The golf term “releasing through impact” doesn't mean letting go of the grip and sending the club sailing. However, that's not a bad image to help understand a proper release.

The golf release is simply the rolling of the right hand, wrist and forearm over the left (for right-handers) in the split second before and after the clubface contacts the ball. A good release shouldn't require a conscious effort to rotate the hands; it should be the by-product of a sound downswing – one led by the left hip and continuing up through the shoulders.

Back to our club-throwing image. Releasing the golf club is similar to rolling a bowling ball with the intention of curving it left. In fact, the analogy holds true for most any underhanded motion. Here's a backyard drill that can improve your release:

  • Grab a stick or similar object about three feet long, but not too heavy.
  • Choose a target, such as a tree or bare patch of ground, 30-40 yards away.
  • Try to hit the target with the object by lobbing it underhanded with a full body motion.

During your golf swing you should feel the right hand rolling over as you let fly.

Proper Release Equals Better Golf Shots

Proper Release Equals Better Golf Shots

The release is a part of the golf swing which is often overlooked. That may be for the simple reason that it happens so fast – you certainly aren't going to see your release as it happens at the bottom of the swing, and you might not even know how to feel it. While the release certainly is an important part of the golf swing, it is not a part of the swing which should happen intentionally. Rather, your swing should be designed in such a way that the release happens naturally through the hitting area, time after time. As you might imagine, this is going to be easier said than done.

In this article, we are going to cover a number of topics related to the release. If you are a relatively new golfer, this is going to be new information for you – and it will be highly valuable once you know how to put it to use. Even if you are an experienced player who already understands the basics of the release, you should still benefit from reviewing the ideas in this article. As the title indicates, you stand to play better golf simply by improving your release. A better release can add distance to your shots, it can help you hit the target line more consistently, and it can allow you to strike the ball cleanly from a variety of lies. Professional golfers have mastered the art of releasing the club through impact, and you should work on doing the same.

Before we get too far into this topic, we should stop to define the term release as it relates to your golf swing. Of course, this term doesn't mean to actually release the club – as in let it go – as you will need to hold onto the club securely throughout the swinging motion. In this case, releasing the club means allowing the toe of the club head to pass the heel as you move through the hitting area. During the downswing, the heel of the club is going to lead the way. When impact approaches, the release will let the toe catch up, hopefully resulting in a square position at impact. Once the ball departs, the toe will continue to turn through the shot, and you will move on up into the follow through.

As you should be able to imagine, trying to time this move manually would be nearly impossible. Many golfers are able to swing the club through the hitting area at more than 100 MPH, meaning the task of timing your hands to release the club just perfectly into the back of the ball would be daunting, to say the least. Instead of trying to consciously turn the club over, you should be building mechanics which will cause that to happen automatically. When the right swing fundamentals in place, you won't have to think about the release at all – it will simply occur as a product of the rest of your swing.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

A Few Hurdles

A Few Hurdles

There are a few challenges which are standing between you and an improved release in your golf swing. You already know that golf is a hard game, and mastering a perfect release is actually one of the toughest parts of this challenging sport. It is going to take some significant effort during practice if you are going to improve your release successfully.

So what are the hurdles you must clear to learn the release? Check out the following list.

  • A lack of confidence. That's right – lacking confidence is actually one of the biggest problems you can face when trying to release the club properly. The release is an aggressive action, and you need to be committed to your swing if you are going to manage it successfully. Unfortunately, many amateur golfers don't have the kind of confidence necessary to release the club all the way through impact and beyond. If you feel nervous or unsure about your swing, you will likely 'hang on' at the bottom, meaning you will limit the amount that you allow the club to release. It is possible to play some decent golf while hanging on through the hitting area, but you will never manage to live up to your potential this way. Work on building your confidence and you might find that your release naturally improves over time.
  • An improper grip. In order to release the club successfully, you need to have your hands placed on the club properly right from the start. While there are a few different ways to grip the club, all of which can work nicely, you need to obey some key fundamentals. Specifically, you need to make sure the palms of your two hands are facing each other directly, with the grip of the club sandwiched in between. If your hands aren't matched up in this way, they will struggle to work together during the swing – and your release will be impacted. Also, your two hands should be connected in some form by your grip, either by interlocking your left pointer finger and right pinky finger, or by resting your right pinky on top of your left pointer. Work on developing your own grip, if you don't have on already, and make sure it is allowing you to achieve a free release.
  • A poor turn. So much of your success with the golf swing is going to come down to the way you turn your body. If you can make a good turn with both your upper and lower body – the upper body in the backswing, and the lower body in the downswing – the release should come pretty easy. However, if you fail to turn properly, it will be almost impossible to get the club head to rotate through the hitting area with authority. For the benefit of your release, and for the benefit of your golf swing as a whole, a significant amount of your practice time should be invested in learning a good body turn.
  • Coming out of the shot early. The issue of coming out of the shot early is one which gives countless players trouble. As you swing down into the ball, you have to realize that the swing isn't finished the moment to make contact – you need to swing all the way through into a balanced finish position. Only when you finish your swing properly will you be able to live up to your potential as a ball striker. Your release will be particularly harmed when you give up on your swing, since your body won't stay down long enough to turn the club over properly. Remind yourself prior to each shot that you need to keep your head down through impact, and don't give in to the temptation of looking up to see where the ball is going to go.

The points on the list above identify some issues which you will need to overcome if you are going to manage to release the club properly through the hitting area. The good news is this – all of those issues can be dealt with successfully if you just manage to build your swing on a platform of solid fundamentals. Using mechanics which put your body and the club in the right positions is all you need to do in order to promote a free and clean release. In the next section, we will highlight some of the most important fundamentals to keep in mind as you practice.

Putting Yourself in a Great Position

Putting Yourself in a Great Position

Many of the things you need to do in order to have a great release in your swing don't actually seem like they have anything to do with the release – at least, not on the surface. By building a great golf swing from the ground up, you can naturally promote a better release, and your game will quickly improve as you go.

The list below contains some of the biggest keys to success with the release, and success with your golf swing as a whole.

  • A balanced stance. You aren't going to find golf swing fundamentals which are more important than a balanced stance. You simply must stand over the ball in a balance fashion if you are going to strike good shots on a consistent basis. Specifically related to your release, this is an important point because you will be able to keep your body rotating through the ball when you are balanced nicely. If you are leaning in one direction or another, you will have to stop your rotation in order to regain balance – and your release will be lost somewhere along the way. Work hard to be balanced before you start every swing, and then make sure you stay as balanced as possible once the swing is underway.
  • Keep your right shoulder down. This isn't a point which is often considered by many amateur golfers, but it is actually quite important. Both at address and during the swing, you need to keep your right shoulder down to where it is at least level with your left shoulder, if not a little lower. It is common for amateur golfers, especially those with a slice, to let the right shoulder get too high during the downswing. If you have your right shoulder in a high position, it will be hard to release the club correctly because you will likely be swinging across from outside to inside. In fact, if you do manage to release the club nicely, you will probably pull the ball to the left of the target, thanks to that poor swing path. If necessary, watch your swing on video to make sure you are keeping the right shoulder down in its proper position from start to finish.
  • Stay behind the ball. It will be virtually impossible to release the club properly if you allow yourself to drift past the ball in the downswing. This will happen when you slide left rather than rotating properly. There is no room for any sliding action in your swing, whether sliding to the right in the backswing or to the left on the way down. The golf swing is all about rotation, so don't let some unnecessary lateral movement get in the way of what would have otherwise been an excellent swing.
  • Maintain your head in a steady position. One of the best things you can do for your release is simply to keep your head still. By keeping your head still, the club will whip around your body with ease, and the release should be no problem at all. If you make the mistake of allowing your head to come up, or to drift to the left, that movement will have a negative impact on the rest of your body. As a result, your release will suffer and the club face may be left hanging open at impact. To take most of the head movement out of your swing, simply learn to watch one specific point on the ball while the club is in motion. If you do this, the task of keeping your eyes still will demand that you keep your head still, as well. In the end, you will have a very stable position over the ball, and you should find that the club rips through the impact area with plenty of authority – and the right amount of release, as well.

None of the four points on the list above should be all that difficult to manage on its own. When taken together, however, these four points can require some work to combine within the same swing. By doing that work, you will better your overall game, and you will make it far more likely that you will release the club successfully.



As you work on your release, you will probably notice that a few new problems are starting to pop up here and there in your game. This is perfectly normal, and it is no reason to give up on mastering the release action. Anytime you make changes to your swing, there are sure to be ups and downs along the way. Only the golfers who are willing to see it through to the end will be rewarded with improved play.

We have listed some of the common release-related problems below, along with some advice on how to get things turned around.

  • Hitting the ball fat. If you find that you are hitting the ball fat on a consistent basis while working on your release, it is likely that you are trying a little bit too hard with your right hand. When you force the club down into the ball with your right hand in the downswing, you may overdo it and stick the club head into the turf. Remember, the release should be more about a reaction to the rest of your swing than a conscious decision to move the club into the ball. Should you find that you are catching too much ground before the ball, try to take a little bit of the right hand action out of the equation. Feel like you are pulling the club down into the ball with your left hand and let the release simply occur naturally as a result of your excellent body rotation.
  • Pulling the ball to the left of the target. This problem was mentioned briefly above, but it needs to be reiterated here. If your body does not turn through the shot correctly, or if you allow your right shoulder to get high in the downswing, you might find that releasing the club simply leads you to hit the ball way left of the target. This is actually why many golfers don't have a good release in their swings – because they got tired of pulling the ball left when they did release the head. To stop hitting it left, work on getting your lower body through the hitting area quickly in the downswing. Specifically, do your best to clear your hips, which will give you plenty of room to swing the club through with a great release.
  • Hitting the ball too high. When the ball leaves your club face and heads too high up into the air, you are probably 'scooping' the shot rather than rotating the face down through the ball properly. You should feel like your right hand is passing over your left around the point of contact, rather than moving under. Hitting high shots might look nice, and it might be handy in a few situations, but typically hitting the ball extra high is going to be a bad thing. As soon as you notice a floating ball flight getting in the way of your ability to attack the target, work on improving the shape of your release.

One of the greatest skills you need to have as a golfer is the ability to fight through some adversity in order to come out a better player on the other side. Things aren't always going to come easy in this game, and you are sure to struggle from time to time. Instead of running away or getting mad, you need to look for practical and effective solutions to these struggles. To address any problems you may be having with your release, use the list above and get down to work as quickly as possible.

Should You Release the Club in the Short Game?

Should You Release the Club in the Short Game?

Throughout this article, we have been talking about the importance of a proper release with your full swing. But does that apply when talking about the short game? Should you be trying to release the club cleanly through the ball when chipping and pitching? What about when putting? You never want to forget about your short game when making any technical improvements, because the short game is extremely important to your overall performance.

Starting on the green, the answer is no – you should not be trying to release the putter head while rolling the ball toward the hole. There is no hand action at all in a proper putting stroke. Putting is all about simplicity, so you are going to do your best to keep the blade square to the target line as the club swings back and through. Adding release to this equation would only complicate matters, and complications are not what you are looking for on the greens. Keep your left wrist flat, keep your right hand out of the picture, and move the putter through the ball with a square face.

When you get off the greens, things start to get a little more complicated. For the standard chip or pitch shot, you are still going to keep your hands out of the picture for the most part – meaning there won't be much of a release to speak of. However, you can make an adjustment and add some release if you want the ball to run out significantly after it lands. For instance, if you are playing a long chip shot to a hole cut in the back of the green, you could release the club through impact to reduce backspin and flatten the trajectory. This type of shot will take a flat bounce, and it will run out a great distance after that bounce. Work on learning how to play a fully released chip or pitch shot in practice so you can call on it from time to time while on the course.

The release is always going to be one of the trickiest parts of the swing, but that doesn't mean it has to stand between you and playing better golf. If you can commit to building a golf swing on solid fundamentals and excellent rotation, you should be able to steer clear of any release-related issues. Of course, if you do have problems, check the troubleshooting section of this article for assistance. Good luck!