It's your brain, not your swing, that's causing your slice


To cure your slice, you have to go against all your instincts and deliberately hit bad shots.

This is because the slice – despite being Public Enemy No.1 to golfers everywhere – is actually the result of your brain trying to hit a good shot.

Your brain is very clever; it can sense when there is a kink in your swing, and sets out to correct it. For a great example, find a picture of a golfer who loses height at impact; the arms flex to allow for it, giving the famous chicken-wing lead arm. Not a great impact perhaps, but a great example of how, at a subconscious level, the brain is able to sense danger and compensate for it.

We slice because the clubface is open to the swing path. The brain senses that open face, and makes subconscious adjustments to allow for it. The solution it usually finds is to create a path that sends the ball further left (right-handers). Less commonly, if the brain senses an out-to-in path relative to the target, it will subconsciously send messages to your hands to open the face to stop the ball going left. So the slice is actually the result of your brain instinctively trying to save the shot. The problem is that, while both solutions are logical, they end up making the slice worse.

Karl Morris gets Darren Clarke's head in the game.

If you want to defeat the slice, you have to override the brain’s default setting to help, and instruct it to hit bad shots. Work technically, with a coach, to get that face square, or even slightly shut, and then set out to hit the ball left. Give yourself permission to hit bad shots – one of the hardest things you can do as a golfer. Be prepared to do this on the course as well as the range – you have to overcome your brain’s instinct to save the shot, and that’s more acute on the course. And be prepared to lose a few balls in the left rough.

Of course, ultimately your brain will start to hate seeing the ball go left. It will start its subconscious mission to save the shot… and just as it did with the slice, its solution will be to start the ball further right. With time and application, you will see that out-to-in cut and open face replaced by a squarer path and squarer face… perhaps even getting to the point where you develop a slight draw.

Once you start hitting the ball left as well as right, you create an environment for learning known as ‘trapping the feeling’ – in the same way we learn to ride a bike, falling both ways, before refining it to an effective middle ground.

This may sound like an extreme cure, but this is no ordinary foe we’re dealing with. Some golfers slice all their lives, and the reason is they have never taken this counter-intuitive route to defeat it.