In this tutorial, Anderson breaks down one of Justin Thomas’ favourite golf shots – a drill hook drive –which he uses quite regularly on TOUR when required. Thomas is a 15-time PGA TOUR winner and was the 2017 FedExCup winner.
With the ball teed up on the right side of the tee box, you should set up square to slightly closed with your feet, knees, hips and shoulders parallel to where your club face is aligned (Photo 1). You’ll notice Justin doesn’t set up with a real close stance, which other players may do with their shoulders closed.
What Justin does is take a normal backswing (Photo 2), but key on the way down, he drops the club slightly to the inside (Photo 3) so he can hit out on the ball and aggressively speed up his right arm and right shoulder on the downswing so the toe of the club can pass the heel through impact (Photo 4), creating hook spin.
Justin hit this particular drive on the 16th hole of the final round at THE PLAYERS Championship in 2021, and the ball curved almost by 30 yards when it hit the ground, there was almost like another 30 yards of roll because there was so much topspin due to the swing motion.
Also, this is generally a very fl at shot. When your right side gets on top of your left, it allows for a flatter ball flight.
It is important to note that Justin was hitting away from trouble on the 16th hole, which is to the left of the fairway. If he had ended up hitting the ball straight, he would still either be in the right side of the fairway or at worse case, in the right rough. Hence, it is important to know when you should attempt to hit this drill hook drive to maximize a perfectly executed shot.
This shot is a good one to try out when you need a lot of roll on the ball or when you are navigating a dogleg left hole. If you have any of these holes on your home course, give it a try. I think you’ll fi nd yourself gaining a lot of distance from this shot and also enjoying the opportunity to attack the par 5s better like how Justin did it at TPC Sawgrass.
Todd Anderson is the Director of Instruction at the PGA TOUR Performance Center at TPC Sawgrass, home of THE PLAYERS Championship. The 2010 National PGA Teacher of the Year has seen his students amass more than 50 victories across the PGA TOUR and Korn Ferry Tour, including two FedExCup titles. He is currently rated by Golf Digest as one of the top 20 golf instructors in the United States.