Duck Hooking: Everything You Need to Know

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Imagine the vast golf course in front of you.

You’re adjusting your front foot and getting ready to hit your golf ball.

Just when you’re feeling confident from your powerful swing, you realize that you must have made a BIG mistake because your golf ball is turning right into the ground!

If you’ve ever had this experience before, you might have already known that this is called a DUCK HOOK.

Want to learn how to stop hitting duck hooks?

Read on to find out!

Defining Duck Hooking

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In golf, duck hooks are also known as snap hooks. Both terms describe what happens when, after hitting the golf ball, it ‘ducks’ sharply and hits the ground quickly. [R]

You might be tempted to laugh at the name, but it’s often a very troubling experience! It often happens when you try to hit a full shot.

A duck hook can happen when your swing is long and powerful, but the golf ball doesn’t respond correctly to your clubface.

  • For example, if the face is square, the ball will head straight before a duck hook.

If you’re a right-handed player, your duck hook will go forward for a bit before DIVING SHARPLY to the left.

  • If you’re a left-handed player, your duck hook will go forward for a bit before CURVING to the right.

Just Give Me a Reason (for My Snap Hook)

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Let’s start with a little bit of trivia!

In the past, amateur golf players were often taught that the ball starts in the direction of your swing path, curves and then ends up going in the initial direction of your clubface at impact.

  • After more time passed, items such as launch monitors helped reveal that the face has the BIGGEST impact on the ball’s initial direction!

Besides the face, duck hooking can also occur because of your spin or a closed clubface.

Most golfers use spin to help lift the golf ball and ensure that the ball stops EXACTLY where they want it to be.

  • Spin also helps if there are multiple obstructions in your way, as you can just maneuver the golf ball around them.

BUT if your golf ball spins in a different direction from the one you were going for, that’s when the spin starts to become a bad thing.

  • Don’t worry; as long as you know the new ball flight laws, you’ll be all set! [R]

If you want to know other ways to fix your duck hook, you can also try adjusting your grip, swing path, swing plane, alignment, and release.

Stop (Hitting Snap Hooks) in the Name of Golf

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Duck hooking is a major problem for both amateur golfers and professional ones.

But now that you know some of the causes of duck hooks, the next step is to try addressing the following aspects:

  1. Grip and Club Path
  2. Angle
  3. Golf Swing Path Release
  4. Golf Swing Path Alignment
  5. Backswing
  6. Down Swing Position
  7. Body Rotation

1. Grip and Club Path

Often, a duck hook occurs when a player has a STRONG GRIP. However, this strength often lies in the player’s position rather than any pressure that the player exerts.

  • It is the angle where your club face connects with the golf ball at impact.

It’s natural for players to tense up by aligning their left hand to the inside of the golf club and putting their right hand under the grip.

  • As soon as they take the shot, their left wrist would automatically return to its normal position, which causes the club face angle to change.

To correct this, you’ll need to create a neutral grip by gripping the club with your left hand. Don’t forget to look down and see if you can still see at least two knuckles of your left hand!

  • If you don’t see at least two knuckles, try adjusting your grip until you do.

The next step is to grip the club with your right hand. Check if your right thumb and index finger are pointing to the right shoulder.

  • Make sure that your left thumb and index finger also point to your right shoulder!

Once you see your thumb and index finger making a “v,” you can try rotating your hands on top of the grip. That’ll help you maintain a square clubface, which you can use when taking your next shot!

You could either get a draw or a duck hook if you have a closed clubface and an inside-out path.

  • This means that you can end up grazing the side of the golf ball and creating a powerful spin, which would result in the ball turning and hitting the ground sharply.

Try creating an outside-in reaction by focusing your swing towards yourself. By doing this, you’ll create an opposite spin on the ball, leading your shot to fly off in the opposite direction!

2. Angle

After hitting numerous duck hooks, you may be tempted to fix your stance. While you’re doing this, make sure not to overcompensate by adjusting your body angle to the right!

  • If you do so, you’ll increase the chances of hitting more duck hooks since you’d end up increasing the face angle and target line.

As long as you keep your hips loose and your stance steady, you’ll be able to produce AMAZING results!

3. Golf Swing Path Release

If you see that the golf ball curves to the left after hitting it, you might be tempted to swing the club to the right as fast as you can.

  • This does NOT correct the problem in any way! It only serves to make your duck hook worse!

TAKE NOTE: If there’s a significant distance between your face angle and path angle, the sharper the golf ball will curve.

  • If you straighten the swing path and get it to reach a square to square motion, you can avoid having an inside-out swing path.

To fix your swing club position, you’d have to look at your position. Are you leaning back too much or moving your shoulders too low at impact?

Try to fix your stance by:

  • Aligning your shoulders with your hips
  • Having your weight be 50/50 with your irons
  • Leaning your body to be 40/60 with your driver

4. Golf Swing Path Alignment

If you’re a right-handed player and you constantly hook the golf ball to the left of your target, you may be too focused on aiming to the right of your target.

This position could lead to an inside/outside swing path for your target, which could cause severe duck hooks.

  • To fix this, check if you’re square to your target line with your feet, knees, hips, shoulders, and forearms!

5. Backswing

Did you know that your backswing can affect your ball flight?

As you take your backswing, check the following:

  1. Make sure that the rounded edge of your club is pointed upwards when your club reaches your hip.
  2. Once you get to the top of your swing, check if you have a closed clubface rather than an open one.
  3. Align your left wrist to make it straight with your forearm. This would help you avoid making an early release!
  4. Make sure that your left arm and club shaft form a 90-degree angle.

These steps should help you avoid doing duck hooks, and you can now start your downswing!

6- Down Swing Position

Have you checked your down swing club position lately?

If your club head is lagging behind your chest, it might get trapped. When this happens, you might end up flipping your hands and wrists so that you can catch up with the club face.

  • Doing this would create a closed club face and an inside out swing path, which would increase the chances of you doing a snap hook
  • To avoid this, make sure that your club and your arms stay in front of your chest as you swing the club.
  • This will help your swing stay on track and will help you avoid doing a duck hook!

7. Body Rotation

When you swing the club, do your hips rotate, or do they stay in a stationary position? If it’s the latter, you might want to try loosening up a bit!

Take note that if you’re afraid of hitting the ball left of your target, you’ll probably end up SLOWING down when swinging your club.

  • You should avoid this as slowing down causes your arms and hands to shut the club face.

The next time you swing your club, try rotating your hips as your arms point straight towards the target. In the middle of the swing, your left arm should start bending.

  • Once you reach the end of your swing, check if your hips face the target! One way to verify this is by checking if your belt buckle is pointing to the left of the target.

By practicing this numerous times, you should avoid making an early release!

Practice Makes Perfect

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To truly fix your duck hook problem, you’ll have to apply the theories mentioned earlier by practicing!

This is the point where the golf practice drills come in, and you can try any of the following:

1. Standing Alignment Stick Drill

One of the drills to avoid doing a duck hook is the standing alignment stick drill.

You’ll have to walk approximately 5-8 yards in front of your ball for this exercise. Once you’ve reached this point, you can now put an alignment pole in the ground.

Return to your ball and prepare yourself to hit it!

Make sure that you can still see the pole in your peripheral vision before swinging the ball to the left (or right) of the pole.

  • With this, you should have a straight shot, and you won’t have to fear doing a duck hook!

2. Alignment Stick Path Drill

The next drill would require you to use the same stick as the first drill.

Once you have it, you can lay it down across the target line in a slightly tilted position. It should end up pointing 5-10 yards left of your intended target.

Put your ball next to the pole, and try to swing.

Make sure that both the divot and the pole are parallel to each other.

  • This type of drill should help you stop hooking the ball and keep your ball straight!

3. Weak Grip Drill

You’ll have to put your left hand and right hand on the club and position your thumbs to point straight down the shaft.

Don’t worry if the position feels slightly uncomfortable at first! Try practicing some soft, full-swing shots. As you swing, take note of the resulting ball flight.

  • After you swing the club a couple more times, you’ll become more familiar with the different ball flights that occur.

Now that you’re ready, try and find a grip between your original grip and this practice grip! That should help you fix your snap hook.

Shoot Your Shot

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After reading this article, we hope that you will learn to prevent duck hooks and be more comfortable with the way you play golf!

But don’t worry if you haven’t gotten the hang of it just yet!

A few adjustments to your grip, angle, swing path and PRACTICE will make ALL the difference!

Keep one foot in front of the other, and keep sticking to your golf practice plans! After a few more practice sessions, you’ll be able to reach your goal in no time!

Barry