How to Handle the Release

How to Handle the Release
by Dr. T. J. Tomasi, Keiser University College of Golf Senior Faculty and Director of Research

TJ Tomasi

Ben Hogan said he wished he had three right hands, and one of the best ball strikers ever, Tommy Armour, nicknamed the Silver Scot, wrote an entire instruction book based on hitting with the trail hand (he was right-handed).

Premier English player Sir Henry Cotton used a rubber car tire to train his students to use their hands to lash at the ball through impact.

One reason tour players hit the ball so far is the acceleration of the clubhead when the trail hand hits while the front hand leads.

Modern players like Pat Reed, Brandt Snedeker and Jason Dufner appear “handsy,” yet much instruction today advises players to keep their hands quiet.

So, do you use your hands or don’t you?

Well, of course you use your hands (they are the only part of the body in contact with the club), but the key is you must use both of them correctly to release the clubhead to the ball.

Perhaps drawing a distinction between quiet and inert is helpful here.

Inert implies that the hands are lifeless and in a static state where they move only when moved by an outside agency.

‘Quiet’ conveys an unrushed motion — one that is so smooth it’s tough to see, but a motion nonetheless. Smooth is safe and safe is sound.

Remember, the 90 degree angle formed by the shaft and the front wrist must spring open in a burst of power to form a straight line running from your front shoulder to the clubhead, and the way to do this is to use your trail hand to apply force while your lead hand keeps the clubface in position.

When the release is performed correctly, you can hear the resulting whoosh the clubhead makes as it reaches the ball.

Try making the whoosh with your wrist cocked – you can’t do it, because your hands are still loaded.

Long hitters, such as Jonathan Vegas, straighten the 90 degree angle into a line from the tip of their lead shoulder to the clubhead.

In a split second, a 90 degree angle opens to 180 and spills it’s pent up power into the ball.

TJ in bunker photo

A fairway bunker is a great place to practice your release, because in the sand, you can’t get away with flipping the hands.

Note here how my left wrist has opened to 180 degrees, and there’s a straight line from my left shoulder down to the clubhead.