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Low Hands, High Clubhead

Low Hands, High Clubhead
By Dr. T. J. Tomasi, Keiser University College of Golf Senior Faculty and Director of Research

Low Hands High Clubhead

You don’t have to reach too high to achieve an ideal position at the top of your swing. But most golfers try to swing their hands as high as possible on the backswing because they equate “high hands” with increased power. 

Flexible golfers tend to get their hands “up,” and there are players on tour such as John Daly, Bubba Watson, and Phil Mickelson, who have very high hands. However, I’m convinced that most golfers would benefit greatly from what I call “low hands, high clubhead.” 

Problems with high hands 

“High” is when you raise your hands above the right ear (for right-handed players), and if this doesn’t fit your body type, there are costs in trying to play with high hands. The danger is that you’ll exceed your flexibility threshold. This threshold varies among individuals, but far more golfers swing beyond their flexibility and balance boundaries than stay within them. 

Two specific problems are common: 

  1. You straighten your spine angle, rising up from your original address position. This causes your shoulders to turn on a too-flat plane, and if you don’t lower your spine angle perfectly on the downswing, you’ll hit it thin or fat. 
  2. The other problem occurs with the front elbow. In an attempt to get the hands higher, you’re likely to bend your front arm instead of turning your spine for a full coil. So, unless you’re blessed with maximum flexibility or have learned high hands as a junior player, consider playing with low hands. 

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Own the club at the top 

Low hands are approximately even with the top of the right shoulder, never going above the right ear. The key to developing low hands, high clubhead is maximizing the angle between your front forearm and the clubshaft at the top. The following tips can help create this leverage. First, use a “long” thumb in your grip, extending it fully along the club’s handle. Second, adopt a different pressure point in your grip. At address, exert steady pressure with the pad of your right thumb on the top of your left thumb, somewhat similar to a quarterback taking the snap from center. Third, aim your left arm to 10 o’clock at the top of your backswing.

TJ Article # 162 Photo 1

Picture this player standing in the middle of a clock facing you with his head at 12 and his front arm at 10 o’clock.

TJ Article # 162 Photo 2

Low hands, high clubhead with short iron.

If you’d like to study with Dr. Tomasi and other PGA Master Professionals, contact The College of Golf today.

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