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. Lets 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 bodys 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 clubs 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). Its obvious if you look at players such as Tiger, Phil, or Vijay.
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 dont, 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 web.