There’s nothing worse than hitting a driver off the tee and seeing that horrible left-to-right curving shot that end up way off target and loads of work to do. The slice is one of the most common swings flaws in golf and I’m going to use my experience and research to help straighten yours out.
There are all kinds of different reasons we have seen why golfers could be slicing the ball but the most important part is that the clubface is open to the path. You need to understand that first to see how we can fix it which is what we are going to get into now.
- I’m hitting it too far over the top
- I’m hanging back on my right foot
- My ball position is off
- My setup is off
Don’t get me wrong, these all play a part in hitting that slice but it all comes down to two things: the club face and the direction of our club path on the downswing.
To start off with, we need to be able to understand what the club face is doing. If the club face is open on impact to the golf ball, you will naturally slice the ball.
So, to be able to control the club face…. It all begins with how we hold the club, the grip!
How to grip a driver not to slice?
When I take my normal setup right at the beginning of when I started playing, my coach noticed that my grip was in a weak position. This was caused by a few things, one being that I was holding the club in the palm of my hands instead of along the fingers. In this position, the leading hand can barely turn to the left to close the club face. By holding it in my fingers, I have way more freedom to close that club face on impact.
To fix a slice, my grip needed to be at least in a neutral to slightly strong position. You will make it more difficult trying to fix a slice if your grip is in a weak position.
To make your grip stronger you are essentially turning your hands clockwise on that club for a right-hander. I’m left-handed so I turned my hands anti-clockwise.
A good reference point for the leading hand is the V created in between your thumb and index finger should point towards your trailing shoulder or some of those knuckles becoming visible when you hold the club.
Couple of other reference points is that you want to be able to see the logo on your glove as well as some of your knuckles when you are going for a stronger grip.
Check out this awesome video by Adam Kolloff talking through these changes. I know he uses an iron to explain the principles but they are exactly the same for a driver too.
How to keep your club face closed during backswing and downswing?
This is a huge one for me and one that I didn’t know I was doing until my coach videoed my swing. We noticed that during my takeaway, the club face was very square, almost pointing up to the sky which meant that I had lost control of my club face on impact.
So, she gave me two checkpoints to work with.
Essentially, we need to make sure that our club face stays square or slight closed as we bring the club shaft up to parallel with the ground. You might feel like your leading hand is closing shut or pointing the logo on your glove down towards the ground. This helps get that feeling of shutting the club face.
You then also want a similar feeling through your follow through as the club shaft gets to parallel with the ground. I wanted the feeling of the club face pointing down with the ground with the help of my leading hand again the logo facing down.
Are these movements exaggerated… of course they are! At first, I thought how is this helping me at all because I now was hitting a massive hook. But that is the key thing, by getting that feeling, you are starting to learn to control your club face.
This means that over time, I started to control my hook and the trajectory of my golf balls as I slowly straightened them out with small movement of my swing path and leading hands.
Remember, you are not trying to go from a complete slice to hitting ball straight down the middle within a few swings of the golf club. Our aim is to understand what our club face is doing and see how it is impacting the ball path. It is so much harder to change the path when you have an open club face and you will just pick up really bad habits.
But with a closed club face, you can start controlling you swing which is what we are going to go into now.
How to swing the golf club to help control your ball?
So, when you are slicing the ball, essentially you are swinging diagonally across the ball from right to left for a right-hander with the club face open.
What we have to do now, is change the angle that we approach that golf ball. We wanted to be coming in from the inside.
My coach would even go as far as saying that by just by approaching the ball from more the inside of the target line, you can start hitting straighter without changing anything else.
One thing that really helped me get this feeling of swinging inside out is just picking my club up off the floor and practicing a few air swings really focusing on getting that feeling.
And that’s it, I then set up as I would and really focused on approaching the ball from the inside with my new strong grip, and focused on swinging out to the right on the downswing.
Here’s a video I found which is Rickie Fowler talking through this step and demonstrating it for us:
You need to focus on just keeping that trailing shoulder behind a little instead of bring it over the top and swinging across the ball.
A great way to get the feeling of this is to try this drill below which I found quite useful:
I still had the big draw to the left which was absolutely fine but more importantly, my golf ball was slowly starting to end up much straighter and this was the moment where I really started getting motivated.
As an extra tip from my coach, you can also set up slightly closing yourself off to the target line. So bring you trailing leg and shoulder slightly behind your leading leg and shoulder. If you are right-handed, then you’d be facing towards the right of the target. This brings you more parallel to that inside out swing path.
How does the strike from the club face affect the ball path?
Now this is a part of my game which I didn’t really look much into when I started off. It was not until my coach told me that where the ball strike actually takes place on the club face can have a huge impact where the ball will end up.
Let’s be honest, as an average golf player, off-center hits are very common on a typical day out on the course for me. With technology in drivers advancing every year, clubs are designed to be more forgiving to help those off-center hits not causing too much damage. If you are in the market for a new driver then do yourself a favor and save tons of time by reading our post on 10 most unusual drivers that will actually help you hit more fairways.
So, what I have learned from practice and a bit of research is that, when you strike the ball with the heel of the club, you are adding curvature to the ball flight towards the right as a right-hander. You could be doing everything else right as explained before, but by simply hitting the heel of the club face, you might see it curving towards the right.
Likewise, if you strike the golf ball off the toe of the face, it will add curvature to the left which may exaggerate that hook.
Obviously, it is quite difficult to get much accurate feedback of this without going through the motion and seeing where you feel like you are striking the ball. Some things you can introduce is impact tape (like this one on Golf Warehouse) or you can get some footspray which leaves a mark on the club face once you strike the ball. If you want to invest in a slightly more complex system then we’d recommend an Optishot system (check out our full review of the Optishot 2 simulator).
From there, you just need to experiment different ways! That could be as simple as standing a little further away, set-up from the toe or the heel depending on which one you are staying away from etc. But, the aim is to get a feel of the strike pattern changing and exaggerating it to see how it affects your ball flight.
Hopefully, these little tips and pointers will help you control your driver off the tee and help you hit more fairways. Like I mentioned, you first want to be able to control your club face before working on the direction and swing path.
Don’t forget, we have tons of information on here and loads of unusual tricks that will certainly improve your game. Feel free to check them out!