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).
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.
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.
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.
Be sure to check out these other tips