Golf Tips to Cure your Slice and Improve your Ball Striking

The two most common problems golfers seem to struggle with are a) slicing the ball and b) inconsistent ball striking. Perhaps you blister it right off the sweet spot one time, and the next you hit it fat (behind the ball) or thin (on top of the ball) even though you are absolutely sure your set up, grip and swing were virtually identical between those same two shots. Or maybe you find yourself aiming way to the left (if you are right handed) hoping that by the time your ball finishes its impressive banana-shaped flight it will end up somewhere near the fairway. Then, low and behold, you line up like that only to hit it straight into the trees. After struggling with the same two problems for many years I have found what I believe is the root cause of both problems, and would like to share with you what has helped my golf game immensely and hopefully can help yours also.

We all know that the key to a consistent golf shot is returning the club head to a square position at the point of impact. If your club face is open at impact, the ball will slice. If it is closed at impact, you will hook your shot. Also, if you do not return the club head so it contacts your ball cleanly on the ground you will either be hitting fat or thin, neither of which you want to do. Although a lot of things can contribute to those problems the one thing that I have noticed in my own game and in observing others who have these two problems is this: too much lower body movement during the golf swing. Very simply put if anything below your waistline is “loosey-goosey” when you are swinging the golf club the likelihood of making good shots consistently is almost nil.

Watch the professionals on television some weekend and concentrate on their knees while they swing, especially when they are hitting a driver off the tee. You will immediately see that no matter how hard they swing, their lower body is very, very still during their entire swing motion. In some cases the distance between the inside of their two knees does not even change until after the club impacts the ball. Try to catch the ladies tour on television and watch their knees. Since many of them wear skirts when they play the lack of lateral movement in their knees is readily apparent.
When you sway back and then forward, or if your hips move laterally more than an inch or two at most when you shift your weight you are probably too “noisy” with your lower body when you swing. Fixing this problem does not require a lot of strength or special skills, but it does require getting used to what will at first feel like an unnatural swing, but one that will be your best friend once you get accustomed to it and your muscle memory is trained to do it automatically.

One practice drill that you can do in your back yard to learn to shift your weight, instead of sway it, that does not even require hitting balls is to get a couple of quarter-inch diameter wood rods that are long enough to be waist high after you push them into the ground (3 to 3 1/2 feet long). You can buy them for very little at your favorite hardware store. Push one into the ground about an inch to the right of the back part of your right foot when you take a stance like you are addressing the ball, and one about an inch to the left of the back part of your left foot. If you have set it up correctly you are now pretending to address a golf ball with your normal stance, and you have two wood rods pushed into the ground in such a way that the top of each rod is about even with your waist and they are positioned just outside the heel of both your shoes respectively. Then take some practice swings. You should be able to make a complete swing without touching the rods with either of your hips or with the outside of your knees. This drill will also help you learn to make a full turn in your follow through while maintaining good balance. Do not stiffen up so much that you do not follow through. Just concentrate on shifting your weight to the inside of your back foot on your backswing, then shifting it to the inside of your front foot on your forward swing, while making a full turn at your waist without moving laterally during any part of the swing.

After a while you will be shifting your weight back correctly on your backswing but you will not be swaying your body when you do so. Likewise you will be shifting your weight forward correctly on your downswing but you will not be swaying in that direction. Just remember: shifting does not mean swaying! Now the concept of “coiling” your weight back and shifting it forward will make sense. Many golf tips will refer to coiling against the inside of your back leg on your take away, but for years I had no idea what that meant so I was swaying. Now, I shift, and my game has improved considerably.

Once you get used to how this new swing feels head to the practice range and hit a bucket of balls with your favorite iron without regard for distance. Any iron will do but a five or six iron would be a good choice if you are not sure where to begin. Just get used to your new swing while you hit real shots. At first, slow down both your backswing and forward swing. You are not trying to set any distance records. You just need to get the feel of your new swing. As you begin to get used to your new swing, start swinging at your normal pace, but do not swing any harder than you did before applying these techniques. If the driving range allows you to hit off real grass go ahead and push your wood rods in the ground and hit some shots that way.

Keeping your lower body “quiet” applies to all the shots you take whether it is a driver off the tee or a wedge from 15 feet off the green. By limiting your lower body movement and learning to shift, not sway, you will consistently return your club head squarely to the ball, thereby eliminating slicing and inconsistent ball striking.

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