How to Stop Hooking the Golf Ball

How to stop hooking the golf ball once and for all! If you struggle with hitting hook shots, learn what's causing it and how to fix it.

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Christopher
Hey Craig just following up on my completed review. When you say be patient and wait for the transition does that mean focusing on leaving my arms/hands back rather than firing everything at the same time Thanks for the help
April 21, 2021
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Christopher. Don't fire at the same time and also give the arms time to work in front before going off to the races with the body. The need of a transition.
April 21, 2021
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Kevin
Picture below for comment
December 5, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Kevin. I responded below.
December 7, 2020
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Kevin
Hi Craig - just wrapping up a golf trip in which I took my buddies money all weekend mostly due to sticking irons - thanks! Today I was missing left a lot and often felt like I was moving out on my toes in the downswing - as I work on keeping the chest in the shot and clearing the lower I seem to be moving more toward the toes than offsetting my upper with my post move. This shot was captured where I hooked a 7 iron approach - clearing hanging back and weight in the toes - what should be my thoughts to get that left hip posted deeper?
December 5, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Kevin. Great. Now, send me some of those earnings. . Ha. The hips have rotated, but you had to have been adding push at some point to move out towards the toes. Work on the Two Way Miss Video to calm excessive action down. Gradually, add the body components back and clearing the left hip making it longer. See when you lose the balance in the feet.
December 7, 2020
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Manny (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Craig... The bell just rung! My issue of pushing off the right side, trouble with keeping a proper tush line, casting at the top, keeping my right foot down, and all your video swing analysis comments, have come down to the last part of this video. Pumping the club down, Pumping the club down, Pumping the club down, while focusing on a proper post, feeling like I'm keeping my right tush in contact with a chair as I release the club, has all just provided a feeling of "I just found a swing". I'll keep the videos coming to continue this progress. Thanks
May 20, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Manny. Great. I was hoping this would be a little bit of a "aha" moment.
May 21, 2020
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Kevin
Hi Craig - I went out and played well yesterday - most of my misses were long / straight over the green . I need to understand my new distances with the irons. I've found some recent success focusing on increasing my left knee flex in the transition to improve my weight shift and post up. All kidding aside, when I did miss I seemed to miss thin or left. The thin shots were due to getting stuck on the right side - I know what I'm doing there but the wanted to check my thoughts on the left shots and confirm some linkages in the swing....when the shoulders spin open/up early they often lead to club working inside and left (toe strikes) - potentially flipping. If the shoulders stay closed and angled down that should inherently cause the hands to work straight down from the top more (recent swing review feedback)? I've found in the 9-3 drills with the ball I will miss the ball if my shoulders spin open early and my hands don't work down from the top. Sorry for the long post up leanings and theories but I'm making some progress I think and will send a new review in this weekend.
May 14, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Kevin. Yes, keeping the shoulders angled down and and with better plane as to not create a flip. I can see knowing your swing that you probably got a little out ahead. Stuck and tried to save with some shoulders and/or flip. Typically, when the shoulders spin it will delay the release and the club won't close effectively. But, if you over use the hands with spinning shoulders that ball is going left of left.
May 14, 2020
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James
Hi Craig took on board your comments regarding coming out of my posture slightly as I shift my weight forward and I have been conscious of that for some time. Now in the review I mentioned of the feeling of lowing my chest towards the ball in the forward swing and you were not too keen on that. However, the reason I am trying to get the feeling of lowing my chest is not to physically do so but find it helps me to try and maintain my tush. As mentioned in previous reviews I have been losing that, along with my posture. I have been working on the dead drill parts 2 and 3 and feel I need to try and get that lead shoulder working lower initially as I shift to the left as mentioned by Chuck.
January 23, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello James. Keeping the feel of the lead shoulder working low is fine. I was just worried about diving the head and chest.
January 23, 2020
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James
As I said Craig it is just a feeling I was trying to get to try and stop coming out of posture to maintain the spine angle; I was not physically trying to lower my body. I have looked at both videos you pointed me to and it made me a bit mad, as most of last week I put a lot of work of letting my hands and arms drop more vertically in front of a mirror, the very thing I forgot about today. Working on this in my study this evening, it quickly came back and was releasing fine with the hands and arms with my right foot rolling over to the left at impact!
January 23, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello James. Great to hear about the vertical action. We all forget.
January 23, 2020
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Kevin
Craig - this is the face on view of the pull below. It looks like I have too much lag and am not posted up early enough - too much axis tilt as well
January 20, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Kevin. You are starting to get the lead hip outside NJA with excessive tilt. This is what is causing the hook. Use a combination of Level Shoulders, Preventing Hip Pain and How to Stop Hooking the Ball Video to alleviate. Less tilt, push and under plane. When you are doing the pump in the above drill the key is to have it work in front and release. It's almost like you slide ahead and pump the arms behind you.
January 21, 2020
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Kevin
Thanks Craig - I think that may have been my confusion - I was trying to keep my hands in front of my chest while it’s closed and pull the arms down. Would the downcock drill also help? I think the “which muscles to feel ...” video also showed something on the timing element I need to fix. In other reviews I was getting the club out in front of me too much and it was working straight down from the top. I’m trying to start my hips and leave my hands / club at the top and maybe I overdid it
January 21, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Kevin. You don't need any more lag. I would suggest Golf Swing Transition Drill. The chest does need to stay closed, but it looks like you are forcing the plane. It's great moving the body and leaving the arms, but the must get pulled down and you don't want them restricted to the point they don't react, or you push and drop under plane.
January 21, 2020
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Kevin
Hi Craig - I am playing golf this weekend and playing pretty well so far besides some big hooks with the driver. I feel like when I squat to square and get my weight 50/50 that my release is happening early when I’m still at 50/50 (behind the ball). Any thoughts on how to fix this hook? I don’t doubt I am still under the plane but even after focusing on pulling the arms down I’m having the issue
February 29, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Kevin. Take a look at How to Stop Hooking the Ball if you think under plane. Also, you could be trying to hit at is vs. letting your sequence finish. Most players get rushed thinking the face is wide open. Shift, post then release. If you are relaxed and the body stalls out the club face will square. You don't need to force it.
February 29, 2020
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Kevin
Thanks Craig - I had been working on the “throw the ball drill” and “throw the clubhead at the ball” video moves but I’m struggling to find balance - I also appear to be hitting a lot of balls off the toe as they go left
February 29, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Kevin. Sounds like some active shoulders and forced release for that toe issue.
February 29, 2020
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Kevin
Hi Craig - I went and hit balls for the first time in a month after just working drills. I either hit it dead straight or pulled left. I have two pictures of a pull I hit. I’m trying to pull my arms down with my hips and feel like I leave my arms at the top but they get caught behind me - this pull down move seems to help - hard to blend these to different feels
January 20, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Kevin. Yes, that is under plane. Let me look at your follow up picture and I will leave you some help.
January 21, 2020
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Dan
Hello, Craig. I have been taking instruction from a certified RST instructor by the name of Dean Greene. He says "hi" by the way. We have been working hard on maintaining the tush line and keeping the right heel down at impact and I have seen some improvement. None-the-less, I still have some hooking going on especially with my approach wedge shots. Is there any other possible reason for this hooking, besides getting the club stuck behind due to hip spinning?
July 9, 2019
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Steve
Hi Dan! My name is Steve. I'm also working with Dean. I have the same issue! I was wondering if you would like to get together and discuss RST/GOLF. IF SO JUST REPLY AND WE CAN SET UP A DAY TO MEET !
December 20, 2019
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Dan
Happy Holidays, Steve! I hate to make this reply here, but I have been feeling maxed out with my lessons from Dean. Don't get me wrong, I think he is a good instructor and I would recommend him to anyone interested in basic RST. The thing is, I am moving away from RST because it presents just too many small movements for me to get confused about in the swing. I see it as a much more dynamic, flowing movement and I am beginning to focus more on the impact zone and quality of lag. Best of luck to you with your instruction with Dean. Hit 'em straight and far!
December 21, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Dan. Tell him "hello" for me as well . Getting stuck due to hip spin can easily lead to the hook. But, I would also check you Left Elbow Position at Impact Video and Flip vs. Release. You may be flipping the lead elbow combined with a pro flip that is giving you power, but causing the left shot. You must make sure that the release is happening on its own and not a forced movement.
July 10, 2019
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Kim
It appears that on the downswing you start by lowering the club straight down as the hips start turning. Would that be a good way to describe club path on downswing? Or is the path more circular?
July 2, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Kim. Club path, or the hands? The club is still working on its plane/arc, but the feeling will be more the hands work vertically down as you shift.
July 3, 2019
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Kim
Thanks for the response. Any recommended video that describes hands and club path arc? Happy 4th!
July 3, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Kim. Happy 4th as well. The only few I know of that have some lingo like that would be Trace the Plane Line, How Lag Affects Your Club Path, and How to Fix Plane and Path.
July 3, 2019
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john
I've recently returned to the site and am starting with the weight shift and rotation videos and drills, so perhaps this is irrelevant but I have been hooking most of my shots, even my 3-wood and short irons (pulls too). I'm really trying to keep my rear foot planted and have not been early extending. I'm thinking I've been overaggressive with my hands and not just letting the club square itself. Any ideas?? Also I have been leaving driver in the bag because all I hit are huge sky-high pulls.
July 1, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello John. Sounds like you are very aggressive with the shoulders causing a steep plane and hands are too active (sky pull). Take a look at Keep the Rear Shoulder Back, Moving the Fulcrum, How to Fix Plane and Path, and Flip vs. Release. Control shoulder spin, shallower swing plane, and less active hands.
July 1, 2019
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john
Thanks for your quick response. I'll give those videos a look. Cheers!
July 1, 2019
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Paul
I am struggling with a hook as I practice to keep my hips more shut at impact in a mirror I notice that my spine angle really increases. I just watched one of chucks road show videos with a guy in his Hyundai front of a mirror and he was emphasizing keeping the shoulders level at impact so now I am confused
January 5, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Paul. The trail shoulder will be lower at impact, but if you have excessive push you need to feel more level shoulders. Take a look at Level Shoulders Video. You may still be adding push which increases secondary axis tilt to a point that hook is your only option.
January 5, 2019
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Marcel
Hi Craig, great video you advised me. I mean by the swingrevievs ofcourse a low hook to the left Thanks Marcel
September 23, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Marcel. Glad you like. Gotcha. This will still help.
September 23, 2018
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Christopher
Thanks a lot for this video! I played last week and by my own admission went back to my hip spinning off the tee as a way to try to get more power (I know, wrong of me!!). Well lying in bed that night replaying why I shot such as high score, it was because I hooked 5 tee shots out of bounds!! I was thinking why could this be as I don't usually hook, however from watching this excellent video it's likely because I went back to the hip spin approach. Looking forward now to tomorrow's game (and practice session beforehand!!)
September 13, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Christopher. Awesome. Let's get that hook under control.
September 13, 2018
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Dan
Would it be OK to do a little bit of a closed hip slide to get the correct feel? I know we have been instructed to not do this, but I would think its a better option than hip spinning.
August 25, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Dan. It may sound like a better option than hip spinning, but you are creating another problem to fix a problem. I would have more of the Belt Buckle Drill Video feeling versus the closed hip slide.
August 25, 2018
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Dan
Thank you Craig, had a feeling you wouldn't approve the slide.
August 25, 2018
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gordon
Hooking is not my main problem, it is push/slicing. Having said that I think that I do lose the spine angle when commiting the push/slice error. What is causing me to lose spine angle if, as I believe, I am not a hip spinner and do not puah off the right (trail) foot? As an added question, I think sometimes my hips are not open enough at impact so should I in fact be trying to increase the amount of trail foot push to correct that (at the risk of introducing another cause for loss of spine angle. The golf swing can be so difficult to analyse and correct with so many contradicting variables! Thanks in advance, Gordon.
August 24, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gordon. Take a look at You Hit the Golf Ball with Your Legs. It could be you aren't clearing the hips enough, or properly leading to your issue. Using the legs/post up correctly will not only clear the hips, but increase your spine angle into the strike.
August 24, 2018
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michael
single most productive/helpful video on the web. At 1st blush it's so easy to glaze over what is being uncovered under the video name "how to stop hooking" - that issue is so small compared to the underlying adjustments suggested to keep that " *R%&73(&^)5k0=8p^^$E#^$#" spine angle in place.
August 23, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Michael. Awesome. Glad you liked the presentation.
August 23, 2018
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Stan
I look at a lot of utube and slow motion videos of golfers , I'm not sure I have ever seen a pro not have his right foot on this toes at the end, not flat footed. Most all look like they push off the right foot. I've tried just moving that left knee out of the way but it still seems I get more speed and power with a rotation of the hips and bending of the right knee. ughhhh. Nobody says or does the same thing in this game, its what drives all of us crazy who are trying to get better.
August 23, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Stan. You will see a lot of trail foot push out in the golf world. However, that doesn't make it correct. Some players use it to achieve more power, but at the cost of efficiency. We base our use of the foot by anatomy and biomechanics. The safest and most efficient way to swing is to not push. You can see (Patrick Reed - Right Foot Brake Video) that some of the longer players due use the foot correctly.
August 23, 2018
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James
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Finally an intelligent, logical explanation to this extremely frustrating problem. This WAS my big miss off the tee. (And with iron shots as well) When my hands don't save the shot, the ball flight goes dead right. So trying to fix a ball flight that most times, snap hooks, and the rest of them go right, it was killing me and my scores. I've been using your site now for over a year and it has changed my game for the better. So again, thank you, thank you, thank you!
August 23, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello James. Glad you enjoyed the presentation and much thanks for the compliments.
August 23, 2018

Most of the videos on the site talk about how to stop slicing and how to stop coming over the top. However, there's a whole other side of golfers who hook the ball severely and can't stop hooking it, and don't understand why. And I want to talk about that today because it's a very simple thing to understand and fix when you understand what's causing it.

For the most golfers, there's only two really common ways that you're going to hook the ball. The first one is being overactive with your hands. Now, typically when golfers are overactive with their hands, it's because they're doing something else further back in the chain that's causing them to feel the need to try and flip their hands over to save the shot. So if they're coming in really open like this, and they sense that, your proprioception takes over, and then you try and use your hands. If you're coming way too far from the inside, you sense that, you try to flip your hands.

Learning how to control the hands is very, very easy, but we've got to diagnose another step back and figure out what's causing you to feel the need to do that. For most golfers, when they start getting into the position where they really need to flip their hands, they're actually coming too far from the inside, and that is all caused by losing our spine angle. Your spine angle dictates plane and path, so when your spine angle changes at any amount throughout the swing, you're taking this precision-required movement in the golf swing, and all of a sudden requiring that your hands now save the shot, rather than allowing your body and the angles that you've created to take over, so you no longer need to worry about saving the shot when you're like this.

So what caused you to lose your spine angle? Well, I've talked about this a lot in the Losing Your Tush Line videos, where you push off this right side, and it moves your pelvis into the ball, which forces your spine to stand up. Now, as you stand up, your swing plane becomes much more horizontal. If I was bent over at 90 degrees, I wouldn't be able to swing around. I would tend to swing more up. And if I swung with my spine angle vertical, I would swing much more round. And this encourages the face to rotate.

So as my spine angle becomes more upright, I tend to start swinging shallower into the ball, and that causes the club to come from the inside with an open face, and then I sense that I have to flip it. So the trick is: stop pushing off the right side. If you're hooking it, I can almost assure you that you're standing up and driving really hard off this right leg, and not only does it cause you to lose your posture, but it also causes the club to become stuck. And what we mean by that is the club gets trapped behind your body because your hips are very strong and very powerful. You can easily rotate your hips, in a sense that when they get much more open and leaving your arms behind, your arms get stuck against your chest, and this is where the club is at this point in the swing, and then you feel like you've got to flip it.

You don't need to shove and drive that hard off your right leg. When your right leg is pushing that hard, you're going to have a harder time not getting stuck and not standing up. So what you want to practice is the opposite. So I want you to go to the top of your swing and do some little drills where you actually practice. If your hips spin or driving with your hips open like I talked about, keeping your hips feeling as if they're shut while your arms work back down.

Now obviously I don't want your hips shut. They have to be rotating. But if you're one of the people that's spinning your hips out of control and hooking it, you have to practice the opposite. So what you're going to feel is you're practicing bringing your arms down, so they're no longer stuck back here behind me. I'm getting them back down in front of my chest, which allows me to bring the club down on top of the plane instead of under the plane like you see here.

So as I practice keeping my right leg out of it, and getting my arms to come down, relaxing this right leg, rather than driving off of it, it allows me to get the club back in front, and then I can release.

So what you want to practice is keeping the right heel down the whole time, pumping down with your hips. They're going to turn open a little bit, but you just don't want to get them super open, because you're already very skilled at getting your hips way open and getting the club stuck and coming from underneath. So you're going to let them rotate a little bit just like you see here, so maybe I'm at 80 degrees. I'm almost back to square. And then my arms are back in front.

The key is letting my arms work back down in front of my body to bring them down on plane instead of trying to spin as fast as I can in a desperate effort to create power. As soon as you do that, and you can practice hitting balls, pumping your arms down, releasing, and then keeping the right heel down, you'll start to feel much more stable and quiet and anchored to the ground, and you'll see how much easier it is to hit the ball consistently when you're not ripping your pelvis and your hips through the shot because that's what's going to create a big change in all the angles in your swing.

So practice just like what I did there. You can practice doing a couple little pump drills. Hips are staying relatively closed compared to what you're probably used to. And then come down on top and release. Keep the heel down, and check your position. So now what I'm going to do is I'm going to go back through and make sure that I've maintained my spine angle, I feel like my chest is pointing at the ground, my right heel is down, and my hips are no more than 45 degrees open.

If you're used to spinning and pushing hard off, your heels are going to be used to being in the air, then this drill is going to frustrate the heck out of you because you're not going to understand why your heel keeps doing this. If it's in the air, you moved it there. So relax the right leg. Bring the arms down in front. Maintain your posture, and as you do that, then release the club, and it's going to feel like your hips are probably closed if you're really used to spinning your hips open. Take a video of your swing. Take a look at it, and you'll be shocked that now you've maintained your tush line, which helps you maintain your spine angle, and now you can stop hooking the ball.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I stop hooking the golf ball?

The golfer is usually approaching the ball too far from the inside. 

This is most often caused by pushing too hard off the right leg which in turn leads to too much secondary axis tilt at impact. In other words, your spine is leaned too far away from the target at impact - your spine is the primary determinant of swing plane and, thus, path.  

To stop hooking the ball, you have to understand how to fix your swing plane.

Why do I keep hooking the ball?

The bottom line is that there are only two reasons why you keep hooking the ball.  Either the club face is closed in relation to the path that the club head is traveling OR you hit it off the toe.

How do you stop a hook?

Your spine angle dictates plane and path, so when your spine angle changes at any amount throughout the swing, you're taking this precision-required movement in the golf swing, and all of a sudden requiring that your hands now save the shot, rather than allowing your body and the angles that you've created to take over, so you no longer need to worry about saving the shot.  This is how you stop a hook.

How do I stop snap hooking the ball?

If your golf club face is closed relative to the path of your swing when you hit the ball, you are going to hit a snap hook. If you're hooking it, I can almost assure you that you're standing up and driving really hard off your right leg, and not only does it cause you to lose your posture, but it also causes the club to become trapped behind your body.  If you're one of the people that's spinning your hips out of control and hooking it, you have to practice the opposite, and we have some great drills and videos to help!

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