A “slice” golf shot is one in which the golf ball twists dramatically in flight from left to right (for right-handed golfers). The slice can be played on purpose, but it is more often than not the result of a mishit.
Slices are the most common issue for both recreational and high-handicap golfers. The shape of a sliced shot changes for right-handed and left-handed golfers (though the causes are the same – more on that below):
- For a left-hander, a slice curves to the left.
- For a right-hander, a slice curves to the right.
We’ll use right-handedness in all of the examples that follow, so lefties should reverse any directional aspects.
A slice and a fade shot are both shaped similarly (curving to the right for a right-hander), but a slice is more severe. A slice is known popularly as a “banana ball”. The slicing is the opposite of the hook shot.
A sliced shot may begin to the left of the target line and then bend significantly back to the right. Alternatively, the ball can start on the correct target line before curving left. A “push-slice” shot begins right of the target line and curves further right.
What Causes a Slice in Golf?
A sliced shot is created by the clubface coming into contact with the golf ball in an open position. This could be due to setup or swing difficulties that cause the face to open, or it could be due to an outside-to-inside swing path that opens the face by “wiping” or “swiping” across the golf ball, imparting “slice spin”.
Slice spin is a clockwise sidespin for right-handed golfers and a counter-clockwise sidespin for left-handed golfers. Cutting across the ball at contact on an outside-to-inside swing path is referred to as “coming over the top”.
How to do a Slice in Golf
We all consider the slicing to be a terrible thing, a mishit that should be avoided. That is always true when the slicing appears unintentionally, as it frequently happens with recreational golfers and high-handicappers.
However, there are times when being able to purposely play a slice would be extremely helpful. Like taking a huge, sweeping curve around that tree that’s blocking your way to the green.
How to play an intentional slice? There are multiple methods, and depending on how big a curve you want to play, you may need to combine two or more:
- Open the clubface at address.
- Open your stance and align your body to the left of the target line, however, otherwise grip and swing normally.
- Weaken your grip. For a righthander, this means turning your hands to the left on the handle of the club.
How to Stop Slicing Your Shots
Is your golf game plagued by the dreaded slice? With these tips, you will be able to stop slicing your shots. Begin by reviewing some of your fundamentals to ensure that simple setup issues aren’t generating that slice.
Check that you are not gripping the club with the face open. Set up with your clubface square unless you’re intending to hit a ball that curves right (slice or fade) or left (hook or draw). Or are you rotating the club open on the backswing? Backswing a few times, but stop when the club is parallel to the ground. Your club’s toe should be pointing straight up. If it’s “laid off” – pointing behind you – you’ve got an open clubface.
Check that you are not starting with an open stance (feet, hips and shoulders aligned to the left of the target line). Your stance, like your clubface, should be square.
Check that your grip is neutral and that you aren’t using a weak grip (hands turned too far to the left for a right-hander).
To completely eliminate the unintended slicing, it is often necessary to fix both the clubface position and the swing path.