How To Stop Slicing Your Driver: 9 Simple Tips
A slice, particularly with the driver, is the bane of many golfers. Even players that take lessons can be afflicted with this demoralizing golf shot.
If you are slicing the ball then you’re probably losing valuable yardage and spending far too much time in the right-hand rough or trees!
Let’s look at some of the reasons why you are slicing and things to work on to straighten your driver golf swing out so you can keep the ball in play.
What Is A Slice?
A slice is a shot that moves significantly from left to right in the air usually resulting in you missing the green or finishing in the rough or worse on the right-hand side of the hole.
Of course, for a left-hander, it’s the opposite. A slice would move from right to left.
If the ball only moves a yard or two in the air then that would probably be called a fade. A lot of good players like to play a gentle fade.
What Causes A Slice?
A slice happens because your clubface is open to your swing path. The ball flight laws explain how different shot shapes are produced depending on the relative position of the clubface to the path.
The further left that your swing path goes and the more open the clubface the more the ball will curve in the air.
In addition, you can also encourage a slice with the driver by hitting the ball out of the heel of the club. This is due to gear effect. If you don’t manage to hit the sweet spot then the clubface will twist which in turn causes spin to be imparted on the ball. It’s not unusual for people to slice with driver because they have an out-in-swing path and hit the ball on the heel with the face open at impact.
A less common cause of a slice is trying to use a driver with a shaft that is too stiff for your swing. Amateur golfers sometimes make the mistake of buying clubs that don’t suit them and in this case it could be the cause of their slice because it will be more difficult to return the club square at impact.
You may also have fundamental issues with your grip, stance or alignment cause you to play with a slice.
How Do I Stop Slicing My Driver?
The most common cause of a slice is striking the ball with an open clubface on an out-to-in swing path therefore to cure it you need to learn to square the clubface and also have a more neutral swing path.
In addition, you should also try to improve your ball striking so you hit the sweet spot more often reducing the risk of introducing any gear effect into the equation.
Here are 9 tips that could help you fix your slice.
Let’s start with some suggestions that won’t require you to work on your swing.
Check Your Driver Specification
Start by checking the flex of the shaft fitted in your driver. If you don’t generate a lot of clubhead speed then there’s no point having stiff or extra stiff shafts. In an ideal world, everyone would get fitted so they know they are using the right golf clubs although that’s not always an option available to beginners.
Important to remember however that one company’s stiff shaft might perform the same as another company’s regular so don’t just assume the shaft flex is wrong for you, try to get some advice from a professional fitter if you can.
Check Your Driver Grip
if the grips fitted to the club are too thick for your hands then that could be a reason why you are hitting a slice. This is because fatter grips will tend to stop you from releasing correctly and therefore squaring the face.
You Need Plenty Of Loft
A high percentage of amateur players tend to use a driver with not enough loft. The less loft you have on the club the more likely you are to hit it sideways! As a general rule 10.5° is a good place to start.
However as this article from Golf Digest shows you should never assume that a particular loft is right for you without getting a fitting.
Use The Right Type Of Ball
if you tend to curve the ball a lot (slice or hook) then one way to reduce that without tinkering with your swing is to use a ball that doesn’t spin as much.
Tour-quality golf balls will produce a lot more spin than cheaper two-piece balls. If you currently spend a lot of time looking for Titleist Pro V1s in the right-hand rough then switching to something with lower spin like a TruFeel might keep you on the fairway more often. Lower compression balls will also have a tendency to be low spinning so they might be worth a look too.
Sort Out Your Fundamentals
Most golfers make their living from the game tend to spend a lot of time working on the basics. Things like grip, aim, stance, posture and ball position are relatively easy to check and maintain consistency. Sometimes merely changing one simple thing can fix a slice since your brain is great self-organizing if you get out of its way.
Check your grip is allowing you to square the face consistently. For some golfers that might mean a classic neutral grip for others that might mean experimenting with a slightly stronger or even a slightly weaker grip. The majority of slicers tend to have a weak grip.
Alignment is also important. Even the best is no use if it’s not aimed correctly. Most slicers tend to open their stamps in an effort to start the ball further left. Unfortunately this usually just exaggerates their slice. When you practice you should always work on making sure your stance is aimed parallel left of the target or possibly even slightly closed to encourage a more neutral or in-to-out swing path.
Take care with where you aim the club as well. If you don’t get it lined up correctly at address then what chance do you have of making decent contact?
To maximize distance from the tee box you need to be hitting up on your driver so the ball needs to be positioned forward in your stance. Unfortunately the further forward you place the ball the more this will encourage an out to in swing. This is why some players find, with the driver at least, that a slightly closed stance helps them swing the club on a more neutral path.
Square The Face
Returning the face square at impact is the most important part of the equation. High-speed camera analysis and launch monitor data show that starting direction for your ball is based mainly on where the clubface was pointing. If you can’t get the club reasonably square then you’re never going to straighten out your slice.
Although most players are best trying to use a neutral grip you may find it easier to square the face with a slightly stronger grip.
Work On A Neutral Swing Path
An out-to-in swing path combined with an open space is what’s causing your slice so if you can work on your swing path to the point where it’s more in-to-out then that should reduce the amount of curve on your drives.
A quick way to help you do this might be to close your stance slightly. This should bring your path a little more down the line or even inside it.
Another way to train your swing path is to place some obstacles to prevent you from swinging out-to-in. Make sure you use something soft that’s not going to damage your club though. A headcover or cardboard box might be ideal.
Try to avoid starting your downswing with your body as this is often the cause of a slice with a driver.
Shallow Out Your Swing
if your swing is too steep then you will generally be swinging on an out-to-in path. Try to shallow it out and that should naturally help you approach the ball more from the inside. At the top of your backswing, you almost want to feel like the club drops behind you and then lead with your lower body rather than your upper body which is so often the cause of an out-to-in path.
Hit Up On The Ball
To give yourself the best chance of hitting the ball straight you need to use your driver in the way it was intended. Modern clubs are designed to be hit on the upswing. This should give you a positive attack angle which is only going to benefit your driving overall. It should certainly help you maximize your driver distance.
How To Stop Slicing Your Driver: Conclusion
Slicing the ball with the driver is one of the most common swing faults in golf and it keeps golf pros working to this day. Try some of the tips above and you should see some signs of improvement. Don’t just aim left as that will only make your slice worse. With a little bit of effort, you should be able to hit your driver straighter.
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]
Is A Golf Slice Bad?
It usually causes you to miss your target and lose yardage so in that sense it is most definitely bad.
Should I use a 3-wood off the tee?
If you’re having a particularly bad day with your driver dropping down to a 3-wood can reduce the pressure on your game.
Playing good golf isn’t just about having a beautiful swing. It’s also important to manage your own game.
A 3-wood has more loft and a shorter shaft so you will find it easier to keep the ball in play. You can always work on your driver on the range later.