I was talking with my friend Jack the other day and he asked me why is it he plays the same holes poorly almost every single round. My response was, “I don’t know Jack, why do you do that?”
He says, “I don’t know. All I know is I’m going to hit one in the water on the right on number 15. I’ve even gone to the far right side of the tee so I can aim away from the lake, but then I try to make sure it stays to the left and I pull across the ball and it slices about twice as much as normal and goes into the lake”. Jack, do we need to talk any more about this? I think you just answered your question.
Jack and I are having this conversation on Tuesday and he’s not playing golf till Saturday, but he already knows one is going in the lake on 15 the next time he plays. He knows it today, he’ll know it tomorrow, and he’ll be thinking about it as he plays the first 14 holes on Saturday.
Jack already answered his own question when he said he pulls across the ball in an effort to keep the ball from going to the right. Pulling across the ball increases the side-spin on the ball, which makes the ball turn right even more than usual. Combine that with knowing he is going to go into the lake, it becomes inevitable.
Watch the tour players when they need to slice a ball around a tree. Their swing path is much more pronounced across, or outside in, or from the right side of the target line before impact to the left side of the line after impact. AND, more importantly, they do not fully release the club, which keeps the hands from turning over. This is textbook for how to intentionally slice a golf ball.
But, more than anything, the slice is caused by poor hand action. The “slicer’s” hand action will always fall short of squaring the club at impact, generally because they are holding on to the club too tightly in an effort to control what it is doing.
If you want to avoid slicing your ball into the lake, try this. Make a swing at 1/4 speed, and after you get past the impact zone to where the club is about waist high, or parallel to the ground, stop and check where the toe of the club is pointed. I bet it is pointed to the right of your target line, or so the face of the club is somewhat pointed up. The correct position for correcting the slice would be where the toe is pointed up at the sky. You may feel as though the back of the right hand is facing up to the sky, as well.
Letting the club release will do several good things for your swing. Not only will you eliminate some, if not all, of your slice but by releasing the club better you will generate more club head speed WITHOUT TRYING. More distance with less effort!
If you’re having problems with the slice or dealing with loss of distance, try this exercise. And if that doesn’t work go see your PGA Professional.
Kim Anders is a PGA Professional residing in Mazatlan, Sinaloa Mexico. You can reach Kim via email at email@example.com.