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Slice Buster!

A majority of golfers have problems slicing the ball. Whether you call your version a “Fade,” “Power Slice” or “Banana Ball,” the result is often unfavorable. The good news is, with a little understanding and adjustment, you can easily say sayonara to that slice forever.

Bending Basics

To curve a ball’s flight you need to look at both your swing path and the angle of your club face. Assuming the center of the club face hits the ball, if the path the club is traveling and direction the face is looking are the same, the ball will travel on a straight line. Any difference in path or face and the ball will curve. A high percentage of golfers have a swing path well left of the target, while their club face is right of the path, or “open.” This produces a curve or “slice” where the ball bends right of its starting direction for a right-handed golfer.

Set Your Intention

To turn that slice into a left-curving “draw,” you need to have the right intention. Begin by setting your sights on a spot to the right of your target. Now, imagine your ball beginning on that line and curving left, back to the target. Be really specific with your mental picture, seeing the height, curve and landing point of your perfect shot. Practicing the art of visualization sends valuable information to your muscles helping turn that image into a reality.

Grip Check

To curve the ball left, you need to deliver a club face that’s a little closed to your swing path. For many players, excessive tension halts the natural rotation of the hands and arms, leaving the face open to the path. To better control the club face, make sure you have a neutral to slightly stronger grip (hands rotated more to the right on the grip for a right- handed golfer) with soft pressure in your hands, arms and shoulders. If on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the tightest, your best pressure for proper club face movement would happen at level 3.

Work Your Waggle

To prepare for a right-to-left curving shot, try rehearsing your ideal swing shape. A great way to do this is to hone the quality of your waggle. Loop the club head in a miniature clockwise arc. As you approach the ball you should easily see and feel an “in to out” path traveling right of the target. Make the waggle slow and deliberate to groove the feeling of your new swing shape. Upon swinging, make the same loop on full scale you had rehearsed in miniature.

Corner Pocket

Most people think a proper strike is into the “back of the ball.” To produce a right-to-left curve, you really need to be directing contact toward the ball’s “inside out” corner. To help visualize this, imagine you’re standing on a pool table. As you swing, strike the side the ball as if you were driving it into the table’s right corner pocket. This gets the club traveling on a path from “in to out” necessary for producing a right-to-left curving shot. As long as your club face is slightly closed to the swing path your slice will be gone forever.

Contact Counts

Contact has a big role in determining the ball’s flight path. A ball that strikes toward the toe of the club will be inclined to curve left, whereas a ball that hits toward the heel may bend to the right. This may occur regardless of face and path orientation. Due to the design of the club, this impact characteristic known as “gear effect” presents itself most when hitting driver or fairway woods.

Did You Know?

To hit a traditional right-to-left shot, now known in coaching as a “push draw,” the club face actually must be “open” or right of the target. As long as the swing path is traveling farther to the right than the orientation of the face, the ball will curve back to the left. This can be a fun brain teaser to test with friends. Ask them “When starting the ball right and curving it back left is face is open or closed?” Most always they’ll say “closed” which is correct relative to swing path, however, the face is “open” to the target. This bit of information is crucial to hitting the shot you really want and is often misunderstood by most players.