How to Hook a Golf Ball

By Matthew DeBord

Golfer holds driver behind back

The ability to hook the ball can come in handy. Some players may use it to get a bit more yardage on longer holes, while other golfers hook the ball to escape trouble.

If you are a right-handed golfer, a right-to-left ball flight has several advantages over a left-to-right flight. A controlled hook is called a "draw" and flies farther and rolls more in the fairway. It's considered a more aggressive shot than a higher-flying, left-to-right shot, called a "fade."


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
  1. Use a mid-iron, such as 6-iron, to begin practicing your hook. This club has enough loft to avoid putting too much hook spin on the ball, creating wild shots. It will also negate sidespin.
  2. Adjust your grip or adjust your stance. To hit a hook, you want to be closing the clubface as you strike with ball from an inside-out swing path.
    - To close the clubface as you strike the ball, you should turn your hands to the right on the grip.
    - If you don't want to adjust your grip, you can close your stance, which will promote a more in-to-out swing. Before you begin your takeaway, move your right foot back about 4 to 6 inches. This will help you come through the ball at an angle that will result in a hook.
    You can also combine the two, creating a bigger hook.
  3. Swing easy. The hands need to be able to release the clubhead through the ball in order to generate hook spin. A smooth swing allows enough time for this to happen.
  4. Don't come "over the top," which means swinging down from left to right and swiping across the outside of the ball. This type of swing usually produces a weak slice---the opposite of a hook. You must strike the inside half of the ball to impart hook spin.

Tips & Warnings

  • To hook the ball out of trouble---for example, around a tree---exaggerate everything. Close your stance more, turn your hands more to the right and make an effort to turn the club face over even more through impact.
  • Switch to a flatter swing plane. It's difficult to hook the ball if you possess a steep, upright swing. To promote the hook, think of swinging as if you were hitting a baseball.
  • If you're hitting the ball straight right, you probably have an inside-out swing path, but you are failing to rotate your hands and arms to close the clubface. Try hitting the ball with the toe of the club. This can't be done, but it will force you to close the clubface.
  • Smaller grips enable the hands to turn faster through the shot, which produces a hook. More flexible shafts also promote a hook.
  • Use a tighter grip than normal when you want the ball to hook. If a normal shot calls for a grip of "5" on a scale of one to 10, you should grip the club at a "6" or "7" for a hook shot.
  • Remember, some hooks can be too wild. A hard, low hook that dives to the left is called a "duck hook" and tends to put a player in much worse trouble than a weak slice to the right.
  • Don't confuse a hook with a pull. A hook starts right and curves left. A pull starts left and goes farther left.
  • If you are a young, strong player who likes to swing hard, the hook may not be for you. Jack Nicklaus always had plenty of distance, so he favored a high, controlled faded shot---the opposite of a hook. Nevertheless, you'll still want to be able to hook the ball when you need to get out of trouble.

About the Author

Matthew DeBord has written about sports, cars, and wine since 1994 for a variety of publications. Formerly the golf columnist for the “Improper Hamptonian,” he has covered major championship tournaments and played some of the best courses in America. He graduated from Clemson University and has a master's degree from New York University.