A golf hook can be compared to Pele’s ‘banana kick’ in football. In the case of a right hander, when the golf ball strays severely, from the right to the left, it is referred to as a hook. Where left handers are concerned, the ball would sway from left to right. The golf hook is, more often than not, referred to as an error made by beginners. Of course, professional golfers may deliberately use this method to place the golf ball where required.
It is by doing a lot of practice that beginning golfers lose the golf hook. It is important to hold the club in a firm grip, and make sure the surface of the club does not end up pointing in the wrong direction as it strikes the ball. It is the lower hand (the right hand in case of right handers) that controls the basic power and direction of the stroke, and this needs to have a really firm grip on the club. The other hand provides support to this. At the same time, don’t overdo the whole thing by holding the club in such a tight grip that the muscles on your entire arm are tensed, this will immediately affect your swing. Be comfortable and firm.
Your swing needs to be smooth and comfortable, ending over the shoulder level. Practice swinging the club over and over without the ball. While playing the shot, many beginners make the mistake of ‘stopping’ the swing once the ball is struck. Avoid this, and complete the swing, giving a nice follow through after the club connects to the ball. Also, remember that your body needs to move in the direction where you intend for the ball to travel. If this is not maintained, the stroke looks and definitely results, in a very clumsy effort.
Like any other sport, golf requires intense practice. One way golf is different is that it is a sport where you don’t react on the spur of the moment. For example, a cricket player needs to strike the ball very much with a subconscious effort. But a golfer has all the time in the world to plan and execute his stroke. That’s why it is nice to be able to visualize the shot before you play it. Look at the area where you want the ball to travel to, plan out what stroke you will need to play, and imagine yourself making a clean hit with a good follow through, that does you the job!
At the end of your swing, if your weight is on your back foot, then there is no way the ball would not have landed where you didn’t intend for it to. This is the commonest of reasons for the hook, and can easily be corrected as long as a conscious effort is made. Keep in mind that during the swing, your weight starts on your back foot, and is transferred totally on the front foot, by the time it is completed. The toe of the back foot will point in the general direction where the ball lands.
Finally, a word on your stance. When your legs are close together, it makes you a little unsteady (try standing in a moving bus with your legs packed together and you’ll see!). Open up your stance to give that solidarity to your shot, and yeah, in the bus as well! The result of the golf hook is generally due to the last two reasons mentioned, and I stress on that. So make sure your weight is transferred to the front foot and open up your stance. These are the last tips I am parting with you help you perfect your golf game.
Joseph Tierney is a golfer and college student from Florida. You can find out more about improving your golf swing at Golf Swing Tips