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GlasgowsGreen

'Don't Use Your Hands!!'

36 posts in this topic

I’ve been playing golf for 2 years now and despite regular lessons from qualified pro’s I have struggled to get any consistency in my game.

The first pro I went to always said that I ‘used my hands too much’ . His theory was that I should just do a full backswing then basically release the tension and follow through to the finish.

I found this to be too advanced a concept and was unable to incorporate it into my swing.

Rather than ‘release the tension’ I have a tendency to throw the club down the plane with my hands. This feels natural to me, and whilst it generates a lot of power I wonder if it is causing my lack of consistency?

Has anyone here been told that they ‘use their hands too much’? Is this a common error in beginner golf?

What is the established method of starting the downswing?

Thanks in advance.

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your doing it right.

the consistency is due to your pivot and proper tempo with timing.

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Very common problem. You are not alone. Body parts above the waist must be passive. I liken the situation to a gear wheel with attached chains. The chains, arms, hold a dead weight, clubhead, and are propelled by the gear wheel,       the big muscles of the butt and legs. If you try to 'push' the chains-failure. Get hold of  oldish book by Percy Boomer, who IMO,  was the first pro golfer turned teacher who understood, demonstrated and taught all the correct motions and techniques of the modern 'golf swing'.  His first notion to understand is  that any attempt to 'hit the ball' is nonsense and you cannot improve your game until you quit that idea. Try ABEBOOKS.

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Originally Posted by joekelly

Very common problem. You are not alone. Body parts above the waist must be passive. I liken the situation to a gear wheel with attached chains. The chains, arms, hold a dead weight, clubhead, and are propelled by the gear wheel,       the big muscles of the butt and legs. If you try to 'push' the chains-failure. Get hold of  oldish book by Percy Boomer, who IMO,  was the first pro golfer turned teacher who understood, demonstrated and taught all the correct motions and techniques of the modern 'golf swing'.  His first notion to understand is  that any attempt to 'hit the ball' is nonsense and you cannot improve your game until you quit that idea. Try ABEBOOKS.

I disagree and you'll find that every player on the PGA Tour is using his arms and muscles above his waist. They're not "passive." You load your arms (bend your right, move your left across your chest) during the backswing and if you don't fire them on the downswing, they'll simply stay like that.

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Originally Posted by joekelly

Very common problem. You are not alone. Body parts above the waist must be passive. I liken the situation to a gear wheel with attached chains. The chains, arms, hold a dead weight, clubhead, and are propelled by the gear wheel,       the big muscles of the butt and legs. If you try to 'push' the chains-failure. Get hold of  oldish book by Percy Boomer, who IMO,  was the first pro golfer turned teacher who understood, demonstrated and taught all the correct motions and techniques of the modern 'golf swing'.  His first notion to understand is  that any attempt to 'hit the ball' is nonsense and you cannot improve your game until you quit that idea. Try ABEBOOKS.

The right elbow hinging and unhinging, and the angle between the left arm and shoulder are 2 of the power accumulators.

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I disagree and you'll find that every player on the PGA Tour is using his arms and muscles above his waist. They're not "passive." You load your arms (bend your right, move your left across your chest) during the backswing and if you don't fire them on the downswing, they'll simply stay like that.

Can you please define what firing of your right arm means?

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Originally Posted by inthecup

Can you please define what firing of your right arm means?

In the context of a golf swing? Straightening it. It's bent around 90° at the top of the backswing and straightens throughout the downswing and just into the follow-through.

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Terminology differences between passive and static here i believe.  Sure, some 'elbow bending' occurs in many (most) swings but i never said 'rigid'.  By passive i mean (and to paraphrase Boomer) that the upper body, the shoulders, arms, hands  are followers of the movement and motion begun in the lower body, never the initiators.  Don't you think the power swing of the pro, or anyone, begins at the bottom of the body?  Namely the feet. The motion of    pushing off the right foot and uncoiling the hips, progresses upwards to the legs and waist areas, then the sternum, and onto the  shoulders and arms. Look at the photos of the pros.  Arms bent at impact?  Not that i see. I see arms straight, holding onto the club as the heavy head zooms outwards away from the body.   Check this video and discussion of the nice, functional swing of Yani Tseng.

http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-instruction/blogs/theinstructionblog/2011/06/monday-swing-analysis-yanis-at.html#entry-more

I see many golfers begin their swing?? with their shoulders and arms. The lower body stiff and tight.  I very seldom see a good golf result with such action. So my advice is to keep the lower body full of tension and coil, but not stiff, and the upper body loose and free but not sloppy. Do not begin (initiate) your swing  with your shoulders or arms. That's my spin and my 'swinging philosophy' .

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Originally Posted by joekelly

Terminology differences between passive and static here i believe.  Sure, some 'elbow bending' occurs in many (most) swings but i never said 'rigid'.  By passive i mean (and to paraphrase Boomer) that the upper body, the shoulders, arms, hands  are followers of the movement and motion begun in the lower body, never the initiators.  Don't you think the power swing of the pro, or anyone, begins at the bottom of the body?  Namely the feet. The motion of    pushing off the right foot and uncoiling the hips, progresses upwards to the legs and waist areas, then the sternum, and onto the  shoulders and arms.

Okay, that's how you mean it?

Because to me: "start the downswing with your lower body" != "don't use your hands" or "everything above your waist should be passive."

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"Don't use your hands" is, at best, poor language.  If you didn't use your hands the club would fly out of them on the takeaway.  It's just dumb and everyone knows it's dumb deep down.  Maybe a better choice of words is: "Try to develop mechanics that don't rely on the improper use of the hands (i.e. forearms) to save shots when the clubface and path are jacked up time and again."  But that's hard for 99% of instructors because it taxes the understanding quite effectively.  People flip and roll to actually hit the golf ball where you want too.  If you didn't flip and roll it, you probably wouldn't even make contact and your brain knows that.  That's why it's hard to undo.

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IMO it's very hard trying to describe a complex and very fast phenomena especially in a couple sentances, which leads to a lot of semantic dependent disagreement, but I'll give it a shot.

For me, the hands and wrists are critical to good powerful impact. Yes, the downswing starts from the ground up, but once I have rotated down to about 9:00 - 8:00 (I am not familiar with the various alphanumeric designations for the positions), that's when I fire the hands into the ball. I feel like I'm pressing against the lag with base of my right index finger. I would call that using the hands..

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To me handsy means two things,

1) they flip, which is usually a bi product of having to much weight on the back leg and/or the ball being to far back in the swing.

2) They rotate there forearms, opening the clubface alot in the backswing, and then having to rely on more forearm rotation in the downswing to get the clubface back to were you want it to be.

Matt Kutchar swing changed were he got flatter, more a one plane swing, and he tries to keep the clubface square to the swing path more. They talk about him beng able to just use his body to fire through the ball. Not sure if thats what he's doing, or just what he feels like he has to do to get the swing were he wants. But the clubface will rotate in the backswing, its inevitable, the rate of which or how much is dependant on the person.

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Thanks for the advice.

I think the point the pro was trying to make was that I was losing consistency by excessively throwing the club from the top of my backswing. Certainly I have struggled with an out-to-in swing path and a casting problem, which may be a result of this action.

In Tom Watson’s lesson of a lifetime he starts the downswing ‘from the ground up’ and demonstrates the club moving to the 10 o’clock position with pretty much the same wrist angle. He then says ‘from here my good friend Jack Nicklaus said you can just ‘whip on through with your hands and arms’. ‘

My real problem was that the pro wasn’t explaining the issue well enough. As the comment above suggested, the phrase ‘don’t use your hands’ is definitely not something to be taken literally!!

At the moment I’m working on slowing things down at the top of my backswing, and trying to let the club ‘fall’ into the 10 o’clock position as I shift my weight to the right. From there I will try and ‘whip it on through’ like ol’ Jack and Tom. I think they knew what they were doing..

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I find this thread interesting. I feel effort, use of the hands and upper body in the golf swing exceedingly difficult, especially with the driver. It is so easy to over do effort keys in golf. Take lag, I spent years failing to release the club properly in an attempt to create more lag. I now feel as if I start the downswing with my legs and a slight pull down with my left side and hand. From that point forward I try to allow my arms and hands to respond to what my turning body is doing. I am always searching for terms like speed, or turn quickly to replace words like hard or drive. It feels like I am casting, but results indicate differently. My low ball flight is higher and distance has increased. I guess my point is that the terminology to feel process is not the same for everyone. Applying my feel would lead to casting or flipping for others. Try to find a feel or term that reinforces and leads to an improved result even if it doesn't match textbook descriptions.
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Very common problem. You are not alone. Body parts above the waist must be passive. I liken the situation to a gear wheel with attached chains. The chains, arms, hold a dead weight, clubhead, and are propelled by the gear wheel,       the big muscles of the butt and legs. If you try to 'push' the chains-failure. Get hold of  oldish book by Percy Boomer, who IMO,  was the first pro golfer turned teacher who understood, demonstrated and taught all the correct motions and techniques of the modern 'golf swing'.  His first notion to understand is  that any attempt to 'hit the ball' is nonsense and you cannot improve your game until you quit that idea. Try ABEBOOKS.

I agree with you 100% but trying to explain the concept to people who have yet to pull off the technique is very difficult because they will swear the muscular contribution by the arms is a significant power source. And in speaking with a number of pro tour players many of them do infact consider the role of the arms or right arm to be passive which gives the legs and core leverage when properly loaded at the top.

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Like some others here, I totally disagree with the notion the hands must be passive. What are you hanging onto the club with? Your hands!  This video "Role of the Hands in the Golf Swing" may help:

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Honest question here -- is the motion being described in that video going to cause flipping? From the looks of it at around the 1:32 mark, he's got the club ahead of his hands and has broken the flat left wrist. Now I understand that this is just a demonstration and may not be the same in his real swing, but I'm curious what the gurus think...

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Hi and no, the motion here is not going to cause flipping. Flipping, while a hand action, only happens when you are trying to (erroneously) hit up at the ball, or scoop the ball. In any good swing the left wrist will cease to be straight either before, or at the ball. You cannot release the clubhead and maintain a flat left wrist. The notion of keeping a flat left wrist is a scary one, as it is only going to cause shanks, pushes, slices etc.  You cannot extend your right wrist AND keep your left wrist flat. And you must extend your right wrist to hit a good golf shot. Imagine pitching a baseball or shooting a basket and not extending your right wrist (assuming you are a rightie).  Now, the reason you will hear talk of maintaining a flat left wrist (as misguided as that direction is) is because it was noted that poor players scooped the ball and a symptom of that was a cupped left wrist. But telling a scooper not to bend their left wrist is tantamount to telling someone with whooping cough, not to cough. They should be taught to hit down at the ball, not given a dangerous direction like "maintain a flat left wrist".

vijay-singh.jpg

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