In golf, few things are more frustrating than a pushed or sliced shot.
These wayward shots seem to have a mind of their own, soaring off course and ruining what could have been a perfect round. But what exactly causes these dreaded mis-hits?
Is it something in our swing technique or our club choice? This article will uncover the root causes behind pushed or sliced golf shots and explore strategies to correct them.
So grab your clubs and join us as we embark on a journey to improve our golf game and conquer those pesky wayward shots.
A weak grip refers to a grip on the golf club where the hands are rotated too far to the left (for right-handed golfers), causing the clubface to be open at impact. This grip can result in a pushed or sliced shot. When the grip is weak, it becomes difficult to square the clubface, leading to an open clubface and an unwanted rightward shot shape.
On the other end of the spectrum, a strong grip occurs when the hands are rotated too far to the right (for right-handed golfers). This can lead to a closed clubface at impact, causing a golf ball to be pushed or sliced to the left. The firm grip closes the clubface too much and engages the hands too early in the swing, making it harder to control the clubface angle.
A neutral grip is the ideal grip for a golfer. It involves placing the hands in a position where the V created between the thumb and the index finger of both hands points towards the shoulder. A neutral grip promotes a square clubface at impact, allowing for better control over the ball’s flight. Gripping the club with a neutral grip minimizes the chances of pushing or slicing the golf ball.
An open clubface refers to a clubface that points to the right of the target line at impact for right-handed golfers. When the clubface is open, it contributes to the appearance of a pushed or sliced shot. The open clubface position tends to cause the ball to travel to the right of the target, leading to inconsistent and wayward shots.
Conversely, a closed clubface occurs when the clubface points to the left of the target line at impact for right-handed golfers. This can result in a golf ball being pushed or sliced to the left. A closed clubface often originates from a grip that is too strong, causing the clubhead to rotate excessively and producing an unwanted leftward shot shape.
Clubface is not square at impact
Maintaining a square clubface at impact is critical to achieving accurate shots. When the clubface is not square, it can lead to a pushed or sliced shot.
This issue may stem from various reasons, including poor grip, improper swing path, or lack of proper rotation. Focusing on clubface alignment and striving for a square impact position to enhance accuracy and consistency is crucial.
Alignment and Setup
Aiming to the right (for right-handed golfers)
Aiming to the right of the target line is a common mistake among right-handed golfers. This misalignment can cause pushed or sliced shots. Ensuring that the body, feet, hips, and shoulders are aligned adequately toward the target is essential. This alignment ensures the swing path is on the desired line and prevents the golf ball from being pushed to the right.
Poor alignment with the target
Poor alignment refers to a misalignment of the body, feet, and clubface about the target. When alignment is off, it can result in pushed or sliced shots. Golfers must develop proper setup routines, including checking alignment and adjusting as necessary. Taking the time to align correctly with the target helps to set up for successful shots and minimizes the chances of pushing or slicing the ball.
Improper ball position
Placing the golf ball in the wrong position in your stance can also contribute to pushed or sliced shots. If the ball is too far forward in the stance, it may encourage an out-to-in swing path, leading to a push or slice.
Similarly, if the ball is too far back in the stance, it can encourage an in-to-out swing path, resulting in undesirable leftward shot shapes. Finding the proper ball position is crucial in achieving consistent ball striking and reducing pushes or slices.
Out-to-in swing path
An out-to-in swing path, or “coming over the top,” occurs when the club approaches the ball outside the target line and cuts across the intended swing path. This swing path favors a push or a slice. A golfer with an out-to-in swing path tends to strike the ball with an open clubface, resulting in shots that travel to the right.
In-to-out swing path
In contrast to the out-to-in swing path, an in-to-out swing path refers to the club approaching the ball from inside the target line. This swing path often produces a pull or a hook rather than a push or a slice. However, if the clubface is not aligned correctly, an in-to-out swing path can lead to a pushed or sliced shot.
An over-the-top swing is characterized by a steep downswing path, where the club is brought over the top of the swing plane.
This move typically occurs when the upper body initiates the downswing before the lower body, resulting in a push or a slice. The over-the-top swing can harm achieving a square impact position, leading to inconsistent and off-target shots.
Leaning back or away from the target
Leaning back or away from the target during the swing can cause a variety of swing faults, including pushing or slicing the ball. This weight distribution issue shifts the swing path to the outside, resulting in an open clubface and a rightward shot shape. Maintaining proper balance and weight distribution throughout the swing is essential to avoid pushing or slicing the golf ball.
Leaning forward excessively
Excessive forward lean or “hanging back” is another weight distribution issue contributing to pushed or sliced shots. This occurs when the golfer’s weight remains on the back foot during the swing instead of shifting to the front foot at impact.
This weight distribution problem often leads to an out-to-in swing path, an open clubface, and a push or a slice. Proper weight transfer is crucial to achieving a desirable swing path and minimizing the chances of pushing or slicing the ball.
Open or closed stance
A golfer’s stance plays a significant role in determining the swing path and clubface alignment. An open stance, where the feet and hips are positioned to the left of the target (for right-handed golfers), can result in a pushed or sliced shot.
This stance encourages an out-to-in swing path and an open clubface, leading to rightward shot shapes. Similarly, a closed stance, where the feet and hips are positioned to the right of the target, can contribute to pushed or sliced shots and leftward shot shapes.
Maintaining proper posture throughout the golf swing is crucial for consistent ball striking. Poor posture, such as slouching or hunching over the ball, can lead to pushed or sliced shots. Incorrect posture disrupts the golfer’s ability to rotate the body properly, resulting in swing path and clubface alignment issues that favor pushes or slices. A neutral and athletic posture is critical to achieving an efficient and effective swing and reducing pushing or slicing tendencies.
Swaying or sliding during the swing
Excessive lateral movement during the golf swing, such as swaying or sliding, can affect the swing path and clubface alignment, leading to pushed or sliced shots. Swaying refers to lateral movement away from the target during the backswing, while sliding involves lateral movement toward the target during the downswing.
Both movements can result in an open clubface at impact and an unwanted rightward shot shape. Maintaining stability and minimizing unnecessary lateral movements contribute to better swing path and clubface control, reducing the chances of pushing or slicing the golf ball.
Lack of Rotation
Insufficient shoulder or hip turn
A lack of rotation in the golf swing can contribute to pushed or sliced shots. Insufficient shoulder or hip turns restrict the body’s ability to generate power and maintain proper swing path and clubface alignment. Without a proper rotation, the clubface is more likely to be open at impact, causing the ball to be pushed or sliced to the right. Proper rotation is necessary for a square clubface and a desired shot shape.
Lack of lower body rotation
In addition to shoulder and hip turns, lower body rotation plays a crucial role in a golfer’s ability to control the clubface and swing path. Insufficient lower body rotation can lead to pushing or slicing the golf ball.
When the lower body fails to rotate correctly, the upper body dominates the swing, resulting in an out-to-in swing path and an open clubface. Engaging the lower body and actively rotating during the swing helps promote a square clubface and reduces the likelihood of pushing or slicing the ball.
Gripping the club too tightly
Overly tight grip pressure can negatively impact a golfer’s swing and contribute to pushed or sliced shots. When gripping the club too tightly, tension is transferred to the arms and shoulders, limiting the golfer’s ability to rotate and maintain a fluid swing.
The excessive grip pressure can also influence the clubface position, leading to an open clubface and rightward shot shapes. Maintaining a relaxed grip allows for better clubface control and reduces the chances of pushing or slicing the golf ball.
Gripping the club too loosely
Conversely, gripping the club too loosely can cause issues in the golf swing, potentially resulting in pushes or slices. When the grip is too loose, it becomes challenging to maintain control over the clubface, causing it to flip open at impact.
The hands’ lack of pressure and stability can lead to various swing faults favoring a pushed or sliced shot. Finding the right balance of grip pressure is essential to achieving a square clubface and minimizing the chances of pushing or slicing the ball.
Rushing the Downswing
Overly fast transition from backswing to downswing
A rapid and uncontrolled transition from the backswing to the downswing can lead to pushed or sliced shots. When the downswing is rushed, the golfer’s body and club often get ahead of the swing plane, resulting in an out-to-in swing path and an open clubface.
Maintaining a smooth and synchronized transition is crucial, allowing the lower body to initiate the downswing while maintaining proper sequencing with the upper body. A more controlled downswing reduces the likelihood of pushing or slicing the golf ball.
Lack of synchronization in the swing
Lack of synchronization between different golf swing parts can contribute to pushed or sliced shots. When the timing and coordination between the upper body, lower body, and club are off, it becomes challenging to maintain proper swing path and clubface alignment.
A lack of synchronization often leads to an open clubface at impact, causing the ball to be pushed or sliced. Developing good swing mechanics and focusing on a synchronized motion can help eliminate pushing or slicing tendencies.
Improper club fitting
Using golf clubs unsuited to a player’s specifications can lead to pushed or sliced shots. Improper club fitting can impact the swing path, clubface alignment, and overall swing mechanics.
For example, using a club with improper shaft flex or length can affect timing and control, leading to inconsistent ball striking. Working with a professional club fitter to ensure the clubs suitably fit the player can enhance performance and minimize the chances of pushing or slicing the golf ball.
Equipment not suited to the player’s skill level.
Using equipment beyond a golfer’s skill level can contribute to pushed or sliced shots. Advanced or specialized clubs may require more skill and control to achieve desired results.
Using too advanced or unforgiving equipment may result in swing faults and off-target shots. It is essential to use clubs that match the player’s skill level, allowing them to develop proper swing mechanics and minimize the chances of pushing or slicing the golf ball.
In conclusion, pushed or sliced golf shots can stem from various factors, including grip, clubface alignment, alignment and setup, swing path, weight distribution, body position, lack of rotation, grip pressure, rushing the downswing, and equipment issues.
Correcting these issues and focusing on developing proper swing mechanics and control can help reduce pushing or slicing tendencies and improve overall accuracy and consistency on the golf course. Remember to practice and seek guidance from a golf professional to address these issues effectively and improve your golf game. Happy swinging!