by Frank Peter
The following Golf Lesson is reprinted with permission from the "Golf Beginner Guide", a full 272 page resource for Golf Beginners. For only $29.50 you get an incredible amount of invaluable tips, lessons and advice - great value for money. Click the above link to find out more!
Playing golf with a slice, an uncontrollable shot that curves left to right, is something many golfers think they have to live with and accept. This is not true--even if you've been a chronic slicer for years. In fact with a little time, dedication, and effort, you can learn to stop hitting stray, bending shots. Once you do, you'll start hitting the ball more consistently, have added distance, and achieve better control. Before long, the game will be more enjoyable. The following is a list of quick fixes to help you hit straighter, more consistent shots.
1. Think "Topspin" and "Thumbs Up"
Watching tennis can help your golf game. All good tennis players apply topspin to their shots by releasing or turning over their racket when they hit the ball. In golf, the move is similar only it's made with a club in your hand. Allowing for the release of the hands is critical to maximizing your potential and reducing slices. The next time you're practicing, take a club and swing it. As you pass the impact position, think of the right hand reaching out in front on the follow through with your thumps pointing upward. This shows that the wrists rolled properly and that the club was released.
2. Strengthen Your Grip
Chronic slicers have trouble getting their hands rotated through impact. Start by gripping the club in the fingers rather than the palm of your hand. At address, make sure you are able to see two or three knuckles of the left hand. This "strengthening" of the grip allows the hands to work actively.
3. Pull the Rope
Most slicers cut across the ball on the downswing--they take the club back to the outside on the backswing and cross their plane (imaginary line) to the inside on the downswing. This is what produces a slice. To understand the correct swing path or downswing motion, picture a rope attached to a tree above you. Now, imagine yourself pulling that rope straight down. Take that thought with you to the driving range and try to pull your club straight down when starting the downswing. This also forces the right elbow to stay close to your side--a key to not crossing the line. Doing this gives you the correct inside path and a better ability to swing out toward the target.
4. Start Back to the Inside
Imagine the line of your swing on the ground as it goes back and through toward the target. Place a range basket, or something else you don't want to break, on the ground a couple of feet behind the ball and slightly inside the intended target line. Using this drill forces you to swing from the inside out toward the target--the proper way!
5. Shoulders Right to Hit Left
Most players aim farther and farther to the left to accommodate their slice. This only makes matters worse by opening the shoulders. Your swing plane tends to follow your shoulders. If they are open, your odds of cutting across the ball increase. Try just the opposite. Aim the shoulders as far to the right as possible at address. This forces the swing to stay on the proper path.
6. Swing around Your Spine
The best way to eliminate the typical slice, one that is caused by a reverse pivot or sway motion, is to swing around your spine and finish around and to the left. Use "x-ray vision," meaning to picture your spine staying in a near-perpendicular angle to the ground at all times during the swing. Now, just swing around the center of it!
These tips work best if they're combined with each other. For instance, achieving the proper swing path won't stop you from hitting to the right if you don't use your hands properly as well. Practice each strategy separately in the beginning and then combine them. You'll soon be saying goodbye to your slice--forever!
If you could use some aditional help we recommend the Simple Golf Swing eBook, a highly useful resource that will go into much more detail than we can in this lesson.
NOTE: If you have trouble hitting your clubs correctly there is a good chance that your clubs don't suit you properly.
The reason for not improving your game may well be is due to badly fitted clubs. Think about it: people come in all different shapes and sizes, but most golfers simply buy their clubs off the rack in the golf shop.
Unless you are completely 'standard' and 'average' you should consider custom fitting for your next clubs. This can be done online, and it is free, quick and easy (and doesn't hurt a bit). Visit these two sites for free online club fitting, just follow the instructions given there:
'e-fit System' at GigaGolf
'Club Fitting Wizard' at Pinemeadow Golf