How to Fix a Slice in GolfPublished on 07/30/2023 · 9 min readLearn how to fix that frustrating slice in your golf game with expert tips and step-by-step instructions. Improve your start line and swing path!
Photo by TonKid
One of the most frustrating shots in golf is the dreaded slice. You're playing a great round of golf when you step up to the tee, pull out the driver, and slice one into the trees. Round over. Sound familiar? This article is intended to help you fix your slice once and for all. My name is Al, and I’ve been a competitive golfer for over 20 years, including junior golf, college golf, and professional golf, and I’m here to pass some of my knowledge onto you!
What Causes a Slice?
A slice is caused by one thing, and one thing only: a mismatch between golf swing path and club face angle. If the swing path is to the left of your target, and the club face is open too much to the swing path, you’ll create too much cut side-spin, and your golf ball will slice. Stated more easily, it has an out-to-in swing path. Similarly, if your golf swing path is to the right of your target, and the club face is open, you’ll hit a push-slice.
It’s important to note that there are acceptable ranges of the aforementioned face-to-path relationships; however, if you’re slicing the golf ball, you are simply outside of that acceptable range. How do you fix this? I’ll begin by helping you self-diagnose the root cause of your slice.
Steps to Diagnose a Slice
1. Identify Your Swing Path
Most people don’t have access to a Trackman at every range session, so instead of relying solely on the numbers, we want to focus on the true start line. An easy way to do this is to use an alignment stick and point it at your target—like the image below—to do a start line drill.
2. Hit Three to Five Balls With the Club You’re Slicing
Pay attention to the ball's flight and the line the ball starts on. Is it right or left of your intended target? In the above image, the yellow flag is the target, so you’d try to aim your ball at the flag, but make sure to pay attention to if the ball starts right or left of it. By identifying your true start line, you now know your general swing path. If the ball starts left of the target, you have a left swing path. If the ball starts to the right of the target, you have a right swing path.
3. Identify Your Face Angle
Since I’m assuming here that you don’t have a Trackman to hit on, I’ll explain similar methods to identify your face angles.
Hit three to five more balls and pay attention to what the ball does as it flies. If your ball is starting left and slicing hard right, your path is left, and your club face is very open, relative to the path. If your ball is starting right and then curving more right, your swing path is right and your club face is open, relative to your swing path. If your ball is starting way right and not curving much, then your club face is square to your swing path, but your swing path is very right.
Congratulations, you now know the most important details you need to know!
Steps to Fix Your Club Face Angle
In order to fix your slice, you need to either correct your swing path or club face angle. Both are correct, so it doesn’t matter which you fix, so long as you fix one. Typically, fixing the club face angle is much easier, as it can be fixed in the set-up through stance and grip. Swing path can be harder to fix, as it requires more attention to detail to correct your body and mind’s natural swing tendencies.
Before we dive into adjusting things, please keep these important facts in mind:
- Swinging “over the top” is 100% acceptable! Some of the greatest golfers swing over the top! Watch the guys in the PGA Tour, and you'll notice many start their downswing on a slightly higher plane than their back swing. The reason they have success is because they’re able to do so while controlling their outside-in swing path.
- If you struggle with a slice where the ball is starting left, you’ll likely have a small fade after following my instructions. A high tight draw like Rory McIlroy won’t really be a possibility given your swing path. If you have a swing path to the right, you may be able to still hit a fade, but you’ll likely have a nice draw in the end.
Ready to cure your slice? Here we go!
1. Grip the Club in Your Non-dominant Hand Only
Hold the club straight out in front of you. Does your club face look like A, B, or C?
For right now, we want to get the club back to square. If you’re struggling with a slice, odds are that your grip looks like C, which has an open club face. Alternatively, there’s a chance your grip looks like A, which is a closed club face, making you compensate by not releasing the club, causing the face to remain open at impact. What you want is B. This will ensure that you’re starting with a square club face in your set-up position.
2. Place Your Right Hand on the Club and Notice Where It Rests
This will have an influence on how you release (or don’t release) the club, and if the face is square, open, or closed to the swing path. Does your positioning look like A, B, or C?
A quick tip to identify which positioning you have is to ask where the V between your thumb and index finger is pointing. A is pointing to your lead shoulder, B is pointing toward your trail shoulder, and C is pointing to your trail chest, or armpit slightly.
A lot of slicers will look like A, with their knuckles showing and right elbow pointing away from their torso. While this may seem like it’ll help get the ball to go left, it actually limits the amount of release the club head will have, and keeps the club face open through impact. In this situation, don’t be surprised to hear, “Fore right!” The opposite of that’s B, which allows for a lot of release of the club head, as it has a much stronger grip. If you tend to slice the ball but also hit low hooks, you may look like B. What we want right now is C, which is neutral.
3. Hit Three to Five Balls With Your New Grip
It may feel awkward, but that’s to be expected. The goal is to trust your swing and see the impact this new grip has on ball curves. You may notice a change in your start line as well, since this new grip may alter your backswing a bit. You should now have a neutral grip, which helps deliver the clubhead square to your swing path. If you were starting the ball left earlier, it should still start left, but not curve as much to the right. Think about it like starting on the left side of the fairway instead of the left trees. If you were starting the ball to the right, it should still start right, but not curve to the right as much.
Please note: this is not an instant fix. It’ll take some time to get used to and for subconscious compensations to subside. Give it two weeks—if you’re still struggling with your slice, then it’s time to adjust your swing path.
Steps to Fix Your Swing Path
Swing path will always have the same degree of arch. What largely influences where your path is at impact is your ball position.
What we see in this image is: the ball position noted by the black line, target line indicated by the arrow, and swing path through impact shown by the yellow-to-pink line. This image assumes that the black line is in the center of your stance. Notice that the path goes left towards the front of your stance, and right towards the back of your stance. What does this mean? Well, if you tend to start the ball left, the ball may be more forward in your stance. If you tend to start the ball to the right, the ball may be more back in your stance.
1. Identify Where in Your Stance the Ball Is
Do this by taking two alignment sticks or clubs and setting one down as you did before (aiming it down the target line), and set the other perpendicular to the target line: this will mark your ball position. A good way to double-check this without the sticks is by noting how close your ball is to your lead foot versus your trail foot.
2. Use Your New-Found Neutral Grip
Hit three to five balls from the center of your stance. Pay attention to the start line and curve.
3. If You’re Unhappy With the Start Line, Move the Ball 1” Forward in Your Stance
We don’t want to move a full swing any further back in the stance, as that will lead to complex effects on attack angle and path that aren’t necessary to worry about right now. Hit three to five balls from this new position and again pay attention to the start line and curve.
4. Continue This Process
Take note of the direction your ball starts as you adjust your ball position. By doing this, you’re quickly and easily adjusting your swing path with minimal effort and no swing changes! Take note: if you have an open stance relative to the line of the ball, the ball position will effectively play further up in your stance, while a closed stance will effectively play the ball back in your stance.
Finishing Touches and Troubleshooting
Try this process out for another two to three weeks. With a good grip and optimized ball position, you should notice your backswing and downswing feel more connected and fluid. You may even notice your posture change to help compensate for your improved swing. Additionally, as you improve your start line, you’ll notice that your hips, heels, and shoulders are able to line up much more square to your target line, leading to improved accuracy in your driver/iron/wedge swing. When all this all happens, it’s a sign that consistent, good golf is right around the corner. If you’re still not seeing the improvement you want, it may be time for a little more technical work. Feel free to reach out to me or one of my fellow Curated Golf Experts, and we’ll be happy to help!