In golf, there can be some embarrassing and frustrating moments. I’d argue that nothing is worse than playing your shot from the wrong fairway after wildly slicing your drive!
Often, golfers try to counteract the slice by aiming further left. However, this tends to accentuate the slice even more — resulting in a filthy double-cross.
We’ve all been there, but why does it happen?
In this article, I’ll show you what causes a slice and provide you with a step-by-step guide to fix your slice. That way, you can regain your confidence off the tee.
If you’re ready, let’s get into it!
Why Am I Slicing My Driver?
There are several common causes for slicing the driver. Often, it can happen when you leave the clubface open at impact. Alternatively, it could be due to having an improper stance, a lack of weight transfer during the swing, an incorrect grip, or even the wrong driver shaft length.
What Exactly Is a Slice?
To understand why you’re slicing the driver, it’s essential to know what a slice is.
For right-handers, it’s a shot that curves excessively to the right of its starting line.
There are two versions of a slice to consider: the classic slice and the push slice.
Essentially, the classic slice starts left of your intended target before curving to the right. On the other hand, a push slice starts right and moves further right.
Common Causes of a Slice
“Why am I slicing my driver?” you ask despairingly as another tee shot sails right.
Let’s take a look at the main causes, to help you diagnose the problem.
The main cause of a slice is an open clubface in relation to the swing path at impact.
Effectively, an open clubface causes you to cut across the ball at impact. This adds unwanted sidespin, causing the curve from left to right (for a right-hander).
It’s essentially an extreme version of a fade. While a fade is an intentional shot shape designed to navigate particular holes, a slice is almost always a bad sign.
PRO TIP: The degree of openness at impact will determine the severity of your slice.
Another cause for a slice is having too much of an “out-to-in” swing path.
Simply put, the swing path refers to the direction the clubhead travels relative to the target line during the downswing.
Many beginners and inexperienced golfers will naturally swing the driver with an extreme “out-to-in” swing path, as it generally feels quite comfortable.
However, this motion will add unwanted sidespin to the ball — causing a slice. So, working on a more neutral or “in-to-out” swing path can help correct this.
An incorrect ball position can lead to a slice with the driver.
Where the ball is set in your stance will vastly influence your swing path and clubface angle. Both of which affect whether you hit a straight shot, a hook, or a slice.
If the ball is too far back in your stance, the clubface may not have enough time to square up before impact, leading to an open face at impact and a resultant slice.
Similarly, a ball positioned too far forward can cause you to reach at the ball, promoting an out-to-in swing path and a slice.
Timing & Tempo
Having the wrong timing and tempo in the swing can also result in a slice.
Essentially, timing and tempo in golf refer to the rhythm and speed of your swing.
If your downswing is rushed or your body segments are not coordinated, it can throw off your swing path and the orientation of your clubface at impact.
Likewise, if your arms and hands get ahead of your body rotation in the downswing, it can lead to an out-to-in path and an open clubface — the recipe for a slice.
How to Stop Slicing Driver
So, we’ve addressed the common causes of a slice with the driver.
Next, let’s cover the solutions to help you start hitting straighter bombs off the tee.
Fix 1: Strengthen Your Grip
The first simple fix is to avoid having an excessively weak grip with the driver.
Importantly, a stronger grip doesn’t mean you hold the club tighter. Rather, it relates to how you position your bottom hand on the lower portion of the grip.
To adopt a stronger grip, first set your top hand down on the upper part of the grip. The “V” between your thumb and index finger should point toward your right shoulder.
PRO TIP: You should see two knuckles on your top hand.
Then, set your bottom hand on the lower portion of the grip. Similarly, the “V” formed between your thumb and index finger should point toward your right shoulder.
Check out the video below by Danny Maude, where he discusses and demonstrates how maintaining a stronger grip can help you hit your driver straight:
Fix 2: Control Your Clubface
The next area to focus on is controlling the clubface through impact.
When you boil it down, the driver swing comprises three parts: delivering the club head on the correct path, at a reasonable speed, with the clubface square to the target.
Leaving the clubface open at impact will encourage a slice. To avoid this, try to feel the face rotating and closing between the downswing and follow-through.
Essentially, you’re rolling your right forearm over your left through impact. Avoid flipping your hands. Instead, focus on building a consistent, and predictable rotation.
If you’ve ever played tennis, it’s a similar sensation to hitting a top spin shot.
Fix 3: Alter Your Path
Another way to help prevent the slice is to develop an in-to-out swing path.
As mentioned earlier, the out-to-in swing path is a major culprit when it comes to slicing the driver. This is because it forces you to cut across the ball, adding sidespin.
Instead, focus on delivering the head of the driver more from in to out. If anything, this will help produce a light draw, which can add useful distance to your tee shots.
Changing your swing path can be quite difficult to do on your own. Training aids like the EyeLine Speed Trap 2.0 can help you correct your swing path.
+ Provides instant swing feedback
+ Works with all clubs, from wedges to driver
+ Rods are attached by durable tethers
– Can't be attached to the ground
With the Speed Trap 2.0, durable angled rods encourage you to develop the correct swing plane along with the correct path angle — thus eliminating the slice.
Fix 4: Change Your Tempo
Next, you should work on fixing the tempo of your swing to hit straighter shots.
In an article for Golf Info Guide, PGA Professional Instructor Pete Sykes discusses how tempo can often be the root cause of hooks and slices with the driver:
“If you are fighting off a slice, then a lot of it has to do with a faulty tempo beginning with the takeaway. The slice is caused by a poor back swing, coupled with a tempo that is too fast.”Pete Sykes
Practicing a smooth, unhurried swing where your body parts work in harmony can help improve your timing and tempo. This reduces the likelihood of slicing the ball.
Fix 5: Improve Your Contact
Finally, striking the ball out of the center of the face will help limit any sidespin.
Once you’ve practiced the steps above, you’ll want to start getting feedback on the contact you’re making with the clubface.
I’d recommend using a foot powder spray, or specialist golf club sprays such as Impact Detect to get immediate feedback on where you’re striking the ball on the clubface.
Using this spray, you’ll be able to see where you are making contact with the ball and begin to adjust your swing to make your strikes more predictable and consistent.
Slices are frustrating. Here’s a summary of the fixes covered in this article:
- Strengthen your grip
- Control your clubface
- Alter your path
- Change your tempo
- Improve your contact
Test out these fixes during your next practice session. Hopefully, you’ll start seeing noticeable straighter ball flights, and you’ll be on your way to curing that slice.
If you’re still looking for some help with your slice, I highly recommend checking out the video below from Andy and Piers at Me And My Golf:
What I like about this video is they help coach Jason, an average amateur golfer. They break down the reasons why he is slicing the ball before offering helpful solutions.