Fix that slice
6 simple ways to fix your slice (quickly!)
Before Robin Symes, one of Golf Digest's top instructors in Florida, gives you six hacks to avoid slice the next time you tee it up, it might be helpful to relize why the ball keeps peeling off to the right (or to the left if you're swinging left-handed).
Launch monitors have verified what Robin and many top coaches have known for years. The ball will slice if the clubface is open in relation to its swing path at impact—that's it. No matter what your swing path (in to out, out to in, square to the target, etc.) the ball will always slice if the face is open to that path. Not to geek-out on you here, but this ball-flight law is why you can hit a draw with an open clubface. To draw a ball, the face can be open to your target so long as it's closed in relation to the path.
Now back to Robin, who is a master instructor for Golfzon Leadbetter's HQ Academy at the Reunion Resort near Orlando. He has six simple ways to get your ball to fly straighter—or even draw. He suggests you experiment with all of them, even combine some to them, until you get the right feel to get your shots flying the way you want.
1. STRENGTHEN YOUR GRIP
From Robin: "Traditionally, a checkpoint to creating a neutral grip was to take your address, look down at your lead hand, and adjust the position so you could see two knuckles. Concepts stick and two knuckles became accepted as neutral, but I'm not sure why.
"When you let your arms hang and look down, you will probably see three or four knuckles. It's my opinion that this is closer to a neutral grip, especially if you struggle with a slice. If you see anything less than three knuckles, regrip with your lead hand until you do. Don't make the mistake of just rotating your hand on the handle, which might open the face. Actually regrip. It might feel like a strong position on the handle, but strong is the new neutral!"
2. CHANGE YOUR RELEASE
"If you're slicing, your clubface is open at impact," Symes says. "To fix this, I see a lot of players trying to close the clubface in the downswing. Unfortunately, manipulating the clubface in the downswing when things are happening so fast is very difficult, so results are often mixed.
"The secret is to forget about the downswing and instead, change your follow-through. You might think that's too late in the swing. The ball is already gone so why bother? I'll tell you why. Focusing on your follow-through actually cleans up a lot of mistakes in earlier parts of the swing, including an open face at impact. Finish your swing with your lead hand's wrist bowed and your trail hand's wrist cupped. It should feel more like the club wrapped around your body."
3. SET YOUR EYES FOR A DRAW
"With a stronger grip and a better release, your curve should be gone," Symes says. "But you might need help starting the ball on line, or to the other side of the target for a draw. How? Simple as this sounds, try shifting your eyes to where you want the ball to start. For a right-handed player, it would be the right side of the target for a draw. The key now is to trust your new grip and release (tips 1 an 2) when making your swing."
4. FLIP YOUR SCRIPT
"What does every slicer do—take the club back inside the target line and then swing down on the outside," Symes says. "When you combine this swing path with a weak grip and a poor release, the result is a guaranteed slice. The solution is to reverse this swing-path pattern. Flip the script, so to speak. Feel that your clubhead goes back outside your target line or hands, then makes a little loop as you change direction, and comes into impact inside your hands. Now, release like I taught you in tip 2 and you'll see baby draws!"
5. CLOSE YOURSELF OFF
"Hopefully you have fixed your slice by now, but if not, these last two tips should finish the job," Symes says. "In tip 3, I asked you to aim your eyes to the right side of the target (a right-handed player). The key to this step is to feel a similar position of your head and eyes at impact and beyond. This will help the club travel down more on the inside. With a better grip and a different release, strong draws will be the result!"
6. IF ALL ELSE FAILS, DO THIS
"Before you take your grip, close your clubface a little. When you set it down behind the ball, the face should be pointing left of your target (for righties)," Symes says. "You might think this is like cheating, but the ball doesn't know or care how the clubface returned to impact. If starting from a closed position helps prevent you from opening the face to your swing path, so be it. Give all of these a try, you can mix and match, and I bet you lose your slice and now know how to correct it again should it ever creep back into your game.