The slice seems to be a common problem for many right handed golfers. In order to correct the slice, you need to first understand the reasons for it.
While much is written about how to correct the slice, a golfer who spends time at the practice range early in the season stands a much better chance of eliminating it than one who tries to correct or ‘play’ their slice on the golf course.
The reason for a slice, in general, is due to the spin put on the ball at impact when the club face meets the ball. What I want to cover here is why the spin is put on the ball at impact.
Most right handed golfers tend to have the club drift outside the backswing plane during the downswing. The term ‘outside to inside’ is the term most commonly referred to.
What this means, simply, is that as a golfer comes out of transition, (and I speak most generally of the average or weekend golfer here), they will tend to engage their trail or right side of the body as they enter that downswing. This tends to cause the trail or right hand to become tense and thus grip pressure is increased or tightened on the grip of the club.
This tension can cause the entire right arm to tighten up, and when this happens, in general, the club is forced outside the swing plane on the way through the downswing.
When the club approaches the impact zone from outside the plane line, the obvious result is the head of the club will literally come across the ball from outside to in causing a glancing blow, imparting side spin on the ball. As this type of downswing from outside to in becomes ingrained into your swing and play, golfers will almost automatically begin to aim left, (right handed golfers), hence playing for a slice. This will eventually cause the slice to only get worse.
A place to start in correcting and eliminating your slice is to develop the ability to swing the club from inside the swing plane to outside. The phrase I like to use is “swinging toward the trouble”. Rather than trying to break down your entire swing, get a basket of balls and hit the range for a bit of work.
Take 3 clubs from your bag and lay them down to represent your foot line, shoulder line and ball line. Your foot line club should be that club you place at your feet. The shoulder line is a guide that is placed midway between the golf ball and the foot line club. The ball line club is placed outside the ball, perhaps 2 or 3 inches beyond the toe of your golf club when it sits behind the ball.
Be absolutely sure the three clubs are lined up parallel to each other. The golf ball is your base line aimed at the target. Again, the clubs need to be parallel to each other and to the ball line.
(Note: Be sure the end of the ball line club is even with the ball so as not to hit that club during your practice.)
Now the hard part. Take a few practice swings. Before doing so, simply suggest the following to yourself: “I will do whatever it takes to move the club from inside to out.” Trust me here, you may not ‘know’ what this means, but your ‘system’ does. Do not try to think about this suggestion. Instead, forget it and take a practice swing. You will feel where the arms hands and club are moving so long as your grip pressure is rather weak on the club grip. After all, why strangle the club? You are not hitting anything yet!
A feel you may look for is like you are swinging a rope with a weight on the end of it. You feel the arms almost go limp until gravity takes over as the club almost falls through the down swing. Also, sense that the club is actually moving “toward the trouble.” Any golfer with a big slice knows exactly what this statement means.
As you begin to feel this difference in downswing motion, don’t try to increase your swing intensity. Instead, as you begin to hit balls, change the suggestion from the one above to: “I’d like to feel as though I am swinging toward the trouble.”
While you may have to read this piece several times, I will almost guarantee with a little work, paying credence to the above, you are sure to reduce the amount of slice. As your understanding improves, the slice may just disappear.
(Steve Riggs is a retired teaching professional with over 30 years experience working with students around the U.S. and Caribbean. CoHost of the USGA NATIONAL JUNIORS Golf Tournament at Yale Golf Club, Steve has designed and consulted on several swing improvement tools like the Grip Trainer Golf Training Glove and the Sindelar Putting System. Steve is a member of the GWAA (Golf Writers Association of America) and Producer/Host of the myNEGM Lesson Tee Radio/Internet Show now in its 4th year. The show, on WNRI 1380AM radio, streams live Wednesdays 10:05-11am at mynegm.com and wnri.com)