Releasing Correctly

November 21, 2010

Check the clubshaft: From these perspectives, the shaft should point between your forearms.

JACK NICKLAUS: In the left image above, taken in 1995, it looks like I'm purposely delaying the release of the club. But I can assure you I never tried to delay the hit or retain my wrist cock. That happens naturally, if you start with a proper grip, maintain a light grip pressure and keep your arms relaxed. It's impossible to release the club too early in the downswing -- as long as you move to your left side and swing the club from inside the target line.

One of my lifelong checkpoints is to keep the shaft be- tween my arms throughout the swing, as shown in the halfway-down and follow-through positions. This happens without my thinking about it, if I maintain my posture, keep my head steady and allow my body to react to the club.

JIM FLICK: Jack controls the clubface and the strike with his forearms -- not with his hands, not with his body. His left arm leads the clubhead so the grip end will be slightly ahead at impact. Note how solid his hands and forearms are halfway down and on the follow-through. And he shifts his weight from the ground up so all the parts of his body are synchronized.

To do all this, he needs to feel where the clubshaft is in relation to his forearms. He can sense if the club is laid off or is too vertical without even looking at it. Most golfers, to see where their club is, need to make slow-motion swings in front of a mirror, and check the halfway-down and follow-through positions. Repeat until you can feel that the club is between your arms. This sets up a proper release.

NICKLAUS* writes articles only for Golf Digest.*

FLICK, a longtime Golf Digest Teaching Professional and PGA Golf Professional Hall of Famer, worked with hundreds of amateurs and tour players including Jack Nicklaus.