Why do Golf Shots Slice?
(Or Hook, Draw, Slice
Simple Swing is straighter than other golf swings. Below we explain the reasons Simple
Swing really is straighter.
Let's start by defining the necessary terms. First let's define Path, Face. Target Line, Inside and
Outside. The Target Line is an imaginary line extending through the ball to the target. Note: the
"extended target line" is an extension of the target line back away from the ball. The area on the side of the
target line closest to you is referred to as the "inside". The area on the "other side" of the
target line away from you is called the "outside". Your goal is a swingpath that starts on the
inside (moving toward the outside) striking the ball squarely then moving back to the inside. I'm assuming that
everyone knows a slice is a shot that curves to the right (for right handed golfers) and a hook is a shot that
curves to the left and that a fade is a "little" slice and draw is a "little" hook.
Path refers to your "swing path" which is the angle your club comes at the ball. Path is
measured in degrees. You path could be 0 degrees which would be dead square or it could be measured as a certain
number of degrees inside. For example, a 5 degree "inside" path means you are coming at the ball on a path of 5
degrees from inside to outside. A path of 3 degrees "outside" would mean you are coming at the ball on a path 3
degrees from outside to inside.
FACE refers to the where your club face is pointing when it strikes the ball (Closed, Square
or Open). We also measure that in degrees.
Here's the tricky part. What's important is where the face of the club is pointing relative to your path when you
strike the ball. However, and this is the tricky part, your FACE or face angle is usually measured NOT according to
your path but it's measured as to how many degrees your club face is open or closed to the "target line".
So here's a trick
IF YOUR CLUB FACE WAS OPEN TWO DEGREES TO THE TARGET
WHEN YOU HIT THE BALL WHICH WAY WOULD THE BALL CURVE?
Answer: It depends!!! You really don't
have enough information to answer that question. It could slice, however it also might be a straight ball or a
hook. For example, if your club face is two degrees open and your swing path is two degrees from inside to outside
then you will get a straight shot pushed slightly to the right. However, if your swing path was straight at the
target with your club face being two degrees open then you'd get a slice although is would be a small one. Finally,
if your club face was two degrees open and your swing path was inside to outside four degrees you'd wind up with a
With a two degree open club face the following will happen:
If you path
is more than two degrees from the inside to the outside you will get a hook.
If your path is two degrees inside to outside you'll get a straight shot.
If your path is less than two degrees inside to outside you'll get a slice. (If you path is one degree inside to
outside you will get a very slight slice (fade). The more outside to inside your swing path becomes the bigger your
slice will be. If you had a 3 degree outside to inside swing path you'd have a pretty good banana ball. How much
will your ball will slice in each of the above examples can be pretty well estimated with the "Rule of Seven".
The Rule Of Seven
Cochran and Stobbs in The Search for the Perfect Swing (originally published in 1968) found that at 200 yards a
drive would slice approximately 7-8 yards for every degree the club face was open to the swing path. This could
vary slightly depending on the loft, club head speed and ball type. So the "Rule of Seven" is a quick and dirty way
of figuring out how many degrees you shots are off of perfect. It's just an estimate but it's a pretty handy
So for every 7 yards the ball curves that means your face was off one degree off from your path. If the ball
slices (curves to the right for a right handed golf that means the club face was open. If the ball curves to the
left that means the club face was closed.
The direction the ball takes off will tell you which way your club head was
traveling at impact. If the ball takes off left of center that means your club head was
traveling Outside-To-Inside at impact. If the ball takes off to the right of center that means your swing path
was from Inside-To-Outside.
Look at each shot and you can calculate two things. You can figure out your swing path by looking at the
direction the ball takes off. Then look at how much the ball curves and you can figure how many degrees the face
was open to the swing path.
You will slice more with your driver and long irons because you hit them the hardest and they have the least amount
of loft. This means they put less backspin on the ball, and more side spin, than any of the other clubs. Because
you drive on 12 to 14 holes per round, a slice can get you off to a bad start, on most of holes. Clubs that put
more backspin on the ball therefore put less side spin on the ball so they curve (slice or hook) the ball less.
That's why you don't tend to slice your short irons as much as your long irons or driver.
Another problem for slicers or hookers is loss of distance. Distance is lost because of the curving flight of the
ball. Also, when the club face opens the loft of the club is increased and when it closes the loft decreases. Go
get a club and address the ball. Twist the shaft to the right (for a right handed golfer), opening the club face
and watch the loft increase. Twist is the left closing the club face and what the loft decrease. Opening the club
actually tilts the club face backward increasing the effective loft. The result is weak, high shots landing short
of the target. Closing the club face results in a low shot curving the left.
The first step to curing the slice or hooks is to understand the real causes. Sometimes this will contradict long
held beliefs which were considered gospel in their day. For example with a slice, your instincts may tell you to
help push the ball with the right shoulder and try to pull it over to the left. Or you may aim a little to the
left. Unfortunately these remedies result in a pull or an even bigger slice. It seems contradictory, but the only
remedy for the slice will be to go against your natural impulses. You have to learn to swing toward the slice
(inside-square-inside) while controlling the club face. It won't feel right at first, but the only way to improve
is to make that leaf of faith.
No matter what the direction of the swing path, remember the amount of the slice or hook is a function of the angle
between the direction the club head is traveling (swing path) and angle of the open club face. We refer to this
angle as the curve angle. The greater the curve angle the greater the slice or hook. You must understand that in
order to manage the curve of your shots, you will need to control both the swing path and the angle of the club
face at impact.
Simple Power Swing is straighter than any other swing because our PowerSet Stance setup and our
PowerThumb grip allows us to keep the club more "on-plane" than any other swing plus it keeps the club
face more square to the swing plane on the backswing and the downswing and square to the target through impact.
If you have any questions the fastest and most reliable way to contact me is through our Simple Golf Helpdesk at
Simple Swing is the only swing that guarantees to cure your Slice!
If You Want Hit The Ball A Lot Straighter CLICK HERE And Take Good Look At Symple