Slice Vs. Hook – What’s the Difference?

golfer at sunset swinging golf driver

The difference between a hook and a slice in golf is how the golf ball travels—a player “slices” a ball when the ball starts to the left and curves right. A player “hooks” a ball when the ball starts right or left of the target and veers off to the left.

Whack! You just drove your ball, and everything felt right. It sounded good, felt good, and when you look up, you see your ball going straight down the fairway like intended. Or…so you thought. 

If you’re like me, your golf ball went straight and then started drifting to the right. Most amateur golfers have a slicing issue, where the ball moves to the right after impact.

However, one indication that you are improving your golf game is when a ball hooks or goes to the left.

What Is A Hook in Golf?

A hook in golf is a golf ball starting from the right or left of the target and continuing to go to the left. Several factors in a golf swing can produce an undesirable hook.

golf wedge behind golf ball causing a hook

The most thing that causes golfers hit a hook is by the club face pointing to the left of the target at impact with the ball. Golfers can easily do this when the golfer moves their wrist too fast through the impact zone.  

Another common fault that a golfer may look into is having the clubhead closed at impact. When a club head is “closed,” this means the clubhead is facing toward the golfer.

 Sometimes, amateur golfers do not realize their alignment until a professional teacher points this out. By using a golf trainer, you may be able to figure out your alignment without taking golf lessons.

A golfer may also hook a ball the “professional” way. This is a swing where the club path or delivery is too far from the inside. You may also hit a professional hook by swinging below an ideal swing plane line.

The hook this swing produces is also known as the “professional” hook because most amateur golfers swing oppositely.

Hooking a ball like a professional golfer usually causes the ball to start to the right of the target and then fall left, eventually landing left of the intended target.  

How to Correct a Hook?

You can fix a hook by addressing any of these faults listed above. One of the most common ways to improve a hook is to grip the club lighter. You will find that those with very active hands, i.e., getting the clubface closed too quickly, will have a very tight grip on the golf club.  

When the player has a tight grip on the club, the forearms are very tight as well. Having a tight grip can make the clubhead go both directions very fast. It can result in a hook, depending on the player’s tendencies.  

Another way of fixing a hook is to try and hit the “right” side of the ball. When hooking the ball is chalked up as your club path being too far inside, the player is making contact with the “left” side of the ball.  

Hypothetically, imagine you put a camera on the ball and club. You would see that the club is hitting the inside of the ball.  

Naturally, you may try to correct this by striking the “opposite” side of the ball. It may feel weird at first, but remember how hard habits are to break. You are essentially forcing yourself to produce an uncomfortable but correct golf swing.  

Don’t be discouraged if you overcorrect to the point where you are now slicing the golf ball. When I was first trying to correct this, that is what happened.

When fixing golf swings, usually doing the extreme opposite and working your way to the middle will produce positive results.

What Is A Slice In Golf?

A slice is arguably the most common ball flight seen amongst amateur golfers. A slice is when a golfer’s ball flight will start to the left of the intended target and then land to the right of the intended target.  

Driver behind ball causing a golf slice

The “banana ball” ball flight is also one of the most frustrating ball flights to hit. A slice is caused by the ball having an unintended spin on it. The spin of the ball is moving to the right. When the ball’s spin moves to the right, spinning backward from the target.  

This means that it does not matter how much power or speed is put on the ball. Your golf shot will still lose distance.

Several factors can cause a slice. The classic” over the top” move is the most common way golfers put a slice on the ball. 

A slice is caused by when the golf club goes outside of the ball on the downswing. By striking the ball as the club moves to the outside, you get a shot that slices to the right. In this process, the player hits the “right” side of the ball, adding a lot of right spins. 

Additionally, a golfer may hit the ball right in the club’s center but with the clubface turned outward. The ball slides off the clubface rather than being struck straight down the fairway. In turn, a shot like this also produces the right spin on the ball.

A slice is one of the biggest faults in golf and is very tough to get away from once you begin. For me, it was one of the hardest things to correct in golf.

I did everything else right, and yet my ball still went 30-40 yards to the right of my intended target.

How To Correct A Slice?

A golfer would fix a slice by keeping their club from going outside the ball and inside their target line. Simply put, keep the clubhead always on the body side of the golf ball. Try never to let the clubhead go outside of the golf ball before impact.

A tough task, but some golf trainers I have tried allow you to see where your faults lie in your swing easily.

Another swing fault common in golf is leaving the clubface wide open or not rotating the club through. When the clubface is open, the clubface points in the opposite direction that the golfer is standing.  

A wide-open club can be caused by your hands being extra active in the swing. In layman’s terms, they are too tight. 

The way to correct this would be to learn that you do not need to grip the club as life and death depend on it. A great analogy taught to players struggling with this is to grip a tube of toothpaste. Firm, but not tight! You want to grasp it with enough force that it will not fly out of your hand but loose enough to where toothpaste will not come out.

Other Options to Fix Hooks and Slices

Another possible fix to that dreaded hook and slice is to use an anti-slice golf ball. Yes, they do exist. But a word of warning is that they are illegal balls for tournament play. 

While they are fun to play with to impress your friends with extraordinarily straight drives, I wouldn’t recommend them too often. Without knowing you are slicing or hooking a ball, you will never know you have a problem that needs to be fixed. 

In conclusion, a dead straight shot is nearly impossible to hit all the time. Almost all ball flights will have some movement to them. My best advice is to learn to hit a quality shot and stick with it!

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