When your playing partner has the annoying habit of critiquing every shot off the tee, this term probably appears frequently in her commentary. And that’s probably not in a “good shot” sort of context, or an order off the menu at the turn. She’s trying to be helpful by pointing out a flaw in your golf swing.
The slice, a shot that starts straight and bends to the right for a right-handed golfer or to the left for a southpaw, may also be referenced as a “banana ball” (an extreme slice) or a “cut” (an intentional slice). A slight one, known as a fade, can be a good thing — but, as with cheesecake, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
The word itself has ancient origins, but according to one etymology source dates back to 1886 as a golf and tennis term, one that describes the result of a swing that resembles a knife slicing a cut.
HOW TO FIX IT
One might want to make this sort of swing intentionally to bend a shot around some trees. (If you’re not a pro, good luck with that.) Otherwise the most common swing flaw is at fault: a right-to-left (or left-to-right for lefties) swing arc combined with an open face at impact.
There’s no one-fix-fits-all for this one, so you may want to consult a teaching professional rather than your helpful friend. Cures range from grip adjustment to stance to swing fundamentals. They do not include aiming more left — with a slice, that’s the equivalent of trying to offset the calories in one slice of cheesecake by eating a second.
This article first appeared in the July 2011 edition of GottaGoGolf Magazine.