For the right handed golfer what’s going to cause the ball flight to go from right to left (aka golf hook)?
Well if you stop to think about it for a second you’re going to have to create counter-clockwise spin on the ball at impact (clockwise for lefties).
On a side note this spin usually causes the ball to roll more when it hits the ground, that’s why a golf hook shot will travel farther than a golf slice.
How to Stop Hooking the Golf Ball
To fix a hooked golf shot you’ll want to look at the club path and club face position through impact.
Swing Path, Alignment, and the Golf Hook Shot
For a hooked ball flight pattern the club path is going to be moving out to the right, or from inside-to-outside in relation to your target line. Your stance and shoulders are also most likely aligned more to right field.
To make matters worse golfers hooking the golf ball left usually try to correct this pattern by aiming more to the right. More often than not this will only worsen their golf hook.
Remember if your ball is curving left it’s not because you are aiming left. If you were only aiming the wrong way the golf ball wouldn’t CURVE left, it would go STRAIGHT but left of target. That is whats called a pulled golf shot, and it is very different from a golf hook shot.
The bottom line is that aiming right will not fix a golf hook shot.
What you really need to do is check your alignment (feet and shoulders). Try moving to a position more parallel with the target line.
The other fix is work on bringing your strong inside-to-outside swing path to just a little bit of inside-to-outside movement. Inside-to-outside swing path is better than outside-to-inside (aka over the top), but if it is too strong (or you close the club face too much as discussed below) it causes a hooked golf shot.
Both of these things contribute to clockwise ball spin and hooked shots, but there’s more to it than that.
Is Your Grip Causing Your Golf Hook Shot?
Your grip can also be a source of problems. Your grip may be too “strong” for your swing path.
I don’t mean you are holding the club to tightly, strong and weak are names given to different grip types (follow the link for a full explanation).
A golfers grip is usually said to be in a strong position when the hands are rotated more to the right on the grip.
An easy way to check this is to see if the V’s of your thumbs are pointing to the right of your right shoulder. If they are your grip is on the strong side.
You’re going to want to look at your grip, if it’s too far to the right, start moving your hands to the left on the grip and notice if this changes your hooking flight pattern.
This small change will affect what your club-face is doing at the time of impact. If you grip is too strong the club face will be closed at impact (as seen on the right).
Trial and Error…
The best remedy for a golf hook shot is to make one of the above changes, hit 10 balls, and notice the results.
If it corrects your excessive hooked golf shot you’re good. If you’re still hooking the golf ball, alter your stance, moving your feet and shoulder more to the left of where you’re currently aiming, hit 10 more balls and notice any change. Keep moving down the list of possible causes until you figure it out.
Working on correcting your ball flight direction is mainly trial and error. When you understand the reasons why a ball moves from right to left or left to right you’ll be able to make the changes you want and get the ball moving just how you want it to.
If you can lessen the counter clockwise spin on the ball and go from hitting a golf hook to a slight draw (a shot with a few yards of right to left) you’ll improve at this game a lot faster.
Often times the real fun in golf comes from pulling off certain tricky shots where you need to curve the ball. When you understand what makes the golf ball fly a certain way and you can work the ball however you want you’ll have more fun playing golf.
So look at your hooked golf shot as an opportunity to learn how to really control your shots (how’s that for positivity?).