How to release the golf club

Tips and drills for releasing the golf club correctly

These tips and drills will help you when it comes to releasing the golf club correctly, a vital part of shooting lower scores.

The golf swing is a long, flowing thing full of many parts and pieces, but none of them are quite so important as the release. Indeed, every single move that you make throughout the course of your golf swing is designed to ensure that you release the clubhead correctly through the ball.

There is truly no overstating the importance of a proper release. It’s responsible for your distance, trajectory, and shot pattern, and it is a motion that occurs in a split second.

Mastering releasing the golf club correctly won’t be easy but it will certainly be worthwhile. That’s why we are here to help. Read on for a complete guide to releasing the clubhead properly.

Releasing the golf club correctly

The good news is that the release is a naturally occurring component of every golf swing. You’re already doing it, and often enough you are probably even doing it correctly without thinking about it.

While the release does occur naturally, timing your release properly is another matter altogether. A proper release will result in your clubhead being perfectly square at impact. Release it too late or too soon and you will suffer from a sporadic shot pattern.

The release (assuming you are righthanded) occurs when your right forearm rotates over your left. As you perform this move your left hand will be flat, and your clubface will be square to the ball.

Unfortunately, while this position seems relatively simple it’s not something that you can force, at least not mid-swing.

The answer to a poor release is not to mess around with the way you move your hands on the downswing – not consciously anyway. Consciously trying to release the clubhead earlier or later in your downswing can result in a wide variety of new misses. You don’t want that. You want a nice, consistent release that you don’t need to think about. That’s why we have assembled a list of clubhead release tips and drills that will help you out. Let’s take a look.

Clubhead release tips and drills

Practice makes perfect in golf, and indeed a focused range session is the best way to solve any swing ailments. All of the tips and drills listed here are designed to inform your practice sessions but do note that the very best way to get individualized help is to seek the consultation of a professional.

Tips

Let your thumbs lead the way

Focusing on your thumbs is a simple way to help ensure that your clubhead is releasing properly through the ball. The great thing about this tip is that it is a thought more than it is a drill.

As you draw the club back, realize that you are simultaneously drawing your thumbs away from the target. As your club descends with the downswing, focus on pointing your thumbs back towards the target.

The motion that turns your thumbs to the target is also promoting an appropriate release through the ball. Practice this swing thought often enough and when you get to the course you won’t even need to think about you thumbs – the move will have become natural.

Three-quarter downswing

You’ll often hear of people abbreviating their backswing, but it’s not every day that you hear about the shortened downswing.

Here’s how it works: You draw the club back the same way that you always do using the same tempo, and then subsequently activate your downswing, stopping only when your hands reach hip level.

From this position, you want to make sure that your wrists are still hinged. That’s the entire purpose of this drill, actually. By accentuating the hinge of your wrist, you are training yourself not to release the club early.

Keep the club between your arms

I’ll have to give credit where it is due here – this next tip comes directly from one of the greatest ball strikers in the game’s history, the Golden Bear himself, Jack Nicklaus.

When it came to releasing the clubhead on time, Nicklaus’s swing thought was always simply to ensure that the shaft of the club remained between his arms throughout the duration of his swing. In doing this, he ensured that the release remained organic to the swing itself. This is a simple but great swing thought – especially for the golfer with an upright swing plane.

Drills

Swing a weighted club

There is a common misconception that the weighted club results in more distance because it increases your clubhead speed. This isn’t explicitly true. Swinging a weighted club will, however, help fix the way in which you release your clubhead, which will result in better contact, which will subsequently result in more distance.

If you release the club too early, swinging a weighted club is a simple way to fix that. The weighted club is essentially going to slow down the activation of your arm so that your hands release a little bit later through the ball, which will promote more distance.

Use an impact bag

An impact bag is a great tool that has gained quite a bit of popularity on the tour in recent years. If you’ve never used one, they are a lot like a punching bag in terms of design, and how they work is simple.

To practice with an impact rug, simply set it up where your range ball ordinarily would be, and swing freely.

The girth of the bag forces your hands to be square at impact. After a while of practicing with the bag in place, the move that creates the square impact will become habitual.

Conclusion

As you can see, the art of mastering releasing the golf club correctly is a process of trial and error. This ever-important aspect of the golf swing is difficult to master, but once you do the result will be better consistency and lower scores.

Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to achieving this: Attaining the perfect release is a matter of practice, so head on out to the range with a few of the above-mentioned drills. You will be glad that you did when you are hitting the ball longer and straighter than ever before.

Good luck on the course!