3 of 5 | < Previous Next >

Dealing with the Golf Pull Hook Part 3

Hitting a pull can certainly be frustrating and damaging to your score, but hitting a pull hook is an even bigger problem. Rather than just flying on a straight line to the left of your target, the pull hook will start out on that line and then hook even farther into trouble. Most commonly the pull hook is a problem dealt with off the tee, but it can technically strike with any club in the bag.

The cause of a pull hook isn’t all that much different from the regular pull in that the club face is still pointed to the left of the target. However, the notable difference is that with a pull hook, the club face is also closed in relation to the path of the club head through impact. So, if you make a swing where the club face is pointed left of the target at impact but the club head is swinging along a path that points to the right of the target, a pull hook is the sure outcome. When this is done with a driver, the result is one of the ugliest shots that you can find on the golf course.

You might be surprised to learn that the cause of a pull hook is actually the opposite of the causes that we looked at for a pull. In fact, this is one of the things that makes a pull hook so tricky to fix for many players – they assume it is coming from the same mistake as a pull, but that is usually not the case. Rather than being caused by a lack of rotation in the lower body, a pull hook typically results from lower body rotation that is too fast. When your lower body races out ahead of your upper body – and the club – the result is commonly a wild pull hook.

This certainly complicates things for the golfer. If you don’t rotate fast enough, you will hit a pull. If you rotate too quickly, you will fight a pull hook. Golf is known as a hard game for a reason. In order to avoid either of these dreaded ball flights, you have to find a timing and tempo that lands safely in the middle of these two extremes. It is possible to achieve, of course, but it can be difficult to find that perfect timing that leads to a straight shot.

Where the problems that lead to a pull are usually mechanical, the issues that lead to a pull hook are often psychological. Specifically, it is an effort to hit the ball as hard as possible that frequently leads to a golf pull hook. Many golfers, when they reach the top of their backswing, start to think about how far they want to hit the shot and suddenly try to accelerate their swing down toward impact. This sudden burst of speed is usually transferred to the lower body, which starts to spin as fast as possible toward the target. If your arms and hands aren’t able to keep up with this speed, you will hit a pull hook.

The solution? Better tempo. Distance isn’t a result of raw power, but rather an even tempo that allows you to build speed gradually throughout the swing. Your focus should always be more on making solid contact than hitting the ball as far as possible. Control is more important than power in golf, so focus your efforts on creating a reliable swing that has an even tempo from start to finish. You just might be surprised at how far you are able to hit the ball when you don’t even feel like you are swinging that hard. And best of all, the pull hook should be a thing of the past.