make a lot of sense once we get into the details.

Before you spend any time at all working on your physical technique, you first need to address your attitude. If you have been dealing with the slice for some time, you probably don't have a very rosy outlook with regard to your game. You are likely frustrated with the slice, and you may feel like there is no hope for you on the links. That isn't true, and that attitude could be standing in your way.

Any negativity rolling around in the back of your mind needs to be eliminated before you will be able to reach your potential as a golfer. Rather than feeling like a failure, you need to feel like you are just about to make a great breakthrough. View your game in a positive manner, and understand that this is a difficult game to play well. There is no shame at all in dealing with the slice, as there are millions who have gone before you in this regard. Leave your negative attitude behind and head out to the range with as much confidence and optimism as possible.

All of the content in this article has been 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.

Why Baseball?

Why Baseball?

You don't need to be an expert in baseball, or golf, to know that the swings in these two sports are rather different. The most obvious difference is the positioning of the ball. In golf, you hit the ball off the ground – or, at least, off of a tee which is only a few inches above the ground. In baseball, you have to hit the ball where it is pitched, as long as it is in the strike zone. Often, it is a pitch which is approximately belt-high that makes for the perfect opportunity (in the batter's mind, at least).

So what is it about a baseball swing that can help you improve your golf game? It is the shape of a baseball swing that you are going to imitate, at least to some degree. Baseball players make round, flat swings, where the bat is moving mostly around their bodies. Some players swing on an uppercut path in an effort to lift the ball over the fence, but even those players use a much flatter plane than a golfer. If you can manage to imitate the shape of a baseball swing while swinging the golf club, you will stand to benefit in a couple of ways.

First, the flatter plane of the swing is going to help you attack the ball from the inside. As a slicer, you are currently coming into the ball on an outside-in path. Such a path makes it difficult to hit a straight shot – you will typically hit either a pull, or a slice. By thinking like a baseball player, you can flatten out your plane, shifting the way you attack the ball in the process. Often, this is the only change a golfer needs to make in order to eliminate the slice.

Another benefit to thinking about baseball while working on your golf swing is the possibility of an improved turn. Baseball players do a great job of rotating their bodies through the swing, taking all of their energy and using it to rotate toward the pitcher. When done perfectly, a baseball player can create incredible power and send the ball sailing 400+ feet through the air. Golf, too, is a rotational game, so you can learn a lot from this example.

Obviously, you can't take this concept too far and expect to have good results. You aren't going to be able to imitate the stance and swing of your favorite baseball player while you are on the links. The idea here is simply to learn from the plane and rotation that is seen in the baseball swing. Take those lessons, apply them to your golf game, and watch your performance improve.

Using This Drill

Using This Drill

The idea of making baseball swings during your golf practice sessions seems weird at the start, we know. However, if you are willing to look a little out of place and give this a chance during your next practice session, we believe you will be impressed with the results. This drill is simple to use, you don't need to have any special equipment, and you can use it just about any time you like – even on the course during the middle of a round.

Drills are an effective way to practice your technique because they allow you to feel a specific change that you are trying to make to your swing. You can be told what you need to do over and over again, but if you can't quite figure out what that move should feel like, you may never be able to include it in your mechanics. With a drill such as this, you will immediately get the right feel and you can move forward from there.

To put this drill into action, follow the steps below during your next trip to the driving range.

  • When you arrive at the driving range, pick up a bucket of golf balls and find a good spot to practice. You are going to be hitting drivers for this drill, so find a flat section of turn with plenty of room to make big swings. Ideally, you will be able to practice away from other golfers so you can focus on the task at hand.
  • Take the first golf ball from your bucket and place it on a tee at an appropriate height for a driver. You aren't going to hit the ball with your first few swings, but you still want to have it ready to go. Also, at this point it would be a good idea to pick out a target in the distance that you can use for all of your practice drives. Most driving ranges have a variety of targets placed down the range for you to use, but you can always aim for something in the distance if no other options are available.
  • Stand next to the ball in a position close to where you will stand to actually hit the shot. At this point, you are going to make the baseball swings that give this drill its name. Pick the club up in front of you and hold it directly out in front of your chest. The shaft of the club should be roughly parallel with the ground. From that position, swing the club back to the right, and then through to the left. Repeat this process three or four times. These swings will feel a bit odd, but you should feel some nice rotation along the way.
  • Once you have completed a few baseball swings, place the club head down behind the ball, take your stance, and hit the shot. During the swing, try to feel like you are recreating the motion you made during the baseball swing drill. Obviously, you will be swinging on more of an inclined plane then you did during the drill, but your rotation should be very similar. With any luck, the ball will come out much straighter than it has been doing for you previously.
  • After hitting a shot, place another ball on your tee and repeat the process. Make a few more baseball practice swings, setup to the ball, and hit another shot. You are welcome to go on with this pattern for as long as you like.

You should notice a couple of different things when using a baseball swing to warm up for your golf swing. As mentioned above, you should feel the rotation that comes from swinging the club around your body. If you give yourself enough time to make a full backswing, you should feel an excellent turn away from the target. As a result, you should also feel an excellent turn through toward the target once you change directions.

Another thing you may notice is an improved ability to release the club through the hitting area. With a rotational swing, your right hand will have little trouble rolling over the left as you move through the ball. Many slicers struggle with the release, so improving this part of your game may help you produce better drives.

To get rid of your slice, consider adding the baseball swing drill to your regular practice routine. In addition, you can think about doing this prior to hitting your tee shots out on the course. There is nothing in the rules which prohibits you from making baseball-style swings to prepare for a shot, so if this works on the range it should work for you on the course as well. You can make this a consistent pre-shot routine element, or you can just use it from time to time when you feel your swing getting too steep.

Other Rotational Tips

Other Rotational Tips

One of the big motivations for using this drill is to improve your rotation. With that said, there are plenty of other things you can do to improve your rotation along with using this drill. In this section, we are going to switch gears and talk about some of the other steps you can take to make a better turn while swinging your driver.

As you practice, keep the following tips in mind.

  • Never rush. In baseball, the batter doesn't have much choice with regard to the timing of the swing. The pitch is coming in, and the batter has to swing quick enough to catch the ball before it sails past. Baseball swings, by definition, have to be completed in a rush. That is not the case in golf. The ball is just sitting there on the ground, waiting for you to take your best shot. You can take as much time during the swing as you like, and this is an advantage you should take. During the swing, take your time to make sure your rotation is completely finished before you change directions. Many amateur golfers rush through the backswing, turning left to start the downswing before the backswing was actually finished. This is an easy way to create a slice. One of the best things you can do for your game is to learn how to take your time. Take a deep breath before each swing, don't let anybody pressure you into hurrying your swing, and stick with your rhythm from the first shot on through to the last.
  • Consider turning your right foot open slightly. If you find that making a big turn is hard for you, one way to make the turn a little easier is to open your right foot to the target line. Take your stance, but before you start the swing, turn your right foot out to the right just a few degrees. This will take some of the pressure out of your right knee during the backswing, and you should be able to rotate farther back than you were previously. This is a handy adjustment which shouldn't affect the rest of your golf swing in any negative way.
  • Stand farther from the ball. This is a classic way to improve your turn. Moving back from the ball is going to help you flatten out your plane, which will in turn help you rotate farther back. Standing just a bit farther from the ball will promote the kind of free turn that you need in order to create significant power through the hitting area. This is a particularly helpful point when you are swinging the driver. Next time you work on your driver swing at the range, back up by an inch or two and see how much your result improve.

Making a good turn is good for your golf game. The list of benefits that can be associated with a good turn is nearly too long to include in this article. You will be able to create more speed, you will have a more consistent rhythm, and you usually be able to avoid the slice. Also, you will become a more consistent ball striker, as there will be less hand action in your swing to get in the way of the progress of the club. Any way you look at it, learning how to make a great turn is going to put you in position to become a better golfer.

Other Slice Tips

Other Slice Tips

To finish up this article, we are going to take a look at few other slice-busting tips, just in case you are still struggling with that dreaded left-to-right pattern. Sure, making a better turn is going to go a long way toward fixing your slice, but that change alone might not be enough for all players. To make sure you have all the tips you need to finally get rid of that slice, we are going to offer up a few more pointers in this last section.

  • Make a wider backswing. Most players who struggle with the slice make the mistake of using a narrow backswing. Your takeaway, and your backswing as a whole, should be wide with plenty of extension in your left arm. Don't use your hands during the takeaway, as this move will naturally bring the club in too close to the body. Stay wide early in the swing and then keep your swing that way on up to the top. With plenty of width on your side, you will then be able to drop the club to the inside as you start down – and you will be able to attack the ball on the proper inside-out path as a result.
  • Lead the way with your lower body. Another common mistake for amateur golfers to make is to use the arms only to make the golf swing. Your golf swing should be a whole-body movement, and the lower body should be the star of the show during the downswing. As you are transitioning from backswing to downswing, let your lower body rotate toward the target while your hands hang back and wait to be pulled into position. This is a key move which is mastered by pro golfers, but tends to elude the average amateur. By using your lower body to drive the swing forward, you can put the club in a great position for a powerful – and slice-free – strike.
  • Don't aim left. It is typical for golfers who are fighting a slice to aim out to the left of the target, thinking they need to give themselves room to let the ball fade back toward the fairway or green. That logic does hold some water, but unfortunately it tends to make the slice even worse. This setup position is going to leave your body wide open to the actual target, and you will likely wind up swinging even more across the line as a result. Resist the temptation to adjust your aim in this fashion. Instead, aim close to the target – you can aim a bit left if you like – and teach yourself how to strike the ball properly. It will be virtually impossible to get rid of the slice when you build it into your aiming strategy. Don't set yourself up for a lifetime of sliced shots by just giving in and aiming left. Work hard to improve your technique and aim at the target you intend to hit.
  • Swing through to the finish. It is possible to create a slice just by giving up on your swing – even if you had been doing things pretty well up until that point. Once you start your swing, you should be fully committed to swinging all the way through to a balanced finish. If you lack confidence in your swinging action, you may give up on the action before it has actually had a chance to succeed. Don't give in to this kind of doubt. Believe in yourself, swing all the way through, and expect to look up and see the ball sailing perfectly toward the target.

The slice is a frustrating issue to deal with, there is no doubt about that fact. With that said, you don't have to deal with it forever. If you are willing to think carefully about your swing, work on your technique, and stick with it through the struggles, you can come out on the other side. We hope that the baseball swing drill described in this article will help you breakthrough the slice pattern to see a beautiful ball flight emerge. It is not going to be easy to eliminate your slice, but nothing comes easy in golf. Be patient with yourself as you make changes to your swing and look forward to a day when you don't have to worry at all about the dreaded slice interrupting a great round. Good luck!