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What is a Slice?

A slice is a golf shot where the ball instead of going straight, makes an arch or banana-shaped curve. For a right-handed golfer the ball starts out going towards the left of the target. Then it curves sharply back to the right of the target. The slice is sometimes called a "banana ball" or a "big old curve" because of its path. Among amateur golfers, the slice is the most common error.


What Causes a Golf Slice?

If golfers only knew what causes the golf swing to slice, they would have some hope of correcting it. Coaches and progolfers have written entire books on how to correct a slice. Based on tons of research and analysis of golf videos, it would seem that the causes of the slice can be condensed to a few main flaws.

1. The golfer turns his upper body rotates too soon when he is on his downswing.

2. The golfer's hands are too high when he hits the ball.

3. The golfer moves his upper body faster than he moves the golf club.

4. The golfer's swing isn't a straight line. He lacks control because of his grip.

5. The golfer's grip is wrong.

6. The golfer has placed his ball too far forward when teeing off.

7. The golfer may be taking the club too far back on his swing.

8. The golfer's shoulder in relation to the rest of his body may be wrong when he swings down.


How Can You Correct a Slice?

Golf pros and golf instructors make more money on helping clients correct a slice than on any other single facet of instruction. Basically, in no particular order, are the things they have their students concentrate on.

1. Slice occurs when the golfer turns his left hand too far to the left. A good way to check your grip is to make sure the "Vee" between knuckle and thumb on both hands points towards your right ear.

2. Slices can often be cured before you ever hit the ball! Make sure the ball is in line with your stance. If it is ahead of your stance you will slice the ball. Look to make sure you are not aiming too far left. To do this, lay a club on the ground parallel to your target line. Make certain your feet, knees, hips and shoulders are parallel to that club.

3. Don't take the club too far back. When swinging back make sure you do not twist the club.  To check this, look at the top of your backswing. The shaft should be over your shoulder not over your head.

4. Take note of where your shoulder in during the downswing. Keep your arms close to your body and your shoulder tucked in and down.

5. When you hit the ball the club face should be hitting the ball flat or square on.

6. If your clubface is not hitting the ball square, check your grip. No matter which grip you are using, you should be able to look down at your hands just before teeing off and see at least two knuckles on your left hand.

If you have developed a good grip and a good backswing, nine chances out of ten you will have corrected that "big old curve". Your golf ball is your best teacher. Watch its trajectory and it will tell you what you are doing wrong.  Like everything else that is worth perfecting the perfect swing, stance and grip are worth the time you put into them. If you can get a friend to videotape your swing so that you can analyze how far back you are taking your swing, what it looks like as you swing forward, where your wrists are, where your shoulders and arms are and how the club face makes contact with the ball, you can learn much that will help you correct your golf swing to correct for a slice. Also pay attention to the ball?s trajectory. Remember, the ball has much to teach you.


Here is a brief checklist to help you avoid the golf slice:

Ask yourself:

Are you standing too far from the ball?
Is your stance wide enough? It should be as wide as your shoulders.
Is your clubface too open?
Is your grip strong enough to keep your hands from twisting too far around the grip?
Are your feet, hips, and/or shoulders aiming too far left?
Are your arms and shoulders moving away from your body during your swing?
What does your swing path look like?

To check these things out, swing the club slowly thinking about the questions on your check list. Better yet, go over the checklist questions one by one as you watch yourself on a video taken by a friend. Remember, the best teacher is your golf ball. Look and learn. Analysis and practice are what you need to correct that "big old curve".
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