This ‘frying pan’ TikTok slice hack helped me break 80 for the first time
I wish I could say my greatest golf swing fix came to me via divine intervention.
That an angel came down from on high to pass along the definitive advice to curing the shanks, or that a wise old golf teacher whispered the secrets of golf into my ear in his final act before slipping into the great beyond, Yoda-style.
“The tops, you have.”
“Stand closer to the ball, you must.”
The truth is that the single piece of advice that changed my life forever as a golfer and keyed the first two sub-80 rounds of my career came from a source so painfully ordinary, involving a tool so painfully accessible, I am largely embarrassed to share it with you.
But because I work for GOLF.com, and because my bosses have informed me that our audience is generally interested in the kinds of one-stop fixes that can change an (otherwise ordinary) golfing life like my own, I will swallow my pride for long enough to share the story.
The fix that saved my golf life came from TikTok, and it required only a frying pan.
OK — before I lose you entirely, some backstory.
It was summer in England, and some GOLF.com coworkers and I were jonesing for a week’s worth of links golf in the early evening hours following the Open Championship. On our first night of the trip, we arrived at West Lancashire, a wonderful links test set along the Wirral coastline.
It was supposed to be an epic round, and maybe it might have been … had I been able to keep my golf ball on the face of the earth. But that, dear reader, I was not capable of doing at West Lancs, where the worst push-slice miss of my life resulted in my running out of golf balls on the 13th hole.
It is a deeply embarrassing thing to run out of golf balls with five holes remaining in your round — and even more so when you realize you’re surrounded by people who work in golf. Add in the fact you’ve been struggling with your golf swing for the last six months and suddenly you’re looking at a full-blown existential golf spiral.
But there’s good news about that, too. Most of the people I play golf with are pretty sharp players, which means they’re also pretty sharp knowers of the golf swing. So, when I awoke two days after our West Lancs tee time to a text message from my colleague Dylan Dethier with swing advice, I wasn’t particularly surprised.
“A little tip for all the slicers in this chat,” he’d said.
I opened the text to see the TikTok below, which contained a slice fix I’d never seen before.
In the video, a creator named TheConnectedInstructor shows how recreating your golf swing by gripping a frying pan can reveal your swing tendencies. Essentially, those who swing the frying pan and find it is facing towards them at impact have an open face, causing their slices. Those who swing with the frying pan and find it is facing toward the ground at impact have a neutral or closed face.
It’s a simple drill — one that took me roughly 15 seconds to do — and it revealed, to no great surprise, that my clubface was more open than a McDonald’s drive-thru on the way home from the bar.
I practiced the new move a few times and headed out for another round. The change was apparent from the first tee box. My swing was mechanically no different, but the fix at my impact position had made all the difference. Mega-misses with my driver were now steady fairway finders; flubbed iron shots were now flushed. Nobody, myself included, could believe the difference.
I returned home to New York the next week and snuck out for a late afternoon 18 at nearby Bethpage Red. As someone who’s had his fair share of 15-minute fixes in his lifetime, I kept my expectations tame … until about the eighth tee box, when I realized I was three over for the day. Just a week earlier I’d carded a triple-digit score at West Lancs. Now a 79 was well within my sights.
I nervously pegged my way around the back nine at the Red battling a strange new enemy (pressure) and tapped in on the 18th with a furious fist-pump to secure my life’s first 79.
It was a euphoric moment — one I don’t anticipate will happen many more times in my golfing life — and it was almost entirely thanks to the TikTok I’d seen just 10 days earlier.
It’s been close to a month since that first moment, and I can say confidently the changes haven’t worn off. My scores have ebbed around the 80 mark ever since I made that fix, and my consistency has reached an all-time high. All thanks to a TikTok … and a frying pan.
I wish the story were better, but when it comes to golf, I can now say definitively that boringly good is much more fun.