Understanding why you hit a slice is the first step to overcoming that most unwanted ball flight

By Sabrina Naccarato

If someone says golf is easy, slowly walk away from that person. That person is crazy. In all seriousness, this game is hard but isn’t that partly why so many people love it? From all of the technical terms to athleticism to the equipment, golf isn’t a walk in the park. The game is tough enough on its own and when you throw in consistently struggling with the same ball flight, like a slice, that’s when clubs start to get thrown. I’m kidding, but really, the frustration grows.

Trust me, you’re not alone. So many golfers share the same struggle of hitting a slice, we even produced an entire eight-part video series to help all the slicers out there. But to get down to the root of the problem is understanding why the ball flies the way it does, and what really causes a slice. The issue with this is that it can become confusing and that’s why VP of Instruction, Nick Clearwater, turned to table tennis to explain ball flight and what causes a slice. Yes, table tennis.

Understanding why you hit a slice

A slice happens for one reason, the face angle is open to the path, as the paddle and ball to the right show. This causes the ball to spin more to the right and the speed of the ball decreases. Not only are your shots going to end up in the rough, but it’ll also be much shorter than your playing partner’s.

The best hitters have a face angle that is square to the path. This reduces any spin on the ball and creates a straight ball flight and ultimately helps the ball fly farther.

Practice with the paddle

Achieving a swing path with a closed or square face at impact can be done but it does take a little work. Clearwater shares a drill that can help accomplish this. The next time you’re out on the driving range, grab a ping pong paddle, a headcover or some sort of object you can use as an obstacle. You’ll set the item on the outside of the golf ball to recognize any time you swing across the ball. This will also help encourage a straight swing path.

The next thing to practice to ensure your face angle is closed to the path is to turn your grip more towards the right.

Looking at ball flight laws and what causes a slice through a different lens can be pretty impactful. As confusing and difficult as this sport may be, it’s nice to take a step back and look at the complexities a little differently. And if you take the suggestions from Clearwater, you should start to see your slice straighten out and this game might start to become a little easier.

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