Saturday, June 1, 2002
Break The IceThe majority of my new students fight a slice. That is, they tend to leave the clubface open at impact. An open clubface will impart left-to-right sidespin on the ball regardless of the path on which your club travels through the hitting zone. If you struggle with a slice, you know how frustrating the game can be. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way.
The following drill—actually, simply the image of it—has greatly helped my slicing students. It has taught them to square up the clubface at impact and finally lose that left-to-right arc once and for all. Here’s how it works.
Arrange a block of ice cubes two or three inches in front of the golf ball on the intended target line. Address the ball with a 6- or 7-iron. Then, have a friend kick away the ball and begin your swing.
From the top of your swing, focus on hitting past the spot where you normally play the ball and strike the ice cube block with the toe end of the club. Golfers who slice the ball will tend to simply push the clubface into the ice and lead with the heel end of the club first. This is an open clubface, and will lead to a glancing blow and most likely a slice. Rather, feel the toe “digging” into the ice and breaking it. This sensation will lead to a better squaring of the face at impact and a straighter shot pattern.
You don’t need the ice to gain benefit from this drill. Simply imagine the sight and sound of the toe of the club cutting into and breaking apart the block. Use this image while hitting a golf ball. It’s amazing to see the look on my students’ faces after they perform this drill and truly feel the dynamics of a square clubface at impact and the sensation of compression.
Professional golf instructor Barry Goldstein is the director of golf at Polar Shot Golf Center in Johnson City, N.Y. He also instructs at the Coral Springs Golf Range in Coral Springs, Fla.