USE YOUR RIGHT SIDE TO STOP YOUR SLICE
In a good golf swing, I believe the upper body, lower body, and arms should work in unison. Another way to think about it is your left side and right side should work together turning through the ball. Makes sense, right? Would you want just half of your body doing all the work? Or just your arms flailing at the ball? I didn’t think so.
A sliced shot, a ball that curves left-to-right, occurs when the clubface is open, pointing right, at impact. This open clubface can be caused by many things like open shoulders at address, swinging across the ball on the downswing, coming down too steeply into the ball, etc. Today, I’m going to cover another reason a slice may occur and how to fix it.
A large percentage of golfers I see that slice the ball tend to pull down using more upper body than lower body. When this happens, the upper body is pulling away from the lower body. More to the point, the left side (weak side) is pulling down and left. To hit the ball better, the right side must contribute.
Why Pulling With Your Weak Side Is Bad
There are two reasons why pulling with the left side is bad. One, it tends to leave the clubface open. It’s very difficult to rotate through the shot when the left side is pulling. The second reason is you’re losing a ton of power. Think of it this way. If you had to move a large box that weighed 80 pounds, would you rather pull it or push it? Push it, right? You get a lot more power that way. Back to golf, pulling left not only opens the clubface, but it also lessens the force you’re putting into the shot (I want to make it clear I’m not necessarily advocating pushing on your downswing, I just want you to stop pulling.)
To fix this problem, you have to activate your right side. This is not as difficult as it seems.
- On your downswing, I want you to feel your hands are coming down more from the inside – closer to your right thigh. If your hands get away from your body too much, you’ll have to pull left. I want you to feel you’re swinging a little in-to-out.
- Once step one is done, you have to turn your right side through the shot. To get the right feeling, I would like you to make swings with the golf club with your right hand/arm only. Take a wide backswing and swing all the way through to your finish. If you’ve ever played tennis, I would like for you to replicate a topspin tennis shot. Notice how the right arm and clubface are releasing/rolling over, not staying open – clubface pointed right or up to the sky.
- At your finish, if turned your right side through, your belt buckle will be pointed to the target, your weight will be over your left leg, and the shaft of the club will be perpendicular to your spine. If you pull coming down, the shaft will be closer to your spine angle.
To summarize, try to swing through the ball using your dominant side rather than pulling across the ball with your weak side. Done properly, you’ll start hitting the ball straighter and further hopefully adding 10 yards of distance to all your clubs.
Good luck, thanks for reading, and practice hard.
HIT THE INSIDE QUARTER OF THE BALL
One of the simple misconceptions about the game is what part of the golf ball to hit. Most would answer the back of the ball, and I would say they’re wrong. To hit the ball properly, you should hit the ball slightly from the inside.
The game of golf, just like baseball and tennis, is a side-sport. Unlike bowling and tossing a ball underhand, these side-sport games swing around our bodies, not up-and-down. Due to this fact, the golf swing goes back and up to the inside then returns back down from the inside. Shortly after impact, the golf club returns back to the inside. Imagine a hula hoop is wrapped around your body on the same plane as the shaft at address. Can you see how swinging up and down along the hoop would have you coming back down to the ball from the inside? It’s not drastically from the inside, but it is enough that not doing it properly will cause poor results. And that’s no fun.
Now, let’s get to the part where we stop that slice. When you slice the ball, your golf swing is not going up and down along that hula hoop I just spoke about. It may be going back along the hoop, but on the way down, most likely, the golf club is swinging over/on-top of the hula hoop too much. This makes the club swing across the line causing left-to-right sidespin on the golf ball. Another way to say it is you’re hitting the outside of the golf ball with an open face. Hitting the outside of the ball with an open face = slice. It’s as simple as that.
A simple golf tip to fix this problem is to actually try to hit the inside quarter of the golf ball (*hint, hint* – you actually want to hit the inside part of the ball). If you can hit the inside part of the ball, you’ll have a much better chance to hit the ball straight or even hit the coveted draw. When you hit the inside part of the ball, you’ll swing down the target longer and, by doing this, you’re in a much better position to release the golf club instead of holding the face open. Releasing the club properly will allow you to hit the draw.
The next time you go to a driving range try this drill. Take a range ball and place it on a tee. Turn the ball so the red, green, or black range ball stripe is positioned on the inside of the ball. Then, hit the stripe trying to send the stripe out to the right. Yes, I said that. Try to hit the ball to the right. The odds are you won’t be able to do this right away, but once you can hit your ball a little right you’re not too far from hitting that draw you’ve dreamed about. I know, it’s hard because you dread seeing the ball curve off to the right so you can’t fathom trying to hit it there, but this is how to fix that slice. Swing to the right. Hit the inside quarter of the ball. Once you get that down, just roll the club over. Walla! Draw every time. Have fun with it and hopefully your draw will come soon.
Thanks for reading,
Kyle Voska, PGA
THE 9 SHOTS YOU CAN HIT
Believe it or not, there are 9 different types of shots you can hit on a golf course. Some of you may be laughing to yourself thinking that you can hit plenty more than that, right? Hooks, slices, pushes, pulls, tops, shanks, etc. So many shots! Allow me to explain what I’m talking about.
When you swing the club, you can either swing inside-to-out (push), square, or outside-to-in (pull) equaling 3 total swing paths. With these 3 paths there are 3 different angles your clubface can be: open, square, or closed. 3 swings multiplied by 3 face angles equals 9 shots. Even if you shank, top, or duff the ball you still fit into one of these 9 swings. Normally, you only hit 3 different types of shots. Most likely, you only have one swing path, but you change your face angle which produces a variety of 3 different shot patterns.
Now, let me explain some examples. If you swing outside-to-in with a closed clubface your ball will start left then hook. This is called a pull-hook. If you swing inside-to-out with an open clubface your ball will start right then slice. This is called a push-slice. If you swing square with an open face your ball will start straight and tail off to the right. This is a slice, or a fade (small version of a slice). Generally, the ball will start where you swing while the curvature of the ball is determined by the clubface at impact. The clubface will have more impact on where your ball goes compared to the swing path.
Sidenote For Slicers
There’s an important note I need to make. Slicers pay careful attention! Sometimes you can swing outside-to-in and the ball will actually start right. This is due to a very open clubface. Sometimes the face is so open the ball deflects off the face to the right. This could possibly deceive the golfer. This is pretty typical for golfers that slice the ball. The majority that slice the ball swing outside-to-in with an open clubface. Sometimes their clubface is so open that the ball starts right of their target and slices more to the right. Unaware of what causes this, the golfer may then try to swing more to the left which would exacerbate the slice even more.
The key is learning from your mis-hits. Easier said than done, but if you learn what causes a shot it’s a lot easier to start fixing it instead guessing all the time. This may take a lesson or two with a PGA Instructor to figure out. If you’re pulling the ball left try to swing out to right field more. If you’re slicing the ball, try to rotate the clubface over sooner on your downswing. Practice in slow-motion to see what you would have to do to fix your tendency. Then gradually swing faster and hopefully better results will come shortly.
Good luck and practice smart!
STOP THAT SLICE!
Do you fight the slice like most golfers? Would you like to stop it? I’m sure the answer is yes. The slice (ball flight that curves from the left to right for right-handed golfers) could be caused by many things. Today, I’m going to explain how squaring up your shoulders at address can help you to cure that annoying slice.
The slice, simply, is caused by an open club face at impact. Any time the club face is open at impact (pointing to the right), the ball will curve left to right. Sounds simple, right? Well, it is actually. Hitting a slice is easy. Stopping it can be difficult. The club face must be relatively square to the target line at impact to stop the slice.
One of the major causes of the slice is an improper setup with your shoulders. When you setup, ideally, your toe lines will be parallel to your target line, like a little railroad track. Equally important, your shoulders should be parallel to your toe line. From my experience, most slicers’ shoulders are open at address (aiming left). The problem with that is two-fold. One, your arms will generally swing along your shoulders since their attached. This will cause your arms to swing left too soon. The club then pulls across the target line with an open club face. Two, this pulling across move magnifies the slice because your compounding an open club face with a pulled-left swing.
Here comes the good news! The fix is pretty simple, but you need a friend to help: 1) take your normal setup, 2) have a friend place a club along your toes, 3) then, have your friend hold another club facing you along your shoulders, and 4) while your friend holds his place (tell them to stay still), step back about 10 feet behind the ball. Check to see if the shafts along your shoulders and toes are parallel. If so, great. If not, I’m guessing your shoulders are aiming left. Rarely, are they aiming too much to the right.
If your shoulders were aiming left, practice seeing more of your left shoulder at address from your left eye. You may have to move your ball position back an inch or two in your stance to help you do this. It will feel odd at first, but eventually it’ll become natural. I bet you’ll feel like you’re going to hit the ball way right. But, believe it or not, this is good. To stop the slice, you need to feel like you’re swinging to the right.
This is just one step towards stopping that ugly slice. But, it’s an important one. When your shoulders are square it gives you the freedom to make a full shoulder turn. This, in turn, allows you to come back to the ball more from the inside (this is good). When you come back to the ball from the inside you will be able to start the ball closer to your target line.
In a nutshell, open shoulders = shallow/little shoulder turn on your backswing = arms swinging left too soon = big slice = no fun!
I would highly recommend checking your shoulder alignment soon and often. This is something that can easily be taken for granted, but it’s something PGA Tour players check every day.