Slice, slice, go away! (Part 2)
By Erika Larkin on 6/6/12
Did you know, there are actually THREE types of slices?
  1. A PULL slice starts left of target and curves right (for a right-handed golfer)= the swing path is outside to in with an open clubface position. This is a banana ball for sure it’s hard to know where to aim to allow for the ball flght.

  2. A PUSH slice which starts right of target and curves more to the right (for a right-handed golfer) - the swing path is inside to out with an open clubface position. Very dramatic and dangerous on the course. Most golfers with this ball flight will aim way left of their target to find the fairway.

  3. A STRAIGHT slice (sounds like an oxy-moron) which starts straight on target and curves off to the right. Playable and can be close to a fade on better days.
They all have one thing in common - the open clubface position. So if you need help working on squaring up review Slice, slice, go away! (Part 1). For now, let’s focus on how to correct swing path which is the real problem that causes the ball to start more off-line for these different slices.

Typical causes/fixes for a PULL:
  • CAUSE 1: On the down swing if the golfer starts his/her movement with opening up the shoulders and chest before any lateral motion has been made, this pushes the arms and club out towards the ball early resulting in a steep, “over the top” move. From here the golfer has no choice but to swing down and across the ball and towards their body.

    • FIX: Keep your shoulders closed longer in the downswing by letting your right shoulder drop down instead of push out at the start of the downswing.
  • CAUSE 2: Too steep of a swing plane promotes an out-to-in path.

    • FIX: Stand back farther from the ball and let your arms reach out through the swing.
  • CAUSE 3: Open shoulders (pointing left for righties) at address often happens when golfers reach for a forward ball position.

    • FIX: Get your right shoulder back and down so your shoulders are square to the ball and you may even add a little spine tilt (your spine leaning slightly to your right behind the golf ball)
  • CAUSE 4: Short-arming the follow through or standing up too early is a common way to pull the ball.

    • FIX: Keep your lead arm straighter past impact and chest down in your posture longer. This will help re-route your swing path so you can hit it straighter!
Typical causes/fixes for a PUSH:
  • CAUSE 1: A backswing that is too “inside” can cause a downswing that is too inside-out.

    • FIX: Use a prop like a golf bag, shaft in ground etc. to block the inside backswing so you can swing through more on plane and on a straighter path.
  • CAUSE 2: Standing up or sliding too far left through impact leaves the body closed too long and creates an arm-swing to the right of the target (for righties).

    • FIX: Focus on rotating your chest and hips through impact to the point where it feel like you are going to hit it left.
  • CAUSE 3: Late weight shift/hanging back too long on the back foot can cause a push if the body doesn’t rotate.

    • FIX: Practice some swings where you make an exaggerated shift/step to the front foot before the arms swing down and then let your body finish the swing and turn through.
  • CAUSE 4:Ball position too far to the right (for a righty) causes the club to catch the ball early not only with an open face position but from an in-to-out path.

    • FIX: Line up with the ball an inch or so to the left of whatever your current spot is.
I encourage you to think about your ball flight , and try some of these suggestions to help get your ball started straighter and start hitting more fairways and greens!

Erika Larkin is the Director of Instruction at Larkin Golf Learning Community at Stonewall Golf Club in Gainesville, Virginia. She was recently named the 2012 Middle Atlantic PGA "Teacher of the Year" and the 2011 "Top Golf Pro" by Washingtonian Magazine and she's ClubSG's newest columnist. She'll be writing on a variety of topics including instruction, so if you have a question for her or an idea for a column, email her at

Image via Flickr, mhofstrand

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