If you slice the ball too often, don’t feel bad -- many golfers share your affliction. Slicing the ball is due to an over-the-top swing in which you extend the club too far on the downswing, then create side spin at impact when bringing the club back to the ball. The next time you head to the driving range, try one of the many drills golf pros have created to help you stop coming over the top.
Begin the drill in your normal stance, but pretend the ball is teed up about 14 inches in the air, about the level of your lower knee. Address the imaginary ball, then take an otherwise normal swing. Lift the club quickly from the 14-inch point, then swing the clubhead through the imaginary ball. You must stand more erect than usual to hit the 14-inch point, forcing you into a shallower downswing. Take several swings at the imaginary ball, then try to repeat the shallower downswing with a real ball on the practice tee.
To help transition properly from the backswing to the downswing, and to keep the club on the proper swing plane, take a 7-iron and set up with a wall to your right -- for a right-handed golfer. Place your back foot one arm’s length from the wall. Take your normal stance, then lift the club straight up toward your head until your arms are about parallel with the ground and the club is vertical. Turn to your right and take the club back into your normal position at the top of your backswing. Swing the club down to the ball without hitting the wall, bringing your hands close to your back hip midway through the downswing.
Take your normal backswing on the practice tee, then bring your hands down about halfway on the downswing, while focusing on shifting your weight to your left side. Use a pumping motion, flexing your left leg and hip forward over your left foot, and feeling your weight move from your right side to your left. Try this move several times, then take a full swing, remembering to rotate your hips as you shift your weight on the downswing.
Put a few balls in your right hip pocket, then take a club and assume the address position. Take your right hand off the club, then extend your left arm forward. You should end up with your body still in the address position, but with your lead arm extended and the club perpendicular to the ground. Take a ball out of your pocket, then swing your right arm back as you would in a normal backswing, but keep your left arm and the club in place. Bring your right arm forward as you would in a typical downswing, then throw the ball underhand, releasing it when your right hand is below your left wrist or your lower left forearm. If you’re taking the correct path the ball will fly off to the right. If it travels straight or to the left, correct your path on your next try, until you’re consistently throwing it to the right.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.