A better way to get square and add consistency to your shots

Published 22/12/2010 07:46:00

There's a common misconception among golfers about exactly when in the golf swing the release occurs. Most believe it occurs just after impact. The truth is a proper release happens just as contact is made. When an instructor uses the term "release," he or she is referring to how the clubface squares up to the golf ball at the point of contact.


There are generally two ways to release the golf club through impact. The first way is to rotate both forearms counter-clockwise through the impact area (right over left). If you've ever been taught to get the toe of your club pointing up toward the sky in the waist-high backswing and follow-through positions, then you've been exposed to the rotational release.


There are several inherent problems with a rotational release. First, it's extremely difficult to time. If you don't rotate your hands and arms at just the right moment, your clubface won't be square when you strike the ball. There's a very small margin for error. Furthermore, with the clubface in a constant state of rotation as it moves through the hitting zone, the shorter the amount of time it lies perfectly square to the target line.


The second drawback of this technique is that it increases the chance of injury. The number-one injury site in golf is the wrist. The act of rotating the forearms opens the door to stress injuries, such as tendinitis, to this delicate area.


The second way to release the club employs very little rotation. It's the release I teach all of my students, and one that's not only easier to time, but produces better, more consistent results, as well.


Hard Release

The rotational release can work for some players, but it's difficult to time. In a rotational release, the hands and forearms rotate counter-clockwise, moving the club from a toe-up position in the backswing to a toe-up position in the follow-through. The inherent difficulty in the rotational release is further complicated by the stress it places on the wrists.


Easy Release

I advocate a non-rotational release. The primary benefit of this move is a clubface that travels square to the target line for a longer period of time-a must for those who suffer from a chronic hook or slice. The key is to attain the hand and arm positions established in the setup at impact, and hold them through the midway point of the follow-through.


I refer to the second type of release as the "non-rotational" release. To understand the non-rotational release, assume your address position with your hands relatively in-line with the buttons on your shirt, your belt buckle and trouser zip. The idea behind the non-rotational release in this method is to attain this same position at impact and hold it through the midway point of the follow-through. I like to call this "matching" the hands and body through impact.


If the body and hands move through impact in sync, several good things will automatically happen. First, there will be no reason to rotate the hands and arms through impact because the clubface will already be square. Second, your clubface will remain on the target line through and beyond the impact area.


More important, by not having to rotate the hands and arms, less stress and strain are applied to these areas, thus leading to a lesser chance of strain or injury.


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