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Advice for the hookers


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I want to talk to people who are in the 10 handicap range, generally consistent ballstrikers, reasonably athletic, but struggle with hooks and timing issues resulting from a too-flat swing.  You are what most articles call "better players", whereby I'm stab-in-the-dark guessing they mean someone who knows how to sequence the downswing transition properly with a shift-rotation of the hips, keeping the shoulders back, but overcooked nearly all of the good things in a proper swing.  You've tackled the swing from the top over the plane issue and you are taking relatively shallow divots with decent face contact.  In the search for that perfect swing, you've tried to eliminate reliance on timing and may even have decided long ago to adopt what you think is a one-plane style.  On video your downswing may look somewhat like mine:

stuck_iron.jpg

Club coming very much from the inside, back of the left pocket visible and shoulders still waiting to turn into the shot.

But this shot of mine is really a terrible position to be in for consistency for some important reasons.  For one, trained eyes will immediately notice that the club is coming too far from the inside.  Notice the position of the right elbow and how it is really behind my right pocket.  From there I have to do several things very well to hit a decent shot:

  • I have to hold off my release some otherwise I'll hit a humongous pull-hook
  • I have to keep rotating aggressively with my lower body to keep my hands behind me
  • If I don't rotate at the right rate or amount, I have to cast the club a little to make up the difference

Basically, I'm stuck on my downswing and have to rely on some kind of heroic effort, extremely fine-tuned timing, or extreme physical maneuvers to get unstuck.  For a guy like Tiger (young Tiger that is), who has a few orders of magnitude more athleticism than yours truly, it's possible to play golf at a high level, win U.S. amateurs, etc. with that kind of action.  For me, I get a complete inability to play doglegs right.

Why did this happen to my swing?  Pretty simple.  It started on my backswing:

flat_iron.jpg

I was trying, with the best of intentions, to follow the old advice that your arms should stay connected to your body and you should hit the ball with your pivot trying to dominate your swing by rotation.  What I got from that was a backswing that was too flat and arms too far behind me instead of in front of me.  This is somewhat of a natural place to be because you feel like it should work for a number of reasons.  One, you are trying to get some leverage by getting the club further away from the ball.  Two, and this is probably the worst, it just feels so dang tight and connected.  It feels like your arms have a definite place to go instead of some seemingly arbitrary place out in free space.  But you are stuck.

So if this describes you, my advice is pretty simple, get your arms out in front of your body.  Don't let that right elbow sneak behind you and get the arms a little higher up in swing plane.  It will feel Jim Furyk weird at first because those armpits will be getting some air for the first time.  You will find very quickly that you instead feel connected in a different place on the downswing: The right elbow and the right hip bone .  You'll find that from there with the same swing, the club will still be horizontal instead of already releasing some.  The reason higher arms and elbow more in front is better, now that I've had some time to absorb it is really pretty straightforward.  Some one-planer somewhere might claim that you are opening yourself up to timing issues because now you have to drop down onto the right plane.  That won't be the case, but regardless, look at it this way:  which would you rather have time your swing, gravity or your own ability to rotate?  If you are too flat, you already have timing issues.  You might as well dispense with the notion that having higher arms is somehow an inferior way to swing, if you are one of the unfortunately confused ones like I was.  In fact, your arms probably won't be high at all, but will now actually be on plane for the first time.

The benefits for me have been tremendous.  Now that my arms are higher, I feel like gravity is pulling them down into the hitting zone.  I can release as hard as I want and the ball rarely goes left.  Club head speed jumped by 8 mph and carry distance went from 270 to 298.  298! carry!  And the swing feels so freaking smooth and relaxed compared to before where I constantly struggled on and off with lower back pain from over rotating.  In fact, I had to give up playing golf on days after I worked out because I was too tired to time my swing properly.  Now I feel like the changes are helping for a lifetime of enjoyment.  I hope this helps some of you guys out if you are someone who is in the boat I was in.  Good luck.

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I fixed my hook by opening the clubface a little and making sure I didn't "release" or roll the arms over through impact.

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Originally Posted by Zeph

I fixed my hook by opening the clubface a little and making sure I didn't "release" or roll the arms over through impact.



That's what I'm talking about.  If your path is too flat, you have to hit it with an open club face and block the release some to hit a push-draw that's serviceable.  That's my old method.  The problem with that is that, as the angular momentum is transferred from your shoulders to the arms, the shoulders slow down, your right arm moves across your body, and it wants to turn over to relieve pressure on your right shoulder joint (you can fight it, sure).  If you are going to swing and block the release, you either get shoulders slowing down, and arms racing through with pressure on the joint to fight the natural release, or you get to fight the slowing down of the shoulders to keep the pressure off the joint.  My claim is that it's just a harder way to play golf day-in and day-out.

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Originally Posted by bunkerputt

That's what I'm talking about.  If your path is too flat, you have to hit it with an open club face and block the release some to hit a push-draw that's serviceable.  That's my old method.  The problem with that is that, as the angular momentum is transferred from your shoulders to the arms, the shoulders slow down, your right arm moves across your body, and it wants to turn over to relieve pressure on your right shoulder joint (you can fight it, sure).  If you are going to swing and block the release, you either get shoulders slowing down, and arms racing through with pressure on the joint to fight the natural release, or you get to fight the slowing down of the shoulders to keep the pressure off the joint.  My claim is that it's just a harder way to play golf day-in and day-out.


I am a hooker, mainly with my driver. I think the length of the club dictates how flat I swing it for some reason

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A plane that's too flat can contribute, but a lot of people have a really flat plane and don't hook it - they slice it.

I'd like to see video of your swing, but yes, the one picture you showed of your P6 position is WAY INSIDE and either you're going to block the hell out of it or hook the hell out of it.

We fix this in a lot of better players - taking the curve off.

You may have to feel that you push your hips forward (don't let them start spinning only) while feeling the right shoulder come over the top. That's the feeling - you likely won't actually come over the top. Your right shoulder has likely only dropped here, it hasn't continued to shift down the plane (out towards the golf ball).

Got a good video?

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I use the Trevino method for hitting a power fade: open club face, shoulder line open to the target line, in-out swing, and keep my plane relatively flat. The results can be dead straight push,slight push draw, or slight push fade but no uncontrollable hook. The resultant distance is 240-270, but then I'm 67 years old and can't execute a full turn.

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Originally Posted by iacas

...

Got a good video?

Here's the face-on driver from the same day.  The rightwards lean was a little exaggerated and I'm working on getting the right amount of lean.  I'm also working on getting the club higher and more in front of me along with improving flexibility in my shoulder girdle.  *edit* Also working on getting hands back at address, left arm pulled into body and turned inward slightly with a relatively forward ball position. *end edit* Next, I'm evaluating the "fall-to-the-target" kind of transition that I take.  It feels rhythmic, but I think I've overdone it.  Changes are slowly coming along, but definite ball flight improvements are showing up.


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BTW, there's a definite flippiness here, mainly because I can't rotate my body fast enough to not have to flip the club at the ball somewhat to make contact.  That's been the biggest improvement of getting my arms a little higher and more in front of me on my backswing.  I don't feel like I'm swinging any harder...actually a little easier, and my club head speed jumped 8 mph.  Haven't seen the new swing on video to see if that power leak is plugged, but those initial results are promising....

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Originally Posted by bunkerputt

BTW, there's a definite flippiness here, mainly because I can't rotate my body fast enough to not have to flip the club at the ball somewhat to make contact.  That's been the biggest improvement of getting my arms a little higher and more in front of me on my backswing.  I don't feel like I'm swinging any harder...actually a little easier, and my club head speed jumped 8 mph.  Haven't seen the new swing on video to see if that power leak is plugged, but those initial results are promising....


Exactly what I worked on in the offseason as I was prone to the duck-hook, and I am having the same results right out of the gate.  I now stand more upright, turn my shoulders more horizontally, but lift my arms more vertically (hands to the sky as Nicklaus used to say). It definitely feels to me like it requires less physical effort although it's more dependent on timing. But now, my  miss is a slightly bigger fade than I'[d like (not a slice), rather than that nasty old duck hook.

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Looks like you got the backswing of a one-plane swing, but the downswing of a two-plane swing. In two-plane swings with high hands you usually see the player dropping the hands a bit from the top. You seem to do the same thing, but since you are already in the slot, you drop the hands well below plane and get really deep. If you would move the arms in a straight line from the top of the backswing instead of dropping the hands, you'd be in a better position.

You could maybe have a little more lift on the arms too.

Could you post a down the line video?

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Originally Posted by Zeph

Looks like you got the backswing of a one-plane swing, but the downswing of a two-plane swing. In two-plane swings with high hands you usually see the player dropping the hands a bit from the top. You seem to do the same thing, but since you are already in the slot, you drop the hands well below plane and get really deep. If you would move the arms in a straight line from the top of the backswing instead of dropping the hands, you'd be in a better position.

You could maybe have a little more lift on the arms too.

Could you post a down the line video?


Yep.  I'm working on getting the right amount of 'lift' now.  Not sure what causes the arm drop.  Part of it is from my hips being forward with my head back, so the right shoulder drops down some.  Plus, in this swing, I didn't apply any lift of the arms to get the arms working up the plane.  It was pretty much a turn with minimal shoulder involvement......   Somewhat frustrated with listening to all the advice about building a swing that was of the "turn back, then turn through" variety.  I generally don't drink the Kool-aid, but I think I did there inadvertently....

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Note: This thread is 3652 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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