A good impact position includes a number of different elements, such as hips that have turned open to the target and eyes that are focused down on the ball. Another component of a great impact position is getting your hands in front of the golf ball. This is a point that many amateur players struggle with, yet it is critically important to the success of your swing. When your hands get past the ball at impact, you will know that you have allowed the club head to lag behind in the downswing – the single most important ingredient when trying to create power. Lagging the club head behind your hands is vital to making powerful swings, and arriving at impact with your hands in front of the ball is proof that you have been successful.

Hands Lesson Chart

The importance of this point should not be undersold. If you are unable to get your hands past the ball at impact, you will have very little chance of hitting strong, accurate shots – it's just that simple. Hitting shots while your hands are behind the ball at impact is a challenging task to say the least. When your hands drag behind, you will be 'flipping' the club head at the ball at the bottom of the swing, making it difficult to reach a square position at impact. Also, you will be using the majority of your club head speed prior to impact, meaning your shots will never live up to their full distance potential. If you know that you have trouble getting your hands past the ball at impact, be sure to work on this point before addressing anything else in your game.

The role your hands play in the golf swing is complicated. They play an important role, of course, as they are the only part of your body that is attached to the club during the swing. However, if you let your hands get too involved, they can actually do more harm than good. In this article, we are going to take a close look at how your hands should be working, both in the full swing and in the short game.

For many golfers, the issue with the hands is allowing them to be too active. With overactive hands, it’s hard to deliver the club predictably and consistently into the back of the ball. It can be hard to get used to the feeling the comes with using less hand action, but your game can dramatically improve if you do manage to make progress in this area. Managing the movement of your hands and wrists in the swing is one of the most valuable skills you can develop as a player.

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

— Common Golf Swing Hand Action Mistakes

There are plenty of places in the swing where your hand action can go wrong. If you aren’t specific in when you use your hands, and when you just let them go along for the ride, something is sure to go wrong along the way. The points below highlight some of the common mistakes made by countless amateur golfers. As you read through the list, think about your own swing to determine if any of these issues are a problem for you.

Hands Golf Lesson Chart

Hands Ahead Of The Ball In Your Golf Short Game
Reduce The Role Of Your Hands to Lower Driver Shots
What is the Correct Chipping Hands Position for Women Golfers when playing Golf Chipping Shots
Top Three Tips On Hands Rotating In The Golf Swing
Golf tip getting your hands into the right spot
What is the Correct Chipping Hands Position for Senior Golfers to use
Make Sure the Clubhead is Outside the Hands for Senior Golfers to Achieve a Correct Takeaway
Chipping Golf Tip: Hands Lead Clubhead
Putting The Right Golf Driver In Your Hands
Hands Need To Feel The Club Head by Tom Stickney
Relaxed Hands To Increase Golf Shot Distance
Focusing More On The Hands And Arms When Golf Pitching
Relaxing The Hands To Fix A Golf Hook Shot
Chipping Golf Tip – Hands Lead Club Head
Correct The Golf Ball From Hooking – Slow Down The Hands
Golf Tip: How to Stop Over-Rotating the Hands
Golf Swing Golf Tips – All Time Top Tips – Quiet Hands In The Takeaway
Stop Over Rotating Your Hands In The Golf Swing And Regain Control Of Your Ball Flight

The Golf Swing Is More Than Hands And Arms
Hands Win The Race In The Golf Swing
The Hands Need To Win The Race In Your Golf Swing
Holding The Golf Lag Angle And Softening The Hands
The Mental Aspect Of Golf Putting When Using The Shoulders And Hands
How To Take Out The Hands During The Golf Swing
Lower Hands to Hit a Draw
Hands Control The Putting Stroke
Lower Your Hands For A Golf Draw
How to Use the Hands to Curve the Ball
Lowering Your Hands Can Help Hit A Golf Draw
Why The Hands Should Be In Front Of Ball At Impact Golf Swing Tip
Role of Both Hands in Putting by Tom Stickney
Raise Hands to Hit a Fade
Shake Hands To Start Your Golf Swing
Golf Pro Jim Furyk: Extreme Closeup with the Hands
Golf Putting Tip: It’s Your Head, not Your Hands
Focus On Your Hands To Solve The Problem Of Poor Shaft Angle In Your Golf Swing

Why you Need Both Hands Working Together with a Flat Palm Grip for Best Putting Results

Two Simple Drills To Stop Your Hands Over Rotating In The Golf Swing
What is a smooth putter stroke golf drill 3 One handed ghost hands
Fat Golf Shot Drill: Finishing line hands win the race
Golf Drill Tip: Irons flying too high – Hands too far back
Golf Tip Drill: Irons flying too low – Hands too far forward

How Can I Stop My Hands From Over Rotating In My Golf Downswing?
Should My Hands Be In Front Of The Golf Ball At Impact
Should My Hands Lead the Club When Chipping?
  • Too much hand action in the takeaway. This is a huge problem in the world of amateur golf. Millions of golfers use their hands too actively in the initial stages of the swing. The term ‘takeaway’ refers to the first portion of the backswing, roughly the first foot or so that you move the club back away from the ball. At this early stage, you should be using just your shoulders to turn away from the target while your hands do nothing but hold onto the club. If you allow your hands to start the swing, rather than your shoulders, the club is going to move to the inside early – and you might not be able to recover later on. It is easy to understand the inclination to start the swing with your hands but doing so it only going to lead to trouble. Do your best to turn your shoulders away from the target to start the club in motion and everything later in the swing should fall into place more easily. It is important to note that the swing is going to develop at a slower pace when you use your shoulders to manage the backswing move instead of your hands and wrists. There is nothing wrong with that slower pace, but you’ll need to make sure to give the backswing enough time to be completed before you transition into the downswing. If you rush through the backswing and cut it off short of the top, you’ll struggle with ball striking and will lack power.
  • Throwing the club head down toward the ball. In some ways, this is the opposite of the first mistake on our list, yet some people actually make both of these errors in the game golf swing. From the top of the swing, it should be your lower body that leads the way, rotating toward the target while everything else comes along for the ride. That’s not what happens for many golfers, however, as a large number of players try to strike the ball by ‘throwing’ the clubhead down toward impact. In this context, ‘throwing’ doesn’t mean actually letting go of the club, but rather using the hands to force the end of the club down toward the ball prematurely. This is also known as ‘casting’ in golf terms, and it is often what leads to a slice. Players who cast the club not only have trouble hitting straight shots, but they also tend to hit short shots that lack any kind of speed coming off the club face. Getting over this mistake can be a bit of a challenge, but one good way to get out of the casting habit is to think about pulling the butt end of the club down toward the ball early in the downswing. This will get your downswing move off to a good start, and you should be able to ride the swing all the way through impact from that point.
  • The scoop. If you manage to avoid the first two errors on your list, you’ll be in good shape as impact arrives. However, things can still go wrong if you fall into the trap of scooping the ball at impact. A ‘scoop’ in golf terms is when you use your right hand to attempt to help the ball up off the ground at the last moment. Instead of hitting down through impact with a firm left wrist, you allow the left wrist to cup as the right hand fires and tries to lift the ball off the grass. You might feel like you need to do this to help the ball get off the ground, or you might simply be trying to save a swing that feels like it is going to hit the ball to the right. Whatever the case, a scooping action is bad news in the golf swing. The key here comes down to nothing more than trust. You need to trust that the loft on the club is enough to get the ball airborne – and it is. Also, you need to trust the mechanics of your swing to deliver the club into the back of the ball in a good position. If you need to scoop to save the swing, the problem isn’t so much the scoop as the faulty mechanics that led up to that point. Correct your technique earlier in the swing and the need to scoop the club through impact should be eliminated.

The majority of hand action issues in the golf swing will be included in one of the three points above. If you are willing to think honestly about the current state of your golf swing, you may already be able to point to one of those issues as something that needs to be addressed in your game.

— Seeing the Big Picture

Sometimes, in the game of golf, players get too bogged down in the small details to see the bigger picture clearly. The small details are still important, of course, but they sometimes work themselves out when you understand what you are trying to do with the club and your body overall. With this in mind, we’d like to use this section to explain in general terms how the golf swing works and what role the hands are supposed to play in that process.

Hands Golf Lesson Chart

  • It’s a rotational game. The big takeaway from this section should be that golf is a game of body rotation. If you turn your body fully away from the target, and then turn it back toward the target, you’ll be on the right track. So many players seem to think that lateral movement drives the swing, but that is just not the case. It’s a rotational game, and the better you can get at turning back and through, the better you will get at striking the ball consistently. Don’t worry if you aren’t as flexible as other golfers and can’t quite make the same turn as they can make – even a modest turn can produce great results when used effectively.
  • Consistency is the story. If you want to play good golf – and you want to do so on a regular basis – you need to make a consistent swing that repeats from one round to the next. It is much easier to repeat your swinging action if you use your big muscles to control the action. If your small muscles are in charge, like those in your hands and wrists, you’ll struggle to get the kind of consistent results that you desire. This is a key concept to understand when you think about how much to involve your hands in the swing. Sure, you might produce some nice shots on the range with plenty of hand action, but will that move be consistent enough to hold up for 18 holes? And how would it hold up under pressure? More likely, you’ll be better served to learn a swing that integrates the big muscles more actively while keeping the hands largely out of the action. Once you put your big muscles in charge, don’t be surprised if the consistency of your ball striking improves dramatically.
  • Hands provide a nice connection. So far, you are probably getting the impression that your hands should be just staying out of the way in the swing. And, largely, that is the case. However, it’s a bit more complicated than that, as a swing with no hand action whatsoever will struggle to produce any kind of meaningful speed or power. The best way to let your hands get involved is to maintain a gentle grip pressure so the natural movement of your swing can be transferred into the club. If you grip the club too tightly, there will be restriction between the arms and the club, and the flow of the swing may be interrupted. You need to hold on tight enough to maintain control over the club, of course, but don’t hold on much tighter than that.

Rotation, rotation, rotation. That’s the message here, and it will free you up from using your hands too actively in the swing. If you are making a great turn, you won’t even feel the need to actively involve your hands beyond the minimum that is required to strike the ball. The rotation of your body will put the club in position, and suddenly the game will feel much easier than it did before. That’s not to say that it will be easy, of course, but it should feel easier and you should start to feel a level of confidence that wasn’t present previously.

— Helpful Practice Drills

Spending time practicing your game is the only way to make meaningful progress toward a brighter future on the links. Sure, it might be more fun to get out on the course and play a round of golf when you have free time, but investing some of your time at the range is a choice that will continue to pay off for many years to come.

In this section, we’d like to present you with two practice drills that can help you use your hands properly in the golf swing. Consider giving these drills a try during your next visit to the range and you may make progress in the near future.

Hands Golf Lesson Chart

  • All shoulders. To learn just how much you can do by turning your shoulders back and through the shot, try hitting a few short shots on the range without using your hands at all. Set up to the ball like you would normally with a mid-iron, but don’t make a full swing. Instead, make a small swing where you keep your hands and wrists completely still – almost like you would when putting. You are still going to be down into your posture throughout this shot, so flex your knees and tilt forward from the hips. To hit the shot, turn your shoulders to the right to make a ‘backswing’, and then turn again toward the target to swing the club through. It’s probably going to look pretty awkward, and it won’t feel great, but you may be surprised to see just how much the ball jumps off the face of the club (especially if you make clean contact). What we are trying to accomplish here is to build some confidence that the ball will leave the club nicely as long as you strike it clean – even if you don’t use your hands at all. Then, when you go back to your normal swing and integrate just a bit of hand action to go along with your shoulder turn, you should be at a point when you can send the ball down the range with very little effort at all.
  • All hands. That’s right – for this next drill, we are basically going to do the opposite of the first drill. In this case, you are going to hit a few shots with a short iron while using almost all hand and wrist action to send the ball on its way. You can turn your shoulders just slightly in this drill to make it easier to move the club but make the focus about your hands. What you are trying to learn here is how it feels to strike the ball with your hands, as this sensation will help you when making normal swings. After a few shots where you are using almost entirely your hands to hit the ball, go ahead and make some normal swings and remember how your hands worked during the drill to apply the club face accurately to the back of the ball.

The more time you spend practicing, the better you will get at striking the ball consistently. It’s best to spend your practice time in a focused manner, working on things like drills to refine your technique and better prepare yourself for what you’ll face on the course.

— Hands in the Short Game

The last section of this article is going to address how your hands work in the short game. As you might imagine, the hands play an important role in the short game, but that role will vary depending on the kind of shot you are facing. To make this discussion easier to understand, we have broken it up into three categories – putting, chipping, and bunker play.

Hands Golf Lesson Chart

  • Putting. Simply put, your hands should not do anything when you are putting. You should keep your hands quiet and out of the action as you use your shoulders to rock the club back and through. With quiet hands, it becomes much easier to both hit your target line and get your speed right. It seems to be a natural inclination for beginning golfers to use their hands actively in the stroke, but that’s going to lead to nothing but trouble. Such a technique was more successful a generation or two ago, when green speeds were much slower. Today’s fast greens, however, demand a quiet stroke that uses the rocking of the shoulders to control the action. Place your hands in a comfortable position on the club and use a grip that is going to make it less likely that they will get involved at the wrong time. During practice, pay close attention to the way your hands behave, and make sure they aren’t doing too much. The only exception to this rule would be on very long putts, where you might need a little bit of wrist hinge to load the putter and help it release through the hitting area to send the ball far enough to reach the target.
  • Chipping. When you step off the green and start to hit chip shots, you’ll need to get your hands involved a little more. This is because you want to hit down on most of your chip shots and hitting down is much easier to accomplish when you hinge your wrists just a bit on the way back. However, it’s still important to note that you are going to want to let your shoulders control most of the action when chipping. Basically, the idea is to use your hands just enough to accomplish the shot you want to hit, and no more. If you go overboard with how much you use your hands, you’ll again threaten your consistency and may struggle to hit the ball the right distance time after time. Experiment in practice with different kinds of short game shots so you can figure out how much hand and wrist action each one requires. One tip that may come in handy is that there tends to be a direct relationship between the amount of hand action you use on a shot and the amount of spin you place on the ball. If you use your hands aggressively on a shot, you’ll usually get more spin than if your hands stay quiet. Keep this in mind as you practice, and you might manage to develop a variety of new shots for your short game arsenal.
  • Bunker play. Greenside bunker shots may require more hand action than any other shot on the golf course. When you are trying to hit an explosion shot from a greenside bunker, what you are really trying to do is ‘throw’ the club head under the ball in the sand so the ball will pop up into the air and onto the green. You aren’t even trying to hit the ball at all – you are trying to swing under the ball. To get all the way under the ball, you need to use your hands aggressively so they can cut through the sand and slice the wedge clean under the ball without getting stuck. This is a tricky technique to learn, but it is incredibly effective once you have it mastered. As you work on your greenside bunker shots, remember you have the green light to use as much hand action as is necessary to pop the ball out of the sand in a single swipe.

We hope the discussion in this article will help you make progress in this area of your golf technique. Always remember that progress tends to come slowly in golf, so being patient is key to eventually reaching your goals. Thank you for taking the time to visit, and good luck on the links!