How To Stop Hooking The Golf Ball

In this video, PGA pro Clive Tucker shares some simple tips to stop you hooking the ball

A golfer with a drill set up to work on alignment and flaring the lead foot open in order to stop hooking the golf ball
(Image credit: Future)

The more common gripe among amateurs is that they can’t rid themselves of the opposite affliction - cutting across the ball and hitting a slice. However, a hook is just as confidence-sapping and tends to put you in more trouble due to the quicker ball speed this shape generates. In the video and article below, PGA pro Clive Tucker looks at a few common faults and has some tips to help you eradicate this shot for good.

Check your alignment

As golfers we like to complicate things in a bid to improve, but if you’re struggling with this shot, don’t overlook the simple details.

The first port of call, obviously, is to understand how to aim in golf. This might seem basic, but you’d be amazed at the amount of regular players who aim offline without realising. To check, it helps to use alignment sticks to see if your body is square to your ball-to-target line.

A golfer demonstrating how to work on your alignment when practising

Set up alignment sticks or clubs as above to ensure you're aiming properly

(Image credit: Future)

And it’s not just your body you need to get squared up, the clubface needs to be pointing in the right direction too. A great way to check is to take your normal address position and then lift the club up so your hands are at waist height.

Now look to see if the face is pointing towards the target. If you struggle with a hook or often wonder why you pull iron shots, it may well point more towards the ground.

Check your grip

Your next checkpoint is the grip. Again, simple, but a huge factor in determining the shape of shot you’re going to hit. With your hands directly below your chin, look and see how many knuckles are showing on both hands. If, for example, you can see three on the left but only one on the right, you have a strong golf grip and that could be causing your hook.

A golfer demonstrating what a neutral golf grip looks like

It's vital to check your grip. If it's getting too strong, work towards making it more neutral, like above

(Image credit: Future)

Making a grip change is tricky, so it should be done in small increments. In this instance, start with seeing one and a half knuckles on your right hand and hit some half shots. You should begin to see and feel a difference.

From there, work towards grooving a perfect golf grip and you’ll kill your hooks for good.

Rotate your body

Another common cause of the hook is an early release of the angle in the hands through impact. In my experience, this happens because golfers stop rotating their bodies.

PGA pro Clive Tucker flaring his lead foot out to encourage better rotation of the lower body in the golf swing

Flaring out your lead foot will encourage better rotation of the lower body

(Image credit: Future)

A great tip that will help is simply to turn your left foot out a fraction at address (as above). If this foot is perpendicular to your target, it can restrict your movement through the shot.

By turning it out, you will encourage the body rotation you need to coincide with the release of your hands. This should quickly turn that hook into more of a controlled draw.

Closed-face drill

Probably the most common swing-related cause of the hook is an inactive lower body. If you struggle to with your weight distribution in the golf swing, your hands will take over and a quick hook is very much on the cards.

Take your normal address position and slightly close the face of your iron - it sounds counterintuitive but it works. Make a normal swing but try to hit a straight shot. If you fall into old habits you’ll hit the ball even further left so this drill encourages your mind and body to find another solution.

PGA pro Clive Tucker demonstrating an excellent drill to help golfers stop hooking the ball

Set up two alignment sticks like this to encourage a better path and straighter ball flight

(Image credit: Future)

From this position, the only way to really hit a straight shot is to rotate your hips and lower body through the ball, shifting your weight and delaying the release of the club a fraction. It’s a great way to groove a much better swing sequence.

Quick checklist:

  • Ensure your clubface is aligned to the target
  • Check you can see two knuckles on your left hand at address
  • Turn your left foot out to aid body rotation
  • Make sure your lower half hasn't become too 'quiet'
Clive Tucker
Top 50 Coach

Location: Mannings Heath 

Clive spent ten years as a playing professional before making the move into elite coaching. He's worked with a number of Tour professionals, and one of his great strengths is being able to tailor his instruction for each student no matter what their level. 

Teaching philosophy:

Make changes and growth pertinent, measurable, simple and enjoyable. Give students the skills to develop and manage their game as well as possible. Ultimately, help them to become independent. 

Significant influences:

I was taught by some very gifted coaches whilst playing on Tour, and have watched teachers with all kinds of philosophies whilst I've been coaching for the last 20 years. All have had such a positive effect. George Robb had a very keen eye; David Leadbetter was extremely diligent; Denis Pugh, generous and encouraging; Mac O`Grady was a fountain of knowledge, and Pete Cowen an inspiration. Michael Dalgleish was also a world class physio. 

Greatest success story:

Working with Graeme McDowell and David Howell have been particular highlights. During my time working with them, they rose from roughly 150th in the world to 4th and 9th, respectively, and competed in six Ryder Cups between them.