A simple fix for that big driver slice

Western NY PGA Tips
Tyler Smith Oak Hill

It’s the oldest golf issue in the book (assuming there actually is a ‘book’ which, considering the money made teaching the game, there almost certainly is).

How do you fix that nasty slice with the driver?

While some golf tips require a laundry list of adjustments to unlock the long and straight swing in every hacker, Tyler Smith’s advice for this problem is much simpler. The issue is the setup.

“A lot of the amateurs I see, in their driver setup, align their upper body and their arms a little bit to the left of the target,” Smith says. A lot of times in the downswing, this encourages an over the top motion which often produces a slice.”

Smith says that, while addressing the golf ball, the player just needs to tilt their shoulders toward the sky. If you’re doing it right, you should feel like your right hand can almost reach down and touch the knee cap.

“That ensures that the forearms are in alignment to our target and that we’re going to hit a little more up on the golf ball… rather than down towards the golf ball,” Smith says.

The driver swing should always contact the ball while the club head is ascending. While a player can ensure an ascending blow by moving the ball forward in their stance, Smith warns about an underdiscussed issue with ball positioning.

“I like to reference ball position by the upper body, not the lower body,” he says. “Our stance often isn’t the same each day, but the width of our chest typically is.”

Smith suggests teeing the ball up even with the inside of the front shoulder. He also says the ideal tee height is something that allows half the ball to be visible above the top of the club head when it is resting on the ground.

This change will also help promote an “in to out” swing path.

Many amateurs often swing the driver “out to in”. That means the clubhead will start on a path further away from the body than the ball. As it closes on impact, the head will move in towards the body. “Out to in” almost always results in a slice. The shoulder adjustment can clean that up.

“Being able to do something to encourage coming in to out into the golf ball can help us hit a little higher with a little less of a fade or a slice,” Smith says. “It’s a little counterintuitive with the shoulders aiming right to help you hit the ball more left, but golf, as a whole, is counterintuitive.”

This should not be a difficult modification to learn. Smith says players should be careful leaning or tilting too far to the back shoulder. The driver swing still requires proper balance.

“This is something easy I see with amateurs that, I guess, you can say is a quick fix,” Smith says.

And who couldn’t use that to keep those tee shots in the short grass.

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