The hook is just awesome. It’s one of the few shots in golf where you can make the ball turn over very severely with some element of control. Take Bubba’s shot in this year’s Masters. There is no way he could have pulled that shot off if he was right handed. You simply cannot slice a ball and make it turn hard 50 yards after impact. I’d need a physics expert to explain why, but there are certain shots you can only pull off with a hook – and I’m going to teach you how to perform one today. Learning this shot takes a ton of practice, so be sure to hit the range and test it out. I highly suggest you practice this shot considering two targets — one, where you want the ball to start it’s turn, and two, where you want the ball to end up.
Alright, lets snap to it (ha).
Before you even consider attempting this shot, you have to have a decent lie to attempt it. Your lie doesn’t have to be perfect, but there can’t be much, if any grass right behind the ball. If there is, you’ll get a flyer that won’t turn for you. This shot is best performed from light rough, fairway, or hardpan/dirt. Solid contact is a must.
Since you’re trying to pull off a recovery shot, this shot is best performed with irons with some loft. I’d say 4-iron to 9-iron are likely your best bet. Keep in mind that the higher the loft on the club, the less turn you’ll be able to get. With that said, you can still hook a 9-iron 40-50 yards if you wanted to. Next thing to consider with your club choice is how much the hook will affect your distance, you’ll be aiming significantly right (assuming your right-handed) of your target, and even though hooks travel further than normal shot, you’ll likely want to up-club to get the distance you need. Finally, keep in mind the height of your shot. This technique will hit the ball quite a bit lower than your normal shot, so also be sure to keep that in mind.
Now the really important stuff… Place the ball forward in your stance, and setup your feet and body square to your initial target line. Next, move your trailing foot back about 3-4 inches, and re-arrange your stance and body a bit so you feel as comfortable as possible. This setup should basically close everything in your setup – your stance is closed, your shoulders and hips are also slightly closed (my shoulders should be more closed in this picture than they actually are). Stay upright and don’t cheat by squaring up your shoulders – just trust your alignment.
I always toe-in the club slightly and re-position my grip on the toed-in club so it feels normal. Some people may suggest strengthening your grip, and while this may work, I feel for many players it will cause inconsistent contact more often than not. I would only suggest changing your grip to really low handicapped players.
Okay – you should now be set, your clubface is closed, but your grip is normal, your body and stance is completely closed, and your trailing foot is back a couple of inches – now it’s time to swing. The reason I had you drop your trailing foot back is to help manipulate your swing path. To hit a hard hook, you need to change your swing path so that it travel on an inside to out path. When you swing back feel as though you’re pulling the club inwards towards your body as you swing to the top. Then as you head into impact you should feel as your club is traveling across the ball, enveloping it as you swing through. If you’ve ever hit a hook shot in ping-pong, you’ll know the feeling I’m trying to describe. Let your wrists roll over naturally, and you should hit a big sweeping hook.
This shot will take practice to learn how to control, but can really come in handy for a variety of recovery shots. Also, feel free to try different degrees of closed stance, club and inside swing and watch how it affects the hook of the ball. You’d be amazed at how many different types of hooks you can play. Hit the range and give it a shot!