Hand action in the golf swing. Wow, this discussion has gone through the flipping ringer, especially after a golf tournament and the beverages are flowing pretty smooth. Everyone seems to have their say as to what aspect of the grip or swinging of the club they liked best especially when they hit that iron shot off the 8th par three to land it to within three feet, ‘ I stuffed that one oh yeah’! We have all been there haven’t we.
Have you ever noticed that when you go out to play your round and everything just connects, everything seems to be on your side that particular day, and you stop and think about what your mindset was for that day, you probably were just out having an enjoyable game with no competition, just you and your better half perhaps or a golf buddy? Where is this going? Well this is just one of the main reasons why you probably if not most likely had a good game. You were stress free, relaxed, swinging the club like you didn’t have a care in the world, hands relaxed, no tension. You probably had hand action in the golf swing without even realizing it.
A basic of the golf swing – why having relaxed hands is important.
In the golf swing grip, it is vital to be relaxed. Tension in a lot of things in life would have a very detrimental effect on the outcome. This couldn’t be more true when it comes to playing the game of golf. The only aspect of the game that connects us to the tools of the trade in golf are our hands, and everything else stems from there.
If we get this basic concept into our minds, it will make us undoubtedly appreciate the importance of making sure we put care and attention to understanding how are hands work and wrists in connecting us to the golf club and making sure that we use these to the benefit of the best outcome we could have in our swings.
Wrist action golf swing- Involuntary hands for proper hinge.
Give a brute body builder with basic golf skills a golf club, versus a 120 lb relatively good female golfer a golf club and the female will out perform this bulge popping probably mad body builder most likely every time. Point being that even light small persons, including young juniors can really hit one heck of a ball.
By allowing the hands to hinge naturally because they don’t really have anything better to do but follow what the club is doing when it’s on a proper plane of travel and there is no tension in our wrist or hands, they simply will hinge because that centrifugal force of the club going back and up will make our hands and wrists hinge naturally.
This is the proper way to train our wrists or groove our swings utilizing the one piece takeaway.
To give you a drill try this:
Grab hold of your 7 iron and with a descent stance, take hold of a proper grip on the club. You really need to feel the weight of the end of the club in your hands. Grip the club firmly but without tension. To release any tension, squeeze the grip really hard then relax, this is how we should grip the club. Now start swinging the club slowly from 3 o’clock to 9 o’clock turning your body naturally, using your shoulders to start the back swing staying connected by maintaining that ‘V’ created by the club shaft and arms. Here the idea is to rotate the body, shoulders, hips, and arms in unison without forcing your wrists and hands to do anything.
Notice how the weight of the club forces your wrists to hinge on the back swing and release and re hinge on the upswing?
Now continue to swing back and forth, in a pendulum like fashion allowing your weight to naturally shift from one foot to the other, while at the same time letting your club swing from 3 o’clock to 9 o’clock and allowing your wrists to hinge the way they want.
Now try this with a ball on a tee. Tee a ball just about 1/2 ” off ground like you would on a par 3, and using an iron 7,8, or 9 or PW, Start this pendulum motion about a foot in front of the ball just brushing or sweeping the grass gently. Keep swinging this 3-9 o’clock swing with wrist hinge barely gripping club, really feeling the weight of the club. Walk into ball and eventually the ball is going to be in the way of your swing.
Tell me that you did not hit it flush, because I probably won’t believe you. This is the correct way or feeling we want to have when setting up to swing at the golf ball. We need to be relaxed, all aspects as much as possible, and swing through the golf ball like it’s in our way.
By allowing the hands to naturally hinge in the back swing by the natural centrifugal force that is imposed on them during the swing causes our club face to point to the sky in a straight line or slightly closed position let’s say about 2 minutes to 12 o’clock.
Explaining the involuntary gripping of the club by the forces imposed in the natural swing.
The only way that you can have your hands hinge properly is to hold the club firmly (just enough so you would not let the club fly out of your hand) with the last 3 fingers of the lead hand only and pretty much have the others along for the ride. Allowing the wrists to hinge involuntarily will teach you that swinging the golf club into position at the top of our back swings should be a connected motion between your shoulders, hips, arms and hands. Our concentration should be on rotating our upper body first starting with the left shoulder and maintaining the “V” that our chest and arms make with club.
By swinging the club in this fashion, our natural tendency, which also is involuntary, the gripping of the club throughout the complete swing should happen naturally, not forced, no death grip as it were, just plain old basic naturally holding the club throughout the whole swing.
When we increase our speed and power on the down swing, caused mostly by the unwinding of our hips and shoulders, our hands are going to naturally grip the club much more firm than we were holding it because of the natural forces that just basically happen. This is probably the easiest way to explain how tight do we hold the club? Well simply put, don’t think about it, just let it happen, it is what it is, involuntary.
Golf doesn’t have to be complicated like some might lead us to believe, because quite frankly, a lot of natural things need to be allowed to happen in the golf swing for it to actually be right. Let’s say that again.“A lot of natural things need to be allowed to happen in the golf swing for it to actually be right”.
Delayed Hand action on downswing- Unleashing with right hand through the impact zone.
There is a lot of talk about the delayed hand release in the golf swing. Complete articles can be written just examining this one aspect of the golf swing. If you unwind the lower body properly, and our hip rotation is correct, also our shoulder turn is proper, then our hands naturally will be delayed in the golf swing.
I always tell myself when my swing is going astray or out of whack to relax and just unwind the coil naturally, and gradually increase the speed at which you unwind.
Taking a full back swing and just unwinding the coil and seeing how smooth and flush and accurate I can swing through the ball. Gradually increase the speed of the unwinding of the coil for more power and distance, without sacrificing accuracy.
Just before the moment of impact is where all of us want to perfect our swings. The correct timing for all of us is different mostly because we all have different swing speeds. To simplify the delayed hand action in our swing, and unleashing the power without sacrificing accuracy takes practice. The one piece of important advice that I can share is this:
We should always start our downswing with the exact same principles as how we started our swing. There needs to be a start pistol like a runner in a race, the sequence: ready, get set, go…
Ready: Waggle, waggle, forward press, left shoulder turn, staying connected on back swing.
Get set: Completing full body coil, with proper weight shift to right side, wrists fully cocked.
Go: Driving our left knee forward, with a forward bump of the hips, causing our upper body to start to uncoil, which causes our hands to drop- OK this spot right here- important- releasing the right side, that trigger of the upper body uncoiling and the hands drop is where we let go with the right side.
The right side has always been kind of passive as it were up until now, this is the spotlight time for your right side, time to show your true colors, the glory moment of letting your light shine for the whole world to see….you get my point, I’m sure… let er rip! This hand drop is really important, because it puts you in the slot of following through on your swing on a proper plane from an inside to outside path.
Your hands will naturally turn over through the impact zone if they are not manipulated and you are releasing from the right side. Your weight will end up on your left side with a completed unwound coil with you facing the target.
The Drill-Practice, Practice, Practice.
So friends, I have learned over the years in my personal game that like all things in life that we want to succeed at and do well…practice. Yes, proper practice makes you successful. If we have ingrained bad habits in our golf swings, that’s OK. Now we can change that. With a little persistence, practice we will see real game improvement, be happier at the outcome and be playing in a way that won’t promote injury, perhaps even to our playing partners because we won’t be throwing our clubs from the rough!
I hope that you enjoyed this article, as it’s a great joy of mine to share my thought on this tremendous game. Lastly but not least, cheers to a lower handicap!
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