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.

How To Stop Hooking - Correct Hand Speed - Senior Golf Tip 1

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.

Correct Hand Speed to Stop Hooking

Correct Hand Speed to Stop Hooking

There is nothing fun about hitting a hook. If you think the slice is the worst ball flight pattern in golf, think again – hitting just a few hooks will have you wishing you could produce a slice. Why is a hook so bad? It comes down to backswing, or a lack thereof. When you hit a slice, your ball is curving dramatically off line, but it also has a high rate of backspin. That backspin will prevent the ball from going very far once it lands. The story is different with a hook. Hooked shot, especially with the driver, have very low backspin rates. When the shot hits the ground, it will bounce and roll aggressively – usually until it finds trouble. There is almost no way to play good golf with a hook in your game, so this mistake needs to be corrected as soon as possible.

Just like the slice, hitting a hook can be extremely frustrating as you will likely have trouble determining the cause of the mistake at first. There are a number of potential causes for a hook, meaning you have to sort through all of the possibilities before you can arrive at a confident conclusion. As you would guess from the title, this article is going to look specifically at the possibility that your hand speed is causing you to hit a hook. Without question, the way you use your hands through the hitting area is key when trying to produce straight golf shots. There are a couple different ways in which your hands can lead you to hit a hook, and we will look at both of those options later in the article.

While it is true that the hook is not as common as the slice in the amateur game, there are still plenty of players who deal with this mistake. In fact, it is often the case that a player who has been working hard to eliminate his or her slice will wind up with a hook after making some changes. The swings needed to create a hook or a slice are polar opposite, so you could work your way into a hook after years of changing your technique to wipe out the slice. If that sounds like your current situation, don't despair – once you work out what it is that is causing your hook, you should finally be able to achieve the ball flight you desire.

To keep yourself motivated while you work on eliminating your hook, remember the fact that a hook swing is quite close to a solid, reliable move. In order to hit a hook, you have to be doing a lot of things right within your swing – you are just making one or two key mistakes. The path from a hook to a good ball flight is shorter than when trying to get rid of a slice. Stick with it, be open to making adjustments, and look forward to making your hook a thing of the past.

All of the instruction below is written from the perspective of a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

Two Types of Speed

Two Types of Speed

In the title of the article, we suggest that using the 'correct hand speed' is an option for eliminating your hook. But what does that mean? What is hand speed, and how does it lead to hooking the golf ball quickly to the left? There are actually two different definitions of hand speed, and each can lead to a hook if you aren't careful.

The first type of hand speed is the sheer speed that your hands are carrying through the hitting area. How quickly are your hands moving from right to left as they tear through the bottom of the swing on the way to the finish? Some golfers are able to generate tremendous hand speed through a combination of natural talent and plenty of practice – while others bring their hands through quite slow.

Unfortunately, slow hands will frequently lead to a hook. When your hands slow down through the hitting area, the rest of your body (usually) keeps turning to the left. That means that while your hands are slowing down, the club face is still turning closed (left) as you rotate through the swing. Since your hands have slowed down, the actual moment of impact will be delayed, and the club face will very likely be closed to the target line by the time you reach the ball. In the end, a hook will be the result, even though you won't feel like you really did anything wrong in your swing.

The other type of hand speed relates to the release of your hands through the ball, and it can be equally as damaging. However, in this case, the issue is with your hands moving too quickly. When your hands are too quick to release the club head at the bottom of the swing, the club face will turn over too quickly and you will hit a hook. This is a particularly frustrating way to hit the ball because everything else in your swing is probably working just fine. You will have gotten to an excellent position at the bottom, only to let the club flip over at the last possible second. Needless to say, learning how to avoid this error is going to go a long way toward straightening out your flight pattern.

So, in review – you want your hands to move fast through the hitting area in terms of right to left motion, but you need to make sure they are not too fast when it comes to the release. If you are hitting a hook, how do you know which one of these mistakes you are making? Pay attention to whether or not you are hitting the ball fat. When you regularly hit behind the ball in addition to hitting a hook, you can bet that the motion of your hands is losing speed as you approach impact. The club is both slowing down and turning over, making it likely that you will catch turf before the ball.

On the other hand, players with an overactive release are more likely to hit the ball thin than fat. The action of your right hand rolling over your left can actually lift the club head slightly, exposing the leading edge of the club to the ball. When you slow down your release a bit, that action won't take place until after the ball is gone, and you will be able to make solid contact on a routine basis.

The challenge that you face in eliminating your hook should now be obvious – you need to slow down the release of your hands without slowing down their movement through the hitting area from right to left. That is a chore which is easier said than done. Striking the right balance is not going to be easy, however it is certainly possible. Throughout the rest of this article, we will offer advice on how you can use your hands just right to avoid any ugly hooks in upcoming rounds.

Keep Your Hands Moving to the Left

Keep Your Hands Moving to the Left

First up, we are going to tackle the topic of moving your hands from right to left through the hitting area. You don't want to let up at all during this part of the swing, as this is your one chance to apply as much power to the back of the golf ball as possible. Players who move through the hitting area with aggression usually can launch the ball well down the fairway. Those who don't, however, struggle to produce enough power to keep up with today's long golf courses.

To make sure you are keeping your hands moving properly, follow the advice below.

  • Commit to the shot. There is nothing more important you can do from a mental perspective than to commit to the shot at hand. Having any doubt in the back of your mind as to the quality of the upcoming shot is only going to limit your potential on the course. Once you pick a club and decide on a target, there is no room for doubt anywhere in your mind. Dedicate yourself completely to the task at hand, make a confident and aggressive swing, and trust that the ball is going to go exactly where you expect. Will every shot be a good one? No – of course not. There should be more good ones than bad ones, however, as long as you are confident and you keep your hands moving cleanly through the hitting area.
  • Turn the rest of your body. Your hands cannot do this job alone. In addition to moving your hands through the hitting area, you need to be moving the rest of your body to the left with conviction. Keep your hips turning hard to the left, drive your right knee in toward your left, and keep that right shoulder moving as well. The golf swing is a 'team' effort, meaning all of the different parts of your body need to work together to send the ball on its way. Amateur golfers are notorious for using their hands only to hit their shots, which explains why so many golfers lack any kind of power from the tee. Not only will you be able to eliminate your hook if you keep things moving, but you will be able to hit the ball farther as well.
  • Think about acceleration. If you would like to have a word in your mind to focus on during your swing, let it be this – accelerate. This is a great keyword to use during your swing because it accurately describes what you should be doing as the club moves down toward the ball. It is easy to just coast into impact with the club moving at about the same speed for the last couple of feet, but that isn't going to help you strike the ball with authority. By picking up speed as you go, your shots will be hit harder, and they will be less likely to hook as well. Not only is this a good key for your full swing, it is also a good point of focus for your short game as well.

The information in this section can help you do more than just eliminate the hook from your game. Yes, this advice is great for reducing or eliminating the chances of hitting a quick hook to the left, but it will also make you a better ball striker overall. You should hit cleaner shots when you keep your hands moving through the hitting area, and you should hit the ball farther as well. Take each of these three points and work on them during your next practice session. With any luck, your tendency to hit a hook will quickly become a thing of the past.

Slow Down the Release

Slow Down the Release

Now that we have dealt with the task of keeping your hands moving from right to left through the hitting area, we can move on to the issue of the release. Specifically, finding a way to slow down your release enough to avoid hitting a hook out of an otherwise solid golf swing. This is a tricky point, as you don't want to completely stop releasing the club – but you can't allow the quick release to continue on, either. Finding a way to 'walk the line' between those two extremes is your task with regard to this part of your swing.

When you are ready to get started on this point, please use the tips below to guide your practice sessions.

  • Back of the left wrist is key. During your downswing, it should be relatively easy to feel the position of your left wrist. Specifically, you need to be aware of the position of the back of your left wrist, which is where the stability in your swing is located. A flat and strong left wrist through the hitting area is a great thing, as that feature alone will almost certainly stop you from flipping the club over at impact. Do your best to keep your left wrist firm at impact, because the back of your left wrist is going to mirror the position of the club face. If your left wrist is strong at impact, the club face will be as well. Start practicing this concept by hitting some short chip shots and gradually work your way up to full swings.
  • Relax your grip pressure. When you want the club to freely move through the ball without too much input from your hands, the best thing you can do is relax your grip pressure. Taking pressure out of your fingers will lessen the control that they exert over the club, meaning the club should be slower to release through impact. You do need to hold on tight enough to keep the club in your hands, of course, but you really shouldn't be holding on any tighter than that. Again, this is another point which you can learn first by practicing your short game before moving out to the full range. Hit some putts and chip shots with a light grip and slowly hit longer and longer shots until you have a driver in your hands.
  • Trust your swing. Often, players will use an aggressive release at the bottom of the swing simply because they don't trust the moves they have made up until this point. If you aren't trusting your swing, you might flip the club head through the ball in the hopes of hitting a straight shot. This is why confidence is such an important thing on the golf course. Rather than fearing what is going to happen when you hit the ball, you should feel confident in your ability to send the shot directly at the target. Trust the mechanics of your swing, and believe in your ability overall. Build up confidence by hitting plenty of practice shots on the range and then call on that preparation when you are on the course. Trying to adjust your swing at the last instant isn't going to work anyway, so leave that idea behind and swing through the ball knowing you will succeed.

Slowing down your release without stopping your release is going to be a tall order. You can do it, but it is going to take some effort during practice. Golf is a hard game, so you should never expect meaningful changes to come about quickly. Dedicate yourself to correcting the errors which are leading to your hook and it will soon be an issue that is left in your rear view mirror.

Other Tips Related to the Hook

Other Tips Related to the Hook

For players dealing with the hook, it is hard to know which tip will be the one that gets your game back on track. To make sure we don't miss an important tip which may help you fix your game moving forward, we are going to offer a few miscellaneous points here in this final section. While working on fixing your hand speed to stop the hook, keep these keys in mind as well.

  • Stay behind the ball. It is easy to drift your body past the golf ball on the way down if you aren't careful. If there is more lateral motion in your swing than rotation, you will wind up too far to the left by the time impact arrives – and you may hit a hook due to your poor swing path. As you make your swing, think about keeping your head just slightly behind the position of the golf ball. When that happens, you can rest assured that your body hasn't moved too far left, and you should be on plane and set up for a good result.
  • Stop aiming to the right. One of the common adjustments made by a golfer who is fighting a hook is to aim way out to the right. This does make some sense on the surface, of course, as you would logically want to aim farther right if the ball is turning hard to the left. Unfortunately, aiming right is going to do very little to help your hook. A quick hook will turn hard left as soon as it leaves the face of your club, meaning that it will still end up in trouble on the left side of the hole – no matter how far to the right you decide to aim. Instead of using aim to compensate for the possibility of a hook, aim your shot at the target and trust that you are going to make a good swing. Sure, you still might hit a hook from time to time, but that aiming adjustment wasn't really helping you anyway. Stick with the proper aim for the shot and hand and swing with a belief that there will be no hook coming off your club.
  • Club selection is important. If you have one or two of your clubs which seem to produce a hook more than the others, stay away from those clubs when a hook will mean a bad result. For instance, on a hole which is lined with water on the left from tee to green, put down your hook-prone clubs and opt for a stick which you can trust to avoid the left side. This strategy doesn't mean you are 'afraid' of the golf course – it just means you are a smart player who knows your strengths and weaknesses.

It is never enjoyable to fight a hook. Many of your hooks will result in lost golf balls, and nearly all of them will result in lost strokes. Hitting a consistent hook has the potential to rob you of the enjoyment you get out of this game, so it is important to correct your technique as soon as possible. We hope the discussion about hand speed in this article will be a big help as you work to eliminate the hook from your list of ball flights. Good luck!