The difference between a block and a slice (and how to fix both!)

A block and a slice might end up in similar places off the fairway, but there are some big differences between the two.

Getty Images

Envision this. You’re standing on the tee box of a long par-5, and water snakes down the right side. You know that hitting it right is dead, but you’re still nervous. Losing the ball right is your main miss, and this drive is the stuff of nightmares.

A good warmup helps you make a free, fluid swing.
The difference between a block and a slice — and the cause of both
By: Ed Ibarguen

You take a deep breath, step into the shot and take one last look at your target on the left side of the fairway. You take the club back, get to the top and unleash a mighty hack at the ball as it explodes off the face. But as you look up to see where the ball goes, your heart sinks. It’s headed right towards its watery grave, and you can do nothing to stop it.

If this sounds familiar, you likely suffer from one of two ailments. Either you hit a slice, or you hit a block. Neither one is good, and they both result in a ball in the hazards. But while the result might be the same, the causes for these two misses is actually different.

For help with identifying the differences between the two, and how to fix each, we asked GOLF Top 100 Teacher Jeff Warne for his insight. Here’s what he had to say.

Block

Cause: A block typically occurs when you have an open clubface at impact, and a proper path (or slightly in-to-out). The good news here is that your path is doing the right things. All you need to do to fix it is get your clubface straightened out and tweak a couple others.

Fix: To fix both a block and a slice, you must fix the clubface first. Try weakening your grip just a touch to get more rotation of the face through the impact zone. Next, you need to fix your sequencing. Your body and arms must be in sync during the downswing. If you can get everything working together with the square clubface, your block will soon be straightened out.

Slice

Cause: A slice comes from a confluence of swing errors. First, like with a block, the clubface is open at impact. In addition to that, the swing path is out-to-in and causes you to cut across the ball. The result is an ugly slice that is difficult to control.

Fix: Again, a grip change might be necessary before doing any other tweaks. Weaken the grip and then focus on swinging more in-to-out. It’s ok to overdo it at first, and it might result in a hook, but once you get that in-to-out feeling, you can fine tune the rest and get your flight straightened out.

NEWSLETTER

Zephyr Melton

Golf.com Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF.com, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf.