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Publication: Today's Golf
Goodbye Slice!

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          GOLF TIPS - Wednesday, August 29, 2007
 "Tips... News... And More... All For The Love Of The Game"
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Fellow Duffers,

I love today's issue. The slice is the most common problem
in recreational golf--that and three putting. So if you hit
your share of shots to the right please read and reread this
issue. It'll have you hooking in no time!

Sam
mailto:sam@gophercentral.com


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Diagnosing and Fixing a Slice

From Roger Gunn
Faults and Fixes: Slicing

The Impact
Let's start by making sure you're clear on the type of impact
that causes the slice. When the ball is slicing to the right,
that means it's curving in a left-right motion across the sky.
For the ball to do this, it must be spinning in a clockwise
direction.

Imagine that the ball is on a peg, and that all it can do is
spin one way or another. To spin the ball clockwise, the club
has to swing more to the left with the clubface pointing
slightly to the right.

In a golf shot, this is exactly what happens to make the ball
curve across the sky as a slice. This can often be confirmed
by looking at the divot. On the course, the divot produced by
a slice swing is often pointing well left with the ball ending
up well right of the divot's direction. This is a classic slice.

Our discussion of the grip, stance, and swing will revolve
around the different elements that can cause this type of
impact. 



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The Grip
The grip has little to do with the direction of the swing, but
everything to do with where the clubface looks at impact
(e.g., open, closed, square).

Grips can be very individualized. A grip that produces a
perfectly straight shot for one player can cause a huge hook
or a slice for another. That being said, you can make certain
generalizations about the grip regarding slicing.

If your hands are turned too far to the left on the club, it's
much more likely to return with the face looking to the right
at impact.

Here's the guideline: In your stance, with the clubface square
to the target, you should be able to look down and see at least
two knuckles on your left hand. If you see three or even four,
that's fine. Your grip is not contributing to your slice.
Another guideline is to look at the "V's" formed between the
knuckle and thumb on both hands. These should point up to 
somewhere near your right shoulder.

The Stance
It certainly seems logical that if a golfer is missing often to
the right, then before too long he or she would aim more to the
left to compensate. With slicers this is, in fact, the case. 
But aiming to the left will cause the swing's circle to be too
far to the left, exacerbating the slicing motion.

Doublecheck that your aim is not too far to the left, especially
with your shoulders. You can lay a club on the ground, parallel
to your target line, to check your aim. Or you can have a 
friend check your alignment. Just make sure that your feet,
knees, hips and shoulders are parallel to that club on the
ground and to your target line.

Checking your stance and grip can often eradicate any slice
without changing the hitting motion at all. Let the ball's
flight be your guide. If it's curving less to the right, then
you're on the right track. If it's flying straight or curving
left, then your slice is cured.



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The Backswing
There are numerous backswing issues that can affect your impact.
For slicing, the two basic flaws are a backswing that is going
too much up, or a clockwise twisting of the shaft, or both.

If your backswsing is too much up and not enough around, then
the club is going to approach the ball on an angle that is too
steep. In other words, too sharply toward the ground. A
properly squaring clubface would then create an impact that is
hitting the ground too hard. In an effort to hit the ground a
bit lighter, the golfer with this problem often opens the face
on the way through, causing a slice.

To fix this issue, take a look at your backswing at the top.
Make sure the shaft is over your shoulder at the top, not over
your head.

To achieve this position, you may have to feel your left arm
cross your chest just a bit, creating a flatter or more rounded
backswing. You may feel a bigger turn this way too. Good! 
Engaging those bigger muscles will only help you generate more
power.

The next important element of the backswing will be the clubface
position. One of the biggest mistakes slicers make is to turn
the club clockwise to begin the backswing (i.e., immediately
opening the clubface on the takeaway). This movement feels like
the club is going around properly, creating a good turn.
Unfortunately, this opening of the club simply creates an open
face at impact. True, the clubface should "open" on the
backswing, relative to the target line. However, this natural
opening is done with the turning of the shoulders and torso,
not because of a twist in the hands.

When you are making your backstroke, just hold on to the club.
No effort to twist or hinge the wrists should be made. When
you get to the top, you can check for the proper position by 
looking at your left wrist. You should be able to lay a ruler
underneath the face of your wristwatch and have it touch both
your arm and the back of your hand. In other words, the back
of your left wrist should be straight.



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The Downswing
You know, with a good grip and stance as well as a good back-
swing position, I'd be surprised if your slice is still here.
If these first few areas check out, you're 90-percent of the
way to eliminating that slice.

To begin the downswing, make sure you start down without any
lift or push forward with your arms. Your weight should shift
to the front foot and your body should turn toward the target.
While this is happening, you should feel a slight drop of your
left arm down your torso. This will give you the feeling that
you're approaching the ball by way of your right pocket. This
movement will virtually guarantee that the club is coming from
the right direction.

If the ball still has a tail to the right, you can add this
sensation: Try to get the feeling that the club is closing a
bit too soon. Feel as though the clubface is closed by the time
it gets to your right leg. This should be done through softness
in the wrists, with a feeling of letting the club swing. It
should not be done by forcing the club to turn over with your
hands. Some practice should give you the feeling.

Final Words
I have some very good news about working on this, or any other
problem, for that matter. You have the best teacher in the
world with you at all times, namely the golf ball. The way the
ball flies will give you objective feedback about your swing.

You'll want to remember that you are improving if your 30-yard
slice is now a 15-yard slice. No matter how strange a new move
feels, always listen to what the ball tells you. You may be
sure that the clubhead is turning over soon enough, but if the
ball is still tailing to the right in flight, then you'll have
to feel the club close sooner still. Not until you curve the
ball to the left have you closed the clubface too soon! The
feel can trick you, but the ball won't.


You can discuss this issue or any other topic in the new
Golf Tips forum. Check it out here...


Golf Tips Forum

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