If you have been hitting the greens lately, chances are you have heard the term slice being thrown around. Perhaps you have also heard of the word fade. Simply put, a slice is a mechanical issue in a golf shot in which the swing path follows the trajectory of the golfer’s stance.
Golf Slice: Explained
For a right-handed golfer, the trajectory would curve the ball from the left to the right. The golf swing would result in a right positioned curve. Left-handed golfers would see their golf ball sway from the right to the left, following their stance on the green.
Sounds familiar to a fade, right? While it is similar, a slice is more aggressive with more emphasis on the curve of the ball. Both a fade and slice follow the same general direction of curve, but one is just more intentional and precise!
Professional golfers spend years perfecting their slice shot. In order to hit the ball with precise slice curves, the upper body must be facing to the right with an open club face. The open club face puts a spin on the ball flight, which in turn causes the curve and accurate golf shot.
Controlled golf shots, such as a slice, are an art that even elite or scratch players still spend ample time perfecting. The slightest angle of the open faced club can result in bad golf shots. A scratch player will have studied their stance, club, and greens in order to play the appropriate club face angle.
Golf Hook: Explained
If you took a mirror image of a slice, you would find yourself shooting a hook. For a right-handed golfer facing towards the right, a hook would occur as their ball flight curved from right to left. In short, it is the opposite trajectory of a slice. Similar to a draw, a hook travels in the same pathway, but with more definition and intention.
A hook is properly performed by a golfer utilizing a closed club face. A draw tends to bend in lower to the ground as it approaches the target, while a hook is more aggressive and begins its curvature mid-flight.
Hooks can be beneficial in getting to your target, especially when there are high winds to take into account or bunkers blocking a straight shot. It is also important for amateur golfers to train on their hook shots, as over shooting can lead to unfavorable outcomes.
Why Can’t I Just Shoot Straight?
The answer is because it’s nearly impossible. The odds of hitting a true straight shot in the game of golf, especially for a beginner golfer, is a heavy feat. The angle of attack, clubface at impact, and ball position all contribute to the golf ball trajectory, putting the odds of a perfect on-target shot near zero.
Majority of the time, the club face will not be perfectly perpendicular to the ball, causing a spin which ultimately leads to a curve. Strong golfers rather anticipate the projected curve and make it intentional. In doing so, the golfer has a higher likelihood of a precise shot with fewer strokes.
Shooting straight also isn’t the best option as golf courses are not straight in nature. Golf courses typically wind in and out and are filled with curves. A smart player will study the formation of the green and attempt to line the curvature of the ball with the fairway accordingly.
Are All Swings Important?
The short answer is yes! Most avid golfers admittedly have a go-to swing, whether that is a slice or a hook. Just like swinging a bat, golf clubs are no different. Each individual has a certain stance, hold, and swing that feels comfortable to them.
Although most golfers have their go-to swing, it is imperative that golfers practice alternative shots. Recreational golfers, in particular, have a predisposition to land their ball in the bunkers. When this happens, it is often found that the golfer will have to use an unfamiliar swing to get out of the weeds. Players who excel in various shots oftentimes become the elites in the industry.
While curved shots, whether hook or slice, are typically favored, being able to do a variety of shots will separate you from the rookies and means that you’re well on your way to becoming a pro!
Remember that the chances of you hitting a few slices and a few hooks each round is common. An inconsistent shot trajectory is more common than not amongst recreational golfers, and that’s not a bad thing! If you find yourself swinging more left to right, try to change it up next time. Try adding a solid hook or slice to your list of party tricks!