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Tips for How to Stop Hooking a Golf Ball

by
author image Jim Thomas
Jim Thomas has been a freelance writer since 1978. He wrote a book about professional golfers and has written magazine articles about sports, politics, legal issues, travel and business for national and Northwest publications. He received a Juris Doctor from Duke Law School and a Bachelor of Science in political science from Whitman College.
Tips for How to Stop Hooking a Golf Ball
Man swinging golf club on course. Photo Credit DAJ/amana images/Getty Images

If you hook the ball regularly, you probably have a large tab for new golf balls. Hooks are big benders that take a sharp detour to the left if you are a right-handed player. While a hook usually travels farther than a slice, that is a mixed blessing, because the hook is more likely to dive deep into the woods or the sand or out of bounds. It's important to distinguish a hook from a draw, which is a controlled and limited movement from right to left and a shot that many top players favor. A hook, sometimes called a snap hook if it is a particularly nasty dive-bomb into trouble, usually results from the hands getting ahead of the body on the downswing and closing the face of the club at impact.

Slow Backswing Drill

To ensure that your body is leading your hands at impact, take extremely slow backswings. Even come to a stop at the top of them. Ensure that your hips and legs lead your arms on the downswing. It is hard to "roll over" on the shot and hook it left if your body leads the way. Start with a half swing and make sure your hands follow through to the target instead of coming around your body as if you were swinging a baseball bat.

Watch Your Weight

If you set up to the ball with your weight back on your heels, or transfer too much weight to your right heel during your backswing, you are likely to swing the club around your body and close the clubface at impact. Make sure your weight is balanced, or a bit on your toes, when you stand up to ball.

Keep Turning

Instructor Rick Smith says it can be difficult to stop hooking the ball because the way to do so is counter-intuitive. If you're a right-hander who is scared to hook the ball to the left, it feels as if turning your upper body to the left will take the ball to the left, as well. It's just the opposite. By slowing your turn to the target, your hands and arms whip through ahead of your body, shut the clubface and produce the very shot you dread. So keep turning. Rotate your chest and hips until your shirt buttons and belt buckle point to the left of the target. The rotation of the body keeps the club from closing.

Tee Time

Top teaching professional Jim Hardy suggests placing a tee between your hands as you grip the club. Wedge the tee between the top knuckle and the heel of your right palm at the base of your right thumb. Hit balls on the range and focus on keeping the tee from slipping out of your hands. Imagine that the tee is a thumbtack that you are trying to push into your left hand at impact. You might start hitting shots to the right, but don't worry about it. Just start rotating your right hand over your left hand a bit earlier in your downswing.

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