The Only 3 Reasons Why You Slice The Golf Ball

The Only 3 Reasons Why You Slice The Golf Ball

Want to know how to fix a golf slice? Read on. If you suffer more with a hook to the left, READ THIS instead.

The dreaded golf slice – a ball that can start any direction, but curves dramatically to the right (for a right-hander) – often into the trees or out of bounds. 

Amateurs try all sorts of things to fix their slice; 

“keep your head down”

“keep that left arm straight”

“start down with the hips”

but you’d be lucky if any of that advice solves it. You’d be more likely to put a tee behind your right ear and start hitting a draw. 

With all the info out there on this topic, did you know that there are only 3 things that can cause a slice? This article will explain exactly what they are, so you are more informed as to what to change to fix your slice.

 

Path Is Too Far Left

Swing path refers to the direction the club is moving through impact (more right or left). All else being equal, a swing path that is more left will send the ball more right – a game of opposites. 

This can be really frustrating for the uninformed golfer, as they see the ball banana slice to the right, and every bone in their instinctive body tells them to swing more to the left – but this just exacerbates the problem.

In fact, with a driver, for every degree you swing the club to the left, the ball will go 4% more to the right. If you’re not good with numbers, let me spell that out for you;

  • If you drive the ball 250 yards
  • Have an 5 degree left swing path (and square face)
  • The ball will curve 50 yards to the right

For reference, here’s a 5 degree left swing path – not dramatic is it. 

golf driver with a slicing swing path 5 degrees out to in

 

Face Is Open To……

With that said, swing path (on its own) does not create a slice.

Take our golfer who has a 5 degree left (out to in) swing path – we know from our earlier example that this player will hit a 50 yard slice right…. IF they present the face square at impact.

olf driver path left face open slice

This is a big ole slice

However, if this same player presents the clubface 3-4 degrees left of the target, this will actually produce a neat little fade onto the target. 

golf driver path left face closed fade

In the above picture, having the face just 3 degrees more left now produces a fade onto the target.

Sure – you can’t draw the ball with a left swing path (barring some wild gear effect – see later), but you can manage it and turn a slice into a fade (like Hogan, Nicklaus etc) by having the face LESS OPEN to the path. 

An “out-of -control” slice is created by a combination of a left swing path AND a face that is too open (to the right of) that path. 

 

The Lesser-Known Issue

Not many people know this, and it’s only really an issue with bigger headed clubs (almost negligible with irons) but……

You could be slicing it because of a strike issue.

This is a complicated topic called gear effect – if you want to understand this concept deeper, CLICK TO READ THIS ARTICLE.

However, to give you the cliffs notes – all else being equal, if you struck towards the heel side of the club, the ball will have more curvature to the right than if you didn’t.

golf driver gear effect toe hook heel slice

Gear effect is complex, and I go through many of the complexities in my high-level program, Next Level Golf. But, it’s safe to say, I have seen many amateurs trying to fix their path/face when, in fact, they were slicing their driver from a strike issue. 

 

Stop Messing Around

For many of you this will be ground-breaking information. However, if you have been around the golfing block, this is stuff that you have heard before.

reasons for a gold slice

Thank you, Captain Obvious – although it’s not common knowledge to many.

The issue I find with golfers who know this information BUT haven’t seemed to be able to change it is this – they are often focusing on things in their movement that don’t even relate to improving one of the above. 

For example, I many golfers say;

“I’ve been trying to fix my slice by doing X/Y/Z with my swing”

And I hear

“I’ve been trying to fix my slice by putting a tee behind my right ear, turning my cap backwards and putting more loose change in my right pocket”

Catch my drift?

 

Quick Process For Improvement 

This is mind numbingly obvious to me – but many golfers don’t think like this. Here’s what you should do to improve;

  1. Figure out which impact variable (or combination you want to improve)
  2. Introduce a drill/technique/feel that improves those variables (not somehthing random in the swing that doesn’t relate)
  3. Utilise quality practice methods to speed up learning.

 

The Bottom Line 

Unless you change one or all of the above, your slice is not going to get fixed.

So, make sure that any change you make relates to one (or all) of the above. Once, again, these options are;

  • Change path (if you want to straighten out your slice)
  • Change face (if you want to turn you slice into a functional fade)
  • Change strike to limit gear-effect.

In The Accuracy Plan, I show you how to do all of the above. We look at 

  • My most powerful drills to quickly change any poor patterns you are having
  • Unique skill drills to encourage long-term mastery
  • How to manage your shot patterns through improved strategy, so you can shoot better scores with minimal practice (even if you practice a lot, this is still incredibly valuable). 
  • How to make better decisions as to what, when and why to change your patterns (golf IQ)

If you want to learn more about The Accuracy Plan, check it out by clicking the image below.

 

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  • An amazing drill to quickly change your swing path and turn any slice into a draw, or neutralize any hook

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5 Comments

  • Ken D

    Or, just put a glove or towel under your right armpit, take 10-20 full swings without it falling out. Then hit the ball. If the slice starts creeping back at some point, repeat. I have fixed so many peoples swings with this it’s amazing I never read about it.

    • admin

      It can work, but then it can also horribly constrict a lot of golfers. Look at all the top guys who let the arms fly – Wolff is one of those who won this week.

      The towel drill also doesn’t positively change the face – so if that is the main issue it can turn a slice into a block shot.

      Its one of those drills which may work for about 30-50% of slicers, but even then there are better, less-intrusive ways to change the slice which don’t constrict the arm motion as much.

  • Joe Scales

    Thanks for clearing that up. I have tried so many things over the years that I feel like an encyclopedia of partial ways to improve. Love The Practice Manual and The Strike Plan.

    Suggestion: Develop an app that can be easily customized for keeping track of the practice measures we use to improve. It should be voice activated so that I can input the info into the grid as soon as I hit the shot. Paper and pencil is a drag. Thanks.

    • admin

      The app is in the works 🙂

  • Keith venables

    What is the total cost in the U.K. not in American dollars.

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