What Is the Hook/Draw Golf Shot?
When we talk of the hook/draw golf shot, the important distinction is that the ball is spun to go in that direction. In the case of a hook/draw, for a right-handed golfer that means he would hit the ball in such a way as to give the ball a counter-clockwise spin, causing it to shape to the left. A left-handed golfer would impart a clockwise spin on the ball causing it to shape to the right.
This differentiates with the pulled shot, which would still go straight to the left of target, but would have no spin. For purposes of simplicity, for the remainder of the article we will talk to right-handed golfers and left-handed golfers can just flip everything around.
The Difference between the Hook and the Draw
The shot that is hooked is an extreme result of the counter-clockwise spin, and unless done for very specific reason such as working the ball around trees, is always a shot to avoid. It is very hard to control this shot, and your distance will be poor. The shot that is drawn, on the other hand, has a much less extreme shape of the ball, so obviously the golfer imparts much less side-spin. The third type of golf shot that goes left is the pulled shot. This is a shot that is basically perfect except for the direction of the shot; side-spin is not put on the ball but some flaw in the alignment or swing has caused the ball to go left.
So Why Don’t We Just Hit the Ball Straight?
We would hit the ball straight every time if we could. But as Ben Hogan once said, “You only hit a straight ball by accident. The ball is going to move right or left every time you hit it, so you had better make it go one way or the other.” So most golfers decide the direction they want to shape the ball, and then hone their swing to that direction. Even professional golfers, and all are capable of hitting the draw shot or the fade the ball almost at will, are going to set up to work the ball left or right.
Most professional golfers prefer to fade the ball, mostly because it is the shot that is easiest to control. But since they all hit the ball for distance, controlling the ball is paramount. For golfers like me who are well past their long-hitting days, we try to draw the ball as our preferred shot. The draw shot will give us the maximum distance, as the hook-spin will ordinarily give the ball the most roll, and the greatest possible distance.
But there isn’t a great deal of difference between the draw, which is good, and the dreaded hook, which is terrible. That is the reasons that if you are going to work to draw the ball, hone that shot on the practice range, especially if you have limited time to work on your game. If you only work on one type of shot you will be more apt to develop consistency than if you try to develop a variety of shots.