Palm Reading: Swing halfway back: The palm of your right hand should be at a 45-degree angle (top). Facing the ground (lower left) is not enough hand rotation; facing the sky (lower right) is too much.
One of the least understood elements of the swing is the position of the bottom hand (right hand for righties) in the backswing. If you're right-handed, you have tremendous feel in that hand -- not tapping into it makes no sense. Plus, getting your right hand working correctly is a major key to hitting longer, straighter shots.
Swing a club halfway back, and open your right hand on the grip. Your palm should be at a 45-degree angle to the ground, somewhat facing the sky (above). This forces your right elbow down, putting it in a powerful, hinged position. Assuming you have a neutral right-hand grip at address (the V formed by your forefinger and thumb pointing to your right shoulder), the 45-degree palm angle also means the clubface has stayed square to the swing path. From there, your chances of producing power and accuracy are good.
JIM MCLEAN,* a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, is based at Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami.*