I still remember the date. It was September 21, 2004. I was playing at the Sundance Club, my Phoenix Golf home for many years. I reared back and swung and the ball took off to the right and then … CAME BACK TO THE LEFT! A draw! A legitimate, just-how-the-instructional-videos showed draw!
Needless to say, I was stoked. And then – wonders never cease! – I did it again. And again!
It wasn’t so much that I really wanted to be able to hit draws. Sure, the ability to hit a ball that curves towards the left can be handy in certain situations, but the real reason I was so happy to be able to consistently to hit draws is that it was emblematic of the fact that after years of agony, my chronic slice had finally been cured. Well, at least mostly cured.
It was a long and arduous road, which started with me having a dreadful and unrelenting slice that I painstakingly reduced to a normal (but still debilitating) “banana slice” that drifts slightly to the left and then darts markedly to the right. As I overcompensated for my poor technique, I began routinely hitting pull-hooks, which I took as a sign of improvement, though it was further evidence that my fundamentals needed a lot of work.
If I took some time away from golf, it was right back to “slice city” when I returned to the course. It is terribly frustrating to step up to the tee box and not know if your drive is going to be push sliced out-of-bounds. It might only happen once every couple rounds, but it was often enough to wreak havoc on my mental approach.
So I decided that I needed some help. I enlisted the help of an instructor and began analyzing videos of my swing. Initially, I was hopeful that there would be a magic bullet that would fix my problems, that one simple flaw could be identified and solved. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that easy.
I pretty much ended up changing everything, one step at a time.
First I altered my approach on the back swing, and heeded my instructor’s advice to concentrate on how I was releasing the club. We tinkered with several other aspects of my swing that are too numerous to mention, but in time I became more consistent with this new swing method.
Soon, I was hitting the fairway over 80% of the time. However, my drives were generally slight fades, and occasionally still a bad slice. So I decided to truly cure my slice, I needed to be able to hit a draw.
I spent hours at the driving range, focusing on coming from the inside, swinging out to the right and then closing the face of the club towards the ball as I released. After considerable repetition, my left to right action became less noticeable.
Finally, I became able to hit a draw shot on command. Truth is, it didn’t totally cure my slice as I claimed above. In reality, that dreaded shot still haunts be occasionally to this day, as it does virtually all golfers.
But over time, my muscle memory with my new swing approach became more and more entrenched, and most importantly, I became capable of diagnosing the flaws in my swing when they occurred and a trip or two to the driving range could generally remedy them… at least until they popped up again.
I’m not a golf instructor, nor am I someone that thinks others can be “cured” of their swing flaws simply by reading the advice of others, so nothing I’ve written here is intended to diagnose or cure your slice. I share my story, however, to offer hope and inspiration to those that feel like their chronic slice is a hopeless issue that they just have to “live with” on the course. Not so. With the right attitude, some help from the experts, and most importantly a lot of practice, you can fix whatever ails your golf swing.
If I did it, so can you!
Scott McCormick still occasionally shanks the ball. But he knows just the right four-letter word to employ to make it all better. His golf writing appears courtesy of Golf Now San Diego. For more of McCormick’s golf commentary, see his recent post on Playing It Forward.