What is a slice?

PGA Advanced Professional

What is a slice?

What is a Slice?

What is a slice?

A slice, in my opinion, is usually an uncontrollable curve of the ball, which in flight moves from left to right. There are two main factors that cause a slice and these are:

 
1. The swing direction through the ball is from the outside to inside. This usually determines where your slice starts, in relation to the target.
 
2. The clubface is open at impact. This will determine where your slice finishes, in relation to the target.
 
There are many ways in which you can help reduce the amount of unwanted slice.
 
Problem-solving:
 
1. The clubface is open at address.
2. The grip may be too weak (Position of hands).
3. The grip is too tight.
4. The stance is open to the target.
5. The aim is too far left of the target line.
6. Posture is too upright.
7. Lack of body rotation during the swing.
8. Take-away is too steep or outside the target line.
9. Incorrect use of weight transfer (Reverse Pivot)
10. Swing is too aggressive.
 
 
All of the following tips & solutions are based on improving a right-handed player.
 
1. The clubface is open at address.
Before positioning your hands on the club, make sure that the clubface is square to the target line. After placing your hands on the club, double-check that the clubface is still square to the target line.
 
2. The grip is too weak. (Meaning the position of your hands on the club)
Ensure that you make a good grip with both hands on the club. When your hands are positioned correctly you should see at least 3 knuckles on the left hand and no more than 2 knuckles on the right hand.
 
3. The grip is too tight. (Grip pressure)
You should hold the club with just enough pressure that it doesn’t fly out of your hands.
The pressure should just be enough that the club does not twist in your hands at impact. Squeezing the club too much will reduce your swing performance and will reduce your distance. If you can see your knuckles turning white you are gripping too tightly.
 
4. The stance is open to the target.
You should stand in such a way that your feet are parallel with the target line. If your left foot is further back than your right this means that your stance is open. When your left foot is further back than the right foot this will automatically mean that your left hip is also further back than your right hip. This will ultimately restrict your body rotation during the backswing.
 
5. The aim is too far left of the target line.
When aiming you should make sure that your feet, hips and shoulders are all parallel to the target line. If you are aiming your body too far left than this will create a swing path that is from the outside. This will reduce the amount of energy at impact and create a clockwise spin on the ball, that is, if your clubface is square or open to the target line at impact)
 
6. Posture is too upright.
If you stand over the ball in a too upright position, the backswing will become too steep which will reduce the rotation that is necessary to return the clubhead to the ball from the inside. This may also promote the toe end of the club head to strike the ball causing the clubface to twist at impact, therefore, losing power on impact. A too upright posture may also force your weight on to your heels which could reduce the swing speed and possibly make you lose your balance. You should try standing side on to a mirror. Find a position where you feel that your weight is evenly distributed 50/50 on both feet and evenly between the ball of your foot and the heels. When looking in the mirror the club shaft and your spine angle should appear to be as close as 90° as possible.
 
7. Lack of body rotation during the swing.
A lack of rotation will force the arms to dominate the swing. They will tend to pick the club up too early causing a steep backswing with very little width. This will force the player to try hitting the ball with power and aggression rather than a fluid swing motion. This will in turn force the player to grip too tightly which will restrict the players’ movement and result in slower swing speed. Stand in front of a mirror and try to start the swing with your left shoulder. You should try and turn your left shoulder underneath your chin and at the same time transfer a little weight on to your right foot. This will help create a shallower take-away and add a little rotation to the backswing.
 
8. Take-away is too steep or outside the target line.
This is connected to the last point. This time, stand side on to the mirror and take the club away in such a manner that the hands stay close to your body. When the shaft is parallel to the ground it should be that the hands and clubhead are in line with each other and the toe end of the club should be pointing upwards and the leading edge should also be pointing slightly forward of you but never behind you.
 
9. Incorrect use of weight transfer (Reverse Pivot)
During the swing, your body weight should transfer. In the setup position, your body weight should be approx. 50/50 on both your feet and also 50/50 between your toes and heels.
During the backswing, you should notice a little weight transfer to your right shoe and on the downswing, there should be a transfer of weight toward your left shoe. At the time of impact, the weight should be approx. 60-70% on your left side and in the finish position the weight should be at least 90% on the left side. It is very important to try and hold your finish position to go through a little checklist. Ask yourself, Where is my weight? Does my chest face the target? Is my right shoe on its tiptoe? Is the club over my left shoulder? You should be answering “yes” to all of these questions.
 
10. Swing is too aggressive.
Most people don’t realise that they are swinging much faster and much more aggressive than they can handle. Remember that we are trying to swing the golf club through the ball. The ball should be in the way of our swing and it should not be the target of violence. I have often explained to my pupils that they should be a little friendlier to the ball and the ball will be friendlier to them. The ball will only fly as well as the last swing. Everyone has a swing rhythm and tempo and you should find your own and practice keeping the tempo the same. It is always tempting to hit the ball as hard or as far as possible but this very rarely works out for the best. Most top amateurs and professionals will play within their limitations. It is important to know what these are. Try hitting some balls, on the range, with 75% effort and see just how good the results are. There are no prizes for the most powerful swing!
If you require any further help with your slice, then seek out your local PGA Golf Professional.
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