Thursday, May 6, 2021

Why the Slice?

Club paths.

Club paths.

Todd Elliott

The dreaded slice. Why do so many golfers slice? What causes the slice? How do I fix my slice? Let us answer all these questions. A slice is a golf shot that takes off and turns significantly right of the initial starting direction. Slicing is a worldwide epidemic that does have a secret ingredient to fix the problem. I know you wanted a quick fix so you can take $5 off your friends tomorrow, but changing a bad pattern takes hours of work. However, you do not have to get worse before you get better.

First, let us determine what makes the golf ball curve to the right. A slice, and/or fade, occurs when at impact the clubface is open relative to the swing path. A slice goes significantly to the right, and a fade only goes slightly to the right. I do not see fade as a problem, but a slice is definitely a problem when trying to play better golf.

There are two types of “slicers.” One is a player who has a very open club face on the downswing, and has to find a way to get the golf ball going to the target. The only way to get the golf ball to end up at the target is by making the path out to in. The second type of slicer is a player who swings the club head out to in and has to open the club face on the downswing so the ball does not go in the direction of the club head path. Many slicers

McLean swing planes.

McLean swing planes.

believe the face is open at impact, but this is not usually true. The face is only open to the club head path, and does not necessarily mean the face is open to the target.

As technical as the last paragraph was, it is very important for a player to understand ball flight laws. These are laws that are purely physics. In years past, many golf professionals and students had a misconception of ball flight laws. Unfortunately, this misconception still lingers today. However, now we have proof of what is correct. The faster a golfer can understand ball flight laws, the easier the player can make changes on the course when things are not going well.

Now let us fix the problem. Player one needs to not have an open face on the downswing. A stronger grip, both hands rotated to the right, can help a player with an open club face on the downswing. The first few swings after the grip change the player will probably hit the golf ball well left of target. A player’s instinct takes over after missing left, and will change the path of the club head unconsciously. Instead of swinging out to in, the player’s hand path and club path work more in to out to insure the golf ball not going left. The change in hand and club head path will cure the slice.

Player two needs help with his/her sequence. Most golfers that swing out to in start their downswing with their shoulders. This incorrect sequence produces the hand and club head to work away from

Swing plane outside vs. on plane. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

Swing plane outside vs. on plane. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

the body. The club head works out to in, as seen in the diagram. Halfway down the player has a problem, if the player keeps the same hand and club head path for the entire downswing the player will miss the golf ball completely. The player makes incorrect movements to fix this problem instinctively, and it causes timing issues. The first step to fixing the club and hand path moving away from the body on the downswing is that the player needs to be on balance at the top of the backswing so that the player can drive his/her legs and hips towards the target to start the downswing. If the player is not in a position to use the earth for force and stability, the player is out of position to swing with the correct sequence.

As always, go see your local PGA Professional to fix your slice. We all have different bodies and minds. These two factors makes our swing faults unique. Make sure you are seeing someone who understands there is not one way to swing the golf club, and understands how all the variables in the golf swing affect one another.


Todd Elliott is the PGA Head Golf Professional for Hideaway Beach. Todd is TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) Certified as a golf professional. This gives him the ability to give golf specific physical screening to detect any physical limitation that might affect the golf swing. Todd is also a Coutour-certified putting fitter, a Titlteist-certified fitter and a Titliest staff member. Follow Todd on Twitter @elliottgolfpro or for any question or comments email




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