Are you hitting a lot of golf shots that curve to the right during the flight of the ball? If you are a right-handed golfer you are slicing the ball or hitting a slice. If you are a left-handed golfer you are hooking the ball or hitting a hook.
(Note the balls the curve to the right are distinguished from shots that go to the right but on a straight flight path. Those shots are called a push for right-handed golfers and a pull for lefties.)
Here, golf instructor Roger Gunn gives us a checklist of possible causes for these types of mishits, but the faults and fixes differ depending on the golfer’s handedness. Gunn has experience as a player on the PGA Tour, made a popular series of golf instruction videos called Golf Levels, and has been a teaching pro at several top California golf clubs.
Right-Hander Hitting Shots that Curve Right is Hitting a Slice
A right-handed golfer hitting shots that travel on a curving path to the right during flight is hitting a slice. Here is Gunn’s checklist of possible causes:
Grip: Your hand or hands, especially your left hand, may be turned too far to the left. The “V’s” formed between the knuckle and thumb on both hands should point between your right shoulder and right ear.
Set-up: Make sure your shoulders and/or feet are not aimed too far to the left.
Ball position: Check to make sure you aren’t setting up with the ball to far forward in your stance.
Backswing: It’s possible you are taking the club back too far to the outside, pushing the club away from you. This often goes along with the club “laying off,” or pointing left, at the top. Additionally, there can be a clockwise twisting of the club during the backswing.
Downswing: Right shoulder goes too much out and not enough down. The arms are often pushed away from you at the transition, causing the club to approach the ball from outside the target line. There can also be a “blocking” of the wrists through impact, preventing the club from turning over.
To go more in-depth, read the article Diagnosing and Fixing a Slice. You can also find many videos on YouTube explaining how to correct golf shots that curve right.
Left-Hander Hitting Shots that Curve Right is Hitting a Hook
For a left-handed golfer, shots that curve to the right during the ball’s flight are hook shots. Here is Gunn’s checklist of possible causes of the hook:
Grip: Your hand or hands, especially your left hand, may be turned too far to the right. The “V” formed between the knuckle and thumb on both hands should point between toward your back shoulder.
Set-up: Make sure you aren’t setting up with your shoulders and/or feet in a closed position.
Ball Position: You might have the ball too far back in your stance.
Backswing: You might be talking the club back too far inside, pulling away from the target line too quickly. This often goes along with the club going across the line at the top. Additionally, there can be a counter-clockwise twisting of the club during the backswing.
Downswing: Your back shoulder might be going too much down, often with a sliding of the hips toward the target. This causes the club to swing too much to the left through impact.
To go more in-depth, read the article Diagnosing and Fixing a Hook. You can also find many videos on YouTube explaining how to correct a hook shot in golf.