What Is a 'Banana Ball' in Golf?

Ian Poulter eating a banana on the golf course
Ian Poulter probably wishes this photo hadn't been taken. Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

"Banana ball" is a golf slang term for a slice, because, like a banana, a sliced golf shot curves along an arcing path. A slice curves in the crescent-moon shape of a banana. The use of "banana ball" to describe a slice often indicates, too, that it's a particularly nasty slice.

For a right-handed golfer, a slice curves to the right; for a left-handed golfer, a slice curves to the left.

So not only is a banana ball a poor shot, this banana doesn't even include any potassium! Bad and bad for you.

Usage Examples

  • "Nice banana ball, Brad, hope you can find it over there in the woods!"
  • "Wow, I just sliced a banana ball into the jungle."

Getting Rid of Those Banana Balls

A banana ball is something no golfer wants to monkey around with. But the fact is, the slice is the most common mishit for recreational golfers.

Slices are caused by reaching impact with the face of your club open. Even if your swing path is good, an open clubface at impact will impart slice spin on the ball. If your swing path is bad, too - if you are coming "over the top" and sweeping across the ball from outside to in - then that fade or slice easily turns into a particularly bad banana ball.

Have a banana ball in your bag and need to get rid of it? Check out these tips:

You can also make your banana ball more controllable by turning it into a fade shot. Watch "How to hit a fade."

The golf club brand Bob Burns Golf once released a line of anti-slice golf clubs (which had severely closed clubfaces) under the name "No Bananas."