Hinge and unhinge the golf swing

In the last few columns I have asked you to practice the movements of the body without the club.

The purpose of these drills is to teach the movements to become instinctive, thereby needing minimal thought throughout the swing. The same theory holds true for swinging the club. Ideally we allow the club to swing in response to the momentum created by the pivot motion.

A common technique flaw destroys this from the beginning, this flaw is the myth that the wrists must rotate in the golf swing. Rotating the wrists away from the ball means that the golfer must then rotate them the exact same amount as the club travels down to impact. This rotation of the wrists on the down swing is often referred to as snapping, un-cocking or rolling the wrists.

These phrases are among the worst ever uttered by golfers, they are technically incorrect and lead to the thing we are trying to avoid, inconsistent golf. This rotation of the wrists causes us to rely on the remote possibility of perfect timing.

Simply stated, the wrists do not rotate during the swing they simply hinge and unhinge. This hinging and unhinging must be learned in such a way that it is instinctive and unforced. The good news is that most of the hinging and unhinging occurs in response to the weight and momentum of the club head. More good news, I have a simple drill to teach you to hinge the club correctly:

- Place club on ground pointing to target.

- Adopt start position with target in mind.

- Hinge the wrists until shaft is parallel to ground.

- Hands have moved back until above right foot.

- Club face should be at about 45 degrees to the ground.

- Shaft is on the line of the target (parallel to the club on the ground).

Many golfers feel that the club should be "toe up" at this point. I disagree, if the toe were up at this point the hands would have to rotate the club head, exactly what we are trying to avoid.

From this point simply swing the club back and forward to the finish position using the body to create momentum, allow the hands and arms to swing freely. The hinging of the wrists is complete, the unhinging is a result of momentum.

While this is a great drill and technically correct it is not something to be tried on the golf course. First practice at home using a mirror and then at the range. Do not try this on the golf course.

Terry Gingell, PGA professional, is the Director of Instruction at Genoa Lakes Golf Club and Resort. For information regarding lessons and junior programs, call Terry, 690-7970.


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