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Avoid Slicing

Read Lesson

Step 1: Check your grip

  1. Make sure you start your grip with your left arm hanging relaxed from your shoulder.
  2. From here, put the club in the fingers of your left hand with the grip under the heel of your palm. You should be able to see 2 or 3 knuckles on your left hand.
  3. To check your grip, stretch out your arm and see if the clubface stays square. Then put your left thumb into the groove of your right hand. Our video ‘the grip’ shows you how to grip correctly.

Step 2: Check your alignment

  1. Lie a club on the ground parallel to the target and set up alongside it.
  2. For most people this feels like aiming to the left, but if the club on the ground is parallel to the target, you must be too. Now, make sure your shoulders are parallel with your feet and hips.
  3. Most people feel like their shoulders are pointing to the right, but you can have a friend put a club across your shoulders to check they are square with your feet.
  4. From an open shoulder position, you would have to turn a lot more to complete your back swing.

Step 3: Check your body rotation

  1. The later your shoulders turn into the ball making the club swing more from the inside, the lower the chance of hitting a slice.
  2. Start turning your hips and abdomen at the start of your backswing. Let your body lead your shoulders and arms as you complete your rotation.
  3. A good way to make sure you rotate your body is to concentrate on turning your belly button and belt to the right as you start your back swing. This makes it easier to turn your body back into the ball in the downswing.
  4. Your shoulders should be square at impact, making the club swing straight into the ball for a straight shot.

How To Play The Ball Below Your Feet

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Step 1: The set-up

Place the club head behind the ball, aiming left of the target.

Stand with your feet wider apart than in a normal set-up, and bend your legs more.

This gives you a lower body position, allowing your swing to reach down to the ball, which is further from your eyes and body than normal.

Step 2: The swing

Keep your weight on the balls of your feet throughout the swing to maintain your balance on the slope.

Bending your legs keeps them more or less immobile, so the main movement involved in the swing is a turn of the upper body.

The upper body rotation is just like in a normal swing, centered on the spinal axis and leading the motion of your arms and hands through the swing.

Maintain the angle of your upper body through the entire swing to be sure that your club swings low enough to reach the ball.

If hitting from a very steep hill, you should close the clubface at set-up to compensate for the effect of the slope on the flight of the ball.

So stay low, and hit the ball nicely onto the green.

Why We Slice The Ball

Read Lesson

Step 1: Weak grip

  1. If your left hand grips too far beneath the club, so the knuckles are not visible from above, you will make what is called a weak grip.
  2. In a correct grip, your left arm hangs relaxed from your shoulder.
  3. The weight of the club head stretches your arms out on the downswing.
  4. If you straighten out a weak left hand grip the clubface will open up, turning out to the right so it hits the ball at an angle and slices it off to the right.

Step 2: Aiming off-target

  1. Ninety percent of all golfers set up aiming to the right of the target, but thinking they aim straight.
  2. They then have to compensate by opening up the shoulders, turning them left towards the target.
  3. This shoulder position makes the club swing into the ball from the outside, hitting across the line of the ball and slicing it over to the right.

Step 3: Protecting the right hand side

  1. This is more of a psychological than a technical problem.
  2. If you have already sliced a few shots, it will play on your mind in every shot in which you have to avoid the right hand side, because of water, out of bounds or some other hazard.
  3. This might put you off turning your body as much as you should in the back swing, as it makes it feel like you are going to hit even further to the right.
  4. Instead, you will try to compensate by hitting the ball towards the left.
  5. Insufficient body rotation in the back swing makes the club come down from the outside and hit across the line of the ball, producing even more slice.
  6. As you can see in our video ‘avoid slicing’, the solution is to grip, set up and swing correctly for a straighter, longer shot.

How To Avoid Hooking The Ball

Read Lesson

Step 1: Check your grip

  1. Make sure your right hand grips the club correctly.
  2. You should put it on the club from exactly the same position as when your arm hangs free from your shoulder.
  3. Make sure your wrist is straight, so your hand does not bend beneath the club, and put your left thumb straight into the groove of your right hand.
  4. If you grip correctly, your right thumb will point straight at your right shoulder.
  5. See our video ‘the grip’ to find out how to make a perfect grip.

Step 2: Balance Correctly

  1. Make sure you set up with your weight on the balls of your feet.
  2. Keep your weight on the balls of your feet during the back swing, and your upper body at a constant angle throughout the swing.
  3. This allows you to swing the club freely in front of your body, so it is easy to follow through.
  4. If your balance and upper body position are good, you will finish your follow through with your right shoulder below your left.

Step 3: Swing through

  1. The action in the swing is just like any other in which you want to direct power forwards, throwing a ball, playing tennis or throwing a javelin.
  2. On your down swing, you should start turning from your legs, and let the rotation travel up your body.
  3. The earlier the lower body rotates through the ball, the later the club gets to the ball.
  4. This reduces the chance of the clubface closing before impact and curving the ball to the left.
  5. So a good grip, set-up, and swing help you to avoid unwanted hooks, letting you hit the ball true for a straighter shot.

The Greenside Bunker Shot

Read Lesson

Step 1: The set-up

As it is against the rules to touch the sand with your club before the shot, start by holding your club above the sand just behind the ball, aiming 10 feet left of the target. Set up with the line of your body pointing in the same direction as the clubface, and with the ball forward in your stance. Open the clubface, turning it to the right so that it directly faces the target, and then take your grip. To check that you are in the correct position to swing, make sure that your club points directly at your belly button. This will help you to swing parallel with the line of your set-up. A common mistake is to grip with the hands in front of the ball, so the club swings in from too far behind you, with disastrous results. You are now ready to start your swing.

Step 2: The swing

In the swing, the aim is that the clubhead enters the sand 2 or 3 inches behind the ball and the sand pushes the ball onto the green. Swing normally, rotating your body so it leads your arms and hands in a nice flowing motion. Grip the club gently and use only a light wrist action in the swing. Most importantly, keep your hands passive and avoid releasing the club through impact, so the clubface stays open throughout the shot. There is no need for power, just swing through and get the sand out of the bunker. Make sure you swing the clubhead parallel with your stance in the backswing, so the open clubface makes the ball fly to the right. A very common mistake is trying to swing in the direction of the target, which often causes the club to hit the sand too far behind the ball. Keep the height of your body constant throughout the backswing, making sure you swing the club down through the sand. Follow through as normal until your whole body is facing forwards and the ball should land nicely on the green.