A snap hook is a mishit that can plague any golfer, tour player or weekend duffer alike. A radically closed clubface -- one that points to the left of a right hander’s target -- causes the ball to spin low and left, running hard toward trouble. A snap hook can creep up anytime during a round, particularly when pressure is high, and trouble lurks left. Fortunately, all golfers can take steps to prevent that wicked miss.
Get a Grip
Jim Hardy, a Texas-based PGA professional and author of three books on golf, blames snap hook problems on loose right hand grips. If your right hand grip slips underneath your left hand on the downswing, the only way to square the clubface at impact is to snap your right wrist, Hardy says. That causes the hook. The trick to beating this flaw is to keep the thumb pad of the right hand on top of your left thumb during the swing, Hardy advises. To practice this correction, you can make swings and hit balls trying to keep a small object like a tee or coin between the thumb pad and the thumb. If you drop the tee or coin, you know your hand is too loose.
Mitchell Spearman, a PGA professional based in New York, notes to check your spine angle if you have snap hook problems. When you hook, you are likely to rise out of your forward spine tilt as the club approaches the ball. To correct this fault, Spearman recommends hitting practice balls from an extremely wide stance. Spreading your feet farther apart will lower your center of gravity and make it easy to stay down during the swing. He also suggests hitting balls while gripping down to the shaft of a six iron. If you raise your spine, you'll miss the ball.
More Body, Less Hands
When you hit a snap hook, your hands are too active through the impact area, but your body isn’t active enough, according to Golf Channel instructor Michael Breed. He teaches hook suffers to learn to square the club by rotating their body instead of flipping their wrists. To feel good rotation, you can swing your left arm back to the top-of-swing position without a club. Grab the back of your left arm with your right hand and pull the arm into your chest. Make a downswing motion, keeping the left arm tight against your chest. This will teach you to feel body rotation controlling your downswing rather than arm and hand action.
Pick a Dimple
That closed clubface that causes a snap hook strikes the outside portion of the golf ball -- the part of the ball farthest away from you -- according to San Francisco-based instructor Josh Zander. That’s why the ball starts left of the target line before spinning even more in that direction. Zander’s solution is simple: strike the inside part of the ball. He suggests picking a dimple on the back, inside quadrant of the ball and picturing the club striking that spot. You can still draw or hook a ball with that swing path, but the ball will start to the right and work back toward the target line.