Golf Hook Explained
For golfers that slice the ball regularly, the golf draw or even a hook seems like the holy grail. The golf slice has more of a negative connotation, while the golf hook seems to be held in higher regard. The slice seems to be more associated with amateurs and beginners, and since we’re all a little conscientious of our golf swings and wanting to look good (as well as play good)…we want to shake that stereotype.
A fade and draw both have equally important uses on the golf course, and if you can play them both and mean to do it when you want to and vice versa, golf becomes easier and more fulfilling. But for those that can only fade or slice the ball, you want to know the secrets. How do they do it?
The difference between a draw and a hook is a matter of perspective I suppose, but basically it comes down to the amount the ball goes left (or right for lefties). There really is no threshold defined that says if you hit it “x amount” left, then it’s a draw…and if you hit it “y amount” left, it’s a hook. In my experience, if the shot turns out good, then it was a draw. If it ends up being a bad shot, then it was a hook. I don’t hear too many people say, “well, I drew the ball out-of-bounds”. Of course not….they’ll say “I hooked it out-of-bounds”. By the same token, if someone is aiming right, and planning to bring the ball back to the left around a tree or something, they’ll say they drew the ball around the tree. While on the previous hole, they may have hit a shot that drew just as much, but landed in the bunker…they’ll say “I hooked it in the bunker”. In my experience, a hook and a draw can be used synonomously, but usually a hook means that it was a bad shot and draw means it was a good shot. I tend to view a draw as anything less than a 15 yards or so. Anything much more than that distance, it’s a hook in my book.
A draw or hook results when you’re able to impart topspin on the golf ball at impact. And we’ll get into that a little bit further down this page. Okay, you’re saying enough already, “how do I hit a draw”? It really comes down to three main things:
- Shift your weight properly back to your left side at impact.
- Roll your right forearm over your left at impact.
Sounds simple right? Well, it is for the most part, but if you’ve never felt what this feels like to make this happen, it can be tricky, and I know what you’re thinking…”easy for you to say”. I know what it feels like to slice the ball…I’ve been a slicer, and it’s tough to get over the hump and get the ball rolling the other way until you can feel what it feels like. I can’t really help you feel what it should feel like, but I can try to explain it the best I can, and I can suggest that you have a look at this DVD that will explain every facet of the grip, stance, backswing, downswing and follow through that will put you in position to do the three things I mentioned above. If you truly want to reverse that slice and be able to draw the golf ball, you should have a look at teaching pro, Bobby Eldridge’s “How to Draw the Ball” video. This isn’t some “home video”, Bobby’s a teaching pro and has been for over 30 years, and really breaks down the golf swing and tailors it specifically to help you draw the ball.
At the same time this video is a “how to draw the ball” video, it’s also an “anit-slice” video. And he explains why you slice the ball, and the cures for that to help you fix your slice. I’d highly recommend you give it a look. In fact, here’s a brief sample of what you can expect from it…
Let’s explore the “inside-out” approach. This is the ideal approach to the game of golf when viewed through the eyes of a notorious slicer. You may not understand it quite yet, but you soon will. The belief that many golfers have is t
hat by hitting the ball from an inside to out path, they will hit the ball further to the right because that’s the way the club head is traveling through impact. If you think this way, you’re not alone. But the exact opposite is true of what we talked about on the golf slice page. As you approach the impact zone of your swing, you will ideally want to have the club head traveling from the inside, then striking the ball and finishing on the outside of the ball. By doing this and supplying the correct wrist turn which we will talk about later, you will impact the ball just so that results in the right to left spin (hook spin). So even though your ball may start out to the right, it will spin back to the left more often than not.
The ball is sitting completely still just before impact. And the club head speed you generate during your swing will cause that little golf ball to do exactly what your swing tells it to do. And the closer you can make your swing to being right on line (on line with that imaginary line we drew through the ball earlier that points right at your target) the straighter you will hit the ball. If golf were this easy, it would be great. But there are a couple of other major aspects of the swing that we will discuss later that will make it all come together.
If you’ve never seen a golf ball compress at impact, view it here. The golf ball is pretty hard to the touch, but when impacted by a driver or other golf club, that ball is at the club’s mercy. And this video can help explain why a golf ball goes the direction it does. The moment of impact on the golf ball gathers the data of the following: the angle of the clubface (both loft and skew), the angle of the swing path, and the swing speed. And in a millisecond, computes that data and then puts the associated spin on the ball that you just told it to based on your golf swing.
You can imagine now that if your club face is open at impact, the ball is going to compress a little more on the left side of the ball, and the right side of the ball is going to get less compression in relation to the left side of the ball. What results is that the left side of the ball leaves the tee at a slightly faster pace than the right side of the ball. When this happens, the golf ball has all sorts of sidespin. And just like a slider in baseball, where the seams on the ball grab the air and make the ball go sideways, the golf ball’s dimples essentially grab the air and the spin on the ball makes the ball go the way your swing told it to.
Conversely, for a golf hook or draw, when you hit the ball from an inside approach and at the same time, your right wrist is rolling over your left wrist at impact, you’re closing the club face down at impact. When you close the club face down at impact, this video can help illustrate what kind of effect that that simple move at impact will have on the ball. We can plainly see in this illustration that the ball actually sits on the club face for at least three frames of the video. It’s sitting compressed on the face. And if for a fraction of a second, the ball is sitting on the face, any rotation of the club face to the closed position is going to impart right to left spin, or draw spin on the ball. Because the ball sits on the face of the club for a fraction of a second, any movement of the club face to the open or closed position that takes place while the ball is sitting on the club face, will be magnified once the ball leaves the face of the club.
There it is right there. That’s how the moment of impact affects your golf ball. The tricky part to this game is doing most everything else that leads up to and follows the moment of impact correctly to be able to repeat that swing over and over again to the point that you can trust it.
Bobby’s video will lay out the drills and tips to make all those correct moves that will culminate in the desired result when it comes to the moment of impact. That’s where the truth will be told.
The draw shot is more desired for most because it goes farther. For most amateurs and many pros alike, length is sexy on the golf course…it’s macho, and we all want bragging rights that we can hit the ball farther than the other guy. The draw certainly has it’s time and place, but it’s not always the shot you want to hit, especially when you want the ball to stop. But we’ll get into how that happens on other pages.
Ponder this information for a bit, and try to come to grasps with the physics of the golf swing. The first time I saw a ball compress the way it does at impact, I was shocked. It really made more sense of how much spin the ball could actually have. Hope that illustration was helpful. If you’re still struggling, let the How to Hit a Draw DVD drill the points home that you’ll need to put the necessary pieces of your swing into motion.