Having been involved in golf and professional sports for twenty years, it’s safe to say that I’ve pretty much seen it all. Many golfers suffer from several different swing flaws, which can lead to snap hooks, flubs, and the dreaded slice.
Undoubtedly, the slice is the one golf shot that I hear the most common complaints about, particularly from high-handicappers and beginners to the game. But have you ever thought about what actually causes your golf ball to slice? Chances are you have, but you haven’t figured out exactly why your ball goes from a fade to a slice.
Typically speaking, your golf ball slices in the air because of a swing flaw or a component breaking down in your swing mechanics. Helping golfers of all levels understand more about the slice is critical, so let’s get right into it.
What Causes Your Golf Ball To Slice?
The golf ball slices in its flight due to the amount of side spin placed on the ball; the greater the side spin, the more pronounced the movement from left to right will be. Generally speaking, the sidespin is caused by the golfer leaving the clubface “open” at the time of impact instead of being “square” as it should be.
Not only does the open clubface cause sidespin, but it also initiates a “glancing” strike on the ball, resulting in a dramatic loss in the distance of your shot.
Other factors like being incorrectly aligned, using the right golf ball, poor swing mechanics, and timing can also cause a slice; this is why it’s imperative to seek the advice of an expert PGA coach and instructor to help iron out those kinks in your swing.
What Can I Do To Avoid A Slice?
Ok, so I know what you’re thinking; if I can just make sure my clubface is square at impact, then I’ll never hit another slice again. But guess what, as with most things in life worth pursuing, nothing is ever that easy.
Golf is a repetitive sport, meaning golfers of all levels have built up years of bad habits that are now ingrained deep into their muscle memory. Getting rid of these bad swing habits is no easy task and takes the instruction of a good coach and hours and hours of commitment and dedication by the player.
Most golfers try to overcompensate for their slice, which causes multiple other swing problems, including timing and constant misfiring. One common mistake golfers make is overcompensating by aligning their shoulders further to the left. Unfortunately, this causes the swing to produce a “pull” and, in more extreme cases, a snap hook.
Adjusting Your Grip Can Help Avoid A Slice
As a coach, one of the first places I check to identify why the player is slicing is the grip. More often than not, the grip is the culprit, which is both good and bad news. The good news is the slice can be fixed with a simple grip change; the bad news is the new grip is probably going to feel terrible for quite some time.
A simple adjustment for high-handicap golfers to make is to ensure the knuckle on the index finger of their left hand is clearly visible when they are set up and addressing the ball.
Making sure the right hand is also slightly turned away from the target can help alleviate the slice. The biggest problem that most golfers face is the awkward feeling of hitting shots with an entirely new grip. Far too many golfers scrap their new grip before giving it enough time to start feeling more comfortable.
Alignment At Address Might Need Adjustment
The grip is directly correlated with this next tip which is the alignment or, should I say, the incorrect alignment of the golfer’s shoulders at the address position. When a golfer slices the ball, you’ll generally find that their feet, hips, and shoulders are aligned to the target’s left.
Ensuring you correctly align yourself at address can, in most cases, completely “fix” the dreaded problem of slicing the ball. Correct alignment makes it easier to swing on the target line and thus hit a much straighter ball.
The 18th Hole
The golf swing is one of the most complex, sporting techniques to perform correctly and consistently. To understand more about why you’re slicing the ball, you will have to take a few lessons with your local PGA club professional.
The golf swing is just too intricate and complex to figure out by yourself, so seek their advice and get rid of your slice ball flight once and for all. After all, you spend so much money on expensive clubs and clothes that giving a few bucks to a PGA pro for some lessons is money well spent.