The goal for any golfer is to hit straight. However, most amateur golfers have to deal with swing flaws (either a slice or hook) which is frustrating and detrimental to their scores. The good news is that they are fixable.
With the right information, hitting the golf ball straight is easy. You can even pull off a controlled fade or draw shot. To get to this level of control, learn the difference between slice and hook, what causes each swing flaw, and how to fix them.
Slice vs. hook, which is better?
The slice and the hook are caused by an incorrect clubface angle at impact. While none is better, most golfers find it easier to correct a hook than a slice. The slice is caused by various reasons, some requiring more work to fix.
From an expert’s point of view, a hook is a better miss than a slice because the hook means you’re turning your hands over on impact and learning proper release. However, your timing is wrong and needs some time to perfect.
On the other hand, a slice means the golfer doesn’t understand what is needed to hit straighter shots. Because of this, many golfers with slicing problems are amateurs, although professionals make the same mistake from time to time.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. As you’ll see, slices are caused by impact with an open clubface, so if you can close it enough, you could get a nice fade on the fairway.
What is a slice in golf?
A slice is a shot with a sidespin that starts straight and then the ball curves right for right-handed players or left for left-handed golfers. The sidespin that turns the ball to the right happens when the clubface is turned right relative to the club’s travel path upon its impact with the ball.
The golf slice is a common issue for beginner golfers who are unsure of how to release the club head and hit a straight shot. A more desirable variation of a slice is a fade shot that doesn’t curve as severely as the slice. If you are having problems with your driver, check out our article to see why you slice your driver but not your irons.
What is a hook in golf?
A hook is a golf shot that travels straight at first and then starts to turn to the left for right-handed golfers and right for left-handed players. You can think of the hook as an exaggerated ‘draw.’
The hook shot is caused by hitting the golf ball with a closed clubface relative to the swing path. A severe inside-to-outside swing makes the hook worse. Overall, like the slice, the hook loses shot distance.
Note: A snap hook is the same as a standard hook, except the turn that the ball makes to the left happens faster and is more severe.
Quick tips to fix a slice and hook
Get the correct grip
The best way to have face control and consistent contact with the golf ball is to have the right
grip. If you have a strong grip, the clubface will close at impact creating a hooked golf shot. And if it’s too weak, you’ll have an open clubface at impact resulting in a slice shot.
To fix these problems, you should adjust your grip strength. If you hook the ball, go weaker; if you tend to slice it, go stronger. A good way to tell if you have a strong or weak grip is to look at the number of knuckles on your left hand at the address.
If you have a tight grip, you’ll have 3 knuckles showing, 2 if neutral and 1 if weak. To improve your grip, you should rotate your grip around the club to get the sweet spot for your shot.
Adjust swing path
If the golf path is inconsistent, you’ll have a hard time squaring the face of your club at impact for straight hits.
An inside-out swing path comes over the top and outside the target line at impact. This results in a hooked shot since it gives a closed clubface relative to the target line upon impact. An outside-in swing path results in a ball slice since the clubface is open relative to your target line.
To fix your swing flaws, ensure the golf club hits the ball at a neutral angle. Experts call this swinging on plane where the swing path is neither too shallow nor too steep. To get this, the end of your club should be pointing down to the ball when you’re at the top of the swing.
You can use a divot board to help you adjust your swing path. And for slices, you can use an inside-striker to fix it. Here’s an inside striker-review detailing how it can help correct the outside-in club path.
Other good reads with information to help improve your swing include:
Focus on alignment
Alignment is important for aim, but it also influences swing path direction. Generally, closed stances (where your feet point to the right of the target during address) cause a ball hook since it encourages outside-in swing paths. Open stances (where feet point to the left of your target) cause slices since they promote inside-out swing paths.
The fix is to take a square stance and keep your feet parallel to the target line when setting up the ball.
Have a strong follow-through
You need a proper release to fix a slice or hook. Often this means developing a strong follow-through after impact. Follow-through allows your body to rotate through your shot which is important in squaring the club face.
If you have a problem with slicing, your follow-through is weak, and you’re not allowing the club to complete the swing arc. On the flip side, if you have a problem with hooking, you rush the release, making your wrists fold over prematurely in your follow-through, resulting in a closed club face.
Hooks and slices are dreaded shots in a golf game, but they can be fixed with practice swings. The kind of ball flight you get has everything to do with your clubface angle at impact. If you adjust the clubface angle at impact, you’ll dramatically improve your shot.
You can practice on a driving range alone, but having a professional walk you through the correction process will help fix these faults faster.