How To Fix A Slice With Your Driver: 12 Top Tips
Whatever age you take up golf there is a fair chance that you will tend to slice the ball unless you get off on the right foot by taking lessons.
The problem is the more you practice and the more you try to prevent your slice the more you increase your tendency to slice! The further right your ball goes the further left you will aim to try and compensate and that will likely make the problem worse!
The longer that this goes on the more ingrained your swing faults become and the more difficult it will be for you to straighten out your shots.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you might be slicing and how you can attempt to straighten your long game out.
What Is A Slice?
For a right-handed golfer, a slice is a shot that moves from left to right during flight. A shot that only moves a few yards from left to right would usually be called a fade and many top players like to play that way. However, if your ball starts to move significantly from left to right then I’m afraid we are going to have to call that a slice!
For left-handers, the opposite is true with a right to left ball flight being a fade or slice.
Why Do You Slice?
If you’ve ever read about the ball flight laws then you can probably guess the cause of your slice. At impact, the clubface angle relative to your swing path will determine the amount of sidespin that you place on the golf ball. If your clubface is open then you will produce a fade or slice.
Another way to get the ball moving left to right through the air is to hit the ball in the heel of your driver. This is because of “gear effect”. Gear effect describes the relationship between the clubface and the ball at impact where the ball is not struck from the sweet spot. If you miss the sweet spot then the club will have a tendency to twist as it strikes the ball. This twisting then imparts the opposite spin on the golf ball. So if you strike the ball from the heel then you would add left to right spin to the ball creating a slicing flight.
Another reason why you slice might be that you are using the wrong clubs. If the flex of your shafts is too stiff for your swing speed then it’s likely that you will be unable to square the clubface at impact and the ball will start and/or curve to the right.
There may also be issues with your grip, stance or alignment that encourage you to slice the ball.
How To Stop Slicing Your Driver?
To put it simply you must learn to square the clubface to your swing path at impact and try to have a squarer swing path as well. You also need to make sure that you are striking the ball from the sweet spot to avoid introducing too much gear effect that may also cause the ball to curve in the air.
That was easy!
Let’s take a look at some ways to help you improve and reduce or eliminate that slice. You may not want to necessarily hit the ball dead straight though – playing with a fade or draw will give you more margin for error.
Check Your Clubs
Getting correctly fitted for golf clubs is important if you are going to maximize your potential. Now I’m not saying that a beginner should go and spend $3000 on clubs the first week they decide to take up the game. However, you should endeavor to get clubs that are likely to suit your swing. Here are some tips for selecting a driver (and other clubs) to avoid slicing.
Get The Correct Flex For You
For example, there’s no point in a 10-year-old picking up an adult driver with 8° of loft and an extra stiff shaft. The chances of them being able to hit the ball with that club are slim to none.
On the other hand, there is also little point in an athletic twentysomething trying to use a regular flexed driver with 14° of loft.
The other thing to avoid getting too hung up on is what flex is printed on the shaft. There is no standard amongst different manufacturers so a regular flex from one company might perform like a stiff flex from a different manufacturer. Both of these might perform like an extra stiff flex from yet another company.
Check The Grips
Having grips that are too thick could also lead to slicing since it makes it more difficult to “release” the club correctly.
If you take a look at clubs designed for ladies and juniors you will see that the grip end of the club is thinner to allow for their smaller hands.
Even as an adult if you have smaller than average hands then you may need to get thinner grips fitted to your clubs.
Check The Loft
These days even players with quite fast swings will use relatively lofted drivers. 10.5° of loft is probably a good place to start. Any less than that and it is going to make it more difficult to keep the ball straight. Having more loft will reduce the effect of sidespin so if you have an adjustable driver you might want to crank it a degree or two higher.
Avoid Old Equipment
By old equipment, I’m talking about a persimmon-headed driver or bladed irons. Despite what the manufacturers would have you believe there’s probably not that big a difference between a decent quality driver from about 10 years ago to the current models. Certainly, as a beginner, it’s unlikely you would see massive benefits. Of course, if you’re trying to use the sort of clubs a tour pro was using during the 1980s then that’s a different matter!
Choose The Right Type Of Golf Ball
Balls designed for elite players will have much higher spin rates and therefore if you’re currently struggling with a slice you may find that playing with a lower spinning model will help keep your ball nearer the fairway while you learn to reduce your slice. Once you have your swing under more control then you can always revert back to a better quality golf ball. You might also want to take a look at low compression golf balls as they will tend to spin less also.
GASP (Grip, Aim, Stance, Posture)
Having solid fundamentals is usually a good first step to having a neutral golf swing that hits the ball relatively straight.
If you grip the club with a “weak” grip then that may promote a slice as it will make it more difficult for you to square the clubface through impact. Weak doesn’t refer to how hard you hold onto the club but rather to the position of your hands on the golf club.
When standing at address, if you look down at your hands and the V’s created by your thumb and index finger point to the left of your chin then that would be considered a weak grip.
Try to make sure that the V’s are pointing between your chin and your right shoulder. It is possible to get grip trainers if you aren’t too sure about your grip.
Aim could be the next issue that causes you to slice. Even the best rifle in the world won’t hit the target if it’s not aimed correctly and your golf swing is no different. Ideally, you want to be aligned parallel left of your target. Imagine yourself on one rail of a railway track with the ball on the other that runs through the target. You also need your clubface to be aimed correctly.
This will give you the best chance of developing a neutral swing that can hit the ball reasonably straight and on target.
It’s also important to aim the club correctly. If you want to hit it straight at the target then make sure you have it lined up square to your target line.
Making sure you have the ball in the correct position relative to your body is also important. With a driver, you would play the ball forward in your stance in order to hit the ball on the upswing. You also need to have a stance that allows for an athletic motion by giving you a wide enough base to support your swing. It’s also important to develop a consistent setup with regard to ball position. For a driver, you probably want the ball opposite your left armpit, for woods and long irons you probably want the ball slightly further back. With medium and short irons being closer to the middle of your stance.
Finally, posture can cause all sorts of issues if you don’t get it right. You need some flex in your knees and to bend from the hips and keep your chin off your chest. This should allow you to make a free-flowing swing that is your best chance of avoiding a slice.
Launch monitors have shown that the clubface is largely responsible for the starting direction of the golf ball. So if you want to hit straight shots or shots that only curve a small amount then you need your clubface to be square or very close to square to your swing path at impact. In order to minimize “gear effect” with your woods and hybrids you also need to be hitting the sweet spot as often as possible.
You can buy impact tape which will show you where you are striking the ball on the clubface or alternatively you could use foot spray (powder variety) to check your impact position. One way of helping you find the middle of the clubface is to use a couple of tee pegs placed a club width apart on either side of the ball. Another option to give you a better idea of the clubface while you’re swinging is to put two parallel lines of white tape on the crown of the club on either side of the sweet spot this will allow you to more easily see the direction of travel of the clubhead through the impact zone.
If you are still finding it difficult to square the clubface at impact then it might be worth trying to hit shots with a slightly stronger grip. This should help you return the clubface to a better position.
Having a proper release is an important part of hitting good golf shots and it will also help maximize the distance you can achieve. If you have a tendency to hang onto the club then it’s likely you will be leaving the clubface open to impact. You need to feel your arms are fully extended through impact and to a point a few feet after impact.
Many beginners and high handicappers have what is known as an out-to-in swing path which is likely to cause a slice. Basically what this means is at the lowest point of the swing around the impact position the club is moving across the target line rather than straight along it.
Combined with a clubface that is open to the path this then produces the classic slicers swing where the ball starts left of the target and veers off to the right.
You need to work on trying to make your swing a little more square or even in-to-out. The reason most beginners tend to swing out to in is that they feel they must throw their arms and upper body into the swing rather than leading with their lower body.
Once you reach the top of your swing try to unwind from the ground up. Make space for your arms to swing down and through. A good way to feel this is to try and keep your back pointing at the target as long as possible.
Another way to get your swing on a more into out footing is by closing your stance somewhat. Effectively you should try setting up as if you are aiming slightly to the right of the target. Make sure that your feet tips and shoulders are all aligned the same and then try to swing along the line of your body and this should also help you to approach the ball from inside.
Shallow Your Swing
Having too steep a downswing is also a common problem that will contribute to a slice. You almost want to feel that the weight of the clubhead at the top of your swing falls behind you and this will make your club shaft shallow out.
Angle Of Attack
Using modern drivers and balls you need to be connecting with the ball on the upswing to maximize your distance. If you are swinging too steep then it will be difficult to achieve the correct attack angle and you may end up hitting down on the ball. With the driver, this is not going to give you optimum launch conditions and may well lead to you slicing.
Other Ways To Fix Your Slice
Ideally, you want to try and correct your swing flaws but if you don’t have much time to practice then there are a few other avenues available to you.
You could try buying an offset driver. A driver with an offset face makes it a bit easier to square the face and produce straighter shots. There are also drivers that have been designed with a “draw bias” to help combat a slice.
Switch to hitting a 3 wood off the tee. The shorter shaft and extra loft should make it easier to control and many amateurs don’t see that big a difference in distance between the two clubs anyway. I didn’t bother with a driver for a long time as I was hitting my 3 wood almost as far and a lot straighter!
Try using a self-correcting ball such as the polara model. You won’t be able to use it in competitions but if you are just playing with your friends then they may not mind!
How To Fix A Slice With Your Driver: Conclusion
Slicing is a very common problem but not an insurmountable one. With a little bit of practice, you can straighten out that slice into a manageable fade or even a nice draw!