Slice vs Hook: Learn the Difference and How to Fix Them

By Todd Kolb
April 26, 2024

For any golfer, the battle between the slice vs hook can derail you from properly hitting your golf shot. I’ve guided golfers to fix their swings by knowing the solutions to such problems. This golf guide explains the differences between a hook and a slice while providing suggestions on how to properly fix each.

A man showing the difference of hook vs slice in golf

When you know what you’re doing when hitting a slice or a hook, it becomes much easier to hit the ball straighter. You may even be able to fix and hit a nice, controlled fade or draw

I’m about to walk you through everything you need to know to rid yourself of that hook or slice. I’ll explain:

Overview of a Hook Shot and Slice Shot in Golf

There are a lot of phrases used to expand upon a slice vs hook, which may get many amateur golfers confused.

What Is a Hook in Golf?

For a right-handed golfer, a hook shot starts to the right of the target and then veers toward the left mid-flight. When you hook the golf ball, it lands well to the left of the target. 

A man demonstrating a hook in golf

Meanwhile, for a left-handed person, a hook starts to the left of the target and curves drastically toward the right.

The pull hook is caused by a slightly closed clubface along with an in-to-out club path. In this situation, the ball will start left of the target and will continue to move left.

The snap hook will generally start on the target line or just barely left of the target and snap hard from right to left. This is caused by having a very high in-to-out club path.

The duck hook is caused by having an extremely high in-to-out club path and a club face that is completely shut pointing well left of the target. This type of hook shot doesn’t typically get very high off the ground and will have little to no back spin.


  • Produces longer distances which is beneficial where distance is needed
  • Adds extra run/roll out after landing for extra distance
  • Generally produces a lower ball flight which is helpful in windy conditions
  • Avoids hazards and OB on the right side of golf holes where typically you find more hazards and OB 


  • Excessive curvature makes distance control difficult
  • Can put you in hazards/trouble on the left side (right handed golfer)
  • Difficult to hold greens, especially from the rough
  • Can be a very damaging miss with lower lofted clubs like the driver

What Is a Slice in Golf?

A slice is the opposite of a hook. For a right-handed golfer, a slice begins to the left of the target and curves back to the right. The definition is the opposite for a left-handed golfer

A man demonstrating the slice in golf

Among the most common ball directions for an amateur golfer is, without question, the slice. The slice is produced by an open club face and/or an out-to-in club path. 

A Push Slice:

The push slice is the result of an open clubface relative to the target and a swing path that is out to in. For a right-handed golfer, the ball will start out to the right of the target because the club face is open and continues to move right due to the out-to-in club path.

A Pull Slice:

The pull slice has a clubface that is closed relative to the target line combined with an out-to-in club path. This causes the ball to start left of the target and slice back to the right. 


  • Initially starts more online than a hook
  • Tends to be more predictable and manageable for higher handicappers
  • Produces a higher ball flight making it easier for the ball to stay on the green
  • Tends to roll less when headed off line


  • Often the most damaging ball flight for amateurs
  • Severe loss of distance compared to straight shots
  • Hard to control, especially off the tee

Similarities Between Hooks and Slices

Both hooks and slices have an unwanted curvature of the ball. This begins with a failure to control the clubface and swing path of the golf club. Whether you tend to hook or slice the golf ball, the best place to start is by getting control over the clubface. 

Differences Between Hooks and Slices in Golf

A slice results from an open clubface combined with an out-to-in swing path, causing the ball to start right of the target and curve right. In contrast, a hook arises from a closed clubface along with an in-to-out path, moving the ball from right to left.

While a hook shot is the result of a closed club face, a slice shot comes from an open club face.

Now, my fellow golf instructors may want to interject and remind me that you can also slice the golf ball with a closed club face. For the sake of simplicity, we’re just working with this far more common hook vs. slice formula today:

  • Closed = Hook
  • Open = Slice

Golf ball showing the open, square, and close formula

Table showing the slice and hook differences

Upper Body Position

While the upper body error is different no matter if you struggle with a hook or the slice, the solution is the same. You want a tilt slightly away from the target combined with a little more weight on your lead foot at address.

  • Slice: Check your setup position. Is your upper body tilted toward the target? When you lean your upper body towards the target, your golf swing naturally works out-to-in.
  • Hook: You might be tilting your upper body too far away from the target at setup. While a little tilt is a good thing and can even help you hit a nice, high draw, too much tilt is a recipe for disaster. An extreme lean shifts the circle to a powerful in-to-out motion.

Wrist Motion

The proper impact position in golf requires a square clubface, flat lead wrist, and shaft leaning slightly forward around 10 degrees as a guideline.

  • Slice: As a frequent slicer, you might notice that you cup your lead wrist on the takeaway or at the top of the backswing (or both). When your glove’s logo points toward the sky on the takeaway, you’re cupping the lead wrist and therefore opening the clubface. You’re also opening the club face if the logo points too far downward at the top of your backswing. 
  • Hook: You wind up closing the club face if your lead wrist works too far underneath too early in the swing. Check to see if you are rotating that lead wrist down and toward the ground. If you’re doing this you may also be closing the club face and directing the club head too far behind your body.


The grip position can significantly influence the ball’s trajectory, potentially causing a hook or a slice. Here are a few good things to look for if you tend to slice or hook the golf ball.

  • Slice: A weak grip, where the V’s formed by the thumb and index finger point more towards the chin or lead shoulder, can lead to a slice. In this grip position, the clubface tends to be open at impact, causing a ball flight that curves to the right.
  • Hook: A strong grip, where the V’s point towards or beyond the trailing shoulder’s edge, can cause a hook. This grip position tends to close the clubface at impact, resulting in excessive right to left ball flight for a golfer with a dominant right hand.

A proper grip position promotes a square clubface at impact, allowing for a straighter ball flight and better control over shot shape. Here is a good 4 step process to properly place the club in your hands, it’s called the 45-Degree Grip. 

Follow these steps:

  1. Use your trail hand to hold the golf club out in front of you at chest height.
  2. Position the club so that the shaft is at a 45-degree angle in relation to the ground holding it in your trail hand.
  3. Grip the top of the club handle in the fingers of your lead hand. You’ll know you’re holding it in your fingers if the pad of your hand connects with the top of the grip and the handle passes over your hand diagonally. The shaft should exit your lead hand through the middle knuckle of your index finger.
  4. Add your trail hand as you normally would. (I tend to encourage an overlap grip.)

A man showing proper grip


In golf, proper body alignment is vital so you have an opportunity to make a good solid swing. Improper alignment, whether too open or closed relative to the target line, can severely impact the club path, potentially causing a slice (outside-in path, open clubface) or hook (inside-out path, closed clubface). 

The best alignment has the feet, hips and shoulders parallel to the intended target line. Now, if you tend to slice the golf ball, a slightly closed stance (to the right of the target for a right handed golfer) is acceptable. Be sure to keep the clubface square and pointed at the target when you do this. On the flip side, if you tend to have a hook ball flight, a slightly open stance is acceptable.

However, alignment alone doesn’t directly lead to these misses.


Maintaining proper posture enables you to move from a backswing to a downswing efficiently, while having good balance as you make the shot. If you tend to put too much weight back in the heels at setup, you may fall forward in the downswing causing an outside-in path leading to a slice. 

An overly hunched or bent-over posture often causes what we call early extension at the moment of impact. Early extension is a loss of spine angle through impact and is a common source of an excessive in to out swing path which can lead to a hook.


When discussing the movement of releasing the golf club in the swing, we often use the word pronation. Pronation refers to the motion of rotating the forearms and hands over through impact. This movement is one of the ways golfers can get the clubface to a square position at impact.

  • Slice: The arms do not pronate at all or nearly enough. Without sufficient pronation, the clubface stays open relative to the swing path, causing the ball to start right off the target and slice further away.
  • Hook: The arms pronate too early and/or too much. Early or excessive pronation happens when the forearms and hands rotate over too soon before impact. This premature rotation closes the clubface relative to the swing path, starting the ball left of the target with exaggerated hook ball flights.


Proper impact position requires a square clubface, flat lead wrist, and shaft leaning slightly forward around 10 degrees as a general guide. Face orientation relative to the target at the moment of impact dictates the ball’s starting directions and curvature.

  • Slice: An open clubface at impact promotes a slice or fade. This causes the ball to start to the right of the target line and continue curving further right as it flies through the air. The more open the clubface, the more extreme the slice ball flight.
  • Hook: A closed clubface at impact causes a hook or draw. A slightly closed face leads to a controlled draw shape. Meanwhile, an aggressively closed clubface results in a severe hook that can make the ball change direction drastically mid-flight.

A golfer showing an open and closed clubface

Causes of a Hook vs Slice in Golf

There can be a variety of reasons the golf ball will hook or slice. Something as simple as ball position, can create both these shots. The good news is that’s an easy fix. 

We also want to understand that the faster you swing the club, all things being equal, the more the ball will curve. Now, if you’re not getting enough swing speed, that’s a fun problem to address as all golfers enjoy creating more clubhead speed.

One of the best ways to fix a hook or a slice is to improve your swing plane.  Adjusting your swing plane is generally a good place to start and leads to success.

In golf, the moment of impact is often referred to as the moment of truth. The challenge is this impact position happens in a split second. How are you supposed to notice an error in face orientation and fix it between the top of the backswing and impact when the elapsed time is so short?

Answer, you don’t. You just have to know what happens in your swing before the downswing. For the most part, the position of the face at impact is determined by its position on the takeaway and the top of the backswing. It’s much easier to notice and adjust poor technique in those areas.

You might also find it encouraging to know that you can tell whether you have the club face open or closed based on certain body positions. It’s all in the upper body and the wrists. You don’t have to look at the club’s face. You just have to feel what your body is doing.

Challenges for the Average Golfer in Overcoming Hooks and Slices

Are hooks or slices more difficult for the average golfer to overcome (and why)? This is a common question you may encounter during training.

Todd Kolb, PGA Certified Instructor and best-selling author explains, 

“A slice is a much more difficult shot for the average golfer to change because the fix is counterintuitive. When a right-handed golfer sees the ball slice to the right, their initial reaction is to swing the club more to the left. 

Unfortunately, this creates more curve as the leftward swing’s path combined with the open face just makes the ball slice even more. One great phrase to remember is to ‘swing towards the curve.’ 

When the ball is curving (slicing) to the right, swing the club more to the right. You will see the ball flight begin to straighten out.”

Swing Changes to Fix a Slice or Hook

Once you’ve located the source of your slicing or hooking problem—upper body or wrist, takeaway or top of the backswing—you can work on fixing the issue.

Here are some tips and drills that will help you start hitting straighter, more controlled golf shots.

Takeaway: When your hands have reached waist height and the club shaft is parallel to the ground, you want the leading edge of your club face to be at a 45-degree angle in relation to the ground. When the toe of the club is rotated up, it’s open, and you’re likely to slice. Meanwhile, there are higher chances to hit a hook if the toe is rotated down and closed. 

Upper Body/Posture: Positioning the upper body in the correct position before the swing begins sets us up to hit a quality golf shot. Follow this 4 step process to find the proper upper body position.

  1. Take your regular golf stance.
  2. Hold your golf club against your chest, perpendicular to the ground. The handle should be in line with your zipper or buttons.
  3. Tilt away from the target.
  4. When the club head hits your lead knee or thigh, you’ve gone far enough.

A golfer standing while inside the training area

Top Advice for Fixing a Hook

Kolb, who has over 30 years of golf experience, says, 

“You need to first look at the flight of the ball. A low hook indicates your clubface is closed, whereas a high hook indicates you are swinging too far from the inside. 

For the low hook, check your initial takeaway and make sure the clubface is not too closed. You want the toe of the club pointed slightly towards the sky at waist-high. Here is a great video on how I trained golfers to fix a hook.”

Suppose your ball flight is high hook. Odds are you are extending early or standing up right before impact. To fix this, feel like your body is staying in posture and you are maintaining a hinge in your hips early in the downswing. See how I stopped a hooking driver.

Top Advice for Fixing a Slice

A slice ball flight happens when the clubface is open relative to the path the clubhead is swinging on. It is by far the most common shot golfers hit. Anytime you hit a slice the first place to look is in the initial takeaway. 

Most all slicers rotate the face open and behind them early on in their golf swing, leading to an open face at impact. 

Kolb instructs, “To fix this, simply feel like the knuckles on your lead hand rotate down towards the ground when you move the club away from the golf ball. 

This one simple move will get the clubface square and keep the club on a good initial path leading to more solid contact and straighter ball flight.”

Drills for Fixing a Hook or Slice

Despite all the health benefits of golf, you don’t just practice this sport for the sake of your wellness, right? You do it for the satisfaction of watching your golf ball cut a clean, high path straight down the fairway.

So how do you get rid of your hook or slice and enjoy the game more? There are a few different factors that could interfere with your face control, ranging from your golf grip to your wrist movement.

I’m going to walk you through the most common problems and how you can check to see if you’re making these mistakes.

Right Knee Right Field Drill

You can do this drill using an iron or a driver.

  1. Take your setup.
  2. Use the directions above to find the correct upper body tilt.
  3. Rest the club head on the ground behind the ball.
  4. Move your head so it’s just over your trail foot.
  5. Rotate your hips back.
  6. Swing the arms up and then swing through.

A man showing the right knee right field drill

Second demonstration of the right knee right field drill

When you do this drill, you feel the benefits of that improved upper body position. You can see that you’re in an excellent position at the top of the swing to deliver a square club face for controlled impact.

Upper Body Drill

This drill has exactly one step:

  1. Take your golf swing while balanced on your lead leg only.

The beauty of this drill is that it forces you to rotate through the center of your body. This naturally corrects the upper body tilt because tilting too far forward or back knocks you off balance.

Wrist Movement Drill

If the problem is in your wrists, you can correct the issue pretty easily by paying attention to the logo on your glove.

Now, I want to clarify that the following instructions assume you are using a neutral golf grip. For example, if you have a strong or weak grip you may need to make other adjustments to compensate for the way your grip influences face position.

Just as is the case with upper body position, the directions for fixing improper wrist motion are the same whether you’re trying to overcome a hook vs. slice.

Check what your wrists are doing on the takeaway. You want to feel the hands work slightly in, with the logo rotating slightly towards the golf ball. Just make sure you don’t have the logo twist dramatically towards the ground. That’s what causes a hook.

A golfer showing the wrist movement drill

Second, note what happens at the top of your backswing. You want to split the difference between pointing the logo too far skyward or too far downward. Try to aim your golf glove logo toward the spot where a caddie would be standing watching his player from face on.

A golfer showing the top back swing

Another way to say it is that a golfer who slices should feel the logo rotate more toward the sky than they normally would. Players who hook their golf shots should feel the logo rotate more downward or towards the caddie reference.

Face Control Drill

This drill is all about checkpoints and getting the feel of proper form.

  1. Take your setup.
  2. Swing back until your lead arm is parallel to the ground. Check that the club face is square.
  3. Swing through and finish with both arms parallel to the ground, extended and straight.
  4. Make sure your club face is still square.

Do this drill at slower speeds to begin checking your form for proper control of the clubface. As you start to get the hang of it, feel free to pick up the speed.

Hook or Slice: Which Is Better?

While neither a slice nor a hook is desirable, most golfers tend to prefer dealing with a hook over a slice. 

A hook at least is more powerful and produces more distance. However, an excessive pull hook can be just as penalizing as a slice. In contrast, a slice not only starts offline but continues veering away from the target and lacks any real power or speed making it one of the most damaging misses in golf.

Related Questions

Is It Better to Have a Hook or a Slice?

Between the two, most players would prefer to deal with a hook rather than a slice. A hooked golf shot will likely cause you to miss the fairway. Slice is often a more destructive play that bleeds distance and accuracy.

What Is the Difference Between a Hook and a Slice?

For right handed golfers, a hook curves drastically from right to left. On the other hand, slice shapes in the opposite or from left to right.

What Is the Difference Between a Hook and a Draw?

While both a hook and a drawn curve from right to left, a draw is a much more controlled shot shape. A hook is an exaggerated version with excessive curvature that often starts well right of the intended ball position and target line. 


Master the techniques to correct a hook or slice shot. In this way, you’ll gain more control over your ball flight and fix your distance off the tee and into the greens. With a better understanding of these golf shots, you can work towards achieving a more consistent ball flight.


  1. Hi Todd. There are times when I struggle with pulled shots, often when I am approaching the green. There is no curvature at all to the ball and I actually hit it a long way but often too far. Does the fact that the ball does not curve indicate that it could be alignment? Also, on the take away, once I am passed parallel, I feel that sometimes I suppress the natural rolling movements of my arms that open the club face as I approach the top and wonder if this could be an issue as well.

    I wanted to share with you a truly dramatic realization that happened to me last week on the course. I am around 5 foot 7. For some reason I decided that I would choke up on my irons and my goodness Todd, When I didn’t pull, I was hitting many greens in regulation. It was a phenomenal feeling. Maybe this can be shared with other golfers who like me find your lessons to be phenomenally helpful.

    Best regards

  2. Maurice,
    This is a great question. Here is what you need to know. The ball starts based on where the clubface is pointing at impact. Therefor if your golf ball is starting to the left of the target you are either aimed to the left or your clubface is closed relative to your stance. I would start with your aim first. Here is a great video we recently did on that exact topic

  3. Hi Todd,
    Really, really enjoy your videos. In the face control video you are working with an iron to fix face control issues. I am presently having issues with the Driver hooking off the planet. Is it also a face control issue? If so can it be cured by using the same drill as you were doing with an iron. I do not hook my irons, I actually hit them pretty straight.

    Thanks for your help!!!

  4. Michael,
    Thanks for the the kind words. Here is a good video we did on that topic

  5. Thanks for a great article! On the face control drill: “square” means what, and relative to what/how/what direction in each position of the swing? Even these terms and meaning in different position is not clear to many of us beginners. 🙂

  6. Great question. Square is relative to the target line, the direction you would like to see the ball travel. Make sense?

  7. Hi Todd,

    Love the videos!!!! So I see a whole lot of videos on how to fix a slice which makes complete sense as that tends to be the issue most golfers face. At least the new ones. However, despite looking at a number of the videos I do not find one that provides information and tips for fixing a hook. I have an extreme right to left ball flight. For the life of me I can’t get it figured out. If you have an opportunity in a future video, maybe you could address what might cause this issue and a couple of drills that might help fix it.

    Appreciate all you do,

    Mike the struggling golfer.

  8. Thanks for posting and the kind words Michael. You got this! Be sure to let us know how it goes.

  9. Hi Todd.

    It is such a great learning through your videos and texts. I am a beginner in golf and learnt all through online videos. I did get some information about hooking and slicing and to some extent did correction on my swings but your crystal clear concept and knowledge sharing about these fundamentals has given me a new confidence altogether. I am surely going to convert it into swift action.

    Thanks tons

  10. Thank you for the nice words and taking time to post. We have more great content coming…stay tuned. If you enjoy reading and learning, you would benefit from my latest book, The Bad Lie. Here is the link if you are interested

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