Most of my students struggle with the slice. Many of these golfers have serious swing issues, but the majority certainly possess enough talent and an understanding of the golf swing to keep slices at bay. The problem is they’re trapped into hitting slices because their setup facilitates swinging on the out-in path to which all slices owe their existence.
If you’re prone to slicing, I’ll bet that you set up to the ball with your shoulders aligned too far to the left. It’s a common malady that’s difficult to self-diagnose. Open shoulders at address force the clubhead to come from outside the target line. This path, combined with a face that’s square to the target, imparts the dreaded left-to-right sidespin.
To help my students better align themselves at address, I have them focus on their shirt buttons. The buttons on your shirt can help line up your shoulders correctly and guard against creating an out-in path. In fact, they’re useful for setting up any type of shot shape.
When you want to hit the ball straight, make certain that the buttons on your shirt are square to the ball at setup, and again at and through impact. This will help you hit the ball straight down the target line. When attempting to purposely fade the ball, make certain that the buttons are a little open, or aimed left of the golf ball at address (see illustration), and again at and through impact. This will start the ball slightly left of your target line. Finally, when you need to draw the ball, make certain the buttons are aimed slightly right of the golf ball, and again at and through impact. These simple, visual images work and can greatly assist you in shaping shots out on the golf course.
It’s crucial to be able to turn the ball in different directions. Use your buttons and shorten up those doglegs and create better scoring opportunities wherever you play.
Instruction Editor and PGA teaching professional Barry Goldstein instructs at Polar Shot Golf Center in Johnson City, N.Y., and Inverrary Golf Club in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He is a regular guest on The Golf Channel’s “Academy Live.”