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What Causes a Golf Hook?

If you wince every time you look down the left side of the course, you’re not alone. The dreaded hook shot plagues many golfers who watch their tee shots careen into trouble or approach shots bound off the green. But before you get too frustrated with your big miss to the left, know that you can fix it.

Understanding What Causes a Golf Hook? and implementing a few simple swing adjustments and drills can get you hitting the ball straight in no time. Read on to learn the mechanics behind the hook, check your grip and stance, and incorporate three easy drills to cure your golf hook for good. With the right changes, you’ll have those destructive hooks under control and will be splitting fairways in no time.

What Causes a Golf Hook?

First, let’s look at what leads to shots that dive hard left (for right-handed golfers). A hook occurs when the clubface is closed relative to the swing path at impact. While the body is rotating open through the ball, the clubface has rotated past that position and is pointing left of the target line.

So if your downswing gets overly steep and “stuck,” it can cause the clubface to slam shut. Similarly, starting the downswing with the hands and arms before properly turning the body opens the clubface prematurely.

A too-strong left-hand grip also promotes a closed face through impact. With more of the palm facing the target at address, it’s easier for the clubface to close as you swing down and through the ball.

Check Your Grip and Stance

To hit straight shots consistently, it’s essential to have a proper grip and setup at address. Here are a few quick checkpoints:

  • Use a neutral/slightly strong grip. Place both thumbs down the center of the shaft and have 3 knuckles of the left hand visible. Don’t allow the palms to face too far skyward.
  • Aim several degrees right of your target. Allowing for a slight out-to-in path compensates for a closed clubface. Start with aiming 10 yards right and adjust from there.
  • Position the ball off the left instep. Moving it slightly back prevents hooking by shallowing the swing. Don’t align it too far back, however.
  • Widen your stance slightly. Setting up with feet a few extra inches apart improves balance and stops swaying.

Drills to Cure Your Hook

Implementing a few simple practice drills trains your body and club to work together properly, eliminating your hook tendencies. Try these three drills to get the face square and body rotating fully:

One-Handed Swing

Swinging with just your lead arm encourages the proper shoulder turn through impact you want in your full swing. With only your left hand on the club, make rehearsal swings feeling your left shoulder rotate open down and through the ball.

Exaggerate the shoulder motion to really feel the required body rotation. Your right arm will naturally come through and guide the clubface square if you focus on the upper body work.

Split Grip Drill

Taking your trail hand off the club during practice swings frees up the lead hand and arm to fully rotate open. With a “split grip,” swing the club back and through feeling a full left shoulder turn and allowing the right to pull the arms and clubface into position.

Rotate your body open as fully as possible, keeping the clubface from closing. After several reps, put the right hand back on and make the same swing feeling that open body rotation. Keep the face square without flipping.

Feet Together Drill

Setting up with your feet touching trains the lower body to properly clear on the downswing. With no space between feet, rock your hips open on the backswing, clearing them forward as you swing through impact.

Let the momentum of the rotating lower body guide your swing, keeping the clubface from shutting. Make full swings with feet together, exaggerating hip and shoulder motion to correct overactive hands and arms.

Make Adjustments in Full Swing

After practicing those drills, start to widen your stance and grip positioning closer to a normal full swing. Keep feeling that full shoulder turn through impact, letting the body move first before the hands and arms respond.

Visualize the clubface staying square to the spine angle as you swing down and through rather than flipping closed. To counteract remaining hook tendency, continue aligning several degrees right of your target.

Monitor your ball flight and curvature to dial in the proper adjustments. If shots still dive left, strengthen your grip by small degrees or aim further right until you dial in straight ball flight.

Equipment Considerations

Beyond swing adjustments, your equipment specs can also contribute to a hook. Make sure your equipment complements your swing:

  • Shaft flex. Using too soft of a flex can lead to loss of control and clubface closure. Stiffening the shaft slightly can maintain face angles and straighten ball flight.
  • Launch conditions. If your shots launch too low or with excessive spin, hooks can exaggerate. Check loft, shaft, and other fitting specs to optimize launch.

Implement Changes Through Practice

Curing your hook and hitting target-bound shots is a process requiring deliberate practice. Put in the time on the driving range to retrain your swing with the proper feel and motions.

Then when you take it to the course, remain patient through occasional relapses. Stick with your grip adjustments, setup alignment, and focus on turning the body fully through each shot. Keeping the clubface from closing excessively will eliminate left side woes.

Key Takeaways

  • A closed clubface relative to swing path causes hooks. Check for strong grip and improper rotation.
  • Use neutral grip and aim several degrees right to allow an out-to-in path.
  • Drills like one-hand swings teach proper rotation and release.
  • Make gradual changes to full swing mechanics through practice.
  • Equipment adjustments like added shaft flex can also help straighten shots.

The good news is a hook is very fixable when you understand what causes it. Implementing grip, alignment, and swing adjustments along with targeted practice drills will have you hitting the fairway again in no time. Be patient with the process, trust the changes, and you’ll eliminate that left-side miss once and for all.

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