So you slice the golf ball: no need to be ashamed it’s the most common miss we come across in golf. But you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t ask the question when you’re getting a new big stick: can this fix my slice? The first thing to look at would be what causes a slice and it’s a combination of club path moving left and club face pointing right which can also be exacerbated if you hit the ball in the heel of the club. So, what can equipment do to fix these components?
Let’s tackle club path first, this is the direction in which you bring the club to the ball, and it can be a tricky one to change even with consistent lessons. There are things we can do with the weight of the club to promote the right feeling through, a heavier shaft can sometimes prevent you pulling the club too far out in front of you, which causes a slicing club path, with more weight in your hands, it can be easier to drop the club behind you to neutralise path. However, this is the hardest one to influence and you’d likely be better served tackling this with instruction and lessons.
Club face can be something that a fitted club helps to control. Some clubs have more offset than others which does affect the club face at impact. Offset set the shaft of the club in front of the club face, giving you hands more time to close the club face, the further left (closed) the club face is pointing, the less likely you are to slice it. This is the part where a draw bias is also valuable when you’re looking at woods. With increased adjustability in clubs, you have more control over where the weight is in the head and a little more weight in the heel can give slicers relief from the dreaded banana to the right. A heavier heel makes the toe lighter in comparison and what this allows is an easier time getting the clubface closed as the toe, unencumbered by weight, is easier to move faster to get the face closed. Lie angle, particularly in irons, is a vital part of this equation when we’re talking about squaring the club face. If the toe of the club is pointing into the ground it will open the face and put the ball out right, the kicker here is that if your path and delivery are promoting a slice, particularly if you’re a bit taller, you’ll be likely to deliver the club toe down. This makes the slice worse than it has to be. However, if you adjust the lie angle of the clubs and have the toe pointing up, it can help to keep that club face square to closed. The final component to talk about with face control is
the shaft. A common term you may see when looking into shafts is torque. The shaft bends in multiple ways and one of them is actually the way that the shaft twists as it gets towards the ball. Increasing the level of torque in your shaft can whip the face closed quicker, giving your hands less work to hit the ball with a square face.
Now we get onto strike, and when talking about this a concept that it’s good to keep in mind is gear effect. I’d recommend reading this blog from my colleague, Sonny, for a more in depth overview but the brief notes are this: if you hit the ball in the heel, the ball will spin to the right as it rolls against the club. Strike location can be moved out of the heel with a shorter shaft, but the effects can also be reduced by picking a club with a deeper centre of gravity (CG). When we pull CG away from the face the clubhead twists less on an off centre strike, this reduces the gear effect and softens up the shape due to the club staying more stable through impact.
As you can see, there is a lot of technology that goes into fighting that shot shape, and there certainly are things we can do to mitigate your misses with equipment. However, if you’re swinging with a path that goes way left, these will only be mitigations, you will always be prone to slices until you address the root cause. And that can be most effectively solved with lessons, but if you combine the two, soften up your misses while promoting the right things using equipment while also improving your technique, you’ll see bigger, more effective improvements and you’ll see them quicker as you’ve made life easier for yourself in the meantime. Golf is a tough game, so why not make it easier!
So you want to fix your slice? Get fitted.