Slice got you down? Don’t feel alone. About 90 percent of all amateur golfers send the ball sailing foul when they’re trying to smash it down the middle of the fairway, making the slice the most common swing problem in the game.
As a long-time PGA professional, I’ve helped hundreds of golfers straighten out their banana ball. Over the years, I’ve prescribed some simple drills that will teach your body to bring the club on an inside-out swing path to make square contact and send the ball where it’s supposed to go — down the middle of the fairway.
Brian Crowell, PGA, is the head golf professional at GlenArbor Golf Club in Bedford Hills and a golf analyst/broadcaster. He’s also the author of Slice Free Golf! For more tips, follow him on Twitter @bcrowellpro or at www.slicefreegolf.com.
This drill will help synchronize your upper body with the rest of you to produce a powerful new “draw” swing. The left shoulder of many slicers spins dramatically left early in the downswing, sending the club outside the target line and across the ball to produce a slice. This drill forces that left shoulder to be more patient.
• Take your address position, then support your left arm straight out on a vertical hybrid or fairway wood.
• In your right hand, grip a shorter iron or wedge, and gently make some very relaxed half-swings. You’ll feel your chest moving slower, yet your club will still release. Stay centered, relaxed, and let the club swing freely with small swings.
• You can also create this same feeling by simply making some mini swings under your extended left arm.
For those who slice, golf can certainly be an uphill battle. Ironically, that same hill can help you banish the banana ball. Most slicers have a downswing that travels from outside the target line and across the ball in a steep, chopping motion. The Uphill Battle drill lets you feel a shallow approach to the ball that keeps the club inside during the downswing.
• Find a hill or a slope that elevates the ball at least a few inches above your feet.
• From your address position, take a few practice swings and feel how the elevated ground requires your swing to be flatter and the club to go more around your body. The club head should rotate naturally as you take what will feel more like a baseball swing around a stable center. If possible, hit some balls from this position.
• For an even more exaggerated flat-swing sensation, try making a driver swing from your knees. Drastic? Perhaps, but this drill really works!
A good golf swing has a natural and proper release where the body and forearms rotate comfortably. Watch the pros and you’ll notice that this swing leaves their elbows fairly close together after impact. With the slicer, the elbows often resemble a just-divorced couple coming out of the courthouse — they don’t want to be anywhere near each other. The Elbow Room drill may not save your marriage, but it will help cure your slice.
• To make it work, take your address position and place a soft ball about the size of a volleyball in the gap between your elbows. Take some small, relaxed swings, taking care to keep the ball in place. Try to keep your arms relaxed and only take half-swings or less.
• Be sure to stay centered, turn properly, and utilize your normal wrist hinge and forearm rotation. You can even tee up a ball and try some little chips and pitches with this motion.
• If your elbows spread, the ball will drop — a clear indication that you need to keep drilling! •