Most golfers, at one time or another, struggle with a slice.
The fix is really not that hard. Cobblestone Creek head pro Neil Reidy says it’s all about getting the release right.
Simply put, most slices happen because the clubface is open at impact. Although swing path can also impact the direction of a shot, Reidy says there’s more margin for error with the swing path. The clubface, on the other hand, must be square when it meets the ball.
The swing has two releases: a body release and a hands and arms release. The body release means the core must rotate through to facing the target during the swing. Your hips rotate. Your waist rotates. Everything rotates.
The hands and arms release is where the slice really starts to get solved.
“If we’re trying to get the club face to start square and go back to square at impact, the right hand needs to cross over the left. The forearms need to rotate,” Reidy says. “That closes the clubface–squares it up–so the ball will fly straighter.”
Think of a swing that must go “L to L”. On the backswing, the wrists will cock the club straight up in the air while your forearms are parallel to the ground. That’s the first “L”. The second “L” can only happen if you rotate the forearms so your right hand ends up on top of the left (reverse all of this if you are a lefty).
A big problem for a slicer is ending the swing on the wrong letter.
“The L (on the backswing) turns into a Y where the bottom (right) hand stays underneath (the left),” Reidy says. “We see this caused by being really tight at address or helping the ball in the air.”
The grip is a big part of curing a slice. Reidy wants a strong grip, but not “strong” as in forceful or powerful. The top hand should be rotated clockwise just a bit.
“You want to be able to see your logo (on your glove). See a couple knuckles on your left hand,” Reidy says.
Take as loose a grip as you possibly can. On a scale of zero to ten–where zero is barely holding on and ten is gripping it hard–Reidy wants you at about a two.
“My hands are super, super soft on the club. If you’re tight, you can’t turn your arms,” he says.
A great drill to do at home is to hold out the left hand and swing the club one handed with the right into the left hand. Make the left hand catch the club. You can’t help but execute the release.
Reidy also says you can practice by starting in the finishing position. Lift the club up the second “L” in the swing, then take it back and swing again.
“Players that are slicers that tend to hold off (and not finish the release),” Reidy says. “(Slicers) almost have to feel flippy to make it a normal release.” If you’re leaning back on the follow through, that’s a sure sign you’re doing it incorrectly.
This is not something you should slow your swing down to execute. In fact, Reidy strongly advocates a downswing with speed. You should not be knocking yourself off balance, but the swing speed should be “uninhibited”.
Reidy spent many years early in his career learning under Craig Harmon at Oak Hill Country Club. The course sits at the end of Kilbourn Road off East Avenue near St. John Fisher.
Students would often ask Harmon when they should start the release of their hands. However, the swing is too quick for a player to think about when to start. So Harmon would answer, “the moment you turn onto Kilbourn Road, start your release.”
Properly adjusting your release is not something that should take too long or be too difficult. If you can get your right hand in front of or top of the left in any way on the follow through, Reidy says it will be a “huge success”.
“It’ll change how you play golf. I promise. It really will.”