June 1

How to Fix a Slice in Golf (4 Causes and 4 Solutions)

The slice is the bane of amateur golfers.

In fact, it’s been estimated that up to 85% of amateur golfers regularly slice the ball. It plays havoc with their scores, not to mention their psyches!

So, considering that the slice has such a destructive impact, why is it that golfers will continue to play with a slice for their entire golfing life, seemingly accepting that they’re somehow doomed to this fate?

For most slicers, the answer lies in the fact that they simply don’t understand what causes a slice in the first place.

And if you don’t understand why and how a slice happens, how can you hope to fix it?

To learn how to fix a slice in golf, you need to have a clear understanding of the root cause.

And until the slicer has such an understanding -- a true understanding of the singular root cause of the slice -- it’ll be harder to implement the changes that’ll be necessary to correct it.


What is the Root Cause of the Slice?

If you ask people who are familiar with the mechanics of the golf swing, you’ll hear several reasons cited for a slice.

They may talk about issues with the grip or problems with alignment or swing path, and the fixes that they recommend could very well be helpful in lessening your slice (and we’ll discuss them later in this article).

But what they usually fail to mention is the actual root cause.

The slice itself, while certainly problematic, isn’t the actual problem.

It’s a symptom of the problem or the observable result of the problem.

The actual root cause of the slice is that your clubface at impact is open to your swing path.

Stated simply, the reason that golfers slice the ball is because somewhere during their golf swing, they open the clubface or create the conditions for the face to be open at impact.  

To learn how to fix a slice in golf, your focus first and foremost must be on the clubface.

With your focus properly on this as the root cause, you can then work on the adjustments that’ll be recommended to deliver that clubface to impact in a position that’s square to your swing path (e.g., a stronger grip, a flatter lead wrist, more forearm rotation, etc.). 


What Does It Mean to Have a Face Angle That’s Open to the Swing Path?

If having a clubface that’s open to your swing path at impact is the primary issue that leads to a slice, let’s define the terms and make sure that you fully understand the concepts.

Here are the relevant key elements: 

1. Target Line

The target line is the straight line starting a few feet behind the ball and running directly through the ball to the intended target.

2. Swing Path

The swing path is the direction the clubhead is moving (right or left) at impact and is measured relative to the target line.

Golfers usually describe the path as being “out-to-in” or “in-to-out.”

3. Open or Closed Clubface

An open clubface is one that strikes the ball while it’s aiming to the right of the swing path (for right-handers), which consequently imparts left-to-right slice spin to the ball.

A closed clubface is one that’s aiming left of the swing path at impact and therefore imparts right-to-left hook spin.

All of the prescriptions on how to fix a slice in golf need to be thought of in terms of this concept of the face being open at impact.

As one example, a fairly common critique you’ll often hear as to why a particular golfer slices is that their swing path is “out-to-in.”

That may be true, and a swing path correction may certainly need to be addressed.

But what actually causes the slice isn’t that the swing path is out-to-in, it’s that this out-to-in swing path is causing this golfer to have an open clubface at impact.

Efforts to cure the slice should always begin with the clubface in mind.


Primary Causes of an Open Clubface

The number of possible setup and swing flaws that can result in a slice ball flight is extensive.

There are too many to address here, so we’ll deal with the most common and pervasive ones.  

These are the most frequent causes for having an open clubface at impact: 

1. Weak Grip

How you place your hands on the club has a direct effect on how you hit the ball and on the ball flight itself.

If you’re struggling with a slice, look at your grip as the initial checkpoint.

A grip that’s too ‘weak’ will tend to leave the clubface open at impact, causing left-to-right sidespin (a slice), while a strong grip will make it easier to square the face at impact to produce right-to-left spin (a draw or hook). 

A weak grip is when the V’s that are formed between your thumbs and index fingers are pointing to your left shoulder.  

If your grip looks like that, turn your hands clockwise on the grip - to the right for right-handers – so that the V’s point to your right shoulder.

And make sure that at least two knuckles of your left hand are visible to you.

2. Grip Pressure

Another thing that can contribute to sliced tee shots is gripping the club too tightly.

Maintaining a light grip pressure is a basic element of any good golf swing, but for those who slice the ball, it’s even more important.

If you can learn to play with light grip pressure, you'll be able to hit a draw or at least more of a straight ball.  

Start with your arms and hands relaxed and maintain this same grip pressure throughout the swing.

A tight grip can prevent you from squaring the clubface, by interfering with a free release of the club through impact.

The result is an open clubface.

3. Out-to-In Swing Path

As mentioned above, there is an imaginary line that runs from just behind the ball all the way to the target (the target line).

An out-to-in swing path is one in which the clubhead approaches the ball from outside that target line and which moves from right to left as it cuts across the ball.

This right-to-left swing path, when accompanied by an open clubface, will produce a weak, left-to-right curving shot (a slice).

Unfortunately, the majority of amateur golfers hit their drives in this manner.

The origin of this dreaded out-to-in swing path usually begins in the transition from the top of the backswing to the start of the downswing, when many amateurs initiate the downswing with an overuse of the upper body and arms.

When the upper body and arms take over, the club is thrown outside of the intended swing plane with the clubhead approaching the ball from outside to in.

Referred to as swinging “over the top,” this is probably the most common swing fault among high handicap golfers.

By contrast, most accomplished golfers route the club from inside-to-outside.

An in-to-out golf swing occurs when your golf club moves from the inside of your target line, impacts the inside portion of ball, and moves away to the outside of your target line.

For a right-handed golfer, it’s like swinging out to the right after impact instead of bringing your swing back to the left.  

There are good reasons why the in-to-out swing path is preferable.

1. It’s the only way to produce a right-to-left shot (draw)

2. It transfers more energy into the ball when compared to an outside-in swing, which typically creates an open clubface and a loss of power. 

4. Shoulder Alignment

A large percentage of golfers who slice their drives actually pre-set the conditions for an out-to-in swing right from address.

Because they’re so accustomed to seeing their drives end up to the right, they begin to subconsciously aim to the left.

This is often a subliminal compensation that actually makes things worse for them and only serves to exacerbate their slice.

With shoulders aimed to the left, it would be difficult NOT to swing from out to in.

And, as stated above, this usually leads to the clubface being open to the swing path which in turn leads to a slice. 

"How can you check to see if you have poor shoulder alignment?"

A good way to do this is to take your club and place it horizontally along your chest.

The club will “point” to where your shoulders are aimed, either right or left of the target line.

It’s important to understand that your swing path will almost always mirror your shoulder line.

If your shoulders are pointing left of your target line, it’s likely that your swing path will also go to the left (out-to-in).

You should try to make sure that your shoulders are properly aligned down the target line, or even slightly right of the target line to encourage an in-to-out swing path.


How to Fix a Slice in Golf with Equipment

In addition to the setup and swing changes that we’ve discussed, there’s another way to do battle with your slice.

There have been advancements in technology and in the design of equipment over the past several years that can assist you in reducing the amount of slice sidespin that you impart to the ball.

1. Adjustable Drivers

Most of the newer drivers have features that allow you to adjust its settings to produce a desired ball flight.

With the twisting of a wrench or the re-positioning of a movable weight, golfers can change the driver’s loft, lie, face angle, or center of gravity.

This is clearly the easiest way to mitigate a particular swing flaw.

For slicers, adjusting the face angle to be more closed (aimed slightly more left for right-handers) is an effective way to make sure that the head’s not quite so open at impact.

This should help to reduce your slice.  

2. Draw-Bias Drivers

One technology in particular that has proven to be very successful in lessening a slice is a specialized driver design in which the head is engineered to have a “draw bias.”

For those of you who slice the ball, but are unfamiliar with this concept, this is something you may want to look into as a possible driver upgrade. 

Draw-bias drivers work differently than simply closing the face angle as you do with an adjustable driver setting.

When you change the settings to adjust the face angle, you’re simply modifying the direction that the face is aimed relative to the target.

While this can be helpful for slicers and should be used by those with adjustable drivers, it’s very different from how a draw-bias driver functions.  

Draw-bias drivers are designed and built to actually create draw spin, or to encourage a right to left ball flight, not simply to aim the club left of target.

This is accomplished primarily by how and where the engineers proportion weight in the head’s design.  

Most of the major driver manufacturers offer a draw-bias option.

TaylorMade (with their D-Type drivers), Callaway (with their Draw divers), Ping (with their SFT drivers), and others, all have draw-bias models that are designed to encourage draw spin.

3. Golf Balls

One of the things that increases the amount of curvature on a golf ball is how much spin the ball is designed to have.

Many golfers buy high-spin golf balls in the hope of getting more “bite” on the greens.

But not many know that there’s also an unintended consequence when using a high-spin ball.

Balls that spin a lot don’t just produce more backspin.

They also tend to produce more sidespin when struck with an open clubface.

This increased sidespin can magnify your slice.

To counteract this effect, golfers who slice the ball should consider low-spin golf balls, which typically are softer by design, and have a lower compression.

Lower-compression, low-spin balls would be better for many players, but particularly for those who slice.

With less spin on the ball, shots will tend to fly a bit straighter.

So, when shopping for golf balls, consider ones that are a bit softer and which are advertised to produce less spin.

4. Golf Shafts

It should be fairly intuitive that swinging a driver that has an ultra-lightweight shaft will allow you to increase your clubhead speed.

What may not be quite as intuitive is that this will also enable you to more easily square the clubface and to hit higher shots.

For golfers who struggle with a slice, it’d be beneficial to consider moving to one of the shafts on the market that’s below 60 grams in weight (and, in fact, there are shaft models that are as low as 40-50 grams!).  


Slicing doesn’t have to be a life sentence. You can learn how to fix a slice in golf.

As we’ve suggested, most golfers who slice the ball do so because they don’t understand the root cause.

Armed now with the knowledge that a slice is the direct result of a clubface that’s open to the swing path at impact, golfers can make the necessary setup and swing adjustments that we’ve discussed, all of which are intended to help square the face.  

With practice, you should be able to turn that left-to-right slice into a right-to-left draw.

To be able to change this flight shape, it helps to know that the ultimate goal is reworking the face-to-path relationship and hitting the ball with a square, or even a slightly closed, clubface in relation to the path of the swing.

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