Face The Facts
Visualize slice and hook causes to eliminate them for good
The precision required to hit an absolutely straight golf shot is so great that, for all intents and purposes, such shots don’t exist. For that very reason, every golfer is either a hooker or a slicer. You may only hook or slice a little at times, but your shots do have a pattern. Even the game’s best players favor a fade or draw. To elevate your improvement, it’s crucial that you determine if you’re a slicer or a hooker. It’s also important that you erase any thoughts of producing a perfectly straight ballflight shot after shot and, rather, earmark the left-to-right or right-to-left shot shape as the one that best fits your game. If you can make this leap and work on controlling spin instead of fearing it, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a better golfer.
Can a hockey stick and a basketball cure your slice or hook? I find these larger items—compared to a golf club and golf ball—help golfers more easily realize the true causes of hooks and slices. If all slicers could imagine the toe of the hockey stick wrapping around the outside half of the basketball, they’d properly close the face and keep left-to-right sidespin at bay. And if hookers could imagine leading the heel of the hockey stick into impact, they’d slow down the excess face rotation that invariably sends their ball to the left.
Finding your shot shape: are you a slicer or a hooker?
Hit 10 balls with a 5-iron and 10 balls with a driver (20 balls total) and count the shots that curve from right to left (hooks) and the ones that curve from left to right (slices). (Straight pushes count in the hook or curving left category and pulls count in the slice or curving right category.) If need be, chart your shapes—your drives and approaches—on the golf course. After 20 balls, add them up and see which side of the golf course you see the most often.
For all of you who charted a slice shot pattern, don’t dismay—you’re in the majority! Most amateurs fight a slice or, more technically, a clubface that’s aligned or is “looking” to the right of the direction the clubhead travels as it approaches impact. The key to eradicating the slice is to simply close the clubface. If you don’t close the clubface, you’ll always slice! For you hookers out there, you need to slow down the rotation of the clubface.
He Shoots, He Scores
The first step to eradicate a slice or hook is to change your grip. Slicers need to adopt a stronger grip. Hookers need a weaker hand position. “Stronger” implies that you rotate your hands to the right, or clockwise, on your grip. In the photos at the bottom right, I’ve placed a red and a green dot on my glove. To close the clubface sooner and eliminate your slice/open clubface, set your hands on the grip so you see the green dot, or more of the back of your left hand at address. For hookers, rotate you hands so that you see more of the red dot.