Curing a hook and what causes a hook in golf
Just about all golfers fear a shank. In reality though, they are an easy fix when you know the causes. It's not often that a shank will pop up randomly either.
They seem to come in groups (one shank loves another) and go on for a while. Once fixed, they usually go away and don't come back.
For higher handicappers misses such as whiffs and tops give them much more grief.
For skilled players however, it's the hook that is one of the most bothersome misses in the game.
Hooks can occur at any time and are dangerous miss hits as they are extremely difficult to control.
Finding and fixing what causes a hook in golf is crucial for low to high handicappers alike.
There are two types of hooks in golf:
1) A pull hook
2) A true hook
Here we are going to discuss the true hook, it's causes and corrections you can make if you are hooking the ball whether it be your tee shot or your approach shot into the green.
A true hook in golf is a shot that starts out to the right of your target (for right handed players) or starts straight, but then curves back to the left.
This is caused by a combination of club path through impact and face alignment at impact.
Growing up we were all taught that the ball starts in the direction of your path (where the clubhead is travelling) and then curves and ends up in the direction of where your clubface was at impact.
We know now with the advent of launch monitors and increases in technology that it's really the face that has the biggest influence, 75% of the influence in fact with your irons and 85% with your driver.
So simply put, if your club face is shut at impact, your ball is probably going to hook and if you swung on an inside/out path, you can call it a true hook.
If you swung on an outside/in path and got the face closed at impact you could call it a pull hook.
To correct a true hook you need to figure out why you are swinging inside/out through impact and getting the face closed.
This requires a close investigation of your grip, posture, alignment, swing path/plane and release.
If hooking is your problem you want to make sure that you don't have an overly strong grip.
This means that you don't want to have your hands and forearms turned away from the target too much at impact.
The V's that form between your thumb and index finger on each hand should point more straight up at address rather than towards your rear shoulder.
If you are leaning back too much on your rear side or getting your rear shoulder too low at impact it's going to encourage an excessive inside takeaway.
Make sure that you feel more stacked (shoulders on top of hips) and that your weight is 50/50 with your irons and just a bit more on your backside 40/60 with your driver.
If you are hooking you are most likely aiming to the right of your target (for right handed players).
This encourages an inside/out path in relation to your target line.
Check to make sure that you are setting up square to your target line with your feet, knees, hips, shoulders and forearms.
The last thing you want to do when you are hooking is get the club behind you too much and get it trapped.
Swinging too far inside/out through impact will only encourage a hook.
Try keeping the club and your arms in front of your chest throughout the swing. It's where they started at address, so don't change that relationship.
Imagine there is a wall lined up with the ball of your feet and don't crash into the wall in the takeaway. Work your club up the wall and then down again as you swing into the ball.
Keeping your swing on the right golf swing plane is vital to stopping you hooking the golf ball.
Losing your timing or sequence through impact can certainly cause the club face to shut too quickly.
Be sure to keep a solid kinematic sequence in your swing allowing body parts to fire in the correct order.
That means you start your downswing from the ground up firing your hips first, then your shoulders, then your arms and then your hands.
If you get out of sequence and start firing with your upper body first in the downswing it's easy to get the face closed.
What you need to do next
Hopefully the above guide will help you to quickly diagnose what causes a hook in golf and work your way out of it.
Start by evaluating your set up because each link is only as good as the one before it.
If you start neutral, you can swing neutral, but if you start out of whack then your entire swing will be one compensation after another. That sure keeps things interesting, but we golfers prefer to be boring!
Maria Palozola is a Top 50 Instructor with the LPGA and is also ranked by Golf Digest as a Top 5 instructor in the state of Missouri.
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