Unleashing the Power in Your Hands

Many swing errors are traceable to your setup. The setup places the component parts of your body in a balanced state with the club before setting it in motion. That’s why adopting the correct setup is vital. It’s one of the keys to playing good golf. That’s why I devote a couple of golf lessons to the setup whenever I work with new students.

One of the key topics in these golf lessons is the correct placement of your hands. Placing your hands correctly on the club is essential to generating power and achieving accuracy. If your hands are incorrectly placed, you’ll not only produce a slice or a hook, you’ll also short-circuit power and inhibit accuracy. Check your grip periodically to make sure your hands are placed correctly on the club.

Learn To Free Up the Hinge
Placing the left hand (right for right-handers) on the club is critical to a good set-up, as I’ve mentioned in my golf tips. As the first point of contact between the player and the club, the left hand represents the essential coupling required to hinge the wrists and swing the club freely. However, it’s not always easy to tell if you’re gripping the cub with your left hand properly. What you think might be the correct left-hand grip may actual conceal several flaws upon closer examination.

Here’s how you can tell if you’re holding the club correctly in your left hand. If the shaft runs across the palm of your left hand, your ability to hinge your wrists properly will be inhibited-a fault that can cost you distance and accuracy. An easy way to tell if your left hand is incorrectly placed is to examine your golf glove. If you wear a hole quickly through the fleshy pad at the heel of your hand, chances are you’re holding the club with the palm of your hand.

Instead of the shaft being in the palm of your hand, it should run diagonally from the base of your little finger through the middle of your index finger. Although primarily a palm grip, you should sense that the club is more in the fingers than the palm. This grip improves the flexibility of your left wrist and encourages the free-hinging motion necessary to create the maximum clubhead speed through impact. Clubhead speed is the key to more distance.

When examining your grip, make sure that the clubface’s leading edge and the back of your left forearm are parallel. Also, try to position your thumb so that it points straight down the shaft, slightly right of centre. And keep it “short” on the shaft. A shorter thumb is much more effective than a fully extended thumb, as I’ve explained sometime ago in my golf tips.

Adding the Right Hand
Having taken the left hand grip, hold the club out in front of you and look down the shaft. You should be able to see two or three knuckles on the back of your left hand. If you can’t see them, there’s a problem. You should also be aware of an increased sense of feel for the clubhead.

The right and left hands should play equal parts in a good swing. They should work in unison when hitting the ball. The problem is that people who are naturally right handed (or left handed) tend to grip the club too much in the palm of their right hand (left hand) as if the were holding a hammer. In other words, the right hand dominates the left hand. This grip creates a series of problems, which collectively help render the swing powerless.

Maintaining a Neutral Position
To create an effective working union with the left hand, your right hand must be applied to the club in what some people describe as the neutral position. For improved feel, the club should be held primarily in the ringers of the right hand. The shaft should run diagonally from the base of your little finger through the joints of the second and third fingers and on the middle of your index finger. When you close your right hand the left thumb should be totally covered, fitting snugly beneath the fleshy part of the base of your thumb.

When you have a completed grip, check to see that your hands are parallel on the club. Also, there should be a slight gap between the index finger and second finger on your right hand. The index finger should be hooked around the grip in what’s known as the “trigger” position, its tip lightly touching the end of your right thumb. The index finger and the thumb are responsible for much of the “feel” in your right hand, which you can appreciate by waggling the club head.

The hands play a critical part in unleashing the power of your swing, regardless of the type of grip you use. Placing them correctly on the club generates distance and increases accuracy. Proper placement of your hand is also one of the keys to a correct setup. And a correct setup will help eliminate many of the swing flaws weekend golfers exhibit. If you’re really serious about lowering your golf handicap, make sure your holding the club properly.

Copyright (c) 2007 Jack Moorehouse