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Now browsing: Hometown News > Columnist Archives > Golf - Del Starks

Releasing the club
Rating: 2.92 / 5 (225 votes)  
Posted: 2006 Dec 01 - 02:56

Do you slice your longer shots? If so, you aren't releasing the club through the hitting area, which is when the club is hip-high before contact to hip-high afterward.

Without the proper and aggressive release, your distance and accuracy will suffer and so will you.

In a good swing, release happens naturally, through centrifugal force. The club head gets heavier, in effect, as the momentum increases, forcing the wrists to uncock and the forearms to rotate freely.

Most of you don't release the club naturally therefore, you must create it through feel or thought.

Here's an easy-to-remember way to hit through the ball and release the club. Try to touch your left forearm with your right forearm as you hit the ball. Keep the arms as soft and relaxed as possible and rotate them as fast as you can. Your forearms probably won't actually touch, but trying will aid a better release. Work on it until you can consistently make the ball draw or hook.

Almost every great player went through a spell of hooking the ball early in his career. Ben Hogan comes readily to mind, Gary Player being another. Both were small in stature, which forced them to find distance through technique. Once hooking the ball was developed, they learned to refine the hook into a more reliable draw or fade. The point is, they "over-cooked" the release at first to achieve the hooking pattern, then made the proper adjustments to bring the hook under control.

When I'm teaching new players, I try to get them to hook the ball as soon as possible. I tell them, "We ain't cookin' until it's hookin'."

If you make the toe of the club pass the heel through the ball, you'll be delivering a strong offensive blow instead of a timid, defensive one.

Look at the swing as a mirror image, halfway back and halfway through. The right elbow hinges on the back swing, the left elbow hinges on the through swing. Most slicers of the ball have both arms, but especially the left arm, really tight or stiff at contact, leaving the clubface wide open.

Remember, "tight arms won't rotate, rotating arms won't tighten."

Let me offer a couple of drills to aid your development of a strong release, both of which can be enhanced by using a short, heavy club, such as a sand wedge.

Grip the club and extend your arms at chest level and make "baseball" like swings back and forth. On the back swing, feel the back of your left hand face the sky. On the through swing, feel it face the ground. Do this several times daily, keeping the arms as relaxed as possible.

To further enhance the arm release, try holding the club with a cross-hand or left-hand low grip, making movements as in a golf swing (you should be very aware of the left elbow hinge as the club passes through the hitting area.)

Over time, your arms will get the message to stay light and rotate freely.

Once you have a reliable release, you'll have a reliable golf game that really "cooks."

Yours for better golf.

Del Starks is a PGA teaching professional at Abacoa Golf Club in Jupiter. Contact him at (561) 262-0708, e-mail pbnews@hometownnewsol.com or visit www.delstarks.com.

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