I went through a rough period as a kid fighting a nasty snap hook; almost 30 years later I can still remember that dreaded feeling. I tried changing to stiffer shafts and “holding on” tighter through impact, but nothing helped. Sadly, no one at that time knew much about the real ball flight laws. I was left to guess-and-check, and basically wait it out.
Today, we are blessed with devices like Trackman that give us an instant MRI of what is going on in the swing. All I would have needed back in the day was one swing and I could have understood why I was snap hooking the ball. I could have fixed it in one range session!
Now, there’s no reason to let your snap hook run wild and poison your game. Read this article, then get on Trackman to diagnose your own swing. Let’s dive in.
The key is to fix the path so you can move the ball right-to-left
Above is a sample swing I made showing a healthy snap hook. The ball started well left of my target and continued to curve further left… not to mention that the ball launched extremely low, so the ball landed hot and keep running. That’s not ideal for hitting greens. Ugh!
The real issue here is the club path (which is -4.3 left of the target) and its interaction with the face angle (which is -5.7 degrees left of the target.) We know that the ball mostly begins in the direction of the face at impact (the red arrow) and curves away from the club path (the blue line). So, as you can see above, the face is left of the path by -1.4 degrees, which means this shot is going to curve to the left with a centered hit.
Here is the issue; if you try and manipulate the face right of your current path you will hit a fade as shown below, but if you shove the face right of the target line you will hit a weak slice. That’s a playable shot, but not ideal.
Below is what we’d like your path to look like during impact to eliminate the pull hook, that is, if you want to still move the ball right-to-left.
The path is right of the target and the face is slightly left of the path, but it’s still right of the target during impact giving us a simple little push draw.
This was my plight as a 16-year-old kid during that time period
- Focus on keeping your rear shoulder back during the transition, allowing it to move slightly downward so the club falls to the inside naturally.
- As the shoulder moves correctly, you will find that the club shaft will flatten a touch during this period.
- From there, you will arrive in a much better delivery position to allow you to begin the ball to the right and have it curve back to the target.
Tom F. Stickney II, is a specialist in biomechanics for golf, physiology, and 3d motion analysis. He has a degree in Exercise and Fitness and has been a Director of Instruction for almost 30 years at resorts and clubs such as- The Four Seasons Punta Mita, BIGHORN Golf Club, The Club at Cordillera, The Promontory Club, and the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. His past and present awards include the following: Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, Golf Digest Top 50 International Instructor, Golf Tips Top 25 Instructor, Best in State (Florida, Colorado, and California,) Top 20 Teachers Under 40, Best Young Teachers and many more. Tom is a Trackman University Master/Partner, a distinction held detroit sugar daddy by less than 25 people in the world. And finally, he is TPI Certified- Level 1, Golf Level 2, Level 2- Power, and Level 2- Fitness and believes that you cannot reach your maximum potential as a player with out some focus on your physiology. You can reach him at [email protected] and he welcomes any questions you may have.