For beginners and many amateur golfers hitting straight shots on a regular basis can be very challenging. One of the shots that many golfers, and even the best players in the world, hate is that dreaded hook.
That dreaded hook doesn’t listen when you tell it to stop or sit down, it has a mind of its own. And your chances of finding your ball again after hitting that dreaded shot are very slim most of the time.
The dreaded hook can be caused by a number of different swing faults, but before we tackle the technical swing issues that cause a hook it is important to understand the physics behind why that hook shot sticks its head out during the round.
In order to understand why the golf ball hooks to the left one has to understand what club path and face angle means. Once you have an understanding of those two concepts along with the different ball flight laws that moves the ball from right to left, then one can take the next step of fixing the technical issues that cause the dreaded hook.
Hook Swing Club Path and Face Angle Explained
The club path can be described as the path that the club head travels during the golf swing. Ideally if there is a straight line between the golf ball and the target then a perfect club path will be if the clubhead moves along that line during the swing.
A inside to out club path is when the club head moves towards the right of the target after impact, and an outside to in club path is when the clubhead moves towards the left of the target after impact.
The angle of the club face in relation to the club path is also important to understand.
Assuming that the club gets swung with a straight clubface, If the middle of the club face is pointing towards the left of the target at impact then the clubface is closed, if the clubface is pointing towards the right of the target then the clubface is open.
That dreaded hook makes an appearance when a player swings the club either with a very outside to in club path and in combination with a closed clubface. The dreaded hook also appears when the club face angle is very closed in relation to the club path.
Thus there could be instances where the ball hooks with either an in to out or an out to in path, whether the ball hooks or not all depends on the club face angle in relation to the club path.
In order to determine if it is the club path or club face angle that is causing that dreaded hook there are a couple of determining factors to look at. If the hook is caused by an out to in club path with a closed club face then the ball will start left of the target and move even further left.
If the ball starts to the right of the target and then all of a sudden it hooks towards the left then the hook is caused by a swing path that is in to out with a clubface that is very closed in relation to the path. The direction of a players divot is also a good indicator of club path. Divots that point to the right of the target are caused by an out to in swing and vice versa.
How to fix the hook
Once you have determined the cause of your hook then you can launch a plan of action to fix it. For players that struggle with swinging the club on the correct path a good way to hit balls on the range will be with an alignment stick along the ground that is aimed at your target.
The goal is to try and swing along the line of the stick on the ground, this will help with improving your club path.
For players that have a closed face at impact it will normally mean that their hands are very active during the golf swing and that they flick the clubface over.
In order to quiet down the hands during the golf swing a good drill to do is the split grip drill. Grip the club and split your hands so that they don’t touch each other on the grip, thus the bottom hand will grip the club below the top hand.
Tee up some golf balls and hit a few like that to get the feeling of keeping the hands quiet and the clubface open during impact.
That dreaded hook can be tough to deal with, before you go into a panic about it take the time to identify why you struggle with that shot and then take the necessary time to work on fixing it.
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