It’s a Saturday morning, and you’re playing in your club’s weekend game or with a group of friends.
You tee off on the first hole, starting your drive down the middle of the fairway; however, the ball curves right into the rough or trees.
On the next hole, your ball again starts down the middle of the fairway, but curves too far to the right.
By now, one of your friends has probably mentioned that your “club face is open.”
But you’re probably wondering: if the ball starts where you want it to, and then curves right, is the club face really the issue?
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Jay recently had this same problem:
I'm struggling a lot with a slice. Typically, my drives start down the middle of the fairway, then slice into the trees on the right-hand side. My experience is the same with my irons. Ideally I would love to hit the ball straighter; do you have any ways to correct this?
Before we get into techniques and ways for you to reduce a slice, the first thing I want you to focus on is actually where you are striking the ball on the face.
A prominent factor that I see with some of my students is that they are striking the ball out of the heel and this is a contributing to the amount of curve they are experiencing on their shots.
Get a dry-erase marker or Dr.Scholl’s foot spray, spray the face, and then hit some shots.
After you have hit some shots, I’d like you to look at the clubface.
The chalk will help to establish where you are striking the ball on the face.
Should you find that the strike marks are out of the heel, this must be addressed and corrected immediately before we explore other possible reasons for slicing.
If you’re one of the fortunate ones who strikes your shots out of the middle of the club face every time, and you’re still struggling with that slice, then this next part is going to be for you.
So, I am going to use alignment rods to make my next point.
Based on a center strike, we know that when the face and the path align at impact, there will be no curve on the ball.
The greater the difference between our face and our path at impact, the more curvature we will see on the ball flight.
So, if you could imagine this area in between the two alignment rods - the further left the path travels in relation to where the face is aiming at impact, the more the ball is going to curve right.
To take some of the slice off the ball, we need to get the path aligned closer to where the face is aiming at impact.
In the question, Jay mentioned that the ball was starting down the middle of the fairway.
This tells me that there is no issue with the club face and that it’s a path issue.
So, we must address the path.
The closer we can get the path aligned to where the face is aiming at impact, there will be a reduction in curve (slice) on our shots.
Eventually, when the path and face both align at impact in relation to the target, the ball won’t curve at all.
I have a drill that will help you achieve this.
Grab an alignment rod and set it down in relation to your target.
Next, take a head cover from your driver.
I'd like you to place it about six inches in front of the ball and slightly inside your target line.
It will provide an exaggerated feeling for a more efficient path and ideally, when you take the head cover away, you will have a better sensation for the correct path.
The goal of this drill is to make you feel like you’re swinging the club out to right field, which will help create the desired path you’re looking for.
Because as I’ve said, we need to get our face and path aligned at impact.
I’d like you to start making swings while avoiding the head cover.
I'm going to imagine that you’re swinging so far to the left that you’re going to catch it every time.
The next time you go to the range give this a go and see what happens.
You’ll likely find that when you change your path, you’re still going to be hitting shots to the right - but likely with less curve - but don’t panic.
The face may still be open to your path, let’s take it one step at a time.
We will work on the path first; generally I find that with practice, the golfers’ instincts take over, and they learn to square the face and get it aiming to their intended starting position.
Check out this video on How to Fix a Slice.
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