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How to fix a hook in golf
The hook plagues a lot of golfers off the tee, a shot that has an aggressive right-to-left shape (for right-handed golfers). In the video and article below, PGA pro Dan Grieve explains the likely causes – and, crucially, what you can do to cure it. Perhaps you're struggling with a shot that goes the other way? Dan also has some tips to cure the slice.
Let’s say that the white rod below represents the target; the red one is the swing path and the direction the club is travelling through the ball; and the yellow one is where the clubface is pointing at impact, which, in the case of a hook, will be left of the red rod.
The further this yellow rod (clubface) gets away from the red one (swing path), the more the ball will hook – so hooks are caused from the club travelling to the right and the clubface working over to the left.
To start off with, aiming further right is not the answer. All this will do is encourage more of the same - and often that shape will become even more aggressive. Before trying any hook curing drills, it’s a good idea to check your grip.
Hook sufferers tend to have a strong golf grip (see below) – so that’s too far over to the right of the grip with the top hand (right-handed golfer) and quite underneath with the bottom hand, which encourages the face to turn over. Generally speaking, a neutral grip, with the thumb down the right-hand side of the grip and the bottom hand a little bit more on top, is more favourable.
The typical sort of position I’ll see when working with players who hook the ball is something like the below, where they get stuck underneath and flip it - which sees it bend off into trouble. A ‘duck hook’ is not a shot that anyone can play with and score well - so, if this looks like you, we’re going to need to get you away from being so shut.
An effective drill to try is a gentle, one-handed swing. Hold the club in your lead hand (left hand for a right-handed golfer) and just swing through to a finish. Feel how it encourages your left shoulder to really open up through the ball.
It should give you a lovely feeling for opening through the shot rather than getting stuck underneath. Feeling more open will encourage the path to go more to the left, help the clubface stay square through the ball, and make it easier to learn how to hit the ball dead straight.
The split grip drill is another effective exercise to try. Note the gap between my hands on the club in the video. Do the same, then hover the club in the air and make a driver backswing. As you come down, just feel how the left arm works back into your body and how the right arm extends. This drill encourages the body to open up, which is much more like the impact you want to be looking for.
The feet together drill can also help iron out that hook. It’s very hard to produce the hook motion with the feet together, because you’ll lose your balance. Just make half swings – you’re not looking to hit the ball too far. This exercise will give you a lovely feeling for how you’re opening up through the ball and how the body rotates. It’s all about learning to appreciate how the body should clear during the swing.
Remember, feeling more open will encourage the path to go more to the left, and help the clubface to stay squarer through the ball.
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Location: Woburn GC
Dan is one of the leading coaches in the UK, a Fellow of the PGA and a short-game virtuoso. He has had considerable success with a collection of tour pros, helping them to Order of Merit titles and major victories, and his Short Game School is the most attended in the UK. His students, past and present, include Charley Hull, Georgia Hall, Inci Mehmet and Iona Stephen.
Most common problem:
Swing – over the top , help by getting the basics correct at address and making them aware how to get the club online coming down.
Short game – creating spin and feel around the greens, help by educating on what the short game actually is (weak on purpose) and understand bounce and how they can apply it to different lies/situations.
Greatest success story:
Helping Georgia Hall from World No. 450 to No. 6 and winning a Major, two Order of Merits and Solheim Cup appearances.
Alex Hay was a great influence during my first few years at Woburn. In sport more generally Sir Clive Woodward has taught me how to deliver at the highest level.
Most common fault:
Flipped right hand (hands behind the ball). Understand a correct coil/load going back and how to sequence better coming down so the chest opens up and gives the arms space to deliver a stronger impact. Lots of body action drills to enhance the feel, with and without the ball.
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