What we’re talking about is the area – the hitting area if you like – that passes through impact. During this phase of the swing it’s important to understand how you should be releasing, what you should be releasing, and why.
The most important elements are the angles in the wrists and the right elbow, and your forearm rotation through impact, and indeed beyond, as club and ball travel together for a few milliseconds and you can still influence the ball in that split second.
Early release – Some people get into a nice position at the top, but then release too early, casting the club, letting it overtake the hands and thinning it, topping it or catching the ground behind the ball.
Even if they do manage to get the ball, the early release leads to the classic ‘chicken wing’ position, with shots flying all over the place. This ruins your ability to create lag for power.
Early weight shift – Others think they need a huge sideways movement at the start of the downswing, getting the swing centre ahead of where it should be.
They drive out of their right heel on to their left toes, blasting it miles right, or rescue it with the wrists, shutting the clubface too quickly and hooking wildly.
The right sequence
We talk about rhythm and timing, but for me it’s more about sequencing on the way down. You work from the ground up.
The feet work, then go quiet, without stopping; the hips then work, ‘settling’ gently back down to keep the weight nice and even, before going quiet, putting the hands and arms in position to swish the club through.
If that doesn’t happen in sequence, you can move your shoulders and shift your weight all you like, but the ball won’t go where you want it to.
Wrists and elbows
Coming into the impact area, you should still have angles in your wrists, and your right elbow should be ‘soft’ and bent as at set-up. As you come down into impact, rotate the forearms and straighten the wrists.
At the moment the club hits the ball, the right elbow should still be very slightly flexed, but a split second later the forearms should rotate and the right elbow should straighten out. That is the moment of full release, helping carry the swing up to a full finish.
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