As an amateur player, it is quite common for a golfer to play a slice shot. Slicing the golf ball is more common when your club orientation or the ball setup is weak and not up to the mark. So, a hit will launch the ball in the air, but it will be followed by a sudden right turn towards the woods, with a long curvature of the trajectory. In reality, slicing means a shot gone wrong!
Since it is the worst shot, you must know about the tricks that will stop the ball’s slicing as a player. Even though it will take some time to get a hangover these tricks, it’s important to learn them and improve yourself on the golf course.
So, let’s start!
What is a slice shot?
A slice shot is one of the beginners’ typical foul shots when playing the game with a poor orientation and alignment. In this shot, the ball first starts the trajectory with average speed and direction. However, halfway in the middle, it changes its course and turns sharp right, causing a long curvature towards the woods.
There is a particular physical explanation behind the slicing of a golf ball. You see, whenever the orientation of the clubface and the alignment of the ball are not in proper synchronization, it produces a considerable degree of sidespin in the ball. As a result, it turns to the extreme right for the right-handed players and vice versa.
It’s just like changing the tracks- the ball ascends the air from the left side of the target, and suddenly, it changes its course and moves to the farthest right of the target.
What are the types of slices in golf?
Before moving onto any other discussion, you need to know the types of slices seen on the field. This will further clear your doubts about the tricks that a player usually follows to stop the slicing. So, here are the three major slicing categories!
- Standard slice
This is the most basic slice type where the ball first moves straight in the left direction and suddenly changes its course to the right.
- Push slice
Just from the name, you can guess that the slicing occurs right from when you push the ball into the air. The trajectory inclines towards the right from the beginning and continues to curve in the right direction as the path progresses.
- Pull slice
A player rarely makes a pull slice. In this, the ball first travels towards the left direction, and after some time, it bends in the right, and the flight ends in the right of the target.
What are the reasons for a slice shot?
Before learning the tricks for avoiding the slice shots, you need to know why the shot happens in the first place. So, let’s see the conditions under which your shot will become a slice hit.
Hitting the ball with an open clubface
If your clubface is pointing towards the right of the target at the time of addressing the ball, the orientation is said to be of an open clubface. It is one of the most common reasons for which your straight shot can become a slicing one. Since the clubface points towards the right, the moment you hit the ball, it travels towards the right than moving straight.
Improper overlapping grip
When you practice the club’s overlapping grip, you know that your lead hand’s thumb should point in the shaft’s lower direction. Also, the thumb should be placed straight with your trail hand such that only three knuckles can be visible of your lead hand. However, if your lead thumb overlaps your trailing fingers at the front, the grip is improper, causing a slicing shot.
Wrong alignment of the arms
Another reason for which a shot is sliced is the improper alignment of the arms. If your arms are not placed close to your body, your swing will not be up to the mark. As a result, the downside swing will send the ball flying towards the right rather than sending it on a straight trajectory.
Excessive straightening of the lead arm
In the backswing case, you need to move your lead arm so that the elbows are straight, but the wrists can form a hinge. However, sometimes, players forget this lesson and keep their lead arm stretched out with no hinge formation. As a result, the downswing gets rough and sends the ball to the target’s farthest right.
Whenever you are playing golf, you need to maintain your posture. Also, this pose varies with the club. For example, you need your legs as wide as possible with a driver, but it isn’t the same for the wedges or the irons. So, if your posture is wrong and your body is too stiff, there are high chances that your next shot will be sliced towards the right.
Playing golf means you need to have the flexibility to bend your torso properly during the swings. However, if your body frame lacks this flexibility, you won’t be able to take a proper swing with perfect angles and speed. This often sends the ball flying to the right of the target, specifically towards the woods.
Wrong playing direction
If you are a right-handed player, your golf setup must be in the right direction. Similarly, if you play with your left hand, you must align everything towards the left. However, if you are playing in a cross way, i.e., aligning everything to the left and playing with your right hand, it will cause a slicing shot.
Improper position of the ball
The ball’s position on the ground or the tee varies with the club type. For example, when you are playing with an iron or the putter, the ball should be placed as close to the body as possible. However, when you are using the driver for a shot, the ball must be placed a little forward from your position. Any change in this position rule will cause a slicing shot, no matter how good your swing is.
Wrong movement of the shoulders
If you have seen a pro golfer playing on the field, you realize that every swing he takes is more or less circular. This means that your shoulder will be tilted during a backswing so that the trail shoulder will sit atop of the lead shoulder. During the downswing, the trail shoulder will be pushed towards the target while the lead one will move backward. However, if your shoulder line is not matching this rule and is too straight or stiff, you will send the ball flying to the extreme right, thereby causing an embarrassing slice shot.
How to avoid a slicing shot?
Since now you are aware of the main reasons for which your shot can become a slicing one, it will be easier for you to understand the preventive ways. All you have to do is ensure that your posture and the golf setup are proper without a miss. Rest assured, there will be no more slicing shots.
But, it will be more feasible if you know the tricks to stop the slicing in detail. So, let’s get started!
Check the position of the clubface
Since you are an amateur player, it can become quite challenging to follow the target line on the field, especially if the target is far away from you. This is why we start with closer targets for avoiding the slicing. This way, you will establish a square face setup for the clubface and not the open-face one. The clubface will point straight towards the target right after you address the ball in the square alignment.
- Move away from the target during the backswing as much as possible, keeping your lead arm straight.
- Drop the club without having it touch the ground and analyze whether the clubface and the target are in the same line or not.
- Adjust the alignment of your shoulders to get the square alignment if possible.
Do not stand in a wrong posture
If your posture is incorrect, you will cause a slice shot. That is why you need to ensure that the way you are standing on the field is correct and perfectly clean. Here are some tips to perfect your posture:
- Stand with your feet wide apart if you are using a driver. But, if you are using the irons, your feet shouldn’t be split into half.
- Bent a little by your knees and push the hips outwards. Do not bend too much since your legs are going to support the weight of your body.
- Create a curve in your backbone if you are doing the S-posture. But, if it’s the L-posture, you need to keep the neck and the back in the same line.
- Your arms must rest on your chest while you are holding the club in a neutral position.
Play on the right side
Yes, sometimes, experiencing new things can be fun. But, the same doesn’t apply to golf. If you are a right-handed player, you need to set up everything on the target’s right side. This applies to the left-handed players also. If you exchange the sides, you will be either causing pop-ups or the slicing shots.
Place the ball correctly
Whether you are using the tee to place the ball or simply placing it on the ground. What matters is the ball’s position, and that’s what you need to work on a lot. You have to make sure that the ball is correctly placed with respect to the club you are using. For example:
- If you are using the shorter clubs like the wedges or the putters, you need to place the ball close to your body since the shorter shaft length won’t allow you to reach the far off position.
- If you are using the longest club or the driver, you need to keep enough distance between your arms and the ball’s position so that the club can fit in just perfectly.
- Keep the ball in line with the target. Do not change the orientation because that might cause a slicing shot, no matter whether your hit is perfect or not.
Bring in flexibility in the swings
A particular swing mainly consists of three parts: the takeaway, the backswing, and the downswing. It would help if you made yourself more flexible while taking the swings. If your body is too stiff, the shoulders won’t move back and forth during the backswing and the downswing. Also, you won’t be able to hinge your wrists at the time of swings. For making yourself more flexible, you can:
- Practice flexible exercises which mainly consist of different types of stretches
- Practice dry shots without the ball placed in front of you
- Squats are a great way to control the hips’ movement, which is very important during the swings.
- Rotate your shoulders and establish proper coordination between the lead and the trail shoulders
When can a slicing shot be helpful?
Sometimes, you will find yourself in a situation where all your options will become invalid, and you will be left with nothing but a slice shot. Under such conditions, the slicing can be a real help in the open fields. Some of the circumstances are:
- If your ball is already in the woods and you want to send it out of the area, you need to slice the ball to cut across the trees and fly straight to the open space.
- If you can see that the straight path has a sandpit or a rough patch, you can slice the shot to end up near the target without falling into the pits.
- If the hole is present to the extreme right compared to your position, a slicing shot will reduce the number of hits per stroke.
Slicing shot is undoubtedly one of the worst things a golfer can do. Sometimes, you lose control over the swing or the orientation, which leads to the shot. However, after our discussion, we hope that you will now be able to avoid the slices and hit the ball straight towards the target.