A hook shot in golf can be a very destructive shot, particularly from the tee. Find out how the hands control a hook with this golf tip.
A hook shot in golf can be described for a right handed golfer as follows (please reverse for a left handed golfer). It is a shot where the golf ball is struck and starts out to the right of the golfer's intended target but then curves in the air uncontrollably from right to left before finishing to the left of the intended target. The golf ball, during the shot, often flies low to the ground and rolls a substantial distance after it has landed.
A hook is usually caused when the club head, instead of travelling straight through the ball towards the target, travels across the golf ball in an ‘in to out’ or an 'inside' motion - that is left to right across the ball. As the club head is travelling from left to right across the golf ball, the club face is pointing to the left of the target (a ‘closed’ club face). This relationship causes a glancing hit across the ball imparting spin that makes the ball curve in the air severely from right to left. For a left handed golfer these actions are all reversed.
To remedy a hook shot, the golfer does not need to change all characteristics of the shot. It is not necessarily a bad thing for the club head to approach the golf ball from the ‘inside’ to travel left to right across the ball. This is a very powerful action as the golf club is sling-shotting into the ball from behind the body, meaning that the golf club can travel at great speed through the ball. This action also generates good rotation of the club face allowing the golfer to work the hands through the ball to produce a straight or drawing shot at will. Therefore, it is beneficial to keep the club head approaching the golf ball on that angle. Instead the focus can be put on the control of the club face.
The curving action of the ball means that at the impact position in a hook shot, the club face is pointing too far to the left or 'closed'. This indicates that the hands are being used too excessively through the impact area and are travelling too fast into the ball. This is caused by the right hand crossing over the left hand too early before the club head reaches the ball. If the golfer controls the hands then the golfer controls the club face and the hook shot can be eliminated.
As an exercise to control the action of the hands through the golf ball, hit some golf balls using much slower, shorter swings than normal. Get a feeling for the rolling action of the hands through the impact area and try to sense when the right hand overtakes the left and the forearms cross over.
Hit five golf balls using a normal swing. Now hit five more golf balls but this time do not let the right hand cross over the left at all. Hold the club face to the right of target at impact and push the ball out to the right as far as it is possible to. Following the five golf balls that have been hit to the right of the target, take another five golf balls and this time, roll the right hand over the left too early turning the club face to the left of target and hit these golf balls away to the left as much as possible. Once these shots have been completed both extremes have been felt, one with too much rotation and one with too little rotation. Finally, take five golf balls and control the club face correctly through the golf ball. Feel at what point the hands need to correctly rotate so that the club face points straight at the target at the impact position. Hit these five golf balls as straight as possible. Repeat this exercise if needs be.
This exercise gives the golfer the feel of the rotation of the club face through the impact area and helps the golfer to time the turning of the hands through the ball to achieve this. The two extremes of hitting right and left allow the golfer to feel the middle ground and hit the ball straight.
When you are more confident with the smaller swing, lengthen the golf swing up to normal and repeat the exercise but this time hit 10 straight shots.
This is a great drill to allow the golfer to control the speed of the hands at the impact position and therefore control the club face through the ball to stop a hook shot.