June 13, 2007

Why most golfers need more 'passive' hands and arms

In the modern athletic swing, an "active," rotating body through impact plays a big role in releasing the clubhead, with the hands and forearms being fairly passive. There is no need to have the right hand and forearm aggressively cross over the left — as a rapidly closing clubface through impact can result in big hooks.

This action normally is the result of the clubhead approaching the ball from too far inside the target line, with the clubface open. This is a move that requires great timing to get the clubface square at impact. Ideally, as it approaches the ball, the clubface should be squaring slowly in tandem with the rotating torso.

However, there are many golfers — senior players, physically weaker players and slicers — who would benefit from this type of "cross-over" release. This type of golfer should focus on the torso being fairly passive and the forearms and hands being active. Read below to see how the split-grip drill can help both of these releases.

How the split-grip drill helps square the clubface

The key to consistency is to find the right blend of body, hand and arm action. The "blend" that you should strive for on the release depends on your ability and talent level. This drill, where you separate your hands about an inch and use a 7- iron off a tee, can benefit everybody.

To fight a slice or to add power: A player who lacks power or who often slices shots can use the split-grip drill to encourage the right hand and forearm to cross over the left. A good image here is to sense the chest being square through impact — it's facing more toward the ball — with the right hand and forearm on top of the left (left photo, above).

To fight a hook: Better players, who typically struggle with overactive hands and arms, can use the split-grip drill to promote a better turn of the chest and torso through the ball. This will allow you to maintain a square clubface at impact. Here the image would be one of the chest being open at impact — it's facing more toward the target — with the right hand and forearm more under the left, as I'm demonstrating in the photo on the right.