Golfers are often told to keep their hands passive when pitching—even I've been guilty of saying it from time to time. But what does having passive hands mean? Your hands are the only thing holding the club. They have to do something! Instead of passive hands, think control the hands. Here's one example:
Certainly when pitching, the hands might feel passive during portions of the swing. The club is moving as a result of the body pivoting. But as the ball is being struck, let your dominant hand move under the glove hand. For righties, that's the right moving under the left through impact (above). Just keep the body turning toward the target, and this controlled hand action will loft the ball up with a good amount of spin.
Never forget that your hands are what give you touch around the greens.
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GETTING A GRIP ON GRIP PRESSURE
This might sound like golf's version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, but it really is a great way to figure out how hard you should be holding the club. Start by gripping the handle as lightly as you can for a second or two. Then squeeze the life out of it. I mean, grip it as hard as you can. Now relax your grip, so the amount of pressure is somewhere between really hard and really soft. You know the fairy tale: This porridge is juuuuust right. Seriously, you never want to grip the club too hard or too soft. Hold on tight, and you won't be able to release it through impact. And if your grip is too relaxed, you'll have no control over the clubface.
David Leadbetter is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional.