Allowing For The Release
In a proper release, you want to square the clubface through impact by rotating your right forearm over your left. If you start with your arms relaxed and maintain that relaxed feeling throughout the swing, this rotation becomes much easier. One of the biggest problems I see that prevents golfers from letting the club release is that they grip too tightly. If you have tight grip pressure, you won’t be able to rotate your forearms during the swing because you’ll have too much tension built up in your forearms. Furthermore, the tighter you grip the club, the more likely you’ll slice the ball. Here’s a simple way to check your grip pressure. Grip the club lightly and hover the clubhead above the ground. The clubhead should feel heavy as you waggle the club. Now grip the club tight and you’ll feel that the clubhead gets light. Adjust your grip pressure before each swing so that the clubhead feels heavy.
You can practice the proper forearm rotation without even thinking about it. Notice how many good players, especially Tour pros, get into the habit of rotating the club with the left forearm as they wait to tee off. Watch for it the next time a tournament airs on TV. They’ll swing the club back smoothly, hinging the wrist on the backswing and releasing it on the followthrough.
Here’s a drill to help you learn the proper release. Without a club, hold your left thumb with your right hand as if you were gripping a club. Swing back so that your hands are shoulder-high. At this point, your thumbs should be pointing at a slight angle to the sky. Now, slowly swing down and feel the rotation of your forearms through impact and stop when your hands reach shoulder-high. At this point, your glove hand should be underneath your right hand, and your thumbs should be pointing at a slight angle to the sky again. If you finish at this point with your glove hand on top of your right hand, you’d have sliced the ball with a real swing. Perform this drill often so you can do it at normal speed and not have to think about making the proper release. Again, the release isn’t something you do, but it’s something every good golf swing needs.
Class A LPGA teaching professional Karen Palacios-Jansen is the director of Swing Blade Golf Enterprises (www.swingbladegolf.com), the developer of the Cardio-golf exercise program (www.cardiogolf.com) and a member of the GT Teaching Professional Network.
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