As stated on the previous page, slicing is the most common mis-hit shot. A slice is a shot that curves to the right of the target. A less extreme version is a fade. It curves slightly to the right. Fades are often hit intentionally for control or to fit a particular pin placement or other condition.
If you want to hit a fade, this explanation will help you understand how to hit one intentionally by doing what causes it.
There are only two things to check to stop a slice. You can check one yourself. The other requires a mirror or a friend to check your position at the top of your backswing.
The First Thing to Check – Wrist Action
First is your grip and wrist action. Set the club on the ground while gripping it. Make sure the face is aimed at your target. Open your hands to a flat hand position, keeping them in contact with the grip. Your palms should be facing each other. Assuming you are right handed, the back of your left hand and the palm of your right hand should be facing your target.
After positioning your hands this way, close them onto the grip. As you start your take away, the back of your left hand should remain in line with the top of your forearm. To put it another way, your left wrist should remain straight throughout your backswing and downswing into impact. A good place to check is at the top of your backswing. Take the club back to that position and stop. Is your left wrist straight? It should be.
To continue checking, start your downswing in slow motion. Make sure you are keeping your left wrist straight from the top of your swing all of the way down to impact. The back of your left hand should not move toward the top of your forearm at all. It may feel like you are getting more wrist cock if you do that, but you won’t gain distance and will not hit the ball straight.
At impact your left wrist should be straight or slightly bowed with the end of your forearm bone protruding slightly toward your target. That will keep the clubface square to your swing direction.
Keep practicing this until you can hit the ball on a straight line with relative consistency, even if the ball is going straight left or right of the target.
The Second Thing to Check – Swing Path
The second thing to check is the direction your clubhead is going through the ball at impact. It should be moving directly at your target or slightly to the right of your target if you want to hit a draw (a slight curve to the left).
If you have correctly kept your wrist straight through impact as described above, your shots should be going relatively straight with little curve. However, if your swing path through impact isn’t at the hole, the ball will be flying in a straight line, but offline. Usually with a slicer, after the wrist correction above, that means the ball will be going straight, but to the left of your target. That straight shot to the left shows you the direction of your swing through impact. Fixing it is easier than you may realize. If you are in the correct position at the top of your swing, the clubhead will usually go toward the target at impact without much effort.
This is where your friend or a mirror can give you feedback. If you can get the club back to horizontal at the top of your swing, the shaft should be pointed at your target. Without the mirror your friend can check by standing so that he can see straight through you backswing position to the target. If he has a camera, so much the better.
If your are not loose-jointed enough to get your club to horizontal at the top, a little estimating is necessary. Your friend needs to make an educated guess about your swing path and where you would be at the top if you could reach horizontal. The direction of your shots will also give you some feedback. If the ball is still going straight left, your backswing and downswing aren’t far enough inside your target line to get in the correct position at the top.
There is one factor that can throw this off. Your hands should feel like they are dropping straight towards the ground as you start your downswing. They will actually be moving toward your your target line a little, but should feel as if they are dropping straight down. Don’t let your hands move out towards the ball much as you start your downswing. Moving your hands out towards the ball could cause an outside-in (path to the left) swing even if you are in the correct position at the top.
Again, don’t practice this swing path exercise until your wrist action described above is correct. Trying to make more than one correction at a time is a recipe for wild shots.
A video will be added to this page showing what is being discussed. That should help any lack of clarity. Suggestions are also encouraged.