Improve Your Hands and Improve Your Golf Swing

It seems as though many golfers are unaware of the importance the hands play in the execution of the golf swing. Obviously, we know that the hands grip the golf club and attach the body to the club. But what is the importance of them during the swing?

The answer has to do with releasing of the club. Let's go back and do a quick golf biomechanics review. During the swing, from address position to follow-through, the hands are active in a passive type of manner.

Let me explain. The goal of the golf swing is to move the club on the correct swing plane to induce the intended golf shot that you want. This occurs through the body's moving through a series of positions. These positions are found within the different phases of the golf swing.The phases of the swing are address, take-away, backswing, transition, downswing, impact, and follow-through. During all of these movements the body is performing, the golf club is being moved upon a swing plane. The swing plane is the path upon which the golf club is to travel. Proper impact with the golf ball requires the golf club's traveling upon the correct swing plane.

In order for the club to travel on the correct swing plane it is necessary for the clubface to open and close. Oftentimes, in golf terms the opening and closing, of the clubface is termed "releasing of the club." This is where the hands become an integral part of the golf swing.

If you talk to almost any instructor, they will say that any good player has "great hands." This statement refers to exactly what was described above (the releasing of the club correctly). It's obvious if you look at players such as Tiger, Phil, or Vijay.

I even remember walking the course at Doral in Miami with top-5 teaching instructor, Rick Smith. One point he continued to return to in terms of discussing the golf swing was "hands." He stated more than once how any PGA Tour player has great hands. This just provides additional support for how important the hands are in terms of the golf swing.

But what does this all mean? Well, we know the hands are involved in the "opening and closing" of the clubface during your swing. This movement allows for the proper release of the club. As I mentioned, the hands are "active in your golf swing, but in a passive manner."

Again, to open and close the clubface during the golf swing the hands move back during the backswing, hinge at the top of the backswing, return the club to square at impact, and release the club afterwards. In order for this to occur the hands must be passive!

What do I mean by passive?
You cannot force the hands to move through the golf swing and release the club. This creates tension in the golf swing, affects tempo, and, overall, results in poor shots. If you do not believe me, go to the driving range, grip a club as hard as you can, and attempt to swing. The results will be much less than optimal.

I think Dean Reinmuth, ranked by Golf Digest as a top-30 teaching pro, puts it best when speaking about the hands in the golf swing. He discusses "feel" as an integral part of the golf swing. He states that in order to have a successful golf swing you must be "tension free."

"Feeling" the club move on the swing plane is an indicator of being "tension free." And in order to have this feeling, your hands must be relaxed (i.e. passive).

How do you develop good hands in your golf swing?
Easier said than done. In order to develop "feel" in the golf swing, remove "tension" from your golf swing and develop great hands, you must develop three fundamentals.

Fundamental number one is an understanding of the golf swing. In order to know what the body and golf club are to do during the swing you must know the biomechanics of the golf swing. If you don't, how are you going to know what the body and club are to be doing during each phase of the golf swing?

Secondly, you must develop the mechanics of the golf swing. Your body and mind must integrate the movements of the golf swing into a repeatable movement. This occurs through proper instruction and practice of the correct golf swing mechanics.

Finally, it is necessary to develop the body. Yes, the body! Your body must have the flexibility, strength, endurance, and power to perform the golf swing correctly. If the body is inflexible, weak, and powerless, how are you going to be able to perform the mechanics of the swing correctly?

The obvious answer is: you are not! Developing great hands in your golf swing comes down to developing a "basket" of fundamentals within your golf swing. Understand the biomechanics of the golf swing, develop the proper mechanics within your golf swing, and develop a body to support your swing. These are the keys to developing great hands in your golf game.

article by Sean Cochran (source)
Taken without permission, for education purpose.

How to Handle Pressure on the Golf Course

You must have heard about golfers choking in pressure situations? What exactly is choking?

It is hitting a bad shot after you allow anger, anxiety, doubt or fear to enter your mind. Whatever you are thinking of or whatever you say to yourself just before hitting a shot becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Your brain will guide your muscles and your golf club to strange-looking swings, if you allow it. If you are distracted by negative thoughts, you won’t swing the club the way you normally could because your muscles will become tense and almost non-functional.

However, you must understand that being a little nervous in the stomach area is normal for all great players. Being nervous, having shaky hands or a pounding heart is a good sign, because it means you are eager to compete.

But, you must separate your brain from your body. Your body can be nervous, but your mind must remain calm. This is possible if you follow these guidelines:

1. Focus on the target, not on what bad things can happen. Imagine that you are on the course with your friends and you have a bet as to who can hit the fairway or green.
2. Take a few deep breaths. Relax your neck, arms, shoulders, and hands so that you are not tense in any way. Pay attention to your jaw and teeth. Do not clench or grind your teeth because this will lead to tension everywhere else in your body.

3. Do not worry about the results of the shot before you hit it. Just concentrate on making a smooth swing, just as you would on the driving range with nobody else around.

4. As a final point, if you miss a putt or another shot even though your thoughts were filled with good intentions, just accept it as part of the game and do not dwell on it. Do not beat yourself up. Enjoy the game and try and forget about the shots you missed.

Article by Alex Fir (source)
Taken without permission for education purpose.

Golf Basics - Check Your Grip

First things first; if you’re going to take up learning the game of golf, the first thing that you actually and literally come in contact with is your golf club. So it seems only logical that we start with the grip.

Understanding and establishing a proper grip is your first step. The grip sets the tone for all else to come. A good grip allows you to swing your club with control during full swings with maximum speed. It allows for you to bring the clubface squarely through the impact zone, and determines how much you club face rotation you get.

You’ll want to find a grip pressure that allows you to deliver enough force to the ball without the club twisting at impact; yet you don’t want your hands and forearms overly tight and stiff.

Grip pressure was once described by Sam Snead as though you are holding a bird in your hands and you want to hold tight enough that the bird can’t fly away yet not so tight as to hurt the bird.

For our purposes here and especially you are just learning how to grip the golf club, we’ll discuss gripping the club with a neutral type grip (neither favoring a draw or a fade).

In this position the “V’s” created with the thumb and forefinger as you address the golf ball will point just to the right of your chin (right handed golfer). In fact, with this grip, someone standing directly across from you would see only the first two knuckles of your left hand. So, two knuckles of the left hand showing and your “V’s” pointing to just right of your chin and you have a neutral - traditional type golf grip.

With your forefinger and little finger that meet underneath the club grip; you can either choose to overlap these to fingers or you can interlock them; whichever is more comfortable to you and gives you the most confidence.

Hold the club more toward your fingers than back in the palm of the hand. We want to be able to get a good natural wrist cock.

When you are first just introducing a golf club to your hands, don’t worry about whacking golf balls right away. Rather, get used to the grip first. As you next begin to learn about address and set up, spend time just swinging the club back and forth and get used to how the club and the grip feel. Don’t worry too much hitting a ball at this early juncture.

Down the road of your learning curve just bit, you’ll no doubt become curious about ‘drawing’ and or ‘fading’ the golf ball. Drawing or fading the golf ball begins with your grip. Although drawing or fading your golf shot goes beyond the scope of this article, I want to touch on this as it relates to our discussion on the grip.

Remembering your initial neutral grip that we discussed; if you want to grip to draw the ball you’ll rotate your hands/grip slightly clockwise. In other words, this will produce a three knuckle grip... up from your two knuckle grip we talked about earlier. To grip to fade the ball, you’ll go a knuckle the other way. So, you will reduce your neutral two knuckle grip down one to a one knuckle grip.

I mention this, not to imply that you will want to immediately want to begin working your golf shots from right to left and left to right; rather I want to give you a basic understanding how the golf grip works first from the neutral hand position.

Start building your golf swing with your teaching professional by laying a good foundation that starts with - - - the grip.

Article by  Jeff O'Brien (source)
Taken without permission, for education purpose.

Establishing Your Perfect Golf Swing

Many experts would agree that most golfers take their swing too seriously. Learn the basics, practice a lot and stay out of your own way!

Here are the basic steps for a full and perfect golf swing:

1. Grip the club with your left hand so that your thumb lies along the shaft. The line between your thumb and index finger should point toward your right eye. Wrap your right hand over your left so that your left thumb fits into the cup of the right palm. If you are left-handed, reverse these instructions.

2. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart with your right foot pointing straight ahead and your left foot slightly to the left. Bend at your hips, keeping your back straight and your knees flexed. Distribute your weight evenly from front to back and left to right.

3. For the backswing, shift your weight to your right foot. At the same time, tilt your shoulders vertically so that your left shoulder points down, and right shoulder points up. The left end of the club will be pointing approximately at or behind the ball. As you’re shifting your weight to your right foot, release to the instep of your left foot so you can get behind the ball. Ensure that your right foot, right hip and head are in a vertical line. Begin your backswing with your hands, followed immediately by your arms and shoulders. Don’t hurry. This won’t create a faster downswing. Keep your pace steady throughout your backswing. If you aren’t happy with your golf swing, this is one of the first corrections to try. Slow down your backswing.

4. For the downswing and impact, start with your hips. Shift your weight to your left foot by leading with your hips in a slight lateral motion. Point the club end in your right elbow down at your right foot. At the same time, shift to the instep of your right foot so that most of your weight is on your left foot. Release your hips by rotating them through, so that your hips, belly button, and shoulders are facing the target. Your right toe is just balancing you, not supporting any weight. Hold the finish position. Look down the target line, not down at the ground.

Many golf professionals say that eighty percent of the perfect golf swing is the body pivot. This involves three main components:

• the turning of the body back, down and through
• the correct weight shift throughout the swing
• balance

Any loss of balance throughout the golf swing means that there is a pivot and weight shift problem. That will be reflected in the direction, loft and speed of the ball. Review these steps until you are comfortable and then keep practicing. The perfect golf swing is within your reach!

Article by Richard Myers (source)
Taken without permission, for education purpose.