So you're struggling with slicing your driver, huh? Jeez, join the club. You're in good company around these parts. In fact, more than 60% of all golfers struggle with a slice off the tee box. That percentage rings true here at Hole19 HQ too. And then some.
Of the two "S" words that golfers hate, a slice may be marginally favourable to a shank, but try telling that to the guy hitting banana shot after banana shot throughout another 18 holes of "why the heck am I here?".
After your ball sails to the right for the umpteenth time today, you let out another exasperated scream into the wind and briefly consider giving the game up for good. OK, calm down, chief. Let's not be overly dramatic here.
If putting your sticks in the garage for the rest of the year crossed your mind, it proves that your slice needs immediate attention - for your own sanity, if nothing else.
So how are you getting out of this funk if you're not throwing in the towel? Your go-to starting point might be fiddling with your swing mid-round. Has your grip gotten a little strong there? OK, let's weaken it. It should help you square the clubface, right?
And there's that duck hook you last saw six months ago.
OK, that clearly didn't work (because one ball is enough time to test a significant grip change, right). How about aiming left instead? Yeah, that makes sense. The same swing you've been hitting all day will easily find the short stuff.
The worst slice of the day heads 'off the planet' right. Another shriek. "You've got to be ****ing kidding me!"
How about, instead of desperate on-course trouble-shooting, you get a plan of action to tame those big booming slices with the driver for good? We've got ya. Keep reading below, and let's find the solution together.
Why am I slicing my driver? The boring stuff...
The slice, then. It sucks. We've covered that. It robs you of all-important distance and is the leading culprit for landing you in position Z off the tee. Whether your ball ends up behind a tree, in a bush, OB, or mercifully safe is in the lap of the Golf Gods.
Before we talk about possible fixes, what's the likely cause?
There are 101 ways to slice the golf ball (or at least it seems that way), but for most golfers, it comes down to 2 main problems: poor clubface control and/or club path issues.
If you can't control the clubface and leave it open, guess what? Yup, big nasty slice. If you chop down across the ball to the left, and your club face is open to that path, guess what? Another one!
So how can you cure your slice once and for all? Of course, there's no magic wand in this respect, but we've found the next best thing - some great golf tips that we've seen work first-hand.
5 tips to correct your driver slice
1) Sort out your grip
Despite us highlighting the problem of messing with your grip on the course, it can still be the culprit for your slice. You're more likely to find the correct grip at the range or at home, though.
While there's no one-size-fits-all approach, it's easy to fall into lazy habits with your grip. You may be predetermining your 'power fade' by unintentionally taking a weak grip.
A weak grip allows the clubface to open excessively on the way back, so you'll have a job on your hands to consistently square it as you head into impact. We're talking about all kinds of compensations.
Here's the best (and simplest) tip we can give you: make sure you can see at least two knuckles of your lead hand (left for right-handed golfers) as you address the ball.
Sure, it'll feel pretty weird if you're used to a weak grip, and that's precisely why you don't give it a fleeting try on the golf course. The first few swings will be stinkers, guaranteed, but with repetition at the range, you may start to straighten your ball.
2) Is your backswing the culprit?
There's so much that can go wrong in the backswing. Some of the moves you make can all but guarantee a slice. If your hands and wrists get too active at the start of the takeaway, you're dead. An early roll of the wrists the first 12 inches of the golf swing is a death move - much the same as an early lift of the arms and a lack of rotation.
Your first move away should be connected, maintaining the 'triangle' created between your arms and shoulders. You'll have heard it referred to as the 'one-piece takeaway', likely a gazillion times.
No matter how many times you've heard it in the past, it really is fundamental to a great golf swing - and it could stop your slice almost immediately.
3) Nail your ball position
An optical illusion can happen with the big stick when it comes to ball position. At address, it can often look like your ball position is perfect, but be careful. From eye level, it might seem nicely off your lead heel, but is it?
Take a video from face on or get your buddy to take a picture to find out. You might be surprised.
If you leave the ball too far back, you could struggle to close the face in time. Don't nudge it too far forward, though. If you end up reaching on the way back down, you could leave the face open, and you know what that means.
If you're still slicing the ball when it's off your lead heel, try nudging it back - not too far, of course - as this can promote a desirable in-to-out swing path.
4) Learn to control your clubface
As a bit more of a long-term project, try to develop an awareness of your clubface. We're starting to get into lower-handicap skills here, but if you can control the face and find the sweet spot more often - with every club in the bag - it could be the Holy Grail you've been searching for.
Roll back to our first tip here because how you grip the club is critical in helping you square the face. Assuming you've got that sorted, the next step is to accept that there's no silver bullet when it comes to controlling the clubface. It will take time and the range will need to become your second home if you've got any chance of pulling it off.
What's the best way to do it? Well, thousands of articles and YouTube videos cover the subject, but here's a simple idea we love.
To develop an awareness of your clubface, you only need to be able to hit two shots on demand. If you can hit the ball left (with a shut face) and right (with an open face) intentionally, then you are half-way there.
The more you can do this, it will help you appreciate the requirements for a straight ball. It also gives you a sense of what your hands are doing for each shot - and should highlight the importance of the hands in controlling the clubface. Forget any idea of clubface control being linked to your body movements; it's all in the hands.
5) It's all in the hips
This hits painfully close to home. It's been a source of heartache in this author's game for quite some time. The old problem of getting 'stuck' at impact. Just a nightmare.
If you look at many of the best golfers on the planet, you can see their backside at impact as their belt buckle points at the target.
When you learn to make that same athletic move through the ball, it will only help with contact - and squaring up the face. Early in the downswing, get onto your front side with both your lower and upper body rotating towards the target. You might hit a few left in the early days, which might actually feel like a source of relief, but stick with it and you should reap the rewards over time.
When you've been getting stuck and leaving the clubface open for months, it's a tricky habit to break, so it may take time to ingrain this new move.
That's my excuse, anyway, and I'm sticking to it.