Properly releasing the golf club in the swing is a very important (but often misunderstood) key to a consistent and powerful golf swing. Here’s a few thoughts that might help.
Where the confusion comes in (I believe) is that many believe this to be a rolling or snapping of the wrists. Well, yes and no. It’s not “really” a roll it’s more of an extended release.
I first want to take a look at the optimal position of the club face and hands as the club is being released.
It’s something to certainly be aware of and you need to somehow “feel” it. A good drill (see above image) is to take your 8 iron and do the “split grip” drill where your top hand is at the top of club and your bottom hand is about 8 inches or so below it. Now swing until the club is parallel to the ground and swing through until it’s parallel on the other side.
You almost automatically feel more control of the club head and less “twitching/flicking” of the hands and wrists. That will really help give you a feeling of solidness through the hitting zone. It’s something I learned from David Leadbetter and have used for years when I think I’m becoming too “handsy.”
Another way you can feel this position is to think of yourself taking a hockey shot with a puck. There is no flipping of the hands just a smooth sort of “held-off” feeling. No wonder so many hockey players become excellent golfers!
In reality, a good swing will naturally happen via centrifugal force. The club head gets heavier as it reaches the hitting zone and the wrists unhinge naturally at the right time to square up the clubface. But, of course, we’re not all pros right?!
Tom Watson actually suggests that you try to touch your left forearm with your right forearm as you hit the ball. Your forearms won’t probably touch but the attempt will lead to a much better release (particularly if you’re a slicer)
Another important part of a solid release is your grip. If you have a weak left hand grip it’s going to be much harder to release the club. If you feel you’re not getting a strong release check out that top hand of yours and possibly strengthen it so you can really sling that club through the hitting zone.
In addition to your grip it’s often helpful to drop your back foot a bit. This helps in turning your hips going back and release the club much better coming through the ball.
Try using the Here’s the Best Golf Drill Ever Invented (it’s the 1 drill that can cure SO many things!) But take care to grip the club lightly and have “spaghetti” arms (meaning, nice and soft)
At the same time really sling your arms through the hitting zone and release the club. Don’t flip but use some of the thoughts (split grip/hockey) we discussed above. Look at the picks of Ernie’s hands above – you don’t see any “flipping” do you?
One final thing to think about is to make the toe of the club pass the heel through the impact zone. That thought has helped me many, many times particularly with the long irons where it’s vital for hitting solidly struck shots.
If your not used to this it’s going to feel a bit weird. But it should promote much more freedom – almost a type of abandon and recklessness. That’s good. That’s what you want to feel.
Keep working at it. Feel it from the ground up. Have a good, solid foundation so you can have a stable base and a nice, relaxed upper body. Start feeling that newfound freedom and power you can achieve through a proper release. Good luck!
PS: It might not be up for long but currently in our video section (to the right of this post) there are some additional very good release drills. Definitely worth checking out!