Golf Tips: Releasing

By David Green
The release plays a key role in determining distance and accuracy of your shot.
The release plays a key role in determining distance and accuracy of your shot.

Finding the proper release is critical for golfers who lose accuracy and distance on the course. The release takes place from midway through the downswing to halfway through the follow-through. It is determined by how you “release” the wrists through the swing. If you release the wrists late, you will likely slice. If the wrists are released too early, a hook is a likely result. Several drills can help you hone your release and regain distance and accuracy.

Roll the Wrists

On the driving range, address the ball in a normal stance, but hold the club with the hands a couple inches apart. Bring the club back to about waist height and hold for a second. At this point, the toe of the club should be pointing nearly straight in the air. Begin the downswing, paying extra attention to how the wrists begin to roll through the shot at contact. Follow through, but hold the follow-through at about waist height. At this point the toe of the club should be pointing straight up in the air. This drill helps to emphasize the turning of the wrists during the release. It can also be done with the feet together and the ball teed up, instead of a normal stance.

Grip Pressure

Grip pressure is one culprit that can affect the release of the club. Some golfers tend to grip the club too tightly, which makes releasing the club difficult. If a player is gripping the club too tight, the tension in the hands goes through the wrists and arms and causes a late release. A proper grip pressure is about a six on a scale from one to 10. On the driving range, note your grip pressure as you address the ball. Does that pressure stay consistent through the swing? If the grip pressure increases during the swing, it could make releasing the club more difficult.

No Chicken Wing

One sign of a poor release is the “chicken wing,” where your front elbow goes wide of the body on the follow through. This usually happens when you release the wrists late, resulting in a sliced shot with decreased distance. To fix the chicken wing, keep the front elbow tight against the body as the hands release. While the club is releasing, the back shoulder should be going under your chin, not in front of it. Those two swing thoughts will help fight the chicken wing.

About the Author

A former sports and lifestyle reporter at the "Daily Nebraskan," David Green is a writer who has covered a variety of topics for daily newspapers. He was selected by the "Los Angeles Times" to participate in the Jim Murray Sports Writing Workshop. Green holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska.

Photo Credits

  • Andy Lyons/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
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