A sliced shot -- the dreaded banana ball that curves severely right -- is a problem that affects most amateur golfers at nearly one point or another. The side spin that creates a slice is the result of a downswing path that travels across the target line from outside to in with a clubface that points right of the target at impact. Recognizing these causes is the first step to eliminating the slice.
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Hold the club properly in the fingers of your left hand (for a right-handed golfer). The "V" formed by your thumb and forefinger should point to the right shoulder. Slicers often have what's termed a "weak" grip, meaning the hands are rotated too far left. "Strengthen" the grip by rotating both hands slightly to the right (clockwise). Your grip pressure, in comparison, should not be strong. Instead, hold the club with just enough pressure that you can control it without squeezing -- as if you were holding a baby bird.
Visualize the target line -- the imaginary line from the ball to the target. Lay a yardstick on the ground parallel to the target line about 2 to 3 inches above the ball. Align your feet, hips and shoulders parallel to the target line and yardstick. This means your left shoulder (for a right-handed golfer) will point "parallel left" of the target.
Start your backswing by turning your shoulders. Make sure your club starts straight back along an extension of the target line. Do not pull the club inside or outside the line with your hands or arms, but allow the shoulders to bring the club naturally around.
Begin the downswing by transferring your weight to your right side. Do not start with the upper body. As your hips turn to the target, allow the shoulders to unwind and swing the club inside the yardstick. If you hit the yardstick, you have an outside-in path that can lead to a slice.