How to Slice a Golf Ball on Purpose

By Mike Southern
Jack Nicklaus amassed his impressive record primarily by playing a controlled fade.
Jack Nicklaus amassed his impressive record primarily by playing a controlled fade.

Although many weekend players struggle to eliminate a slice, there are times when a slice — or its less extreme brother, a fade — is exactly what you need. But it can be hard to learn how to control a slice. Each instructor seems to have his own favorite method, and those methods often seem to contradict each other. They really don't.

Pick your target. Since the ball curves to the right during a slice, aiming directly where you want the ball to end up will cause you to miss your target to the right – sometimes a long way to the right. If you're shooting for a flag, aim left of the flag. That way the ball will curve toward the flag, not past it.

Set up so your feet are aimed left of your target. This may sound crazy. You have not only picked a target to the left of where you want the ball to finish, but you also have set up so you're aimed even farther left. But this alignment is for the swing path of the club head. Tests done using the TrackMan™ ball flight tracking system show that the club path doesn't have as much effect on the ball's starting line as was once thought. This club path actually helps you get the left-to-right sidespin needed for the slice.

Grip the club so the club face is aimed at your target. The TrackMan™ tests showed that the club face has the most effect on the ball's aim. Remember, the target is to the left of the spot where you want the ball to end up. Instructors differ on the best way to grip the club. Some prefer normal hand placement and a tightened grip; this helps you hold the face open at impact. Others recommend a weaker grip and a normal swing. Either method will work; use the one that feels most comfortable to you.

Make a normal swing. In a normal swing your right elbow stays fairly close to your side throughout your swing, and you don't want to change that. You aimed farther left so you wouldn't have to change your swing. If you let your right elbow get too far from your side, you won't get solid contact on the ball. Instead, you'll get a very steep out-to-in swing that flies too low and loses distance.

Swing through the ball to a balanced finish. You want to make solid contact with the ball and swing through to a full finish. The ball will start out just left of where the club face is aimed, curve back and hit the ground near your target, and bounce toward the flag.

About the Author

North Carolina native Mike Southern has been writing since 1979. He is the author of the instructional golf book "Ruthless Putting" and edited a collection of swashbuckling novels. Southern was trained in electronics at Forsyth Technical Community College and is also an occasional woodworker.

Photo Credits

  • A. Messerschmidt/US PGA TOUR/Getty Images
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