Slice vs Hook Golf – The Key Differences

There’s nothing more pleasing in golf than hitting a long drive down the middle of the fairway or a solidly struck long iron that flies to the green.

Unfortunately, with most club golfers, it’s all too easy for our golf swings to go wrong. We hit the ball fat or thin, chunk our chips, or can’t get the ball out of the bunker.

Of all the problems that can creep into a golf swing, the hook and the slice are the two most common faults. Hooking and slicing usually get players into more trouble than any other poor shots in the game.

There’s nothing worse than standing on the tee with your driver and then slicing your ball way into the rough. Not only does the slice take us far offline, but it also shortens the distance.

Finally, the hook. A hook veers off target with topspin; which means the ball runs further and further into trouble.

What makes a slice different from a hook? What causes us to hit a hook or a slice? How can we prevent these two bad shots? We have the answers to Hook vs Slice right here.

Differences Between Hook and Slice?

A hook curves sharply to the left, and a slice curves viciously to the right for the right-handed player.

A curve to the left or the right isn’t a problem in itself. Two excellent golf shots are the draw and the fade. The draw is a powerful shot that moves the ball from right to left in a controlled manner. The fade does the same, only left to right. Professionals usually choose to hit a draw or a fade as their routine shots.

A problem occurs when our ball takes off straight and then veers off sharply to the left or the right.

What Are the Similarities Between Hooks and Slices?

A hook and a slice are mirror opposites of each other. Both impart a sharp curve to the ball, which usually means you’ll miss the fairway or the green. 

The only similarity between these two types of shots is that they’re weak golf shots. We won’t improve our game and shoot lower scores with either or both of these problems in our swing.

Unfortunately, a golfer doesn’t only hit one of these shots. We might hit a slice more often, but now and then, we’ll hit a hook too. Fixing our hook or slice is the key to playing better and enjoying golf more.

What’s a Hook?

A hook is a shot that bends the ball away to the left of your intended target. The hook has both sidespin and topspin, creating a severe curve to the left.

An easy way to visualize a hook is by imagining we are standing on the tee getting ready to drive. We aim straight down the middle of the fairway and hit my drive. Our tee shot starts straight, then suddenly, as if the ball has a mind of its own, shoots off to the left, landing far from the line you intended.

The hook is more prevalent in better golfers.

What Are the Main Causes of a Hook?

There are three leading causes of a hook.

The most common cause of a hook is a closed clubface at impact. If the clubhead is shut at impact it imparts right to left spin on the golf ball. A closed clubface also delofts the club, making the ball dive low and left. 

The second reason that could be causing us to hook is incorrect alignment. Aiming too far right means we’ll try to correct the ball flight by turning the hands over when we swing through impact. Doing this out of sync with your body can result in a quick hook.

The third reason is correct weight transfer. If we stay on your right side at impact instead of transferring our weight to your left side, your hands will flip over at impact resulting in a hook.

What’s a Slice?

A slice is a golf shot that produces a noticeable left to right ball flight for a right-handed player. The club cuts across the ball from the outside, creating a left-to-right spin. The ball has a banana-shaped curve.

Nothing makes the game of golf more frustrating than a slice. The slice is a feeble shot that costs us both accuracy and distance. A slice is effective only if we have to hit a vast cut (in effect, a slice) around a tree to reach the green.

The slice is most common among people starting the game or high handicappers.

What Are the Main Causes of a Slice?

An open clubface generally causes a slice at impact. The open angle of the club creates a sidespin which makes the ball curve left to right. 

There are several reasons why our club could be opening at impact:

Weak Grip

A good golf swing begins with the grip. Getting the grip right helps us use the hands correctly during the swing.

If we place our hands on the shaft with our hands turned too far to the left your grip will be weak. This means that we won’t be able to turn our hands over at impact.- the face will be open, producing a slice.

Releasing the club at impact is vital for power, distance, and accuracy. A weak grip prevents a proper release, keeping the face open and producing a powerless slice.

Swinging Over the Top

The second most common way of producing an open clubhead at impact is to swing over the top. 

We often cast the club like a fishing rod when we start our downswing. The club is away from the body, so the only way we can get back to the ball is to swing across your body. The club will have an open face from this angle.

Our swing path is ‘out to in’ instead of the ‘in to out’ path of better golfers.

Crouching Over at Address

The third reason our clubface stays open at impact is your posture at address. 

Pros look like they have enough room to turn easily. – they address the ball by bending from the waist. Their backs are straight, and their arms hang down naturally. From this position, it’s easy for them to take the club back on the correct path inside the target line.

The average club golfer crouches over at the address. They bend their back and curl their shoulders to get comfortable. Their hands can’t hang at full extension as they’re too low.

They then move the club too far to the inside at the start of the swing or lift it, taking it outside a direct path to the ball. The club moves to the outside the line on the downswing resulting in the dreaded open face at contact.

How Are These Shots Different for Left-Handers?

The slice and hook have the exact opposite curves for a left-handed golfer. 

The left-hander slices the ball from right to left and hooks from left to right. The causes and effects of these shots are the same for the left-hand golfer as the right-hand player. 

We want to cut these shots from your game as much as possible.

How to Stop Slicing the Ball?

The fixes for a slice can be simple. To find a solution, we should check all the leading causes of a slice: the grip, swing path, and posture.

Let’s discuss each of these areas to fix the problem.

Grip

Imagine extending the arms forward and placing our palms together. This is how we should take your grip; palms placed squarely facing each other. The ‘V’ formed by our thumb and forefinger of our left hand should point towards your chin. The ‘V’ formed by our right hand’s thumb and forefinger should point directly to your right shoulder.

Having our hands in these positions is an excellent neutral grip. A weak grip would mean the ‘V’ of your left-hand points to our left shoulder, and the ‘V’ of your right-hand points towards our chin. Your hands aren’t in a position to release the clubhead properly.

Check the position of our hands if we’re slicing; the solution could be as easy as correcting our grip.

Swinging Over the Top

The next area to check is how we start your downswing. If the club begins down outside our hands, it means you’re swinging over the top. Doing this instinctively forces us to cut across the ball at impact, resulting in a slice.

At the top of the backswing, visualize the path our club will take on the downswing. The optimum swing plane will be slightly from inside to out. This will impart a draw spin to your golf ball, The opposite of a slice. 




Don’t cast the club out at the top of the backswing. Instead, let the arms, hands, and club drop straight down before you begin your release. The club will now be on an inside line, and we can go ahead and hit the ball instinctively.

No matter what their backswing looks like, all good golfers get the club moving on an inside to outside path at impact. Getting the correct swing path will help us hit the ball solidly and consistently, eliminating your slice.

Correct Posture

Amateur golfers can learn a lot from watching how the pros address the ball. They have a consistent pre-shot routine which enables them to repeat their stance.

Pros work tirelessly to get the correct posture. Good posture puts our body in position to enable all the moving parts of the swing to happen in the proper order and right swing path.

Crouching over from the neck and shoulders when we address the ball causes many problems in our swing, most notably the slice. 

Follow these instructions to stop crouching.

  1. Stand up straight when addressing the ball.
  2. Bend forward from your waist, keeping your back erect. 
  3. Tilt the head slightly down to look at the ball and let your hands hang down naturally. 
  4. Don’t move the hips forward to bend your knees; instead, drop the bum straight down a few inches as if you were going to sit on a high stool. 

We should feel like we have plenty of space to swing.

An erect posture allows us to turn your body effortlessly. We’ll not lift the club with your hands. Instead, the club will move back together with our arms and body, keeping it on the correct plane.

Now drop the club to the inside on the downswing. We’ll hit the ball with an inside to out path, preventing a slice.




How to Stop Hooking a Ball?

A hook is almost always the result of a closed clubface at impact. The question is, what’s making us close the clubface?

There are several reasons your hands turn over at impact, producing a violent hook that invariably leaves you in a difficult position.

Let’s examine how to fix a hook.

The Grip

The way we grip the club is often the cause of a problem and the key to fixing it.

A very strong grip or gripping the club too tightly can lead us to close the clubface at contact.

We’ll know our grip is too firm if the ‘V’ of your left-hand points to your shoulder, or we can see three or more knuckles of our left hand. The remedy is simple; turn our left hand over so the ‘V’ points towards our chin or we can see two or even one knuckle when we look down at our hand.

Are we holding too tight? Golf is a game of relaxed power. Tension, especially in the hands, leads to inconsistency and mistakes. 

Hold the club very lightly at address. We’ll naturally tighten our grip to keep  the club steady at the top of the backswing. A light grip allows us to release the club towards the target, getting rid of our hook.

Weight Transfer

The second reason our club can close at impact is not transferring our weight. 

If we’re throwing a baseball, we take a pronounced step forward, and all our weight shifts to the front foot as we release the ball. 

The same principle applies to golf. It’s necessary to transfer our weight from the back leg to the front as we start the downswing. At impact, nearly 100 percent of our weight is on our left foot, allowing you to swing right through the ball. 

If we hang back, we can only reach the ball with our hands, which flip over, shutting the clubface. 

Concentrate on getting a good weight shift, and our hands and body will be in sync. The club will release down the target line with power and accuracy.

Wrist Movement Instructions for Slice or Hook

Our left wrist position at the top of your backswing can indicate why we’re slicing or hooking the ball.

We can tell what position our wrist is in by the logo on our glove. 

Wrist Position Producing a Slice

Turning our hands open will make the logo on our glove face the sky at the top of our swing. So if our wrist is open, the clubface will be open, producing a slice. It takes exceptional timing to square the clubface at impact from an open position at the top.

To fix this, we push our wrist back, keeping the glove’s logo slightly under our wrist facing the ball. We’ll find that the clubhead is now square when we complete your backswing.

Wrist Position Producing a Hook.

As with everything to do with a hook vs slice, the opposite wrist movement creates a hook. 

If we turn our wrist too far over on your backswing, making the logo on our glove face the ground, we’ll end up with a closed club at the top of your swing. We can’t consistently square the club at impact if it starts closed.

Take the club back with a less pronounced turn of the wrists, and our club will be square at the top, helping us prevent a hook.

Conclusion

Knowing the definition of a hook and a slice will help us understand how to fix them. 

The causes of these shots begin with basic errors in our grip, stance, or swing plane. 

With a bit of effort and practice, we can fix these problems. 

Hook vs Slice? Getting rid of them puts the fun back in the game.

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