# "Deep" Hands Explained

## 128 posts in this topic

A few people have asked me what I mean by "getting my hands deep" on the takeaway and/or "deep hands." I've said this a few times in a few threads, so here's how I can explain it...

Imagine standing at address with a yard stick resting along your right foot, perpendicular to your target line. Imagine the 0 end of the yard stick is positioned roughly even with your grip, and the 36 end goes behind your butt. From a down-the-line view, 0 is right and 36 is to the left, left of your butt.

"Deep" hands involves getting the hands to go towards 36, or left from the down-the-line view, quickly.

Before I get into the thinking behind this, here's an image:

Aaron Baddeley has "deep" hands here. They're still "in front of him" (his chest is still facing us), but he's got good pressure points in his right and left armpits. If you maintain those pressure points from the takeaway and pivot about your centers, letting your right hip rotate back and up (left and up in this view), your hands will get deep.

Then we look at Ian Woosnam, who isn't a perfect example because he's shorter and thus clubs look freakishly long in his hands, but still... it'll work. I've marked three planes here.

The "A" plane is your hand plane. The B plane is your elbow plane. The C plane is your shoulder plane.

Stack-and-Tilt and one-plane instructors would say that your hands travel back on the A plane until such time as your right elbow starts to fold, at which time your hands go to the B plane to the top of the backswing.

Two-plane instructors and those who advocate a lifting move (and a corresponding "drop" move) would say that you start on the A plane, move to the B plane at about the same time as the right arm folds, and then end up lifting it up to the C plane.

But anyway, the point is this: the combination of your hands and the clubhead want to try to stay on a plane, and that plane tends to be your axis or your centers (roughly your spine, obviously, as you can't really rotate about your left clavicle or something very easily). If your hands get above the A plane too early, at the "club parallel away" (CPA) position (the point at which the club is parallel to the ground and on the takeaway) the club will likely be too far inside the hands. If you somehow manage to get your hands too deep, the club will be outside the hands at CPA position.

Note in Ian Woosnam's inset picture (#2) that his hands are still a bit "shallow" or "non-deep" and the club has already gotten well inside his hands. For Ian, it may be a function of his height, but if he had gotten his hands deeper and stayed on that A plane the club should be pretty much covering his hands at this point - the club, shaft, and his hands should all point straight at the camera.

So that's what I mean by deep. My hands tend to kind of shove away from my body instead of purely rotating back (and thus in), which leads me to roll the clubhead back with my hands/wrists/forearms. I recover pretty well from there to get into some "okay" positions, but if I don't get my hands deep I generally don't rotate my right hip up and back enough, and then I rotate it too much and don't get enough push coming down.

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Wow... that was deep.

(jk)

On a more serious note, what kind of miss does too-shallow hands usually cause? What do the hands do from the top of the back swing -- cast the club over the top, drop down to get back on plane, or something else?
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On a more serious note, what kind of miss does too-shallow hands usually cause? What do the hands do from the top of the back swing -- cast the club over the top, drop down to get back on plane, or something else?

That probably depends on the person.

In me, it manifests itself as a right hip that hasn't turned back quite as much, a clubhead that gets behind my hands at CPA, and I get a bit too steep coming down because I rotate my hips too much (because I can't push enough, because the hip didn't rotate enough). Plus, of course, I lose the pressure points in my armpits, particularly the right one.
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Wow... that was deep.

I struggle with the same problem and when my clubhead gets inside my hands I push the ball alot or I'll start using my hands too much to recover from the pushing.

The biggest problem I notice when I don't keep the clubhead outside my hands is a significant loss of power - I think it throws my whole backswing off and doesn't allow me to really get the club in the slot on the downswing. Just my own experiences with the same problem... One thing I've been doing to resolve this is setting up to the ball and taking a partial backswing, making sure to take the club low and slow away from the ball and then checking that the clubhead is outside my hands when it's almost parallel or at parallel. Then i'll finish turning my shoulders which makes me finish my backswing naturally and I'll bring the club back down to the ball and then swing away ASAP to keep the feeling of that path intact during the actualy swing. i believe Eric also suggested using the tripod drill --
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One thing I've been doing to resolve this is setting up to the ball and taking a partial backswing, making sure to take the club low and slow away from the ball and then checking that the clubhead is outside my hands when it's almost parallel or at parallel.

I don't really like "low and slow." The slow part is fine, but low? The clubhead should rise naturally, and keeping the clubhead low often forces people to slide backwards on the takeaway or fail to rotate properly.

But that's not an ironclad rule. Maybe it works for you.
i believe Eric also suggested using the tripod drill --

That's for something else (right knee, hips spinning too early coming down).

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I don't really like "low and slow." The slow part is fine, but low? The clubhead should rise naturally, and keeping the clubhead low often forces people to slide backwards on the takeaway or fail to rotate properly.

You're definitely right about rising naturally - what thinking "low and slow" does for me is keep my arms extended and the club "on path" for the first second of the backswing - ultimately it's impossible to really keep the clubhead low the entire time but it helps me alot with starting out the clubhead in the right place so that it doesn't end up behind my hands i guess..

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Here is a good drill you can do at home to teach yourself what the correct depth (much better than "width") feels like:

1. Without a club - mimic set up with your back foot about 6-8" from a wall and have the foot (from heel to toe) parallel to the wall itself (i.e., if you had a club and were hitting a shot you will now look like you are hitting it directly away from the wall..not parallel to the wall)

2. Make a backswing with your front arm maintaining connection with your chest at the bicep (PP #4) and the hands moving inward (again no club...but hands in grip position pretending a club is there).

3. Now just be sure the lead arm keeps moving inward, backward and upward and "feels" as if it is moving parallel to the wall (not going straight back and running into the wall). The hands may brush the wall slightly but only very little...if set up 6-8" or so from the wall they should begin getting their inward depth just before the hands reach the wall or right as they "brush" it.

The drill is done far enough when the lead arm reaches parallel to the ground (should be angled inward about 35-40 degrees or so in relation to the stance line).

Dave
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I stay on plane by tracing the target line on the way back first with the toe of the club then with the butt of the club. Although it requires me to take my eyes off the ball in the takeaway, I hit the most laser accurate shots when I follow this prescription so it is well worth the trouble.
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I can't believe this post has so few responses. It's old, but very relevant.

So if I can draw a golf ball sized circle around my hands and the club head at CPA (P2?) then my hands will probably be deep enough? I've read that the club shaft at CPA should be directly over your right toes or even slightly outside, but it should never be inside.

My swing thought for takeaway is simply wide extension with minimal wrist cock until the top of the swing.
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I just tried this in front of the mirror and I can definitely see this removing my slight over the top move that comes into play every now and then. Hard to come over the top when your so far back there :)
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Erik, what are the differences between having "deep hands" and having too much of an inside takeaway? I used to have an awful takeaway where I would get way inside extremely early in the takeaway - I have since worked on it and corrected it. But that picture of Baddeley brought back some old memories of my old swing.
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For some reason I am finding I can't get my hands very deep quickly UNLESS i am getting the club head inside my hands at parallel back swing.
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Ian Woosnam's picture is p2 and aaron baddleys is p3 correct? Is Aaaron baddley's P3 position more or less the deepness we should be striving for?
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Ian Woosnam's picture is p2 and aaron baddleys is p3 correct? Is Aaaron baddley's P3 position more or less the deepness we should be striving for?

I would say that the pictures below demonstrate where you want the hands to go fairly well.

At P2, the hands and clubhead should be somewhere over your zipper, you do not want air between the hips and hands and that point. As you progress fro P3 to P4, you want the hands to pass through the bicep, or base of your bicep on the right arm. A position too far forward would be if the hands passed through the middle of your chest. Think of it as a connected takeaway. both your upper arms stay close to the chest and rotate in unison with it. The hands raise to an elevated plane because of the right elbow bending, you don't want to lift the arms up, losing the connection between your upper arms and chest. We swing in a circle, the upper body rotate in a circle. To stay connected and on plane, we want the hands to keep the same distance to our body, or even get closer to the hips as we rotate back. If you lose the connection, you'll have to compensate in other ways to correct it.
For some reason I am finding I can't get my hands very deep quickly UNLESS i am getting the club head inside my hands at parallel back swing.

Then I would suggest you find a mirror to practice with. Set up the mirror so that when you look behind you, you see the down the line view one would from a camera. Practice going back while looking in the mirror, just slowly. Do that until you find the proper positions. From there, start making swings, keeping those feelings while doing so. Every now and then you should use the mirror again, or a camera, to check where you are.

Having someone else watch you is also an option. Note that what you feel and what is really going on are often two different things. You might want to have to exaggerate the move to find the right spot. The video below is a demonstration of a Golf Evolution Evolvr analysis, and the subject is deep hands. The guy on the left is actually me. Note how he recommend I try to exaggerate things by feeling like Rickie Fowler when working on this. I don't want to look like Rickie, but to get the right feeling, I might have to try doing like him.
Erik, what are the differences between having "deep hands" and having too much of an inside takeaway?

We differentiate between the

hands and the clubhead . An inside takeaway most commonly refer to the clubhead moving too far inside, laying the club off. A good checkpoint is at P2, where the shaft is parallel to the ground for the first time. This is the middle picture on the ones I posted above. Here, you want the shaft to be pointing down the target line, parallel to your alignment. If the clubhead got too far inside, you would see that it does not cover up the hands, like Charlie do, but move even deeper and more inside, so that from the down the line view it is more over the right butt cheek. The shaft would be pointing to the right of your target line, like demonstrated on the video above. Note that the clubhead is close to the right position in the video, but the hands are not. When I first started working on getting my hands deeper, I would still take the club away inside, like on the video. I got the hands deeper, but kept taking the club inside still, which moved the clubhead too far inside. After using camera and a mirror for some time, I found how it should feel when the hands and clubhead are aligned over my zipper at P2. I still have to work on it from time to time, as my tendency is to start taking it too far inside again.
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I can't believe this post has so few responses. It's old, but very relevant.

Agreed. Thanks for the "revival." This post is perhaps even more important than the "hip slide" thread, which has lots of discussion.

So if I can draw a golf ball sized circle around my hands and the club head at CPA (P2?) then my hands will probably be deep enough?

No - I could lift the club straight up in front of me and pivot the club away down the target line and they'd be the opposite of deep.

I've read that the club shaft at CPA should be directly over your right toes or even slightly outside, but it should never be inside. My swing thought for takeaway is simply wide extension with minimal wrist cock until the top of the swing.

If you want to stay on plane, that's above the plane. It's also not "wider" because as you rotate, "width" becomes how far to the LEFT you can swing viewed down the line. Here's an illustration:

To get the same distance from the ball as Charlie's got on this relatively short swing (it's a wedge, so he's not trying to kill it), a golfer with a more upright plane would have to swing the butt of the club to the end of the red line. It's the same length as the green line. Which is "deeper," A or B? Which has more "width" from the golf ball? Face-on they're going to be identical. Down the line it's obvious that A does - and many people can't even get to B... Depth is width. The more you move away from the golf ball the better. The "deepest" you could get would be to take your hands straight away from the ball (i.e. the shaft plane) from where they are at setup.
Erik, what are the differences between having "deep hands" and having too much of an inside takeaway? I used to have an awful takeaway where I would get way inside extremely early in the takeaway - I have since worked on it and corrected it. But that picture of Baddeley brought back some old memories of my old swing.

You probably whipped the clubhead inside and not your hands. Big difference - I'm saying the hands AND the clubhead should stay on plane. When the clubhead goes under, the hands almost always go over to compensate.

For some reason I am finding I can't get my hands very deep quickly UNLESS i am getting the club head inside my hands at parallel back swing.

Then you're doing something wrong. Would love to see your swing on video because I can't say what you're doing here based on that sentence... You may simply need to cock the club up faster. It'll "speed up" how fast you get to P2 (club shaft horizontal on takeaway).

At P2, the hands and clubhead should be somewhere over your zipper, you do not want

Hands pass through the bottom of the belt buckle, yes.

As you progress fro P3 to P4, you want the hands to pass through the bicep, or base of your bicep on the right arm. A position too far forward would be if the hands passed through the middle of your chest.

The second checkpoint, yes.

And for those who think Nicklaus swung really upright, he pretty much got to this P3 position - he just lifted from there to get to the top. Which is part of the reason he played a fade.
Having someone else watch you is also an option.

Additionally, make sure your right elbow is soft at the start. It'll start bending a little right from the start of the takeaway. That's fine. No "stiff right elbow" which can cause its own problems.

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Thanks for the responses Iacas. Yeah, I would definitely like to get a video up one of these days. Hopefully soon.

Perhaps my hands are getting too deep too fast then? I can't fathom bringing the hands deep quickly without the club head getting inside parallel to target line at p2.

so perhaps good swing thought might be to keep my hands glued to the 3-4 inch invisible barrier around the right half of my belt buckle (right hip)

Maybe I have too much wrist/arm rotation which is pulling the club head inside even though I am getting pretty deep. I'm going to try and focus on keeping my arms and wrists still and just focus on pulling my hands deep in from the p1.

I'm pretty sure that's why It's getting inside too early. Because when I try getting really deep early I am seeing less rotation in the arms.
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I can't fathom bringing the hands deep quickly without the club head getting inside parallel to target line at p2.

this has been tough for me to wrap my head around as well.

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Perhaps my hands are getting too deep too fast then?

Highly, highly, highly unlikely.

I can't fathom bringing the hands deep quickly without the club head getting inside parallel to target line at p2.

Look at the Rickie Fowler video. Deep hands, clubhead nowhere near inside parallel.

Cock the left wrist faster rather than rotating it so quickly. Rotation is how the clubhead gets under the plane.
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