When I first got back into the game of golf I sliced the ball every time. This is very common with new golfers, not sure why but it’s just that way. New golfers see a slice shot as a problem and may want to fix it right away.
The trick to using or dealing with your slice shot is aiming way, way left. Only if you are a right-handed player that is. If you are a left-handed player you would aim way, way right. Doing this allows the ball plenty of room to move from left to right. Hopefully, this will land you on the correct side of the fairway.
You might be in the situation where you have a slice, but instead of fixing your slice, you are asking yourself How to use a slice shot while playing golf.
Or maybe you don’t have a slice shot but you want to learn how to actually hit a slice shot so you can use it out on the course. Whatever the case, ask yourselves a few questions first before you read this post. You need to define what you want, are you okay with having a slice shot? Or do you want to develop a slice shot?
If you’re new to the game, why do you want to play golf?
Are you wanting to play because a buddy invited you to play next weekend? And you haven’t played in a while so you don’t want to look silly on the course? Are you wanting to play because you recently drove past a golf course and it looked like fun to go hit some balls while drinking? Or are you wanting to play because you might want to compete at your local clubs and maybe earn some side cash hustling the locals?
Whatever the reason for playing is, you need to know why you want to play. This is important because this reason will tell you whether you should focus on fixing your slice immediately or just playing on the course with it. So you have your reason(s) for why you want to play golf and let’s assume you don’t want to fix your slice. You want to figure out how to use your slice while playing on the course. Show all your buddies that you can hit the ball consistently but it doesn’t go straight.
How Do You Know if You Have a Slice or a Fade?
Take an alignment stick and put it on the driving range mat in front of your feet. Set it up in parallel with your shoulders. You can also use another golf club too if you don’t have an alignment stick. Now all you need to do is take a normal swing and hit the ball. Assuming you made decent contact with the ball if you’re a right-hand player the ball would break right. Sometimes the ball will go straight for a second and then break right hard.
Most times the ball path will have a curve to it when it comes off your club face. You might be able to notice this when you finish your swing. If you’re using a 7 iron and the ball ends up 30 – 50 yards off your target, I would consider that a slice shot. I already mentioned that I had a slice when I first got back into the game, my slice was pretty predictable too. So I could play it pretty easily, it was predictable because I had that muscle memory from when I was a kid.
What I Didn’t Do
I could have easily gone out to the course that day I decided to pick the game back up. If I played 18 on a local golf course I probably could have shot around 100 – 110. That’s not too bad if you haven’t picked the sticks up in over 10 years but I didn’t go out and play on the course after not playing for 10 years, what did I do?
I went to the driving range like all the other bad golfer should do. So I go to the range and I discovered the fade that I had when I was a kid is now a slice. Being basically a new golfer, again, this was disappointing to me because I wanted to hit the ball straight and far or a small fade and far.
What The Heck Happened?
It doesn’t really matter what happened. I expected too much, thinking I could walk up to the ball and expect a Bubba Watson shot. Nope! So I needed to ask myself a few questions similar to what I asked you at the beginning of this post.
Why am I playing golf and am I comfortable with my swing? This was a pretty easy question to answer for me at the time, I wanted to play because a buddy from work invited me to play and I basically wanted to make sure I beat him on the course. I felt like I could compete with him if I were to practice for a couple weeks at the range and learn my swing and feel comfortable with it.
All I needed to do is go out to the driving range and develop a consistent slice shot. What I didn’t realize later on down the road was that I was developing some pretty bad habits that were kinda hard to break. Those bad habits are breakable though, but how much work do you want to put into your swing is the question. I knew that if I was going to play my slice, I needed some information about how I played.
I wanted to know:
- How bad is my slice?
- Yardage of a few common clubs I was using, mostly 7 iron, 9 iron, PW and my driver.
- How much width do I need in the fairway
- What to do if there’s wind
Focussing on these four things made it so I could play with a slice and probably do pretty good.
How Bad Is My Slice?
My slice wasn’t terrible compared to most new golfers but I’ve had those days where I put a little too much on the swing and the little booger got away from me. I’m a right-handed player so I would have to aim left in order to play my shot. How far left you ask? Well, that depends on a couple factors.
But assuming there was no wind, how far left should I aim? Basically, I had to aim at the far left of the fairway depending on how wide it was. But this makes sense if you have a slice and you want to play it. I’ve had to play to the left side of the fairway with my fade too but the fairway wasn’t very wide. So I was picking spots on the left side to aim at, the ball would start in that direction but would eventually turn back into the fairway and end up on the right side of the fairway.
If I know how far to aim left then my yardage is what I needed to figure out. Well, this was pretty easy, that’s why I went to the driving range. Today I can hit a 7 iron between 155 and 160 with a little baby draw on the ball. Back when I got into the game I was lucky if I could hit a 7 iron 135 – 140.
So, yardage is very important, with or without a slice because if you don’t know what your distance is for that particular club you’re using then you’re guessing. There are many things you can purchase like a rangefinder, you can find a few of them here Golf Tech Page. Rangefinders and GPS devices can solve the problem of how far you are from where you need to be. But if you don’t know how far a particular club will go then those rangefinders are useless.
There’s also a product called Game Golf that you can find here Golf Tech Page, this is a pretty cool device because it tracks each shot. I purchased this when I was focusing on my handicap back when I could play golf whenever I wanted. I would suggest you practice with a few clubs that you can hit consistently and take note of what the yardage is. If you’re a right-handed player, aim left on the driving range if you want the ball to end up in the middle and see where it lands.
How Much Width Do You Need In The Fairway?
This is relative to the golfer and how bad or aggressive the slice is. If the fairway is pretty narrow, I would suggest you use a less lofted club. You can use a 5 iron or even a hybrid if you have one and hit it nice and easy while trimming the left side of the fairway and watch it come back the middle or right side. If the fairway is wide then nothing to worry about, just play your normal shot and try to keep it in the fairway.
The wind coming from left to right is the most deadly for right-handed golfers with a slice. Depending on how strong the wind is, it could add an extra 20 to 50 yards to your slice and that’s going off the fairway and into the next fairway or woods. Right to the left wind just means you have to adjust more towards the middle of the fairway. If there were a strong 20 mph wind and you would normally aim far left, I would split the difference from the middle to the left side.
Advantages and Disadvantages to a Slice
Disadvantages to playing a slice shot:
- Yardage Loss
- Need a wide fairway
- Too much spin on the ball
- Wind judging
- Yardage calculating
Advantages to playing a slice shot:
- If you ever need that shot to get out of the woods you know what to do.
- You can go play immediately and have fun not worrying about your swing.
The Technical Jargon
Listen, if you want to play golf for the long haul you should consider changing your swing. Get rid of the slice and work on a fade, this is what I did. But I still had problems with my swing, it was much, much better than it was at the start but still needed a lot of work. I love analyzing swings of professionals, I would spend a couple hours a day looking at swings when I was developing my own swing.
If you have a slice, you are most likely swinging over the top of your swing path while in your downswing. At impact, your club face is open in relation to your swing path. If you think of hitting a ping pong ball with the paddle and putting some side spin on the ball to fake out your opponent. This is what you’re doing with your golf swing.
If you want to hit a straight shot in golf, think about your swing plane. The path your club head goes on while pulling it back should be the path that it follows back down to the ball. Some would argue that on the way down, your club head should be slightly under the path.
I guarantee you that if you were to put a camera behind your swing and record at an angle that showed your swing path from top to bottom. You will notice that you’re coming over the top on your downswing. This is part of the problem in your slice.
Can I Play Now?
Yes, go play if you feel confident that you can make it to the most important place on the golf course…the green. Go play if you feel like you can enjoy the game without beating yourself up over shots that you know you can’t hit but you will try anyway because you saw it on TV. Just go play, most of my experience came from playing on the course, I call that course tuition.
Disclaimer: I am Not a professional golfer and these are my opinions only, I am self-taught and encourage you to put as much effort into your swing as you see necessary. Seek professional help if you think you’re a danger to yourself or others on the golf course…or off the golf course.