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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Butch Harmon on Snap Hooks

Yeah, I usually post tips about stopping slices because the vast majority of weekend players fight a slice. But there are a number of you -- you know who you are! -- who routinely snap a hook off the face of the earth at critical moments. This post is for you.

And it comes courtesy of no less a teacher than Butch Harmon. Here's the link to Butch's Golf Digest article about snap hooks, but I'll give you a quick summary in case the link doesn't work when you try it. (The 'Net is a congested place at times...)

Butch demonstrates proper followthrough

Just as pushes and slices often happen because your lower body outraces your upper body and you "get stuck" -- your hands and arms get left behind and can't catch up -- a snap hook is usually the result of the opposite problem. The snap hooker's lower body often stops turning too soon, letting hands and arms race ahead. The player flips the club head as a result and voila! Snap hooks a-plenty!

He also notes that snap hookers frequently don't transfer their weight to their lead side during their downswing. That's also caused by the lower body stopping its turn too soon, and it just exacerbates the hook. Butch's tip is simply to get your belt buckle turned to the target and make sure your weight gets to the lead side.

Let me add a second thought: If you aren't getting your belt buckle to the target, you should focus on getting that weight shift. If your lead heel comes off the ground a little during your backswing, one thing you can try is stamping it straight down to start your downswing. I often advise players to think of falling from the top of their backswing to the ground for the same reason; it forces their weight to shift to their lead foot.

Once your weight shifts, finishing your turn is pretty natural.

The key is that you don't want to push your lower body too far forward -- as I said, that often causes getting struck. Butch mentions this problem in his article as well and suggests practicing with a narrower stance and not swinging as hard. Again, the idea is to create a weight shift without exaggerating the move.

Many problems in your golf swing are the result of overdoing something. Snap hooks are the result of underdoing it. What you want is BALANCE. Correct the problem, don't just replace one problem with another.

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