BY ROBERT PARTAIN
No one likes to hit a slicing ball, unless, of course, it is a part of your shot plan. Generally, though, we don’t like them. A slice is usually a weak shot that ends up right of your target, which is all too common among amateur golfers, and many old pros too. Some of the more common causes for a slice are:
A Weak Grip — A weak grip is when your hands are turned to the left (if you are a right-handed golfer) so that the “V’s” formed by the thumb and forefinger point at, or to, the left of your chin. When this happens, the club is too much “in” your palms, so to speak, which makes it very hard to square the clubface at impact.
So, how do you fix that?
You should start by strengthening your grip. You can do this by turning your hands so the “V’s” point to the right of your chin. If you are new to golf, this may feel a bit awkward, but it’s important that you do it and get comfortable with the feel. You can confirm the right position simply by holding the club while looking in a mirror.
Another reason for a slice could be your grip is too tight. Having too tight of a grip will restrict your movement when you swing. It makes it harder to release the club through impact (right arm over left arm for the right-handed golfers), which usually leaves the clubface open and the ball ending up way right of your target.
Fixing it: A good way to judge if your grip is too tight is to take your normal stance, and using your “normal” grip, hold your club straight out in front of you, and have someone try to pull the club out of your hands. They should almost be able to pull it away from you. If they can’t, you’re holding the club too tight.
The last of the more common reasons for a slice is a cupped left wrist. With too much of a cupped left wrist (right-handed golfers) you leave yourself open for trouble. Normally, what you will end up doing is trying to correct this flaw with an over-the-top swing as you try square the clubface just before impact. On the backswing, the ideal left wrist position is slightly cupped at the top, but not majorly cupped.
One way to fix this is to stick a pencil in your golf glove (on the back of your hand where the glove logo would be) and swing slowly like this; it’s nearly impossible to have a cupped wrist or else the pencil will dig into your arm. If you feel it digging in, then “loosen” the wrist until it doesn’t anymore. Then try to remember how this new position feels to you. You’ll want to repeat (mimic) this from now on.
Try these if you have a slice problem, and you’ll be on your way to straighter shots and more enjoyable golf.
Robert Partain has been an avid golfer for over 40 years. He publishes a golf blog that is updated 4 times a week with golf tips, techniques, and information.