A Lesson Learned: The trap draw hook

Josh Nichols, PGA
June 24, 2013

Well what can I (or anyone) say about the 2012 Masters that will do it justice? Intense, dramatic, emotional and full of great players hitting amazing shots.

When I agreed to write this week's "A Lesson Learned," I knew that I had to look out for one critical shot that we could all emulate and learn from. So really?

* Phil Mickelson hits a flop shot from an impossible spot behind the 15th green to four feet and makes his birdie.
* Phil Mickelson hits a hooded 7 iron with a 40 yard hook to the 18th green on Saturday to set up another birdie.
* Louis Oosthuizen hits a 4 iron from 260 yards that ends up in the hole for the 4th albatross in Masters history.
* Bubba Watson hits a wedge with 40 yards of hook in the 2nd playoff hole that leads to the Masters winning par.

After every shot, I know millions of golf fans were caught between yelling "Amazing!" and "Oh come on!" in disbelief. Those are not shots that 99.9% of the golf world - including most of the guys out on Tour - can pull off. So yes, "wow" would be correct. They were all incredible.

But then again, one thing we can all relate to is the need to get out of trouble. What Phil and Bubba did with their big hook shots may not be in the bag for most golfers, but the ability to hit that trap-draw-hook to escape trouble can, and should, be.

Since both Bubba and Phil are leftys, it's common their missed shots will end up on the right. For right handed golfers, your hooks will take you to the left. And the irony is, if it's a hook that gets you in trouble, it's most likely a hook you'll need to get out it too.

The basics of the shot are pretty simple:
1.) Take one less club than you'd need for the distance. Your shot will fly lower and roll further than usual.
2.) Aim your clubface to where you want your ball to finish.
3.) Move the ball a little back in your stance.
4..) Swing along your stance
5.) Keep your club "hooded" on the takeaway. This means keep the clubface pointed down towards the ground/ball rather than the toe up in the classic takeaway. This will help you "cover" or "hood" the ball thru the impact zone.

Your shot will come out hard and turn quickly towards the left (for right handers).

The next time you go to the range, I encourage you to practice this shot. You'll find that it's actually not that hard to pull off. If you think about it, some of the most solid shots most players have ever hit were pulls or hook. And unless you're that very rare breed of golfer that never gets in trouble, it's a shot that will come in handy more times than you think.

It might not lead to a green jacket, but it might help you find a few more greens in regulation.

Good luck!

Josh Nichols is the PGA Head Professional at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, GA. You can follow Josh on Twitter at@joshnicholsTPC