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One of the most common shots on the course is one that goes to the right (for a right-handed golfer). It could be a shot that starts straight and curves right or a shot that starts right and stays straight. If that’s you, I’m going to show you a few things that helped me fix that issue.
The most common reason your shot goes right is that you have an out-to-in swing path, which is also called “coming over the top.” Other common issues are that you’re shifting your weight and lifting the club too much during your swing.
I’ve always struggled with slicing the ball, especially with the driver. My natural shot with the driver is to fade the ball, with the occasional slice. That being said, I almost never slice the ball with my irons. Let’s talk about a few key changes I made that helped me a lot (biggest to smallest impact).
1. Having An Out To In Swing Path
This is the most common reason people slice the ball. You do could everything else right, but if you do this, you’ll hit a shot that has too much spin and curves away from you (slice/fade for the right-hander).
RELATED: How Spin Affects The Golf Ball
The best way to think of this is by using a clock. Imagine if 12 o’clock is pointing towards your target and 6 o’clock is pointing away from the target. If your clubface is square and you swung through the 6 and 12, you’d hit a perfectly straight shot.
That being said, it’s almost impossible to do that because the golf swing is on an arc. An out-to-in swing path is one where you’re swinging through the 5 and the 11. An in-to-out path is when you swing through the 7 and the 1.
Most people want to draw the ball instead of fade it. Swinging through 7 o’clock and 1 o’clock is the way you do that. It definitely takes practice, but it’s probably the single best thing you can do to improve your swing.
The Fix: What you need to start working on is keeping the clubhead behind your hands as long as possible. If your clubhead is in front of you halfway through your swing, you’re coming over the top. Try keeping the clubhead behind you for as long as possible.
This might not be something you do when you’re actually playing, but I think it’s important to get the feeling of swinging from the inside. It’s really helped me, and the next thing we’ll talk about could also help with this.
2. There’s Too Much Lift In Your Swing
The next thing that made a big impact on my game is to focus on bringing my hands in and around my body instead of lifting them in the air. This also really helps you stop swinging over the top.
The best way to think about this is to go to the top of your backswing and check to see where your lead arm is. If there’s a lot of space between your upper arm and your chest then you might be lifting the club too much.
You can play good golf doing this but it takes a lot of timing. To hit consistently, you’d have to drop the club down so it’s on the right swing plane and then hit the ball. Not having to do that makes a lot more sense to me.
By bringing your arms in and around your body, there should be little space between your upper arm and chest. It will probably feel weird, but I hit so much better (and longer) by doing it.
The Fix: At the top of your swing, your arm should be across your chest and your hands should be behind your back shoulder. It might feel like your hands are really low, but it’s something you’ll get used to.
What you could try doing is bringing your hands to your back hip, stopping, and taking a half swing. You might be surprised with the ball flight and distance you get. Again, you need to get the feeling right and then you can add length to your swing.
3. There’s Too Much Weight Shift In Your Swing
The next thing that helped me a lot is to reduce the amount of weight shift I was doing and keep more weight on the front foot throughout the swing.
Most golfers address the ball with a 50/50 weight distribution, transfer weight to the back foot at the top of the swing, and then to the front foot during the downswing.
Again, this could work but it takes a lot of timing. I’d rather just not have to do that if I don’t have to. I found much better success by keeping more weight on my front foot throughout the swing.
I’ll address the ball with 60% of the weight on my front foot. At the top of my swing, 70% of the weight will be on the front foot. When I make contact with the ball, 90% of the weight is on my front foot.
You really don’t need to transfer weight to generate power. I’d also guess that you’d agree with the fact that having a simple swing will improve consistency.
If you’re going to have most of the weight on your front foot when you make contact with the ball, why wouldn’t you just start with more weight on the front foot?
This also helps you keep the head still throughout the swing. Transfering weight can cause you to shift off the ball, which can cause all sorts of problems.
The Fix: At the range, address the ball with 90% of your weight on your front foot. Slide your back foot behind you just to help balance (on the toes). Take a number of shots and be amazed at the results.
To practice this further, move your back foot beside your front foot and take a few more shots (with most of the weight on the front foot). Slowly start spreading your feet apart until you’re in your normal stance.
4. Face Is Open At The Top Of Your Swing
Another common reason your slice or push the ball is that your clubface is open at the top of your swing. If that’s the case, you’ll require a lot of movement in order to get the thing square at impact.
If this is the case, people usually won’t close the face enough and they’ll get a straight shot to the right or they’ll put a lot of sidespin on the ball. It wasn’t the case for me, but a lot of people have said that using smaller golf grips help them rotate through the ball better.
Again, having a million things to time in the swing is way too much. That’s probably why you’re so inconsistent. Having a lot of things to time properly is way too much for us average hackers.
At the top of your swing, your clubface should be square or slightly closed. Almost all of the pros on tour are doing this. Almost all weekend hackers aren’t doing this.
You may have heard the term cupped, flat, and bowed wrist. This is what we’re talking about. Having a cupped wrist at the top of your swing means your face is open. A bowed wrist means it’s closed.
The Fix: Set a camera behind you and go to the top of your swing. Look to see what your lead wrist looks like. Slicers usually have a cupped wrist, so you want to work on keeping it flat or slightly bowed.
I’d probably recommend having a flat wrist, but if you’re a serious slicer, try bowing it and see how that impacts your shots.
5. Having A Ball Position That’s Too Far Back
Having a ball position too far back means you have less time to square the club. What this means is that you might run into issues with pushing the ball to the right. To get a visual, check out the video in the next section below.
I used to play wedges and long irons in the middle of my stance. Longer irons would be slightly forward, woods would be a bit more, and then the driver would be inside my front heel.
What I started doing was putting the ball in the same spot for each club (most of the time). Most shots with my wedge, iron, hybrid, and wood are a clubhead inside my front heel.
For my driver, I put the ball in line with my front toe and it’s helped. This has helped me hit the ball straighter because I have more time to square the club.
6. Having An Incorrect Hand Position At Address
This didn’t make a huge difference for me, but it has for other people. Most people have their hands in line with the shaft and clubhead. This is also known as having no forward shaft lean.
What I want you to do is take a swing and stop at impact. Take a look at where your hands are in relation to the clubhead. To fully compress the ball and get max distance, you need to have a forward shaft lean where your hands are ahead of the clubhead.
If that’s the case, why not just start with forward shaft lean? We want to eliminate things that require timing. Simple is going to be better. At least that’s the way I look at things.
The Fix: Set up to the ball and make sure your hands are to the left of the clubhead (if you’re right-handed). It’s almost like your arms and shaft are in a straight line.
The amount of shaft lean is something you’ll have to practice. For me, the ball position is a clubhead inside my front heel. With shaft lean, my hands are just inside my front thigh.
7. Having A Grip That’s Too Weak Or Too Strong
If you still can’t figure out why your ball is going right, you might want to take a look at your grip. If your grip is too much on the weak or strong side then you’ll need to compensate throughout your swing, which can cause problems.
If your grip is too weak (position, not pressure), it’ll be harder to close the clubface through impact. Just so you know, a weak grip is where the “v” between your thumbs and pointer fingers aim at your nose or front eye.
If your grip is too strong, it’ll likely cause your wrist to be cupped at the top of your swing (what we talked about in reason #2). This means that your clubface will be open at the top of your swing, and if you don’t close it properly, you’ll hit the ball right.
The Fix: I think the best solution for most golfers is to have a somewhat neutral grip. Doing this keeps things simple and decreases the number of movements you need to do to compensate. To do this, the “v” on both hands should point between your back eye to back ear.
As a general rule, the thumb on your left hand should be just right of center on the grip. The thumb on your right hand should be just left of center on the grip. This is for right-handed golfers.
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