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Placement of Hands, Angle of Wrists Key Components for Proper Impact

  • Making good contact with the golf ball requires proper hand and wrist angles. Courtesy photograph

    Making good contact with the golf ball requires proper hand and wrist angles. Courtesy photograph

  • Making good contact with the golf ball requires proper hand and wrist angles. Courtesy photograph
Peter Harris

Peter Harris

It’s early in the golf season, and we still need time to warm up our games and more time to wait for warm weather, I guess. What should we be working on to get us off to a fast start?

How about impact? If we take a little time to make sure our impact position is correct, we can improve our short game, pitching and iron play all in one big swoop. All three shots require the same impact to hit a good shot.

(My dad had a language all his own and would call that a three-fer, or commonly known as a three-for-one. I love you, Dad!)

There’s a big difference between how better players get to impact versus how higher handicappers get impact. Better players get to impact with their hands by their left leg, lead wrist flat and trailing wrist bent. This allows the loft of the club to get the ball in the air and for a solid strike when hitting the center of the club face.

Higher handicappers will get to impact with their hands closer to their zipper, lead wrist bent and trailing wrist flat. Their hands basically slow down, allowing the club head to keep moving. This results in a loss of power, hitting the turf first before the ball and/or thin shots where the leading edge of the club hits halfway up the ball and shots feel hard and fly uncontrollably. All not good.

Now, before you go practice this, it’s important you start with small swings and swing in a manner where your hands and arms have no tension through impact and release during follow-through. This impact position is a snapshot in a 1,000-frame movie.

I like to practice impact with a chip shot, where the club head barely gets waist-high on the backswing.

Also, the speed of my swing is a small fraction of my total power that results in a follow-through no higher than my waist.

As I swing the club back and then change the direction of my hands toward impact, I like to feel the club head still traveling slightly back on the backswing.

The club head will now feel light, like it has no weight, and this sets the bent angle in my right or trail wrist.

With the trail wrist now bent and lead wrist flat, maintain these angles by using body rotation to accelerate your hands and club through impact, as well as release the club to your finish.

Get to impact correctly, and you’ll get to feel more solid shots!

Peter Harris is director of golf at the Fore-U Golf Center in West Lebanon.