Hank Haney: Stop Losing Shots to the Left
If you're a player who tends to hit a hook, first count yourself fortunate. A hook is the last stop on the road to a good golf swing, and you're very close to hitting consistent, powerful shots. But it's still a ball-flight problem you need to take care of to make that next step and become a scratch or near-scratch player.
A strong grip is by far the most common error I see with players who curve the ball too much from right to left. The right hand drifts to the right--away from the target--and moves underneath the club, as shown in the photograph below. With the right hand in this position, it will tend to turn over too much through impact. Because the position of the right palm roughly replicates the clubface, it's easy to see why this turning over of the right hand causes the clubface to close and the ball to curve left.
To calm that hook down to a manageable draw, adjust your right hand to a more neutral position, as I'm demonstrating above. Turn it toward the target, so you can't see your left thumb when you've made your completed grip. I also like to put my right index finger in a "trigger" position under the handle, which supports the club through the swing. If the finger wraps around the grip too much, the club tends to get loose at the top.
HOW I SEE IT
Being A Part Of History
When I'm out doing a speaking engagement, or just talking to a golf fan at a course somewhere, the first question I almost always get is, "What was it like to work with Tiger Woods?" I had an incredible opportunity to be with Tiger for six years, from 2004 to 2010. I got to see arguably the best player of all time at the highest level, and be a part of everything that went with it--good and bad. I have a lot of memories from those experiences. I spent a ton of time with Tiger, both inside the ropes at tournaments and working on his game back in Florida.
I think it's a fascinating and valuable story to share. That's why I wrote The Big Miss. I'm in a unique position to shed some light on why he's been so dominant and why he's struggled at certain points. I also know first-hand the challenges any coach would be confronted with when working with the world's best. I got to live a part of golf history, and I wanted to share it.
If you're looking for a different tip to get rid of the hooks, here's another tip Haney gave us.
Commentators analyzing tour pros have a phrase they use to describe a certain good-player mistake: They call it "getting stuck." It's a colorful term, but I'm not sure if regular golfers—like those I go back and forth with on Twitter—know what it means.
The easiest way to picture it is to compare it to the opposite problem: a slicer coming over the top. In that move, the player swings the club down from the outside on a steep angle. Getting stuck is coming from too far inside and behind the body. The upper body obstructs or interferes with the club's path to the ball.
The most common reason players get stuck is, they don't keep the arms and club in front of the chest as they turn back and through. When the club trails the upper body on the way down, the hands have to flip the clubhead over to recover. Hello, hook.
If that player tries to make a big body turn through to compensate, the club gets even more stuck. That's often a block.
If you can keep the same relationship between your upper body, arms and the club from address through impact, you'll be able to swing fast and free.