Golf Swing Hand Placement
It seems as though many golfers are
unaware of the importance the hands play in the execution
of the golf swing. Obviously, we know that the hands grip
the golf club and attach the body to the club. But what is
the importance of them during the swing?
The answer has to do with releasing of the club. Let’s go
back and do a quick golf biomechanics review. During the swing,
from address position to follow-through, the hands are active
in a passive type of manner.
Let me explain. The goal of the golf swing is to move the
club on the correct swing plane to induce the intended golf
shot that you want. This occurs through the body’s moving
through a series of positions. These positions are found within
the different phases of the golf swing.
The phases of the swing are address, take-away, backswing,
transition, downswing, impact, and follow-through. During
all of these movements the body is performing, the golf club
is being moved upon a swing plane. The swing plane is the
path upon which the golf club is to travel. Proper impact
with the golf ball requires the golf club’s traveling upon
the correct swing plane.
In order for the club to travel on the correct swing plane
it is necessary for the clubface to open and close. Oftentimes,
in golf terms the opening and closing, of the clubface is
termed “releasing of the club.” This is where the hands become
an integral part of the golf swing.
If you talk to almost any instructor, they will say that any
good player has “great hands.” This statement refers to exactly
what was described above (the releasing of the club correctly).
It’s obvious if you look at players such as Tiger, Phil, or
I even remember walking the course at Doral in Miami with
top-5 teaching instructor, Rick Smith. One point he continued
to return to in terms of discussing the golf swing was “hands.”
He stated more than once how any PGA Tour player has great
hands. This just provides additional support for how important
the hands are in terms of the golf swing.
But what does this all mean? Well, we know the hands are involved
in the “opening and closing” of the clubface during your swing.
This movement allows for the proper release of the club. As
I mentioned, the hands are “active in your golf swing, but
in a passive manner.”
Again, to open and close the clubface during the golf swing
the hands move back during the backswing, hinge at the top
of the backswing, return the club to square at impact, and
release the club afterwards. In order for this to occur the
hands must be passive!
What do I mean by passive?
You cannot force the hands to move through the golf swing
and release the club. This creates tension in the golf swing,
affects tempo, and, overall, results in poor shots. If you
do not believe me, go to the driving range, grip a club as
hard as you can, and attempt to swing. The results will be
much less than optimal.
I think Dean Reinmuth, ranked by Golf Digest as a top-30 teaching
pro, puts it best when speaking about the hands in the golf
swing. He discusses “feel” as an integral part of the golf
swing. He states that in order to have a successful golf swing
you must be “tension free.”
“Feeling” the club move on the swing plane is an indicator
of being “tension free.” And in order to have this feeling,
your hands must be relaxed (i.e. passive).
How do you develop good hands in your golf swing?
Easier said than done. In order to develop “feel” in the golf
swing, remove “tension” from your golf swing and develop great
hands, you must develop three fundamentals.
Fundamental number one is an understanding of the golf swing.
In order to know what the body and golf club are to do during
the swing you must know the biomechanics of the golf swing.
If you don’t, how are you going to know what the body and
club are to be doing during each phase of the golf swing?
Secondly, you must develop the mechanics of the golf swing.
Your body and mind must integrate the movements of the golf
swing into a repeatable movement. This occurs through proper
instruction and practice of the correct golf swing mechanics.
Finally, it is necessary to develop the body. Yes, the body!
Your body must have the flexibility, strength, endurance,
and power to perform the golf swing correctly. If the body
is inflexible, weak, and powerless, how are you going to be
able to perform the mechanics of the swing correctly?
The obvious answer is: you are not! Developing great hands
in your golf swing comes down to developing a “basket” of
fundamentals within your golf swing. Understand the biomechanics
of the golf swing, develop the proper mechanics within your
golf swing, and develop a body to support your swing. These
are the keys to developing great hands in your golf game.
About the Author
Sean Cochran is one of the most recognized golf fitness instructors
in the world today. He travels the PGA Tour regularly with
2005 PGA & 2004 Masters Champion Phil Mickelson. He has made
many of his golf tips, golf instruction and golf swing improvement
techniques available to amateur golfers on the website www.bioforcegolf.com.