Three Tips from Prestwick Head Golf Pro Jay Smith on How to Lose Your Slice

You don’t buy a car that was built on a Friday. You don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. And you don’t pull the mask off that ol' Long Ranger.

And as most golfers know, you don’t buy a house along the right side of a golf course fairway. Many of us would rather take our chances against silver bullets than get pelted with a steady diet of Top-Flights.

The truth, which homebuyers in golf communities either know or soon find out, is that most golfers hit slices, especially off the tee. After all, as the biggest club in the bag, the driver, is also the toughest to control.

So how do you fix a wicked slice? Jay Smith, head golf professional at Prestwick Country Club for the past 16 years, volunteers three simple pieces of advice. As the pro at one of the most popular – and most challenging – courses on the Grand Strand, he’s seen his share of slices from visiting golfers.

1) Strengthen your left-hand position: Rotate your left hand so that more than two knuckles are visible at your address (vice versa for lefties).

“It will make it easier for you to turn the club over,” said Smith, explaining that a “weak” grip makes it more difficult to close the clubface before striking the ball.

Many beginners, including those with a swing influenced by playing baseball (most home runs are “pulled” right or left of center field), have a grip dominated by the right hand. In golf, you want the hands to act in unison to create maximum distance while maintaining accuracy.

2) Flatten your swing: An upright swing promotes an outside-to-inside swing path, which causes a slice.  But why get rid of a slice, especially one you’ve learned to control? Smith can count the ways.

First, it’s hard to control a slice. Just ask those unfortunate right fairway homeowners. Plus, a slice costs you valuable distance off the tee, possibly 20 to 30 yards.

A flatter, inside-to-outside swing path promotes straighter ball flight and a right-to-left draw. A draw is OK, but a hook is just as bad, perhaps even worse, than a slice. A draw creates over spin, giving you more roll. A slice creates backspin – good on an approach, not so good off the tee.

Using an angled, circular devise common to instructional centers, you can lower the axis of your swing with little difficultly. After making the swing path change, visualize hitting the inside left quadrant of the ball as you prepare to swing.

At first it may seem there’s nothing you can do but hook the ball into the trees with this new swing technique. But you’ll be amazed to find your ball traveling lower, longer and straighter, often with a slight, distance-improving draw.

3) Lessen you grip pressure: The reason is obvious. It’s harder to release your hands through the ball, closing the clubface, when your grip is choking your capability of releasing the club. A looser grip promotes a turning of the hands and wrists, allowing you to “get through the ball.” An open clubface results in a slice.

As a bonus, Smith also offers some advice around the greens.

“Always watch your partners’ chips and putts,” he said. “You should learn a lot about what your shot or putt will do.”

If you’re first to putt or chip, you can put to use another tip Smith was taught.

“Imagine you are throwing a bucket of water on the green,” he said. “Where is the water going to run?

Pretty easy, huh? It makes sense. And it’s consistent with the theory that putts always break toward the nearest source of water. Golf courses are meant to drain, so water on the green should flow to its natural gathering spot.”



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