Hook vs. Slice in Golf

by Izzy Barden
Hooks and slices are, unfortunately, a part of golf.

Hooks and slices are, unfortunately, a part of golf.

Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images

They say that if you hit a straight shot in golf, you must not have hit it right -- if you hit the ball well, it must have been an accident. All levity aside, this saying is absolutely true; if struck correctly, and with a squared club face, a golf ball should spin either right or left. The ideal ball flight starts out off-target and gently either "draws" or "fades" back to the target. These gentle draws and fades can quickly turn into overwhelming hooks and slices, however, starting on-target but landing off-target -- or starting off-target and landing even further off-target.

Causes of a Hook

A hook, depending on whether you are left- or right-handed, will occur when your swing is too flat, spinning the ball towards your less-dominant side. For example, if you are right-handed, the ball will hook to the left of your intended target. If your swing plane is not the issue, however, your club face may be closed at impact, which can cause the same inward hook-spin.

Causes of a Slice

A slice, depending on whether you are left- or right-handed, is the exact opposite of a hook; it is usually caused by a swing plane that is far too upright, cutting across the ball and spinning it outwards. These upright swings make it difficult to hold the angle of your wrists through impact and cause you to instead "cast" your wrist and slice through the ball. Again, if your swing plane is not the issue, your club face may be too open at impact.

How to Fix a Hook

Flat swings are most commonly a result of stationary hips. A proper swing should see your hips rotating in your backswing, through impact and into your follow-through. Leaving your hips in the same place can cause your arms to make a shallow swing and spin the ball inward at impact. Practice rotating -- not sliding -- your hips during your swing and extending your arms a bit more away from your body than you are used to.

How to Fix a Slice

Stationary or sliding hips can also be a cause of slices. Sliding your hips through impact can cause your club head to cut across the ball and spin it away from you. Practice keeping your hips in the same location throughout your swing, but rotating them to achieve a full range of motion. Make sure the club face is square at address and practice keeping your arms slightly closer to your body than you are used to; this should flatten out your upright swing.

About the Author

Izzy Barden began writing in 2010 for various websites, specializing in golf and tattoos. He was awarded the Russ Morrison Golf Scholarship in Santa Barbara, Calif., where he attended Santa Barbara City College to study journalism and later dentistry at University of California, Los Angeles.

Photo Credits

  • Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images