Golf Tips - A Slice is Good? - Using a Slice to Your Advantage

By Joe Sullivan

I get many e-mails from golfers who are frustrated with their slice. They are fed up and will do whatever it takes to be able to hit a nice draw down the fairway. And certainly I understand where they are coming from. A slice is a nuisance. However, I think it's important to ask yourself whether there is ANYTHING good about a slice; or if it is ALL bad? Although there are not many positives about hitting a slice, there is one. Believe it or not, there is one thing, if golfers would better realize it, that can actually be advantageous about hitting a slice. It's the fact that you take the entire left side (or right side for lefties) of the golf course out of play.

With a slice shot, you almost always know the ball is going to end up on the right side. Therefore, any hazards, out of bounds, rough, bunkers, or anything else on the left side are out of play. Look at that! You have eliminated 50% of the golf course.

It seems almost contradictory that I would defend a slice, considering I produced a videotape that completely eliminates it and helps you hit the ball straight and far. In fact, I am not defending it really. If anyone wants to see you get rid of your slice it is I. I just want you to understand the importance of being able to take an entire side of the course out of play. This one aspect is more important than most golfers realize.

The ability to eliminate half of the course is something that many good players try to do. Bruce Leitzke and Sean Murphy are a couple of tour payers who play nothing but a fade, so as to avoid anything left. Likewise with Mark Calcavecchia. I was down at The Honda Classic a couple of days ago watching him. He simply aims down the left side of the fairway and works it back to the right with a hard fade. He never hits a draw.

Even my old college golf coach had the same thinking. He knew that if he played a little cut on every shot and eliminated the left side of the course, the percentages would be that much more in his favor. And it worked. He was a very efficient ball striker.

Now I definitely understand that these players are not "slicers." They hit the ball well. However, if this same course management thinking is applied by slicers, then they can save many strokes.

Actually, they can save strokes in two ways. First of all, they can do it now even with their wicked slice. They should accept the fact that they can't hit it straight yet, and use their ball flight as an asset. They should aim the ball as far left as they need to, realize that it's going to go right, hit it hard, and let it slide into the fairway.

Also, when a slicer goes about eliminating their slice, they should consider more of a power fade than necessarily hitting some fades, some straight shots, and some draws.

Synopsis? I encourage you to get rid of your slice and I will do everything in my power to see that you do. However, in the meantime, use some smart course management skills and understand that you only have to compete against 50% of the course. Also, before you turn that slice into a draw or hook, understand the benefits of a lesser version of a slice, which is a power fade.

Columns ©1999 Joseph K. Sullivan and GolfLink Inc. All rights reserved.

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