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How To Stop Slicing The Ball
The slice is arguably the most common shot shape amongst amateur golfers – a shape that starts relatively straight before arcing off right (for a right-handed golfer) into trouble. In the video and article below, Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach Dan Grieve shows you how to rid your game of this destruction shot with a few simple driver drills for golf.
In short, one of the main reasons for the slice shot is that we see everything cutting across the ball with the clubface open in relation to the path. Slicers tend to line up and then face the ball, and that opens you up and encourages you to swing across the ball.
And aiming further left exacerbates the problem, as you end up having to slice the ball more – so you get stuck in a negative circle. It's for this reason that slices and pulls are linked.
Start off by making sure that your chest bone is pointing behind the ball and your shoulders are square – so they’re parallel to the target. Feeling like you’re behind the ball more might feel strange if you’ve got into bad habits, but this is your perfect driver address position. Get used to that feeling like your right elbow is tucked in as opposed to having a high right arm. Now you have the position to swing on an inside path, which will help you shallow your driver swing.
To improve your swing path, I recommend putting an alignment rod down at approximately 45 degrees. Go to the top of your swing and feel like you’re working the club from the inside. See below how the shaft of my driver is parallel to the white rod. Just hold it there and you get a really good visualisation of where you want to be hitting the ball from. This will help eradicate that over-the-top motion that leads to a slice, and get you into the habit of hitting from the inside. After a few attempts, I bet you’ll start to hit one or two little draws.
I like the ‘waiter’s position’ drill, too, which helps you to groove a better downswing sequence and get into the right positions. I’m using a book, and the idea is that it doesn’t fall out of my hand. If it does, that’s your slicing action coming into effect. That book should remain nice and balanced in the palm of your hand.
This next slice drill is one that you can actually work on regularly at home – just have your driver close to hand. Put it down in front of you and hold it with your lead hand; set up, then go to the top of your swing. Swing past the club making sure that your lead hand stays in position, as this will give you a nice feeling of hitting past your head.
One of the most effective exercises to rid your game of the slice is the split grip drill. Note how I’ve got my left hand in the normal position and my right hand is slightly onto the graphite. Make some swings and what you’ll begin to feel is how the left elbow starts to fold in and how the right arm starts to extend over. If you’re a slicer, you’re probably locked with a feeling of holding on and swinging across, but this drill gives you a great sense of how to release the clubhead effectively.
I'll finish by saying that a fear of hitting a bad drive can make you tense, so make a conscious effort to relax your muscles and ease up on your grip pressure.
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Location: Woburn GC
Dan is one of the leading coaches in the UK, a Fellow of the PGA and a short-game virtuoso. He has had considerable success with a collection of tour pros, helping them to Order of Merit titles and major victories, and his Short Game School is the most attended in the UK. His students, past and present, include Charley Hull, Georgia Hall, Inci Mehmet and Iona Stephen.
Most common problem:
Swing – over the top , help by getting the basics correct at address and making them aware how to get the club online coming down.
Short game – creating spin and feel around the greens, help by educating on what the short game actually is (weak on purpose) and understand bounce and how they can apply it to different lies/situations.
Greatest success story:
Helping Georgia Hall from World No. 450 to No. 6 and winning a Major, two Order of Merits and Solheim Cup appearances.
Alex Hay was a great influence during my first few years at Woburn. In sport more generally Sir Clive Woodward has taught me how to deliver at the highest level.
Most common fault:
Flipped right hand (hands behind the ball). Understand a correct coil/load going back and how to sequence better coming down so the chest opens up and gives the arms space to deliver a stronger impact. Lots of body action drills to enhance the feel, with and without the ball.
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