Should you play a draw or a cut? Or, should you attempt to hit a straight shot on the golf course?
Let’s face it, the golf swing is a complicated motion. One wrong move on the takeaway and your power fade turns into a push slice. Or, a grip that is too strong at address can lead to a pull hook that starts left and goes even further left.
The little things make the biggest difference in the golf swing. How you move the club head and club path ultimately determine your shot shape. These are known as the ball flight laws and something most golfers should learn.
For example, if the ball starts left and goes back right, it’s known as a pull slice. The swing path makes it go left while the club face makes it rotate left to right in the air.
Beginner golfers struggle with a golf slice as it’s by far the most common ball flight. While other players will suffer from hooks and draws due to other swing flaws.
Keep reading to learn more about both types of bad golf shots, how to avoid them consistently, and training aids to help hit the ball straight.
Slice vs. Hook Golf Debate
As much as we’d like to hit every shot dead straight thanks to a square a club face, hitting it straight isn’t easy. Most of us tend to hit draws (which sometimes turn into hooks) or cuts (which sometimes turn into slices). A straight shot might happen occasionally but it’s far from the most common shot… especially among amateurs.
Unless you have a square face and perfect swing path at impact, you won’t hit it straight. The club face plays the biggest role in determining your shot shape and path also plays a role but a smaller one.
Let’s review these common shots to figure out how to hit the golf ball straighter.
Slice in Golf
If there’s one issue that keeps golfers up at night more than anything else, it’s probably a slice golf shot. A slice is frustrating for any type of golfer and there are no benefits to the shot.
But it’s also very common. In fact, almost every golfer has had to overcome a slice at one time or another in their golf career. Some players overcome this issue early on, while others battle it their entire life!
A slice is when the golf ball curves significantly from left to right in the air (for a right handed golfer). For a left-handed golfer, it’s the exact opposite and moves right to let. If it only moves a small amount from left to right, it’s known as a cut or fade shot.
So, what causes a slice?
According to Golf.com, there are 10 main reasons that can affect your shot shape and lead to a slice.
- Bad posture
- Open club face
- Lacking flexibility
- Incorrect foot flare
- Improper ball position
- Arms separating from your body
- Not swinging with your dominant side
- Keeping lead arm straight for too long
- Thumbs too on top of the grip (weak grip)
- Not understanding your shoulder line with target line
As you can tell, a slice occurs from a lot of contributing factors and an issue many golfers face. But all these causes lead to one thing – an open clubface at impact. This is a result of an outside in swing path and usually an overly active upper body.
Luckily, all you need to do is adjust a few things to start playing better golf. Click here to learn how to fix your slice for good.
Hook in Golf
While a slice is more common among everyday golfers, a hook is equally frustrating even if it’s not as common. A hook shot is the exact opposite of a slice and goes from right to left in the air (for right-handed golfers). For left-handed golfers, a hook starts then moves hard to the right.
If the ball only moves a small amount from right to left it’s known as a draw shot. The draw is a coveted shot that the avid golfer tries to achieve as it increases power and the signal of a consistent ball striker. But sometimes the draw goes well left of the target and turns into a nasty duck hook.
Some of the most common reasons you hit a hook shot including:
- Poor Golf Posture at setup
- Excessively strong grip
- Bad alignment
- A release that is too quick
- Over doing an inside to outside swing
All of these lead to a closed face at impact. The more closed the face, the more the ball will move from right to left in the air.
To fix these five issues and hit the ball squarely, make sure to read our guide to hitting a draw now.
Best Training Aids for Hooks and Slices
While understanding both types of shots is necessary to fix the issue, sometimes you need a training aid (or two) to help you feel these changes. There are tons of different training aids available and here are some of our favorites to help you out.
LagShot Golf Club
The Lag Shot golf club was rated the #1 training aid in 2022 by Golf Digest! I’ve used this club myself and can say it’s a game-changer when battling a hook and a slice.
The club has the normal length and look of a 7-iron (or driver or wedge if you buy that model). But what makes it different from a standard golf club is the whippy blue shaft. This shaft is incredibly flexible and quite heavy compared to most irons.
The Lag Shot makes it easy to feel what it’s like to create lag in your downswing. This leads to creating a more in to out swing, instead of an out to in swing that produces a nasty slice.
What’s great about this training aid is that you can hit golf balls with it too. Not only is it great to use off the course to train your swing but you can hit balls and see the flight in action. It makes it so much easier to hit a draw without overhauling your swing.
It’s no wonder it’s become such a high rated training aid that is popular with golfers worldwide. They also have great video training to help you get started quickly.
Make sure to read our full hands-on review of the lag shot training aid.
Planemate Swing Trainer
While the Lag Shot is a great training aid to help cure your slice, the Planemate is another awesome choice. This training aid is not an actual golf club like the Lag Shot but instead, an attachment that clips to your club.
The rubber bands and belt that you wear make it easy to feel a proper takeaway which then leads to a better downswing. Remember, it’s nearly impossible to swing in to out with a backswing that is too inside. With this training aid you can finally feel a proper takeaway which makes it so much easier to drop the club in the slot on the downswing.
Like the Lag Shot, you can use this training aid with or without golf balls. Plus, when you do take it to the driving range, you can hit wedges all the way to the driver.
Eyeline Speed Trap 2.0
While the first two training aids will help you cure your slice, the Eyeline Speed Trap 2.0 can also do that and more. In fact, it’s designed to help you learn how to hit a straight ball, draw, and cut.
The design is simple and has four rods that you can change positions based on your ideal shot shape. It makes it easy to feel a draw or cut swing by simply adjusting the rods at address.
This training aid is so great because you can hit real golf balls with it and use your own clubs. Plus, it’s small enough that you can easily take it to the driving range all the time. It also works for right and left-handed players.
The Eyeline Speed Trap 2.0 will help you improve your club path, reduce your slice, learn how to hit draws, and improve your wedge game too.
FAQs About Hook vs. Slice
Do you have more questions about ball flight and finding the best shape for your game? If so, keep scrolling through our frequently asked questions and answers below.
What’s the difference between a slice and a hook in golf?
They’re polar opposites in terms of golf shots.
A slice happens from an open clubface at impact and goes hard from left to right in the air. While a hook happens from a closed clubface at impact position and goes hard right to left in the air.
Both a hook and a slice are due to a clubface that isn’t square at address position.
The more the face is open or shut, the more the ball will slice or hook. Plus, longer clubs make this missed shot worse as there is less loft and a longer shaft. This leads to inconsistent shots off the tee that can lead to a lot of scrambling as you rarely find the fairway.
Better players ask the question of playing a draw vs playing a fade.
Do more golfers hook or slice the golf ball?
In general, more golfers hit a slice than a hook.
While there are a lot of reasons, the biggest reason is a steep, over the top downswing. This leads to keeping your weight back, swinging left, and often with an open club face. The result is a pulled, thin slice that makes it hard to score consistently well.
Is a push the same as a slice?
No, a push shot is different from a slice. A push shot is when it starts right of the target line and misses right (assuming it doesn’t draw back to the target). If you have left ball flight that’s known as a pulled shot.
A push or pull is a result of your club path, not the face of the golf club.
What’s better, a hook or slice?
Neither are ideal as both can lead to big misses, especially with a driver. Instead, you want to groove your swing so you hit a cut or a draw shot. These are much more manageable and make it consistently easier to score well every time you tee it up.
Some golfers prefer to hit a cut, while others always hit a draw. My biggest advice is to hit the shot that comes most naturally to you at least 70-80% of all shots. Once I made this decision in my own game, it made a massive difference.
For example, I always thought you had to shape the ball on every single shot. If the fairway went left to right, I assumed you needed to play a cut to match. Or if the pin was back left on the green, I assumed you needed to hit a draw shot to hit it close.
While that strategy works for players like Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas, it’s not necessary for the everyday golfer. When you try to shape every shot off the tee or from the fairway, it’s easy to get too technical instead of focusing on playing golf.
But when you play one shot shape the majority of the time, it’s much easier to pick a target and trust your swing. Now, I play a cut almost every shot and it’s such an easier shot process as I don’t have to think about how to hit a draw. Instead, I get up to the ball, pick my target on the left side of the fairway or green and swing my swing!
How do I stop slicing the ball?
A slice is easier to fix once you understand what’s going on with the clubface in the swing. Remember, a slice happens when the face is wide open at impact, leading to a hard left to right ball flight. To reduce your slice, you need to correct the clubface so it’s more square at impact.
Some ways to do that include:
- Strengthen your left hand. If your left hand is too weak, it’s easy to open the club face on the backswing, which leads to a steep downswing that is over the top. Simply adjusting your grip position can have a massive impact on your ball flight with any club in the bag.
- Change your takeaway. If you’re slicing the ball, it’s usually because your takeaway is too far inside. When the club goes around your body instead of out and up, it’s easy to have a wide open face at impact. Instead, try to take the club more outside so you can create an inside to out swing motion. One of the best ways to feel the proper takeaway is with the PlaneMate swing trainer as it trains you to swing like a pro. Click here to read our full review of this training aid now.
- Improve your alignment. Even if your hands and takeaway are perfect, you can still hit a slice with poor aim. This is why it’s so important to work on your alignment in practice with alignment rods so you don’t develop bad habits.
Does a hook or slice go further?
A hook will go further than a slice if both shots are hit with the same amount of power. A hook has more top spin and tends to roll out more, especially if the fairways are firm and fast. While a slice shot doesn’t travel as far and doesn’t have nearly the same amount of roll.
This is why it’s so important to fix your slice as soon as possible!
A slice off the tee on most holes makes it hard to score well. Not only will a slice lead to missed fairways it will minimize total distance, leaving longer shots into the greens.
Can standing too close to the ball cause a slice?
Your posture can affect how the ball curves. Most amateur golfers should focus on setup above all else to ensure you’re in the right starting position.
How do you hit straight golf shots?
Hitting it straight isn’t easy and Tiger Woods has said that it’s the most difficult shot to hit in all of golf. A straight shot requires a square face at impact with a perfect swing path too.
To hit it straighter and fix your slice (or hook shot) the first thing you should do is record your golf swing. This will make it easy for you to learn more about your current grip, ball position, takeaway, backswing, and every part of your swing. Once you have a starting point, then you diagnose the issue (or pay a golf instructor to do so) and start revamping your swing.
Why do I slice every golf shot?
If your swing produces a slice on every golf shot, it’s because your clubface is always open at impact. Refer to the articles, tips, and training aids above to improve face control to improve your tee box game.
Remember, almost every amateur golfer has had to overcome a standard slice at one time or another. A few slight tweaks and you can start hitting it better quickly.
Final Thoughts on Hook vs. Slice in Golf
Remember, if you are slicing or hooking the golf ball, it’s because the face isn’t square at impact position. The path of your swing could make a hook worse (or slice) better or even worse.
The key to better golf is to learn how your grip, left arm, upper body and lower body work together in unison. When you learn how to control the face of the golf club, this will lead to straighter shots in your golf game.
Buy one of the training aids above to improve your path and face control.