Duck hooks and snap hooks are poorly struck golf shots resulting in wild ball flights that miss the target. For a right-handed golfer, the shots start low off the clubface and fly right before turning left and ducking or dipping to the ground. The opposite result happens for a left-handed player. These extreme hook shots are created by an in-to-out swing pattern, and several adjustments may be needed to correct the problem.
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Check common faults. According to The Complete Encyclopedia of Golf Techniques, a duck hook or snap hook can occur when the ball is placed too far back in your stance, your grip is too tight, you strike the ball with a closed clubface or are aligned right of the target.
Improve your alignment. Check your set-up and alignment by laying a club on the ground at your feet. Point the handle at your target. Stand parallel to the club. Take a second club and alternately hold it against your shoulders, chest, hips and knees. The handle of the second club should point to the target. If it doesn't, your body is not properly aligned. Adjust your body until all parts are aligned. Continue practicing this drill.
Test your grip pressure. It's impossible to swing smoothly with too tight a grip, according to The Complete Encyclopedia of Golf Techniques. Excessive grip pressure, particularly with the right hand, can lead to a closing of the clubface at impact -- another contributing factor to hooked shots. The grip should be firm enough to control the club, but not strong enough to create tension. Compare your grip pressure to the amount of pressure you'd use to hold a small bird while not allowing it to fly away. Apply that same confident, but gentle pressure to your golf grip.
Place your golf ball in the proper position. According to instructor Hank Haney, a right-handed player should place the ball just inside the left heel when using a driver, with placement moving toward the centre for the other clubs. If the ball is placed too far forward you'll rotate too far to hit the ball and end up with another errant shot. Focus on ball position as you play and practice.
Develop a smoother tempo. The takeaway often dictates the speed of the swing. If you rush the takeaway, the rest of the swing can become fast and erratic, possibly leading to a duck or snap hook.
Check your divots. You are not hitting the ball with a square clubface if your divots are pointing far right of the target or far left. Continue working on your grip, alignment and ball position until your divots point toward the target. Duck and snap hooks should end as you improve in these key areas.
Tips and warnings
- Some speciality shots may require the ball to be positioned farther back in your stance, but generally ball placements should start inside the heel of the forward foot with the driver and gradually move to the centre for the remaining clubs.
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