If you are like most golfers, you probably have a problem slicing and have tried a number of ways to fix it, only to further complicate your game. Use the following checklist and practice drills to cure your slice once and for all:
Grip: Make sure the â??Vâ? created by the thumb and index finger of both hands is pointed toward your right shoulder (left shoulder for left-handed golfers). This is called a neutral grip and allows the clubface to naturally be â??squareâ? at impact if the club is properly released. Be careful not to rotate your hands too far to the right as it will result in a grip that is considered strong. A strong grip will cause you to â??hold onâ? or delay the release of the club.
Set-up: A common mistake for golfers who slice is to set-up aiming further left. This will only promote a more â??over the topâ? swing path and, ultimately, a bigger slice. Instead, make sure your shoulders, hips and feet are square, or slightly closed, to your target line. Once you are set up square and have a neutral grip, try to swing parallel to your body lines and allow the club to release naturally toward your target.
Path: Try to hit the golf ball between 4 and 5 oâ??clock (shown below). This will promote an inside-to-out swing. Once you establish a good swing path, you will be able to release the club through impact, which will result in more distance.
Now that we have established the proper grip, set-up and swing path, letâ??s spend a little time on a few drills to cure your slice.
Feel the Club Head: A lot of people who slice the ball have what I like to call the â??death gripâ? preventing them from releasing the club properly. To get a feel for releasing the club naturally, letâ??s first turn the club upside down, gripping it on the bottom of the shaft near the club head and take five continuous swings. Now, turn the club back around and make the same five swings. During the second series of swings, you will be able to feel the club head more and how to release it naturally with forearm rotation. Remember that a tight grip leads to tight muscles, and tight forearm muscles will prevent you from releasing the club naturally.
Stay Connected: There are three connections in the golf swig â?? feet to ground, hands to club, and left arm to left chest. We are going to focus on the third connection for this drill. First, with your driver in hand, place a towel across you chest and under both arms. We are only going to try and hit the ball a maximum of 100 yards. Next, pick a target. Once you have picked a target about 100 yards away, set up â??closed,â? or to the right of the target for right-handed golfers, and make a waist-high backswing. You should notice that if you simply turn around your spine and stay connected, the clubface will be toe-up, or square, at the half-way point of your backswing. From this position, rotate through the ball with a swing path parallel to your feet and try to release the club and draw the ball back to your target. You should feel like you are swinging right of your target, and if the club is released properly, you will be able to draw the ball back to the target. With this drill, remember to rotate around your spine angle and release the club by keeping your elbows pointed down toward the ground.
Practice with Your Feet Together: This is a great drill to help you release the club and improve your balance. With a 7 iron, tee the ball up slightly and take your stance with your feet only about a club-head-length apart. Now, with about a 70 percent swing, focus on rotating around your spine and allowing the club to release naturally. Once you feel comfortable, slowly widen your stance. You should immediately feel that your balance has improved and that you are able to release the club much easier.
Remember, golf is a game of opposites, so in order to cure a slice, we must try to swing the club from the inside and allow the club to release naturally. By gripping the club lightly, you will have a better feel for the club head, and your forearms will be relaxed enough to rotate through the shot. Staying connected with the left arm across your chest and maintaining your spine angle will help you swing from the inside, and focusing on keeping your elbows pointed down during your release will help you release the club and even draw the ball back to your target. Good luck both on the course and at the casino!
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By: Colby Wolitz
Colby Wolitz is a PGA-certified teaching pro at The Players Club of Henderson in Kentucky.