Friday, October 8, 2010

Hands - Important and Overlooked

If you are an avid reader of golf instruction and golf swing advice like me, you will be hard pressed to find anything written about the function of the hands in the golf swing. You can find volumes of material written about what the golf club should do, but very little about the importance of the hands and their role in what the golf club does. The popular trend in instruction is to assume that your hands are reactive to the shoulders, torso and legs, rather than the traditional thought that the hands are proactive with the shoulders, torso and legs serving a supporting role. Every day I am more convinced that this “modern method” is wrong. Here is my argument why.

The golf ball goes where the face of the club tells it to go. Where the face of the club is pointed and how fast it is moving provides the majority, about 85%, of the information needed to determine where the golf ball goes. The only connection to face of the club is the grip of the golf club with the hands. So the hands provide about 80% of the information needed to control the flight of the ball.

Where the body is positioned, how it turns and reacts to the club during the swing, determines the direction the club moves through the ball and how fast the club will move. But these mean nothing unless the club is controlled by the hands. For example, your body can create speed, but if the club is not firmly attached at the hands the speed is wasted. The body will also create a direction the club will travel, but again, because the face controls direction, without control by the hands you can have a perfect path and the ball going in the wrong direction.

The hands are easily the most proactive part of your body. It is silly to think they would take a subservient role in the golf swing when they are the only point of attachment. Try this analogy. I am trying to drive a screw with a screw driver by holding the screwdriver with my hand and walking around the screw. What if you were trying to speed up the operation? You would be reduced to how fast you could run around the screw and still hold on to the screw driver. Now picture a simple turn of the hand and wrist.

Make some small golf swings and focus only on using your hands and arms to swing the club. Find a grip that will let the club easily swing all the way through to the finish. You will find it works best if you use hold the club in your fingers rather than the palms of your hands. Finally, do whatever you can to strengthen your fingers during the offseason, especially your top or lead hand. This will go a long way to improving your golf game.

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