How I finally got rid of a troublesome slice by adopting a flatter swing and a closed stance
By closing my stance and flattening my swing I went from a fourteen or fifteen handicap down to a six or seven.
I am not talking about the occasional golfer's weekend struggle. I am talking about the guy like me, who suffered for years, being frustrated with what everyone says is a good swing and a good grip, who still hits the ball anywhere but center or left when he tries to hit the ball hard. You know who you are!
You know how it feels. No matter what you do, it either sails off into the trees on the right side of the fairway, or you pull it to the left into the trees on that side of the fairway. You know what it is for the guys on the next fairway over to have to wait for you while you try to get back to the fairway you are supposed to be on.
When I used a stronger grip it helped me to hit the ball further into the rough than I could with a weak grip. I have always been able to hit a three hundred yard drive two or three times a round, but then it would take five minutes to find the ball. I am five-foot-seven, weigh about 185 pounds; with broad shoulders and a big (not huge) belly. I have to use a flatter swing than a six-footer does.
Seven Things That I Have Learned That Are Necessary for Me to Hit A Ball Straight
1. Strong grip.
2. Closed stance.
The longer the shot, the more closed the stance.
3. Make sure the ball is far enough back in my stance that I can hit down on it on every shot, except for the driver.
The back of my left hand is opposite the left pocket, so the ball isn't too far back.
4. Aim ten degrees to the right of the target.
This is because the face of the club turns a little to the left at impact, partly due to the fact that the shaft is off to one side.
5. Make sure the shaft of the club is lower than my right ear on the take away move in my backswing.
6. Right elbow brushes the right hip on the downswing.
I can only do this if I swing from the inside.
7. Swing hard enough (75 to 80 percent) that I am forced to follow through and square up the face of the club.
Then watch the ball go down the center and sometimes, believe it or not, see it draw a little to the left.
Matt Kuchar recently turned his game around when he adopted a flatter swing. He says it, "feels natural."
I am a right-hander, so you may have to reverse some of the checkpoints if you are a lefty.
The closed stance, aiming to the right of the target and keeping the back swing low and inside are the real take-home lessons here. When you do it right, you get to feel the satisfaction of watching the ball go where you aim it.
I had tried the closed stance and the strong grip before, but I didn't put it all together until I read in the famous golfer Bobby Jones' book that you should aim in the direction that your ball is winding up. In other words, aim more left if you are hooking and aim more right if you are slicing. Once I understood the reasons for that and tied it to my new inside out swing, it all fell together for me. Remember as Harvey Penick advises; make small adjustments and wait for the results. Then make the next small adjustment if things seem to be moving in the right direction. Here is a link to Harvey Penick's Little Red Book. It is a golfing classic.
Now that I understand how and why it works, I have been able to help several other golfers straighten our their ball flight in just one session at a driving range. Once you see the resultant ball flight, you hit yourself on the forehead and ask "Why did it take so long? It's so simple!"
If you have a knowledgeable golfer friend to walk you through it, you should have similar results.
If you overdo any of the corrective moves you might start hooking the ball, which for a former slicer can be a pleasurable experience.
Then you can start working on distance control.
Feel free to contact me if you don't understand any of these illustrations.
* In the video below the instructor is using a "square" stance. My anti-slice system requires that you use a "closed" stance with the right foot pulled back two to four inches with a driver; less with irons. See the illustration in the beginning of this article.
The best way to describe my new swing is that it is similar Steve Stricker's "quiet hands" swing.