Slicing happens for a myriad of reasons, but it's only caused by one thing: If your clubface is open in relation to the path your club is traveling on at impact, the ball will curve away from the target. For right-handers, it's a left-to-right curve.
Rather than outline all the issues that can cause a slice, let's skip to the good part and find out how you can straight out a banana ball. Golf-and-fitness instructor Karen Palacios-Jansen (@kpjgolf) says improving forearm rotation is going to help not only in squaring the clubface for straighter shots, it also is one of golf's speed accumulators. That means your ball will go straighter and farther.
"Forearm rotation produces a tremendous amount of clubhead speed through the hitting area," she says.
Golf Digest teaching professional David Leadbetter demonstrates the good and bad of forearm rotation.
Slicers tend to hold off this forearm rotation for two reason:
They have tight, overdeveloped muscles in the chest and upper back and those muscles tend to dominate the downswing preventing the whip-like action that can be produced from good forearm rotation.
Their swing path is typically from outside the target line to the inside through impact. If the forearms rotate, the ball would start left of the target and likely hook even farther left. So they aim left and restrict forearm rotation, so the ball will weakly slice back to the right, but somewhere in play.
Palacios-Jansen says if the swing path approaches the ball from inside the target line, and the forearms are rotating counterclockwise, slicers will start hitting straight shots or even drawing the ball, as well as generate a noticeably greater amount of power in their shots.
You can strengthen the forearms with a number of dumbbell rotation exercises--just remember to tuck your elbows into your sides to prevent the upper arm from assisting in the exercise. But before you do that, it's important to learn how the forearms should rotate and Palacios-Jansen as a simple way of patterning this movement. Click on the video below to see her demonstrate.
Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.*
(Photos by Dom Furore )