Like most golfers, you probably think it feels a lot better to hit draws than fades, not to mention the extra yards they produce. The price you pay for your fun, however, is control: Draws have a way of turning into hooks if you're not careful, and snap hooks, when they present themselves, take you out of play quicker than any shot in the game. Here are a few things to keep in mind to help keep your right-to-left shots under control.
Quick Hooks Come from Quick Swings
A hook most commonly occurs when the swing required to hit a draw becomes short and quick. A frequent example of this occurs on the driving range, where you may hit some very solid 5-irons only to pick up the driver and duck-hook the first few until you adjust to the longer, fuller swing that's required. Avoiding the short swing, therefore, is a major key to fighting the hook.
Focus on Turn and Transition
Start with your turn. With all clubs, but especially the driver, be sure that you are winding up your torso as much as you can, while maintaining a solid anchor on the inside of the right leg. Only a full turn ensures that the crucial transition from backswing to downswing is accomplished in proper sequence. This must be initiated from the ground up: first the feet, then the knees, hips, and finally the shoulders make their move towards the target. Incomplete backswings encourage the shoulders to initiate the downswing, bringing the club out and over-the-top, which, for right-to-left players, usually means a duck-hook. A downswing in which the body moves from the ground up, however, "slots" the club on the proper inside path and produces a draw.
Tempo Is Key
Another ingredient in the anti-hook package is tempo. In fact, to keep your swing long and properly sequenced, a slow, smooth tempo is a must. There are different ways to practice maintaining a syrupy tempo, such as hitting balls with a metronome or counting "one and two" in your head during the transition from backswing to downswing. But the best thing you can do is make tempo your number-one swing key on the course.
Drill: Stop at the Top
To get a feel for a slow transition from backswing to downswing, take it a step further: Stop the swing altogether at the top. Using a 5-iron, make a full turn, pause for a count of two, then make your downswing. Stopping the swing will give you an exaggerated idea of how patient you must be on the downswing to keep everything in sequence. Groove this sensation, working your way up to the driver.
Private Lessons 1999 Times Mirror Magazines, Inc., used under license by GolfServ Online, Inc. Instructional information provided by Golf Magazine.