The Definition of Hooding the Club in Golf

Golf driver addressing the ball during setup

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"Hooding" (or "hooding the club") is a golf term about which there is some confusion. That's understandable, because some golfers use it differently than others. Even some broadcasters, golf instructors and pro golfers mean different things when they say it.

Most Common Usage: De-Lofting the Clubface

In the more common usage, "hooding the club" means moving one's hands forward when in the address position — moving your hands (and, therefore, the handle of the golf club) towards the target, in other words.

When your move your hands toward the target, you are de-lofting the clubface. The club's effective loft will go down, in other words: A club whose measured loft is, say, 25 degrees might have an effective loft of 23 degrees when the clubface is hooded.

Any time a club is hooded, it will produce a lower trajectory than that club when the golfer's hands are in their normal, neutral position at address.

This meaning of "hooding the club" is used when talking about lowering the ball flight (to keep it out of the wind, for example), increasing roll or, on the green, producing topspin in a putt.

Alternate Meaning: Rotating Toe of Club Inward

Some golfers, however, have something else in mind when they say a club is or should be hooded. That alternate meaning refers to shutting or closing the clubface by rotating the club just a tiny bit in one's hands. This has the effect of rotating the toe of the club inward (for a righthander, that means the club is rotated counterclockwise).

A club hooded in this manner will be in "closed position" at address, which is sometimes also called "shutting the clubface."

In this usage of hooding the club, the hooding is done to counteract a slice, to produce a hook or draw, or, if in a bunker, to dig a ball out of a buried lie.