West Seattle Golf Course Blog

Fix Your Slice and Improve Your Game

So you slice the ball? If you do I suspect you have a hard time being consistent and that at least a few holes per round destroy your score cards. If you are like most golfers that slice, you've probably created a grab bag of tricks that you try from time to time to help you gain more control of the shots that are curving into the trees, water and OB land.

I'm not telling you it will be easy to fix your slice, but if you understand the cause and work on improving a little at a time, you can improve your misses, which will help you become a better player.

IMPORTANT: there is one, and only one, combination of swing path (the direction your club is swinging) and face angle (where the face is pointing at impact) that causes a slice! Let's call this your SLICE GAP!

Remember, your SLICE GAP is the gap between the swing path and the club face angle. The bigger your SLICE GAP, the worse the slice.

Repeat that previous sentence 10 times - if you slice your club is swinging left of where your face is pointing! That's all! That's what you have to understand to make improvements.

Take a guess what happens when you hit your worst slices. If you said the divergence between where your club is swinging and where your club face is pointing is at its greatest, you are correct! A huge slice is going happen when those two factors are very far apart, in other words when your SLICE GAP is very large.

Before I give you some thoughts on what you can do to start to improve, let me give you some things to STOP doing now. They may occasionally help you, and you might think they will cure you, but I guarantee they are temporary and will never result in the consistency you desire.

What to STOP Doing Now to Fix a Slice (for right handers, left handed players do the opposite)

  1. Aim more left : all you do when you try this is make your path go more left. So now your path is even farther left, and subconsciously you don't want to hit the ball straight left. So what do you do? You hold open the face even more, and now your SLICE GAP is even wider. Don't do this, we want a smaller SLICE GAP!
  2. Close the club face at address: OK so now you've pointed the club face to the left and you're swinging to the left as well. Again, you will not want to hit the ball straight left (which slicers will do on occasion when path and face both point left) so you will again hold the face open even more and widen your SLICE GAP! Stop it!
  3. Aggressively try to close the club face on your downswing: I've seen players who slice try this because they figure the ball is going right and they need to "release" the club more aggressively. The problem is they don't fix their path so they start swinging left with a face that points left and instead of being in the pond on the right they hit it OB left. And then they will try to counter that by again holding the face more open, and once again we have a HUGE SLICE GAP! No good folks!

How do you really improve if you're a slicer? If you are someone who wants to practice and improve, then the steps below will help you, even as you make incremental improvements. You do not have to solve every problem at once to get better, but you do have to go to the driving range and hit balls if you want to become a better player. If you're serious, I want you to get aligned properly, then fix the face, and finally work on your path. Here's how to do it:

Three Steps to Fix Your Slice

  1. Aim correctly: Let's reduce the number of compensations you have to make by lining up generally at your target. You can't be aimed 50 yards left of your target and fix a slice. So line up at the target. Chris Ryan is a great teacher, watch this video multiple times and work on your alignment first. Once that is in good shape, move on to step #2.
  2. Reduce your SLICE GAP: I want you to do that by learning to hit the ball straight LEFT. Yes, you heard me. We will fix the path later, but for now match up the path and club face as closely as possible at impact. If the two are closely aligned you should hit the ball directly left without much, if any, curve. If the ball is still curving to the right (slicing), your face is still open to the path! Once you can hit the ball straight left, you have shrunk your SLICE GAP, with the path and face angle more closely aligned. Now move on to step 3, which will be the hardest part to fix.
  3. Get on the PATH to improvement: This will the hardest part for you to change because it's likely a deeply ingrained habit. The fact is you are swinging too far left of the ball-to-target line through impact. A little left is ok, but if you're a slicer you are swinging too far left. I want you to do this exact sequence of steps over and over and over until you have a clear feeling of what you need to do to fix your path.
    • Stand behind your ball and look directly at your target. Imagine a line running from the target backwards towards you, through your ball, and into infinity behind you. This is the ball-to-target line. Got it? Can you see it clearly?
    • Now with that picture in your head, grab a club and address the ball like to are going to play a shot. DO NOT SWING. Just stay in your address and get a picture of that same ball-to-target line. It's still there even though you are now standing parallel to that line. Again stop and get that picture. You have to understand this picture clearly.
    • As a slicer, someone who swings too far left, your downswing actually moves your club out and across the ball-to-target line and then swings it back across the line and to the left. You actually cross to the other side of the ball-to-target line (see the red area in the image above) during your downswing. So, SLOWLY swing your club and move it out across the ball-to-target line and back to the left. I want you to slowly feel a SLICE swing. Yes, feel what a SLICE is, because it's important to know what you DON'T want to do!
    • Now that you SLOWLY feel that slice swing, I want you to try to find a way to swing the club and ALWAYS stay on your side of the ball-to-target line (see the green area in the image above). The club can never pass to the other side. GO SLOW. Try different downswing keys to find a way to keep the club on your side of the line. In a proper swing the club swings from INSIDE the line, to DOWN THE TARGET LINE, and then BACK INSIDE the target line.

    Review the video below as you work through these items, it has some helpful information.

Best of luck to you, please feel free to send us your comments on this article to: mortontechllc@gmail.com!