How to Fix a Hook in Golf
A hook in golf is a shot that curves too sharply from left to right for the right-handed player and from right to left for the left-handed player. Typically, a hook shot occurs when the clubface does not stay square and closes at impact. However, there are a variety of things that can lead to a hook, such as an incorrect grip, a bad stance or swing plane, problems with alignment, or even physical limitations. A hook in golf is one of the most common errors golfers make, especially high handicappers.
If you currently have a hook on your shots and have been wondering how to fix it, this article can help you score lower and increase your overall enjoyment of the game.
Analyzing Your Golf Swing
The first part of any swing fix is to analyze what you're currently doing throughout your swing. If you don't have a trainer or coach, start by recording yourself at the range or having a friend record some of your swings on the course.
Let's review a few foundational elements of a good, non-hooking swing.
Setup and Stance
When setting up the golf ball, you want to ensure that you're in a good athletic posture with your knees slightly bent and about shoulder-width apart. Your arms want to be relaxed—not way out in front or too close to your body.
Your lead shoulder should be angled toward your target, with the ball teed up slightly forward, in line with the inside heel of your front foot (if you're using a driver).
One of the most common causes of hooks in golf is an incorrect grip or simply gripping the club too tightly. While grips vary among golfers, you will want to understand what grip you currently use and whether it should be altered to help you improve in your next round on the course.
There are three main types of golf club grips:
Neutral: If you look down at your grip and see 2 1/2 knuckles visible on your left hand (or right hand for left-handed golfers), you most likely have a neutral grip.
Strong: If you can see more than 2 1/2 knuckles, you have a strong grip.
Weak: If less than 2 1/2 knuckles are visible, you use a weak grip.
These grips are essential to understand because each one affects the club's face at impact in different ways.
Ideally, you want a neutral grip so that your clubface is square at impact, but if you prefer to use a strong grip, you will likely have to make adjustments in other parts of your swing to make up for your closed clubface at impact. Likewise, your club face is more likely to be open at impact with a weak grip.
You can use your time at the range to test different grips or determine which grip you like to use the most, then make adjustments accordingly to avoid hook shots. Better yet, you can test out what grip you like on a high-quality putting green.
Once you have your ideal setup, it's time to consider your takeaway and swing path and how those affect your ball's flight.
In golf, the takeaway is how you start your swing—you're bringing the club backward to gain energy with a downswing. But it's not as simple as just taking it back and throwing it forward again. The takeaway plays a crucial role in how your club gets back to the ball and what position your body and the club face are in.
The first sign of a good takeaway is when the club is parallel to the ground. You want the club face to be at an angle that is parallel to your upper torso—not straight up and down and not facing the turf.
Next, as you bring the club up and hinge your wrist, you want to control the club face by not allowing your wrists to cup inward or bow outward. A good image is to imagine using a hammer. You hinge your wrist straight up and down—not in or out. If you cup your wrist, you'll have an open club face, and if you bow it away from you, your club face will be more closed.
After the takeaway, we have the swing path. This is the path the club takes as you come back to address the ball. For many golfers who struggle with hooks (or slices), their swing path tends to be more out-to-in, causing their club face to come across the ball. Ideally, your swing path should be from in to out so that you make contact with the ball as your club head continues away from your body.
As you can imagine, when you have a situation where your club face is open (or closed) and you have a swing path that causes your club face to open (or close) even more, you can have a lot of trouble knowing where the ball is going to fly after impact.
Here are a few ways you can improve your swing path and train yourself to swing from in to out:
Use a headcover: Place a headcover under your right arm (or left arm if you are left-handed). During your swing, you want your trail arm to stay tucked into your body throughout the swing until after impact. If the head cover falls out before making contact with the ball, you lose that connection and likely take the club path over the top instead of inside out. Practice this several times at the driving range to get a better feel.
Aim for the inside of the golf ball: Another way to help you swing inside out is to look at the inside corner of the golf ball and try to hit that spot with your club face instead of trying to hit the ball squarely. This can force your arms to stay inside longer and make better in-to-out contact with the ball.
Start the swing with your legs: One common mistake high-handicap golfers make is not using their legs and hips enough in their swings. Instead, they mostly use their arms. At the top of your swing, instead of throwing your arms back toward the ball, rotate and pivot with your back knee (and foot) to start the swing with your lower body. Your arms will follow soon behind, and you'll likely be on a better swing path than if you begin your downswing with just your arms.
Ideally, your pelvis should be facing your target after your swing, not where the golf ball was set up.
These are just a few ways you can fix a hook in golf. Next time you're on the golf range or practicing your swing at home, consider your setup, grip, takeaway, and swing path. Once you have those in ideal positions, you will stop hooking the ball and start scoring better on the course.
To lower your scores even further, consider practicing your putting at home on a premium indoor putting mat.