Curing the hook shot

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Published 29/08/2009 11:34:39
 

The hook is often the result of any number of set-up problems. Generally, the hands have crept too much to the right, a position which is known as a strong, or hooker's, grip. And as the hands creep round, the shoulders tend to get more and more closed, until they are aiming too much to the right.

 

When these faults occur, the golfer might also begin to position the ball too far to the back of his or her stance. In this situation, it's also common for the golfer inadvertently to open the clubface far too much. Why? As the ball begins to move more and more right-to-left, the golfer becomes petrified of the left-hand side of the golf course, and will do anything to stay right. So, they tend to open the clubface, aiming to the right of the target line.

Of course, most golfers do not realise the clubface is opening, they presume it is still straight and that's why it can be so hard to diagnose and thus fix.

 

Trouble zone

 

But if the golfer swings in-to-out and hits the ball with the clubface square, the ball will start spinning right to left. Now the ball will start straight, and then begin to veer off to the left. By contrast, if the ball is hit with the clubface even only slightly closed - say one or two degrees - that will produce a duck-hook, or snap-hook.

In this case the ball hardly gets airborne, flying very low and curling rapidly left. As Lee Trevino Says, you can talk to a fade, but you can't talk to a hook, because once the ball starts spinning low and left, it will bounce violently and spin into trouble when it hits the ground.

 

Initial flight

 

What is the cure? Look at your set-up first, examining the grip, alignment and ball position. Then check the clubface. If it's wide open, square it up behind the ball. Finally, put some clubs on the ground to check your alignment and pick a defined target, working on the initial line of flight of the ball.

If you can get a friend to stand behind you and observe at this point, it will be helpful. They can tell you if the ball is starting right and spinning, something which you may not be able to see for yourself.

Using the clubs for proper alignment, work on starting the backswing in a straight line, trying to get some initial width. Then as you come through the ball, think about pulling the club through with your left arm, keeping the left arm and hand ahead of the clubhead, swinging out-to-in. This is almost like hitting a bunker shot.

 

On and off

 

Fuzzy Zoeller once said that he had the easiest job in the world striving to be a good golfer. Why? Because he only suffered from one fault - the hook shot. So what he tried to do from then on is slice it.

But as with all hookers of the golf ball, it's a risky game. They may do well on a course with little trouble to the left - take John Daly at St. Andrews where he won the British Open. But give him a tight course with deep rough to the left, and the big man will struggle.

 

Quickest way to cure a hook shot

 

  • As with curing the slice, you have to attempt the opposite shot to fix a hook.
  • Try to visualise slicing the ball.
  • Try to start the ball to the left of the target and make it spin to the right.
  •  That is the quickest way to cure a hook shot.



Comments


1.  Great advice for when the ball starts straight then hooks - surely the most frustrating site in golf!

comment by Dave Jones - 27/04/2010 14:38

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