Can I Cure My Golf Slice?

The Golf Slice Problem

This is a very often asked question, especially from new golfers, a golf slice is the most common fault in the game of golf. Golfers with this fault very often suffer from it for years, if not their whole golfing lives and their long term successes in curing it are few and far between. There are many other faults in golf, some of them contribute to producing a golf slice. Here's a quote from "The Gist Of Golf" by Harry Vardon:

"All the good shots in the game (all, at any rate,
except the putt, which is a thing apart) are founded
on the principle of the body turning on a pivot
instead of swaying back and then lunging forward
at the ball. ' That pivot is the waist. ' No
doubt everybody who has made the slightest study
of golf appreciates this piece of orthodoxy, but
the number of people who disregard it, even though
they realise its importance, constitute about half the
golfing world. Why do they fail to observe the first
law of the true swing?"

Printed in 1922, Harry Vardon was referring to the late 1800's and early 1900's, it can be seen that the faults today are pretty much the same and just as widespread as they were in those times.

Most golfers, including new golfers, who are struggling to correct a golf slice problem, are only doing a couple of things wrong and, mostly, they are simple things to correct. There is no need for new golfers, or indeed even more experienced golfers, to struggle with a slice problem, it is correctable, why they find it so difficult to cure is because of faulty expectations of what they should be able to achieve with their present swing.

You can see amateur golfers every day on the golf course making essentially the same mistakes. They have seen their peers making 250 yard to 350 yard drives and expect to be able to do the same. They try and accomplish this by utilizing the full golf swing that they see every other golfer making, even if they do not yet have the skill to perform the full swing correctly, they also assume that they have to hit the ball harder to make it go further. Have a look at How To Hit The Golf Ball Straight.

The longer the backswing, the more room there is to go out of line and get the golf swing plane all wrong. The same is true when we try and hit the ball hard, the harder we swing at the ball, the more out of line our swing gets, using a full swing coupled with hitting the ball hard only produces wild and erratic shots and total inconsistency.

A half back swing is more than enough to get the golf ball to travel over 200 yards with a driver if done correctly, and, as a bonus, will lead to excellent golf swing consistency. You should address the ball with both hands parallel, the back of the left hand facing the flag and the back of the right hand facing in the opposite direction, the left wrist should remain flat (forearm and back of hand should form a straight line) throughout the backswing until impact is made.

Make the backswing by turning your shoulders until your left arm is parallel to the ground with the butt (grip end) of the driver pointing directly at the golf ball, this puts you in the correct swing plane. Initiate the down swing by, again, turning your shoulders, the acceleration should gradually build up through impact and delay un-cocking your wrists. The follow through should end up with your right arm parallel to the ground, try and avoid a full follow through at this stage, this should prevent you from trying to hit the golf ball hard.

You can practice this half swing without a ball, just swinging back and forward concentrating on the left arm parallel to the ground at the top of the back swing and the right arm parallel to the ground at the top of the follow through, remembering that the butt of the club should point at the golf ball at the top of the (shortened) back swing and un-cock the wrists as late as possible. This should ingrain the feeling of the swing into your muscle memory, an important thing to accomplish.

When you have this done correctly, you can proceed a stage further. When your left arm is parallel to the ground during the backswing, instead of having the butt end of the club point to the ball, cock your wrists a little more and have the butt point further back on the target line, try straight across from your back foot. Try and keep the tempo the same on the downswing. This will increase the arc distance that the club head will travel and will allow a greater speed for the club head through the impact zone.

If you continue in this way, working systematically towards a fuller swing, you will find, quite easily, how far you can go before your golf swing breaks down. Once you lose that straight predictable shot, you will know that you have gone too far, simply return to the swing where everything worked well and practice that a bit longer. Don't rush this process, allow it to happen naturally over a number of weeks, or even months.

To answer the question at the top of this article, "Can I cure my golf slice?" Yes, you can, and if you follow the above method it should get rid of all the little faults that combine to give you the golf slice in the first place, practice it for a while and your whole swing will begin to fall into place. Once you have confidence and consistency, you can try lengthening your swing very gradually, but get the basic golf swing right first.

How To Hit The Golf Ball Straight

Hitting a straight Golf Shot

How to hit the golf ball straight is probably the most sought after skill in the game of golf, especially for new golfers. Everything from an unintentional draw or fade to a wicked hook or slice, is caused by only one thing. The face of the golf club is not square at impact. This causes side spin on the ball and a curved shot to the left or right, depending on which direction the side spin is, will be the result. If your club head is traveling along the target line at impact, and the club face is square to the target line, then you will hit a straight shot in the direction of the target line. That's all there is to it.

I've written before on how to cure a golf slice or golf hook, but some golfers, especially new golfers, get a bit confused. Sometimes their golf swing produces shots that go way to the left or right without any curvature on the shot, they are really good straight shots that end up in the rough or the trees and not in the middle of the fairway, and they wonder why this should happen. They are used to producing the dreaded golf slice or hook and can't figure why one should go straight but fly off left or right with no curvature in the shot.

I'll be talking about right-handed golfers from here on, sorry lefties but I'm sure you are used to sorting this out by now. If you take an imaginary straight line from the spot you are aiming at, through the ball, and all the way back to the horizon on your right, we will just call this the "target line".

When "out-to-in" and "in-to-out" swing paths are discussed, new golfers in particular tend to get a bit lost, Ill try my best to explain this as it is a really crucial concept in the game of golf to get right. During the downswing, if the club head crosses over the target line, it will produce an out-to-in swing path, if the club head does not cross the line until after impact with the ball then an in-to-out swing path is being used. The club head should never fully cross the "target line", at any point, in the normal golf swing.

When you are at address, the golf club head is square to the golf ball along the target line, as we draw the club back during the backswing, the club head never fully crosses this line, it comes back on the inside and at the top of the backswing it is well inside this target line. During the downswing, the club head should return to the address position with the club face square to the ball at impact without fully crossing over the target line. This will give a straight shot down the target line towards the spot you were aiming at.

If, during the downswing, the head of the club crosses over the target line this will produce an out-to-in swing path. Now, the squareness of the club head is all important, if it remains square to the target line, the club head will come across the ball and will not make square contact, this will impart side spin on the golf ball and a golf slice will result. If the club face is square to the out-to-in swing path, then the club head will make square contact with the ball and a straight shot will result, but not in the direction of the target line, it will be a straight shot off to the left in the direction of the out-to-in swing path.

An in-to-out swing path follows the same logic, if the club face is square to the "target line" at impact, it is moving across the ball and will produce a hook or draw. If the club face is square to the in-to-out swing path it will produce a straight shot off to the right in the direction of the in-to-out swing path.

I hope this clears up a few things about swing paths and straight shots for new golfers. The important thing about the golf swing here is the squareness of the club head at impact, if the club head makes square contact with the golf ball, you will get a straight shot, it's that simple and is how to hit the golf ball straight. So now you should have no more problems trying to correct a golf slice.

An Instant Golf Slice Cure!

When To Practice The Golf Swing

Practicing Golf

What new golfers need when they are starting out, more than anything else, is good quality golf lessons on golf, some basic advice, especially of the golf swing. The next essential element is quality practice. The game of golf is as much a mental game as it is a physical one, and both of these can be served well by practice, but only if it is done correctly. Instead of improving your golf swing, ineffective or incorrect practicing can ingrain faults into your swing and make your overall skill worse off.

We have two different types of memory, one where we consciously remember things in our brains and the other which is simply muscle memory, and like every other sport, golf relies heavily on muscle memory. Repetition is the key to muscle memory, the more often we do something physical the more automatic it becomes, our muscles begin to remember the precise movements we have been repeating. This is normally advantageous to us, learning to play a musical instrument would be impossible without it, those intricate fluid movements that are learned over time would, instead, be like our first attempts - all the time.

Muscle memory, however, causes as many problems as it solves. As far as the golf swing goes, it is a very technical series of physical movements, as easy as it looks, it is not easy to get right, the golf swing is difficult to master. If we practice when our golf swing is not producing the correct results then we are feeding our muscle memory the wrong information, our muscles don't know any better, they simply remember movements that we repeat over and over again. The correct way to practice the golf swing is to repeat the swing when it is right, when we have a good swing. If you are trying to correct a golf slice, then don't take another practice swing just after producing a slice or any other swing fault.

You often see too many golfers who, when they have played a bad shot, immediately take a practice swing or two, just think about that for a minute. What do you think is the outcome of practicing a bad shot? The more we repeat it the more our muscles remember it. It is clearly the wrong time to practice, the repetition of practice should be kept for when we have produced a good shot and not a bad one. Remember this one, it's really important, especially if you want to improve your golf swing.

Take your bad shots philosophically and just shrug them off, the more importance you give a bad shot in your mind, the more likely you are to produce one, repetition comes in all shapes and sizes, and worrying about a bad shot can be very repetitive, so try not to over-emphasize a bad shot in your mind and certainly, never practice one, it is a huge mistake and one that is easily avoided. Remember the old saying, "Be careful what you wish for?" Well, worrying about producing any particular swing fault is much the same as wishing for it to happen, your mind has a habit of trying to give you what you want.

There is a time to practice and a time to leave well alone, recognizing which is which is the key to understanding when practicing will be helpful and when it will be detrimental. It seems natural to practice a bad shot because we think that extra swing or two is correcting the swing fault, but this is the opposite to what is happening in reality. When we take those extra swings, invariably they are identical to the one that produced the bad shot in the first place.

So, when you have a good shot, practice what you did to achieve it, as often as you like and remember, if you have a bad shot, walk away from it, practicing then would be wrong. Also, bear in mind, this is just as true for more experienced golfers as it is for new golfers, keep your muscle memory for the good shots.