How to Stop Hooking the Ball and Become a Better Player

The goal of this article is to provide you with information that will help you understand how to stop hooking the ball, and rather develop your core shot into a draw on command when that is wished for. Have you ever heard of someone describe a slice as high and majestic? Probably not. Yet, how often is a high draw referred to as having majestic ball flight? Why is that? I believe there is a misconception among amateurs that if you hook the ball you are a better player. WRONG.

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How To Stop Hooking The Ball

(Photo: Taken by Torrey Wiley. License: Creative Common)

I remember being at a driving range clinic years ago, being put on by Scott Hoch. He was going through his clubs from wedge all the way up to driver. His shorter clubs were dead straight, but when he got to his 7 iron, his shot pattern was a consistent fade.

This continued all the way through his driver. It was then that some idiot in the crowd yelled, “What’s the matter, can’t you hook the ball”? To this, Scott dropped another bucket on the ground, grabbed his 7 iron again, and proceeded to hook 30 shots in a row, while he worked his way back up to his driver.

After much applause, he asked the gentlemen who had heckled him to come up. He took the microphone and said, “There is only about 5% of tour players who hook the ball like that…the other 95% of us win all the money”.

His point was reinforcing what Lee Trevino said, “You can talk to a slice, but a hook won’t listen”. As majestic as your hook/draw might look, it’s often difficult to control, both in flight and especially once it gets on the ground.

Is it a hook?

Before we go any further, we have to confirm that what you are describing is, in fact, a hook. A ball that ends up left of your target can, in fact, be merely a pull. The way to determine whether it is a hook or a pull is to watch the path of the ball closely. If it does not curve in the air, that is, if it flies straight into the trees like a frightened rabbit, then it’s a pull. If it is a hook, it will curve right to left as it continues into the abyss.

What causes an excessive hook?

Here are three things that can cause a hook: grip, setup, and swing path.

  • Grip

A strong grip can, in itself cause a hook. If you can see 3 or 4 fingers on your left hand in conjunction with your right hand (for right-handed players) moving underneath the club, this is a prescription for hooking the ball. Keep in mind that you can hit the ball straight with this grip. It just takes another adjustment elsewhere.

In the video below, the instructors from Me and My Golf discuss how your golf grip can cause a hook when it is too strong, and how this gives you a closed clubface throughout the backswing, downswing, and impact.  As described in the video, you want to ideally grip the club in such a way that it naturally gives you a clubface that has a parallel angle with your left arm, from a down the line view of the backswing.

  • Setup

The main thing to look at in your setup is what your clubface orientation is at address. If it is closed, that is, aiming somewhat left, then you will be inclined to hit the ball to the left.

  • Swing Path

In reality, there are only two types of swing paths. Inside out or outside in. An outside in path will impart left to right spin on the ball at impact, whereas, an inside out path will impart right to left spin on the ball. It is virtually impossible to have a neutral swing path. It’s like standing on a knife edge. There is an edge there, but getting there is nearly impossible.

Curing your hook

Everything I have been taught and everything I have read reinforces my theory about messing with a hook. Take it slow. A hook is something that you want to tinker with. It’s not like a slice that requires a colossal swing change.

Let’s take the first step into getting you to a neutral starting position. First, you must weaken your grip into a more neutral position. Look at your left hand. Make sure that you can only see two knuckles and that the “V” that your index finger and thumb form is pointing just inside your right shoulder. Next, turn your right hand more toward your target so that it covers your left thumb when you complete your grip. This is a neutral grip.

Make your setup neutral simply by making sure you are getting your clubface in a square position at address. Make sure both feet are the same distance from the ball and parallel to the target. Remember, square is relative to your aim. If you are aiming right with a square clubface, you will block it right. Conversely, aim left with a square clubface and you will pull it off target. Aim down the middle and square the clubface.

Because your swing path is hard to neutralize, let’s just try not to overemphasize your tendencies. With this article being about trying to fix your hook, let’s assume that you already have a somewhat inside out swing path. That being said, we need to try to decrease the severity of that swing path. We don’t necessarily want you to start coming outside in, we just want to ease you back toward neutral a bit.

In this video Mark Crossfield, PGA Golf Coach shows you how your grip and swing path can cause you to hook the golf ball, and how can you solve this.

Ben Hogan: How he stopped hooking the ball

Ben Hogan was younger and much smaller than the rest of the caddies at the Glen Garden Country Club. Because of the gamesmanship that went on amongst this group, he needed to develop a swing that would allow him to hit the ball as far as them. Many of their games revolved around distance, and I’m sure they tried to take advantage of the young lad.

The arid conditions of West Texas made for extremely hard fairways. He found that he had to almost snap hook the ball to maximize the roll he could get once it hit the ground. Imagine how the other older, bigger caddies must have felt when Hogan was taking their nickels from them. However, once he got older, he realized that his ball flight was virtually uncontrollable because of this sweeping hook, and he would have to eliminate his hook or find another career.

Here are some of the things that Hogan did in an attempt to stop hooking the ball. He used shafts that were stiffer than normal. He weakened the lofts on his clubs. He had a weak grip, especially with his left hand. All of these things would have virtually eliminated the left side of the golf course. These measures were, in fact, drastic and I would NOT recommend any player to take such drastic measures.

The reason they worked for Hogan is that he understood his golf swing better than anyone else ever had. In addition, he used to hit range balls until his hands bled. He was, in simple terms, a man possessed. Hogan used terms like pronation versus supination in ways that had never even been thought of before. Unless you want to travel down that road and become obsessed with your golf swing, try to keep it simple.

“Golf is golf. You hit the ball, you go find it. Then you hit it again.”

– Lon Hinkle –

In this video, Andy Proudman from Me and My Golf explains how your takeaway and backswing can cause a hook when the clubface is too closed. Like Ben Hogan did to get rid of his hook, and be able to play power fade shots, Andy Proudman shows you how letting your clubface rotate and open up more naturally in the backswing, will help you to avoid a dreaded hook.

For Ben Hogan, opening up his clubface and slightly cupping his left wrist towards the top of his golf swing, became one of his signature moves, and allowed him to hit with a follow through as hard as he wanted to the left in his swing, generating more power, while still never missing his shots to the left. He called it “feeling like you have a wall at the left of your target”, knowing that he would not miss to the left, no matter how hard he swung through the ball.

Hogans follow through signature move that allowed him to hit power fades

Below is the other signature move of Ben Hogan, described by The Golf Channels host Johnny Miller. This move allowed Hogan to play strong power fades, and follow through with this full power, along with how he also cupped his left wrist slightly to get a more open clubface at the top.

Why am I hooking my driver?

There are two things that usually contribute to hooking the driver. They are mistakes that are prevalent with the rest of your clubs as well, it is just more noticeable with your driver. These two things are clubface angle and swing path. If your clubface angle is, say, 20 degrees closed left, and your swing path is, say, 20 degrees to the right, that differential is what I like to refer to as a -40. Your goal is to minimize those two numbers in an effort to get your differential to, say, a -15. Here is a drill to help with that.

Drill : Don’t smash the head cover

This is a very simple drill that can be done repeatedly on the driving range, as long as you don’t run out of head covers…lol. Place your head cover a bit in front of the ball and a bit to the right of your target line. We would like to develop a baseline here, so if you do in fact miss the head cover, gradually move it to a point where you do hit it. This is your swing path. Chances are, this path is way out to the right.

The purpose of this drill is to get that head cover to a spot where the swing path is more manageable. Ideally, that swing path should be no more than 10 degrees right of your target line. Remember, your inside out swing path is a good thing. But, too much in that direction, combined with a closed clubface will contribute to snap hooking your driver.

Turn your uncontrollable hook into a majestic draw

In all honesty, to take your game to the next level, you should be able to draw the ball. The key here is to develop a swing where your draw does not up and surprise you. There have been times in my golfing career when I didn’t always know where my ball was going to go. My best buddy once asked me where I got my RSG driver and how much it cost.

I didn’t want to seem ignorant of a potentially new fancy driver on the market that I somehow had in my bag, so I played dumb and said,”RS what”? To which he replied, “RSG…you know…Random Shot Generator”. Hey, what are buddies for? It’s because of the ribbing we get from our friends that we strive to get rid of the things they can ridicule us about.


Ball forward

Change your ball position. Most players that hook the ball have the ball back too far in their stance. While at the range, keeping everything else the same, gradually move the ball forward in your stance. If this alone fixes your hook, then be happy. This fix, by itself, has the possibility to ease your hook into a draw.

Widen your stance

If you are having a problem with snap hooking, one thing that may be going on is that you are losing your spine angle. Your hips are sliding towards the target instead of rotating, and your weight hangs back. This causes you to release the club early and close the face.

Setup with your driver in hand. Take a wider than normal stance. This will bring your right shoulder down and lower your center of gravity. Take ¾ swings to start. This extra wide stance should help you stay down and encourage a forward weight shift. Once you get the feeling of maintaining your spine angle and transferring your weight, go to full swings and see what happens.

Shorten your grip

With your 6 iron, shorten your grip so that your bottom hand is almost touching the metal. Swing normally at the ball. If you don’t keep your hands low while keeping your rear end down, you won’t make solid contact.

Tee in hand

While gripping your club, insert a tee between your two hands where the big muscle of your right thumb meets the muscle or inner part of your left thumb in your grip. Take this to the range. Hit balls and make sure that the tee does not come out in the middle of your swing.

What this accomplishes is to keep the heel of your right palm on the grip so that you don’t snap your wrists in a compensatory movement. In its overexaggerated state, this would actually cause you to block the ball to the right.  But, we are assuming that you are working on getting rid of your snap hook.


No more duck hooks. Yay! Just remember what I said earlier in this article. Working on your hook problem is to be done slowly. Don’t try to fix it in one fell swoop. Tinker a bit. Don’t be too upset if it seems like you have to take baby steps in battling your hook. Ideally, you would like to be able to have a draw on command, instead of a Random Shot Generator.

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About the author

John Scott

John Scott is a 3 hcp elite golfer and certified club fitter, with over 40 years of golf experience. He is a former Club Champion at Priddis Greens, 2 times Champion of Chinook Valley Mens Open, former Alberta Interclub Champion, and a professional golf writer.