How To Fix A Golf Slice - A Full As Possible Shoulder Turn - Senior Golf Tip

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.

Seniors Can Fix a Golf Slice with a Full-As-Possible Shoulder Turn

Seniors Can Fix a Golf Slice with a Full-As-Possible Shoulder Turn

Millions of seniors love to play golf. And why not? Golf is a great way to get outside in your retirement years, it offers low-impact exercise, and it provides a way to spend time with friends. This is a great game for players of all ages, but it is a particularly good match for the needs and preferences of seniors. If you are a life-long golfer, you are likely looking forward to a retirement where you can spend many of your days roaming the fairways.

Of course, those many retirement rounds would be a little more fun if you could eliminate the slice from your game once and for all. You need no introduction to the slice, as it is the most common ball flight problem in golf. If you are a right-handed golfer, a slice is a ball that quickly turns from left to right as it flies. Typically seen coming off of the driver, it is possible to hit a slice with nearly any club in the bag. Far from a problem that just affects seniors, the slice is an issue for countless golfers of all ages. In fact, nearly every golfer in the world has dealt with a slice at some point, especially early in their golf experience.

If you are a senior golfer currently fighting a frustrating slice, this article is going to attempt to provide some help. By working on your shoulder turn, you will hopefully be able to deliver the club on a path which will eliminate your slice. By straightening out your ball flight, you will not only hit more fairways, but you will hit the ball farther as well. Many seniors complain of a lack of distance, and the answer could be as easy as just making a better turn away from the ball with your shoulders.

While that sounds simple enough, there can be a couple of complications along the way. The biggest issue when telling senior golfers to make a bigger shoulder turn is a lack of flexibility. Human beings lose flexibility as they age, meaning it will get harder and harder to make a good turn as the years go by. Even if you are in good physical shape, you probably can't turn back as far as you could 10 or 20 years ago. Fortunately, there are some steps that can be taken which will work around your lack of flexibility to still provide you with a big turn.

As an added benefit of working on your shoulder turn, improving on this aspect of your swing should improve your tempo at the same time. Tempo is extremely important in golf, of course, and yours will be quickly improved if you are able to make a bigger turn. Without such a short backswing to deal with, you will be able to build the speed in your swing gradually from start to finish.

All of the content below 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.

Signs of a Poor Turn

Signs of a Poor Turn

Before you head off to the driving range to fix your shoulder turn, you need to make sure you actually have a shoulder turn problem in the first place. It would be a waste of time and energy to try fixing a problem that doesn't exist, after all. Fortunately, these days, it is quick and easy to check on the status of your shoulder turn in the golf swing.

The best way to do this is with some help from modern technology. Ask a friend to record a video of you making a few swings with a driver on the range. Once you have those recordings in hand, you can watch them back to check on the status of your turn. As you are trying to evaluate your rotation, watch for the following points.

  • Is your left shoulder moving under your chin? One of the best checkpoints is to watch how far back your left shoulder is able to turn in the backswing. If you make it at least under your chin with that left shoulder, you should be in pretty good shape. Some players are able to turn even farther, but moving your shoulder under your chin will give you plenty of space to work with as you get ready to swing the club down into the ball. Of course, if your left shoulder is falling well short of your chin during the backswing, you are going to need to find a way to improve your rotation.
  • Is the club reaching parallel at the top of the swing? When a golfer says that they reached 'parallel' at the top, they mean that the club was at least parallel to the ground when the backswing was finished. While you would never want to swing that far back with a wedge, it is a good checkpoint for hitting drives. However, it should be noted that you don't actually need to get all the way to parallel in order to hit straight, powerful shots. Plenty of golfers, even young players, don't swing this far back and are able to do just find. Take a look at this point on your video but only consider it as one piece of the puzzle. If you do fall short, note how far short you are and continue to check on the other points.
  • Pulling the ball to the left of the target line. Believe it or not, the pull and the slice are closely related in golf. Even though one goes left and the other goes right, these two shots are hit with very similar swings. If you are regularly pulling the ball to the left of the target, you may not be getting a good enough turn to put the club in position. Watch the ball as it leaves your club on the video to see where it is headed – does it go left immediately? If so, you could probably benefit from improving your turn at least slightly.

With the video recording of your swing right in front of your own eyes, it should be pretty easy to make a fair evaluation of your turn. Are you getting nicely behind the ball at the top of the swing? Does your turn look similar to others you have seen in your group, or on the local driving range? You don't have to be a golf swing expert to identify a poor turn, as long as you pay attention to some of the points listed above.

For the purposes of this article, we are going to assume you have determined that your rotation does need some work. If that is the case, the rest of this article is going to provide some ideas that you can pursue in the hopes of finding a little extra rotation on the way back. It is important to note that you don't have to dramatically change your turn in order to hit the ball farther with less of a slice pattern. Even a small improvement can go a long way when talking about this part of your swing.

Open the Right Foot

Open the Right Foot

The first idea we are going to examine is the possibility of opening your right foot at address. You might not think that making a change in your lower body could have that much impact on your shoulder turn, but this is a great way to add distance to your rotation without changing anything else about your swing. You will see many players using this tip if you pay close attention at your local driving range, as plenty of golfers – of all ages – struggle with flexibility limitations.

This tip works because opening your right foot slightly to the target will lessen the restriction that your right knee places on the backswing. When you keep your foot square to the target, the right leg will tighten as the backswing develops, and the pressure that builds may soon stop you from continuing the rotation. Even just turning your right foot a few degrees out to the right will make a considerable difference.

Of course, if you are going to make the most of this adjustment, you will need to pay attention to a few specific points as you work on your technique. Consult the points below to guide your practice sessions.

  • Rotate, don't slide. The whole point of turning your right foot out to the right is to improve your rotation away from the target. With that in mind, make sure you don't slide to the right during the backswing. Playing with your foot in an open position is going to make it easier to slide by accident, so you need to monitor this situation carefully as the backswing progresses. The key is really the first couple moments of the takeaway - if you can avoid a slide at this time, you should be able to keep on turning the rest of the way up to the top of the swing.
  • Stay under control. With newfound freedom in your backswing, you may be tempted to keep on swinging as far as possible before you change directions. Be careful, however, to take it too far. Not only is a long backswing hard to control, but you will run the risk of losing your balance as the long swing can pull you to the left prematurely. A big turn is a good thing, but balance is always king in golf. If you notice that the length of your turn is starting to damage your balance, back it up a bit until you regain control.
  • Don't open your foot too far. We are really only talking about an adjustment of a few degrees here, at the most. You don't need to turn your foot open significantly, and you shouldn't, as doing so is going to have negative effects on other parts of your swing. The farther you turn your foot to the right, the more likely it is that you will wind up sliding away from the target – the exact outcome you want to avoid. Start with a very minor adjustment at first and keep opening your foot a bit farther as you go until you find a successful position.

Considering the simplicity of this adjustment, it is likely the first thing you should try when looking for a bigger turn. All you have to do is turn your foot open a few degrees, hit a few balls, and see how it goes. Some trial and error is going to be needed along the way until you are able to get comfortable. It will take some time to learn how to make a bigger turn while still striking the ball cleanly, but you should make steady progress once you settle in to your new stance.

Play from a Closed Stance

Play from a Closed Stance

If you don't find success with an open right foot, you can go a different direction and close your stance at address to make a better turn. This tip will work in a similar way to the previous idea, but it comes along with the added complication of having to adjust for your aim. When you play from a square stance, as you were in the previous tip, it is relatively easy to aim at your target line time after time. That task is now going to become more difficult. You will have to spend plenty of practice time learning how to balance your ball flight and your aim point to wind up with shots that travel directly at the target.

As was the case with our previous tip, you are going to want to start with a very subtle closed stance, checking the results before you move on. Hopefully, you will find that your turn is a better when you only close your stance slightly, and you won't need to go too much farther to get the results you desire. Playing from a slightly closed stance isn't going to be too much trouble from an aim perspective, while using a dramatically closed stance will make things rather complicated.

To close your stance, all you need to do is move your right foot just a bit back from its normal location. Take your traditional stance first, get comfortable, and then move your foot back an inch or two before starting the swing. Don't move your left foot closer to the ball to close your stance, as doing so would cause ball striking problems when you return to impact. Also, you are going to keep your right foot square to the target line even when playing from a closed stance – combining a closed stance with an open right foot is not necessary, and would likely overcomplicate the situation.

One of the important advantages you can gain from using a closed stance is the ability to deliver the club on an inside-out path at you approach impact. This is a departure from what you have been doing previously, if you have been hitting a slice. So, not only will your turn be better with a closed stance, but you may be able to straighten out your ball flight at the same time. Many golfers spend years and years trying to correct their slice successfully, but it is possible that you can do the job simply by closing up your stance.

Getting back to the issue of aim, the mistake you need to avoid is aiming yourself well to the right of the target you have selected for your shot. As you close your stance, it is easy to allow your shoulders and hips to rotate to the right as well. Don't let that happen. While your feet are going to be closed to the target, the rest of your body needs to remain square. This is absolutely essential to your success with this stance adjustment.

There are three main 'lines' created in your stance – the line formed by your feet, the one created by your hips, and the one created by your shoulders. In a perfectly square stance, all three will be parallel to the target line. While you are intentionally going to close up the line formed by your feet, those other two need to remain perfectly square. The only way this adjustment is going to work on an ongoing basis is if you manage to match up your hips and shoulders while closing down your feet.

Other Small Tips

Other Small Tips

Opening your right foot to the target line, or playing from a closed stance, are the two main options at your disposal to make a bigger backswing as a senior golfer. However, there are some other minor points you can keep in mind as you practice as well. To squeeze the best possible shoulder rotation out of your backswing, consider using the tips below.

  • Flex your knees. If you stand with straight legs over the ball at address, you are going to struggle to make a big turn. It is important that you sit into your stance with plenty of knee flex so you will have a stable platform on top of which you can make a nice turn going back. You don't have to go into a deep squat in your stance, but you should at least feel like your legs are engaged and involved at address. This is a tip which will not only help your backswing, but it will also help you fire your lower body through the ball more effectively on the way down. No matter what kind of shot you happen to be hitting, flexed knees are always going to be important in golf.
  • Take some extra time. You might not even need to make any physical adjustments in order to make a better turn. It is possible that your limited turn is currently a product of a rushed backswing. Many golfers hurry through their backswings in an effort to get the shot over with as quickly as possible – and as a result, they fail to make a full rotation. This is a problem which can affect a golfer of any age, so make sure you aren't rushing through things just to send the ball on its way as quickly as you can. Take a deep breath prior to starting each swing and let the swing develop at a natural pace. Without rushing, you will be able to add to your turn and the consistency of your ball striking will improve as well, thanks to an improved tempo.
  • Use the right equipment. Okay – so this tip doesn't actually have anything at all to do with your turn. However, it is important in the big picture of your game, as good equipment can help you get rid of your slice and add distance to your drives. You don't actually have to spend top dollar to get a good driver. Rather, you just have to find a club which is well-suited to your swing. This is where many senior golfers go wrong. Despite the fact that there are plenty of senior-specific golf clubs on the market, many seniors continue to use drivers which are too heavy and stiff for their capabilities. Instead of making the game harder than it needs to be, find a driver which matches with your swing speed and strength and you will immediately notice a difference.

Making a huge turn might not be in the cards for the average senior golfer, but that doesn't mean you can't work on finding a bit of extra rotation in your driver swing. Adding even a small amount of turn will be a big help as you try to rid your game of a slice once and for all. Don't worry too much about distance as you practice – simply focus on a better turn and a straighter ball flight. Most likely, that extra distance will come along on its own as the result of a more efficient swing. Good luck!