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5 Minutes to the Perfect Golf Club Release
Releasing the club properly is something that few golfers do but is the key to effortless power and squaring the clubface through impact. If you've wondered how to hit a draw your entire life, this multi-step drill will make drawing the ball and controlling trajectory simple. The drill is challenging at first, so hang in there, it will take time to perfect and train the movements.
5 Minutes to the Perfect Golf Release teaches you how to properly release the golf club for more speed with less effort.
In the "Lose the Right Hand Golf Release Drill," I started talking about how you get a speedy release of the golf club without you having to put any effort into it whatsoever. For a lot of golfers, learning how to release the golf club is a foreign concept. They've never actually released the golf club. They use their body. The problem with that is if your body just keeps turning through impact, the club head and your body have to move at a more relative constant speed together, versus letting my body stop, and the club can move very fast, and my body doesn't have to do anything. In fact, the golf club can actually release faster as my body slows down, and I transmit energy up the chain into the club.
Learning how to release the golf club, and let that right hand come off is really important, but obviously, we don't play golf left handed, although I have a lot of students who ask me if they can, after they work through these drills that you're about to learn now.
What I'm going to do is work through the sequence of how to learn to release the golf club very, very slowly, until you start building the proper movements in there. Here's what I do with all my students. The first thing, when they're learning how to release this left hand, is we take the right hand completely out of the equation. If you're someone who pushes really hard from the right side, or flips that right hand, this is critical. Do not skip this step. You want to start learning how to release the golf club properly, to get into a proper golf impact position.
At first, what I do is just make sure they can get into a perfect golf impact position with their left hand only, then we'll typically take some variables out of the swing. I will let them go ahead and stay into their left side's impact position, because these are going to be really short swings. We're not going to have a lot of time to shift over, so preset ourselves on our left side. Then what I'm going to have them do is go back, and start coming down and stopping at impact. Obviously, this is a hard floor so the club can't stick in the ground, but I generally will kind of have them stick the club in the ground, try and stop right at impact.
These shots are obviously going to be five yard shots. They're not going to go anywhere. What I'm checking to see is if they can keep that left wrist flat, and get into a proper impact alignment with the left side. Once they can do that, start working on releasing it. Now what I'm doing is I'm training the left hand to rotate, and this is how you release the club. You don't release the golf club like this. That's what most golfers do. Technically, that is a release, but it's not going to go in the right way, because what that's going to do is add loft to the club through impact, and now we're trying to time a flip.
You want to think of the golf club release being rotation. There's a lot of force, a lot of speed, a lot of momentum in that club. You have to release that energy somehow, somewhere, and you basically have three options. You can flip it, you can turn your body, or you can just let it release with the left hand. One's way more efficient than the other, and one allows us to trap the ball and hit the ball at a proper trajectory with a lot of distance, and the other one, going to flip it up to the sky, and this one requires a tremendous amount of physical effort, puts a lot of stress on your spine, on your hip, totally unnecessary, and it's not nearly as fast as me just doing this, so why wouldn't you just go for the most efficient way of learning how to release the left hand?
Once they can get into a proper golf impact position, we start working on rotation. From this angle, what you'll see is that my left wrist is still in that arched position I had at impact, and I'm just turning it over. This is important to learn, where this release happens, or feels like it happens in the downswing. The target for your left hand in this release is the back of your left thigh, and then what it feels like at that point, it just starts turning over.
Now, obviously your wrist is actually gradually rotating throughout the entire downswing, but during the release where we want that snap of speed, it's going to feel like your hand stops at your thigh and turns over. It's not what happens at all, but for most golfers, they need to feel that, because they'll either A, move their hand too far forward, and now my logo of my glove's facing on the target line, it hasn't released, and I've added loft. I want to take loft off the whole time in the downswing, so I've got to feel that my hand stops here, and just turns over.
Now, in reality, because the club is moving, I'm pulling my hands with a lot of centrifugal force, my hands are actually going to release out here, but to my feeling, is that I'm releasing it more at my thigh, in order to get the club to release properly, and also when you're hitting short shots, it has to feel like it releases here, because your hands aren't going to end up way out here. You don't want to be doing this drill, like this. It's not the point of it. It's to get here, and release, and turn that club face over.
Now, what I'm going to check is that the wrist is still flat, and to many it will feel just exaggeratedly flipped over. You won't do that when you keep your right hand on, but that's okay if you're used to scooping it, to have it feeling like the logo of your glove faces the ground. In an ideal world, it's basically going to face straight back behind you. The toe is going to be in an up position, or slightly shut, which is perfectly okay. We just don't want it cupped.
Once you can do that correctly, what we're going to do is start adding the right hand back in, but we're going to let it come off the club, so we've got two drills so far. Start out, left hand only, stick it in the ground, just hit these little, tiny dribblers, just make sure your impact alignments are correct. Next piece, rotate and release. Ball's going to go a little bit further, just working on the release.
Now what we're going to do, bring the right hand in there to add some speed to it. Same thing, back, but I want you to let the hand come off through impact. Now, the right hand is going to add a little bit more speed, so notice each time I add a piece to the drill the club's moving a little bit faster, it's a little bit more challenging for me to maintain these positions if they're not something I'm comfortable with or used to. First, this was really slow, then as we added the release it got a little faster. Now with the right hand in there, I can add a little bit of speed to it, but the key is I still want you to let go of the club.
If you're used to being really right hand dominant, this will be actually a challenge for you. Even though this looks really simple, it's because I've done it millions of times. What you're going to find is that a lot of golfers aren't going to want to let go of the club when they're actually hitting balls, so okay, you just got to work through this drill slowly.
That's the third step. The first step that you're going to do is you're going to work on releasing it, but once you let your left hand go, what I want you to do is bring your right hand up into position. Don't move your body, my left hand's fully released, notice that my body, my hips and everything are still square. During this drill, my body's not moving, so everything we've worked on in these other drills, keeping your belt buckle and your buttons on your shirt square at impact, still the same.
Now, even though my left hand's released, my body is still square, now I'm going to bring my right hand up into this position, slowly but surely. Now you can see that my body has actually been forced to turn, because as my right hand comes across to grab the club, my shoulders have to turn slightly. What this drill's going to do is teach you what you should feel like in your follow through, once the right hand's back on there. Now we're starting to put the whole thing together, and maintain our positions.
What's going to be hard for you is when you start doing this in your swing, to not want to reach across and grab the golf club. Now I've lost my axis tilt, I've moved my shoulders too far across. It should feel like that left arm is wide, and you're just reaching across and under, to grab it with the right hand, and now we're in a good follow through position. That's the fourth step, release, bring the right hand up, just barely touching the club.
Once you can get through those pieces, now we're ready to keep the right hand on the club, but just like I talked about in the "Lose the Right Hand Drill," you're going to feel like your hand is just kind of the passenger. Your right hand, from down the line, is going to look like it's almost coming off the club at first. You want that club to be able to release freely. Your right hand is just barely touching the club, and you're controlling it, and releasing it with the left hand. That's the critical piece.
Then you can stack this last piece on, full release but your right hand's just barely touching the club. That's what your regular golf swing should feel like. You don't have to completely let go of it like Vijay does, although you'd release it faster if you did, you just want your hand to be light on the club.
Work through this five minutes a day. Just come through, get into an impact position, release position, right hand adding speed, right hand releasing, coming back into follow through, then put them all together, and you can work through them in that sequence. If you can do this correctly, once you master each piece individually, the first time you do this for five minutes a day, you might only do just left hand, until this is perfect. If this starts cupping, and your hands are behind the club head, and all those things, there's no point in working on the release until you get impact correctly.
Work through each piece, and then as you get comfortable, start stacking it into a drill, just like you see here, until your whole golf swing starts to feel like what your drill is. Work on this five minutes, to the perfect release drill, and you'll be able to get a lot of speed, you'll be able to control the club face, you'll put no effort into your golf swing, and you'll start to enjoy the game a lot more as you start to compress the ball and hit it further than you ever have.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What does it mean to release the golf club?
There's a lot of force, a lot of speed, a lot of momentum in the golf club. You have to release that energy somehow, somewhere, and you basically have three options. You can flip it, you can turn your body, or you can just let it release with the left hand.
What happens when you don't release the golf club?
For a lot of golfers, releasing the golf club is a foreign concept. They've never actually released the golf club. They use their body. The problem with that is if your body just keeps turning through impact, the club head and your body have to move at a more relative constant speed together, versus just letting your body stop.
When should I release my golf swing?
It should feel like that left arm is wide, and you're just reaching across and under, to grab it with the right hand, and now we're in a good follow through position. That's the fourth step, release, bring the right hand up, just barely touching the club.
What does the golf release feel like?
As I teach in the "Lose the Right Hand Drill," you're going to feel like your hand is just kind of the passenger. Your right hand, from down the line, is going to look like it's almost coming off the club at first. You want that club to be able to release freely. Your right hand is just barely touching the club, and you're controlling it, and releasing it with the left hand. Then you can full release but your right hand's just barely touching the club. That's what your regular golf swing should feel like