How do you stop slicing the ball in golf?
Easier said than done. No, really, slicing can be corrected and I will attempt to give you the reasons why the ball slices. With this knowledge you will be able to correct the problem and you will start to really enjoy what it feels like to play golf without the dreaded slice. For right-hander's a slice is where the ball takes off and veers to the right. For left-handers it veers to the left. I am only going to describe the reasons for slicing from the right-hander's perspective. Lefties can apply the descriptions from an opposite perspective.
There are several reasons for slicing: Swing plane, club-head path, and grip. These can combine in different degrees and add to the severity of the slice. So let's get on with the explanations and what can be done to correct them.
Swing Plane. The swing plane is the most common cause of a slice. First, let me attempt to describe what is a swing plane. If you take a driver and a PW and hold them both at an address position, it is very obvious that the head of the PW is closer to you than the driver. The swing planes for each of these clubs have to be different. Drawing a line from the clubhead and extending it through the shoulder joint area forms the plane. When creating the swing, the club must be swung along this plane to be effective. With the PW, the plane is steeper or more upright. With the driver, the plane is flatter. The planes for all the other clubs in the bag fall in between the PW and Driver swing planes. Most people slice their driver because they try to swing the driver on the same swing plane as the PW.
An upright swing plane will cause the ball to veer right because it produces an outside-in clubhead path. By flattening out the swing plane, the clubhead path changes from an outside-in path to an inside-inside path, or it can change it to an inside-outside path, creating a draw. Don't be taken aback by the clubhead path jargon -- they only refer to three different directions that the clubhead travels before and after the ball in relation to the target line. So an inside-inside path describes the clubhead traveling from inside the target line to the ball and going back inside the target line after hitting the ball.
Bottom line is that a modification to the swing plane causes the clubhead path changes. Too steep a swing plane will cause the ball flying to the right. Too flat a swing plane will cause the ball flying to the left. Finding the correct swing plane will cause the ball to fly straight. Adjusting the swing plane changes clubhead path and the ball flight.
Although swing plane and clubhead path go hand in hand, they are not the same. Swing plane is how the club swings around you to create the plane. Clubhead path is how the clubhead travels to and through the ball or impact area.
The third cause of slicing is the grip. Grip can be applied in three different ways, causing three different results in the ball flights. I am not talking about the different grips such as interlocking, overlapping, or the 10-finger grip but I am talking about how the grip is applied in relation to the bottom edge of the clubface or aiming edge. The three applications of the grip are neutral, strong, and weak. The aiming edge should be perpendicular to the target line when applying each grip. The neutral grip is where the thumbs are over the top of the club and the V's formed by the thumb and forefinger point to the chin area. The strong grip is where the hands are rolled to the right so the V's are pointing between the right side of the face and shoulder. The weak grip is where the hands are rolled to the left so the V's are pointing between the left side of the face and shoulder.
What effect does the grip have on the ball flight? A weak grip will leave the clubhead open during impact so the ball will fly right. A neutral grip will leave the clubhead square during impact so the ball will fly straight. A strong grip will leave the clubhead close during the impact area so the ball will fly left.
Now that you know a little about what causes ball flights, how do you start to make the corrections? When making changes, do only one change at a time. You want to see the effect of each change so you know how it affects the ball flight. If you start to make a swing plane change with a grip change, you won't know for sure what change corrected the ball flight.
The best way to proceed in correcting a slice is to make a swing plane change. Start to go flatter on the swing plane. You can tell when you are at the correct swing plane by checking the angle of your shaft at midpoint through the backswing. The shaft should be pointing somewhere along the target line. Another thing to do is just make the swing and observe the ball flight. If the flight straightens out, you found the correct swing plane. If the ball flight is left you made too much of an adjustment. If the ball flight is still slicing, continue to flatten the swing plane.
If the swing plane changes do not correct the ball flight, then check your clubhead path. Make sure that the clubhead is moving in a inside to inside path. Although the swing plane is correct going back, some people have a tendency to make a casting movement which causes and outside-in clubhead path.
The last thing to check is the grip. Is the grip allowing the clubhead to square up at impact? You can make some modifications to strengthen or weaken the grip. These modifications change the clubface angle during impact and thus modifies the ball flight.
The explanations are simplified and each individual has different inherent characteristics that prevent them from creating the proper swing plane. Most people can correct the slice just by the instructions above, however if you are still slicing after trying the instructions or if you are a beginning golfer, see your club professional. They can help you to enjoy the game by correcting the slice or any other faults that's keeping you from becoming a better golfer.
To put it as simple as possible, during your whole swing until your finish, your hands should be touching your waist and your waist has to turn like crazy until your chest is aiming way left of your target before you hit the ball.