Common Mistakes if You Don’t Release the Club
In reality, there are a multitude of factors that dictate how powerful the strike on a golf ball can, or will, be – but this month I’m going to unpack one of the most critical – the way the clubhead moves through the impact zone. In particular, it’s the old golf tip that you should ‘cross over the forearms’ to release the golf club through impact. What exactly does that mean – and why is it important?
When you release the golf club correctly
The aim of the game when it comes to crossing the forearms through impact is to create a whipping action in the clubhead. As the wrists cock and uncock, it creates incredible leverage on the golf club and the result is that the clubhead will accelerate at tremendous speed.
Of course, the faster the clubhead is moving, the smaller the margin of error – so the key here is for the hands to reach the ball, or in line with the ball, before the wrists ‘snap’, to release the golf club as the forearms cross over.
When you don’t release the golf club correctly
The most common mistake we see through impact is when the clubhead slightly overtakes the hands before the hands are in line with the ball. Compare the pre-impact position here against that of the ‘correct’ position – it’s very similar, but you can see that the wrists have started to release the golf club too early. What happens is, the club speed is dissipated before it gets to the ball, resulting in weak, slappy shots.
A tell-tale sign of this swing fault is that the forearms do not cross and you end up in the classic ‘chicken wing’ position just after impact. Apart from putting the brakes on the clubhead, this poor position puts a lot of strain on the back – and the larger muscles end up searching for power at impact because they don’t benefit from a late release and leverage of the wrists. Basically, it ends up looking like a whole lot of effort with very little distance to show for it!
When you overdo the golf club release
This is not a fault that many amateurs deal with, but it plagues some top players who end up having to ‘feel’ as if they are allowing the golf club to release early enough. When the release is held for too long, as shown, it means the clubhead has to square up at the last fraction of a second – and that results in loss of power. Naturally, it also results in severe delofting of the club and between that and the split-second timing needed to square up the clubface, it becomes very difficult to control both the distance and accuracy of the shots.