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When you've given as many golf lessons as I have, it doesn't take much thought to figure out that slicing is golf's most common swing error. In fact, many weekend players who attend my golf instructions sessions for the first time slice, with both men and women slicing about the same amount. And they all want to know one thing when they first come to me: How do I cure my slice?

Curing your slice isn't easy, especially if you've had it for a long time. You've ingrained the swing fault in your muscle memory and making changes to it will feel uncomfortable and strange. But the benefits of slicing less far outweigh the costs. Hitting straighter shots more consistently not only keeps you on the fairway, it also cuts strokes from your golf handicap because it produces better approach shots.

Causes Of A Slice The causes for a slice are well documented in magazines and often discussed in golf lessons. Four things trigger a slice:

1. Upper body turns too soon
2. Hands are too high at impact
3. Upper body outraces the club on the downswing
4. Grip end gets too far in front of the clubhead at impact.

These errors leave the clubface open at impact-a major swing error. How major? Recent research by one club manufacturer indicates that a club with an S flex shaft with 9.3 degrees of loft and the face open at impact about 2 degrees results in a shot that finishes 16 degrees off the target line. Obviously, you must get the clubface square at impact to hit the ball straight.

Slices and Cures Let's look at the four most common types of slice and consider four drills you can practice to help cure your slice. Your divots will tell you what kind of slice you have.

1. Opening Up Too Soon (The Pull Slice) This is perhaps the second most common slice type. Its generated by your right shoulder moving out and over on the downswing, causing the clubface to come into the ball on an outside-in swing path. Your hands sensing that the club is coming from the outside hold the clubface open to the path, resulting in a pull slice. With iron shots your divot points left of target.

Drill: Hit practice balls with your back foot moved back a few inches from the target line and your heel down. Swing the club back making a full shoulder turn. The idea is to feel as if you're swinging the club primarily with your arms and shoulders through impact. Let your body respond to the swinging of the arms and the releasing of the clubhead.

2. Handle Too High At Impact If your hands are too high at impact just before and through the ball, you'll cause the clubhead to get stuck behind you. Often this happens because the golfer tries to clear the hips too fast or doesn't trust the loft of the club to get the ball airborne. Whatever the cause, you end up with a slice. There's little or not divot with irons.

Drill: Take your normal address position. Have a friend hold a club so the grip hovers just above your hands. As you swing back and through your friend should keep his club's grip end steady. Concentrate on letting your hand pass just under his club.

3. Body Outraces Club (The Push Slice) With the push slice your ball starts to the right of your target, then goes even farther right. Usually this means that your body outraces the clubhead. Some people call this a lunge. To compensate some people try flipping the club through the ball with their hands in an effort to square the clubface to the ball.

Drill: Use your driver or fairway wood. Tee the ball up. Take your address as you normally would but with your left leg positioned slightly inside the ball. Now stand only on your front foot. Swing the club back and through and try hitting the ball. Alternate hitting five balls on one leg, then with your normal swing. 4. Handle Too Far Ahead Of Ball Getting the handle too far ahead of the clubhead is probably the most common cause of a slice. The primary problem is back of forearms rotation. If you make a strong strike of the ball and it starts straight down the target line before curving to the right. With your irons the divot would be square to the target line.

Starting with knockdown pitches, rotate your left forearm (right-handers) during the swing so your left hand knuckles face the ground just after impact, with the clubface turning down. Let your right hand come off the club. Once you get the hang of this, use other clubs. This drill increases clubhead speed and squares the clubface for a straighter shot.

Keep in mind as you practice these drills that you may not want to turn your slice into a draw. Hitting a fade has its advantages, too. The key, regardless of the type of shot you develop, is hitting a dependable, more consistent shot that keeps you out of trouble and gives you control of the where the ball lands. The type of shot will cut strokes from both your scores and your golf handicap.

Jack Moorehouse is the author of "How to Break 80". He is NOT a golf pro, rather a working man that has helped thousands of golfers from all seven continents lower their handicap immediately. He has a free weekly newsletter with the latest golf tips, golf lessons and golf instruction.
Four Cures For Your Slice   by Jack Moorehouse