Sunday, May 27, 2007, 09:29 PM - HookA hook is a dreadful thing to be susceptible to in golf, and if you know how to cure a golf hook, that is one less of the major serious golf problems that you need no longer dread.
Like a slice, a hook is cause by you putting a sideways spin on the ball when you hit it, but while a slice is caused by a clockwise spin, the hook is caused by the rarer counter-clockwise spin. To regular hookers, however, it is not ‘rarer’ but a very serious problem they need sorted. Many golfers have been so affected by their hook that they have even given the game up permanently. It has that much of an effect on some people.
The spin that causes a hook is due either to you closing you clubface too quickly or hitting across the line of your target from the inside to the outside. Let’s look at each one first. If you are closing the clubface too quickly, what happens is that by the time you hit the ball, your clubface is angled forward. That means that the toe of the club is ahead of the heel at strike.
If you envisage that in your mind, or even draw it on a piece of paper, you will see how that puts a counter-clockwise spin on the ball. It is this spin that causes the hook due to the different air pressures on each side of spinning ball. There is one easy fix for that if that is the reason for your hook.
Grip the club as normal and prepare to play your shot. Then, just before your backswing, turn your hands slightly counter-clockwise. What this will do is to bring the clubface round a little slower so that it is a bit squarer to the direction of your swing when it hits the ball. It definitely works if you are closing the clubface too quickly, but it might need one or two adjustments to get your grip right. You can try it as a quick fix on the course, but you are best to spend some time on the practice range to get it right. Once you have got rid of the hook, play a number of drives until you have got used to your new grip position.
The second reason for a hook is that your clubface is OK and square to the ball, but your drive is across the ball from left to right. You hit out to the right, and although the ball might start out right for a short time, it quickly curves round to the left in a vicious hook. That is because your clubface is still hitting the ball at an angle and still putting a counter-clockwise spin on it.
One way to resolve this is to change your stance by placing your feet in line with a point more to the left of the target. This should bring your swing round to the left and straighten it up. Don’t change your grip because that is OK. If your clubhead were too slow in closing, then the ball would just carry on out the right, and into the next fairway! If it were too quick in closing, then the hook would be so vicious that it would practically make the ball travel horizontally to the left!
If neither of these quick fixes works, the quickest fix that will let you finish your round without completely ruining your score is to aim to the right of the target. This is not a recommended remedy for a hook over the long term, but will help you through the round in an emergency. You will lose accuracy, since you can never accurately judge the effect of a hook, and you will also lose length, since a curved path is not the shortest distance between two points. However, many golfers do it until they can get some help to put it right permanently.
If weakening your grip or changing your stance has failed to cure your hook, the problem likely lies in your swing mechanics. You are probably bringing your shoulders round too quickly, and your upper body is lagging behind. Alternatively, you might be trying to force the shot too much. Try to slow the shot down and let your body properly rotate with the drive. This is not easy to do yourself, however, and you might need to speak to your club pro, or even use the services of a professional golf instructor. That will definitely cure the problem.
There are a number of possible reasons for a golf hook, and if the common remedial actions are ineffective, you should have the problem dealt with professionally. It can be cured, so do not despair. It is simply a matter of getting the right coaching, and once you know how to cure a golf hook you will feel so much better and more confident in your game.
By: Andre Sanchez
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