Releasing The Club: Our How To Guide

releasing the club

You need to release the club on the downswing to square up the clubface.

Many golfers who battle a slice have heard that line. It’s easy to say but what does releasing the club mean? More importantly, how do you do it? Read on for our guide to mastering this technique.

Releasing The Club

What Does It Mean?

Releasing the club involves the clubface rotating on the downswing to a square, then closed position after impact. This action produces a nice draw as opposed to the dreaded “s” word. The interesting thing about releasing the club is that it’s not something you have to physically do. Trying to force it to happen only makes things worse.

To visualize this, hold the club straight out in front of you like a baseball bat. Swing the club, keeping your arms relaxed and rotate your body. You’ll notice your right arm bends on the backswing and the clubface rotates, like a screen door opening.  As you swing back to where the ball would be, the clubface naturally rotates back to square. On the follow through, the club continues to rotate into the finish.  This is the proper rotation and release of the club.

How Can You Do It?

Transitioning to the golf swing, there’re two additional factors to address when releasing the club, lower body rotation and arm swing. These factors can cause issues but I’ll tell you how to get past that.

Lower Body Rotation

The Problem: jerking the hips and lower body forward in an effort to get more speed in the downswing. The problem here is, when the lower body moves forward, the hands and arms don’t pass it until after the ball is hit. As a result, the clubface doesn’t rotate to square and then close on the downswing. The clubface remains open and the ball goes high and right (for the right-handed golfer).

via GIPHY

The Solution: The best way to work this out is to focus solely on making the lower body rotation a smooth, constant motion like Ben Hogan does above. Let the arms pass the lower body at the proper point in the downswing. One technique you can use to smooth out the motion is to count beats. Use the same number of beats on the backswing as the downswing (until you get to impact). For example, if you count to 2 in your head on the backswing, count to 2 on the downswing, getting to 2 at impact.

The number varies from player to player but as long as it’s the same, you’ll see a smoother motion.

Arm Swing

The Problem: forcing the club to release by tensing up and swinging hard with the arms. This actually prevents the club from releasing, as the tension in the arms and hands prevents the natural rotation of the club.

via GIPHY

The Solution: Hit balls with a wedge, like Fred Couples above, focusing only on keeping your grip and arms totally relaxed. Once that swing starts producing better results, you’ll learn how to be more aggressive with your big arm muscles. You’ll also have confidence that a relaxed feel will square up and release the club properly.

Wrapping Up Releasing the Club

If you’re having a hard time taming that slice, remember these tips for releasing the club. Smooth out your lower body rotation and limit swinging with your arms. You’ll be hitting a nice little draw in no time as long as you stick with it and learn to trust it.

Have other tips that have worked for you? Leave a comment below to start the discussion. Don’t forget to check us out on Twitter and Facebook for more golf-related content.

Be sure to check out these other tips

Ask a PGA Pro

Rudi Fann, PGA

Rudi Fann has been a Class “A” member of the PGA of America since 2008. He began his career in 1998 as the Assistant Golf Professional at Wake Forest Golf Club in Wake Forest, NC. In 2002, Rudi accepted a similar position at Rio Mar Country Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. He spent a year there before moving to Nipomo, CA where he worked at Blacklake Golf Resort. Over the next 10 years, he worked his way from Assistant Golf Professional to Head Golf Professional and finally Director of Golf Operations. In his time at Blacklake, Rudi devoted much of his time to running tournaments and other activities in order to create a social atmosphere at the club. After Blacklake, Rudi spent one year as Head Golf Professional at Paso Robles Golf Club before deciding to return home to North Carolina. Since returning to North Carolina, Rudi has worked with the First Tee of the Triangle helping to instill life skills and core values through the game of golf to local youth.

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