Gain Distance With This Release Drill Golf (Video)
Gain Distance With This Release Drill Golf (Video)

So now we look at what we talk about as releasing the golf club, releasing the golf club into the ball. And it’s really releasing the power, releasing the club head at the ball to generate maximum club head speed so you can generate maximum distance. And this is a big problem I see with a lot of golfers, particularly if they leak the ball out to the right hand side, scoop it high up into the air, or they don’t generate the distance that they would like to generate because they don’t release.

So, a bad release looks like this. We get the angle through the shaft and the forearm here and then we don’t do anything with it. And we finish in this position: left handle still on top for the right-handed golfer, club face would be slightly open, maybe even a bit of bend in the left arm in this position. And this is quite an awkward position. It doesn’t look particularly powerful so it doesn’t feel particularly powerful.

A different position of a good release would be having the same angle on this side but then releasing that angle to this position on this side. So I’ve let my left wrist go down, now my right wrist comes over the top. Let’s just see that again. Good position coming down into the ball and releasing it over as opposed to same downswing but bad impact position. So, we want to get that releasing of the golf club going over this way. A lot of people will get this right as a practice swing, but then actually when they hit a ball, we get this bad habit. One really good tip here would be actually video your golf swing. Freeze frame what you look like through the ball and see whether you’re guilty of releasing the golf club incorrectly or whether you’re doing it correctly.

A great tip to help you get the feeling for doing this right is what I would term as a split grip or split-handed grip. So, you put your left hand, for a right-handed golfer, in the normal position. The right hand would go down about where your shaft stick is on the grip, so take your grip down here. Now make a few little practice swings: left arm going straight on the way back, left arm going straight on the way through. Now, because your right hand have to travel much further than your left hand but it has to travel it in the same time, your right hand goes quicker than your left. So, your right hand must swing faster from here through to here. So your right hand is accelerating over the top of your left.

And once you can do a few split grips there, you get the feeling for the right movement. Then, slide your right hand up a little bit, maybe do half a dozen of this level so your right hand is just on the base of the grip and, again, faster with the right hand, really working the rotational motion, certainly avoiding this. I’m trying to get my left arm nicely out and straight and letting my right hand rotate over and then bring your hand up again and a couple more of that level, then bring your hand right up to its normal position and still feel like your right hand wants to dominate through the ball and extend through impact.

Then if you can actually try chipping a few shots away or hitting a few normal shots, just pitch it forwards and look where your left and right arm finish at chest height. And you can see my extension through the golf ball here and my rotation is quite solid. Let me just hit a bad one for you so you can see what the bad position might look and feel like.

2012-03-27

You’d have to look for a long time to find a golfer who didn’t want to add distance to his or her shots.

Gain Distance with These Release Drills

Even those who already hit the ball a long way would love to pick up a few extra yards. And why not? Longer shots mean you can reach the green from farther away, and you can set up shorter approach shots. As long as you maintain your control over the golf ball while adding distance, it’s a great thing to hit the ball farther.

In this article, we are going to talk about how you may be able to gain distance by working on some simple release drills. The release is the action that takes place at the bottom of the golf swing, as the club head is moving through the ball. When you release the club properly, you gain a couple of advantages. First, you maximize your swing speed at the moment of impact, allowing you to reach your distance potential. Additionally, you will have a good chance to square up the club when it contacts the ball, meaning it’s far more likely that you’ll wind up hitting your target.

Of course, you have to perform the release in the right way if it is going to do you any good at all. If your release is faulty – perhaps it takes place too early, or maybe it is too aggressive – you aren’t going to get the positive results you had in mind. The goal of this article is to help you work on mastering the release in your swing. Using drills is always a good way to work toward improvement, and we hope you find the drills offered in this article to be beneficial.

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.

Understanding the Objective

Understanding the Objective

We have three drills to share with you, and we’ll get to those in just a moment. First, however, we would like to make sure that you have a clear picture of what the release is, and what it is not. If you don’t understand the idea behind the release and how it should be performed, you’ll never manage to execute it correctly in your own swing.

First, we’ll point out the obvious – the ‘release’ does not mean you are actually going to let the club go flying out of your hands. Releasing the club in the golf sense does not mean to physically release it and let it soar down the fairway. When hitting a golf shot, you obviously want to maintain control over the club from start to finish. Rather, what we are talking about here is the action of letting the club head roll over from right to left as it swings through the hitting area. Since the swing is a rotational action, and since you are standing to the side of the ball while you hit your shots, a release is necessary in order to square up the face and send the ball on its way. If you fail to release the club at all, or don’t execute the release in time, your shots are sure to miss out to the right of the target.

Let’s take a look at a few points which should highlight how the release should work for an average golf shot.

  • Club comes down toward the ball with an open face. During the downswing, the club face should naturally be open to the target line. In fact, this is known as a square position in the golf world, since having the face open on the way down is the right way to do it. If you were to have the face of the club pointed directly down the target line early in your downswing, you’d actually be in a closed position. So, as you swing down, make sure the face is open in relation to the target line, and ready to rotate into impact.
  • Left hand sets the stage. Golfers often think of the release as being an action which is controlled by the right hand, and that is true to a degree. However, the left hand plays an important role as well, and it should not be overlooked. It is the left hand that is going to pull the club down toward the ball, setting the stage for what is to come. During the early phase of your downswing, think about pulling the club down toward the ball with the back of your left hand. If you can execute this move properly, you’ll be in a great position from which to strike once the time is right.
  • Extension with the right hand. To feel a proper release at the bottom of your swing, try to get great extension through the ball with your right hand and arm. Straighten things up on the way into the ball, firing the club aggressively into impact and beyond. If you strive for extension, the release is going to happen naturally as a by-product of that move. Unfortunately, many golfers fall into the trap of ‘flipping’ their right hand and wrist at impact, which is not the same thing as getting great extension. If you try to flip the club through the ball, you are going to add loft and wind up with a weak, high shot. This is often what happens when golfers feel like they need to help the ball up into the air. The ball doesn’t need any help to get airborne, as the loft of the club is there to do the job. Just swing through impact, seek great extension, and count on the club to do the rest.
  • Club around your back in the finish. You can use your finish position as a roadmap to confirm that you have done a good job of releasing the club through the hitting area. If you finish with your chest facing the target and the club wrapped around your back, you can be sure that the release was a success. Many golfers who struggle with the release often wind up with the club in front of their body when the swing is all finish. If that sounds like you, it’s nearly certain that your release needs some work.

We hope you now have a clear understanding of how the release works in the golf swing. As you try out the three drills we will cover in the rest of this article, keep these points in mind and make sure you are working towards the right goal.

Alternate Hands

Alternate Hands

To get started with our drills, we are going to present one which doesn’t actually require you to be at the driving range, or even hit any golf balls. You can perform this drill anywhere you have room to make golf swings safely. This is a great benefit, of course, because you probably don’t have as much time as you would like to spend working on your game. If you can carve out even just a few minutes during the day to make a few practice swings, you can use this drill to your benefit.

All you’ll need to work through this drill is a golf club and some space to swing safely. Remember, you may hit the ground at the bottom of your swing, so it would be smart to do this drill somewhere suitable for such contact. For instance, swinging on the sidewalk wouldn’t be smart, as hitting the ground at the bottom could be quite painful (and would likely damage your club). Likewise, you don’t want to swing on your grass if you would be bothered by a couple divots. If you can’t manage to find somewhere appropriate to make practice swings away from the course, simply save this drill for your next trip to the range. You still won’t hit any balls with the drill, but at least you can use the range as a place to swing safely.

Once you are ready to give this drill a try, follow the steps below.

  • Pick out a club and find a place to stand and make your swings. We would recommend a mid-iron like a seven iron as a starting point, but you can really use any of the clubs in your bag (other than the putter, of course).
  • With a club in hand, take your stance and get ready to make your first swing. At this point, you aren’t going to do anything differently from what you would do when hitting a shot on the course. Take care to build your stance exactly as you would when playing a normal shot.
  • When you are ready to swing, you are going to make one final adjustment – you are going to take one of your hands off the club. For starters, take your right hand off the club and make the swing with your left hand only. After a few repetitions of swinging with just the left hand, switch it up and swing with only your right hand.
  • Feel free to make as many one-handed practice swings as you would like, doing your best to keep the total swing count even between the two hands. If you are at the range, you can feel free to go back to hitting shots once you are finished with the one-handed drill.

So, what is the point of this? The basic idea here is to help you feel the release from both sides. How it should feel when the club swings through impact with the left hand, as well as the right hand. It’s hard to separate out these feelings when both hands are on the club, so it’s a good idea to use just one hand from time to time. Also, the club will be more willing to release through the hitting area when you use only one hand during the swing. That freedom is a good feeling, and it is something you should try to replicate when you go back to making your swing with both hands.

Most likely, you are going to find the right hand only swing to be far more natural than the left hand only swing. Most amateur players use too much right hand during the swing, so it only makes sense that the right hand swing would be easier to execute. If you struggle to feel comfortable with the left hand only swing, stick with it and focus on pulling the butt of the club down toward the ground early in the downswing. In time, you should get better at positioning the club correctly with your left hand, and that step alone can work wonders for your overall game.

The great thing about this drill is that you can use it just about any time on the range or even on the course. Simply make a couple practice swings with the right hand, a couple with the left, and get back to your normal shots. These quick reminders of how the release should feel may go a long way toward helping you hit longer shots.

Release Only

Release Only

We are going to go in a completely different direction for this second drill. You will be hitting some golf balls here, but you are not going to be using your full swing. Instead, you are just going to use the release portion of the swing, which will hopefully help you get comfortable with how the club should move through the ball.

Since you will be hitting some golf balls during this drill, you need to make sure that you have a good place to give it a try. There are a couple of options here. Of course, you could simply decide to go to the driving range. This is obviously a great place to hit golf balls, but you have to pay for each shot and you don’t get the balls back. That can be a little frustrating with this kind of drill, since you’ll only be hitting the balls a short distance. The other option is a large short game practice area, if you can find one near you. You’ll probably need 50 or 60 yards to work through this drill safely, so see if you can find a golf facility near your home or office that offers such a space.

Once you have worked out where you are going to practice, you’ll be ready to get down to work. Follow the steps below to try out the release only drill.

  • For this drill, we recommend starting with a pitching wedge. This club is short enough to be controlled with relative ease, yet it can still provide enough feel at impact to let you know how you’ve done. If you don’t have your pitching wedge available, you can use any other short iron with similar results. You’ll also need at least a few golf balls, and a place to practice (as mentioned above).
  • To get started, place a ball down on the ground and take your stance. The stance you take should be the same as you would use for any standard full swing shot on the course. Even though you are going to be hitting the ball a pretty short distance, you don’t want to use your chipping or pitching stance. Be sure to use the stance that you use on full shots.
  • With your stance taken and the club head resting behind the ball, it will be time to hit the first shot. Rather than making your full backswing as usual, you are only going to use your hands and wrists to set the club. There will be no shoulder turn here, and you don’t really even want to swing your arms back. The idea is simply to set the club with your hands and wrists to the point where the club shaft is nearly parallel with the ground.
  • Once the club is set, you are going to ‘swing’ through in much the same fashion as you went back. Using only your hands and wrists, release the club to move it through the hitting area and send the ball on its way. Focus your attention on trying to make the cleanest possible contact with the ball when hitting these practice shots. You obviously aren’t going to hit the ball a long distance, but that isn’t the point. The idea is to simply feel the quality of the release and how you can propel the club into the back of the ball using only your hands and wrists.

When the drill is complete, hit some full shots (assuming you are on the range) and try to maintain the feeling of the release that you had during the drill. If you are able to blend this release with the rest of your full swing mechanics, you’ll be left with something quite powerful.

Roll It Over

Roll It Over

For our last drill, we are going to head to the driving range to hit some full shots with a variety of clubs. This drill is quite simple, but it is something that many players could benefit from doing on a regular basis. Once again, we’ll break the drill down into step by step directions below.

  • As stated above, you’ll want to be on the range for this last drill. You should have your entire set of clubs available, and you should have plenty of golf balls to hit.
  • For the first few shots, try using one of your mid-irons, such as a seven iron. You are going to need to pick two targets for each shot, so there will be a little bit of prep before you can get started. The idea is to pick one target that is going to serve as your starting line while the other target is the actual destination for the shot. The goal in this drill is to hit big draws from right to left, so make sure your first target is well to the right of the second target.
  • With your target selected, take your stance and make sure you are aimed accurately at the first target. Then, make a swing with a full release that you feel will result in a big draw. Hopefully, the ball will start on the proper line before turning to the left and curving toward the second target. These shots should fall short of something that you would call a hook, but they should be rather big draws.
  • Once you hit a few with your mid-iron, move up and use some longer clubs. You will need to make a full release in order to hit these big draws, so this drill should help you get comfortable with letting the club head rotate freely through the ball. Go ahead and hit as many shots as you’d like in this fashion before you go back to your normal practice routine.

There are a couple of things to learn from this drill. First, the freedom you have to provide the club head in order to turn the ball over will help you to release the club better on all of your shots. Also, it’s simply handy to have a big draw in the bag, as this is a shot that will be needed on occasion. Even when you go back to working on your standard ball flight, remember to let the club release nicely in order to pick up some additional yardage.

If you struggle to produce decent distance on your golf shots, there is a good chance that your release is holding you back. By using the drills offered up in this article, you may be able to take a big step toward an improved release and added distance. It’s possible that ball flight changes are going to come along with your altered release, so keep that in mind and adjust as necessary moving forward. Good luck!

So now we look at what we talk about as releasing the golf club, releasing the golf club into the ball. And it’s really releasing the power, releasing the club head at the ball to generate maximum club head speed so you can generate maximum distance. And this is a big problem I see with a lot of golfers, particularly if they leak the ball out to the right hand side, scoop it high up into the air, or they don’t generate the distance that they would like to generate because they don’t release.

So, a bad release looks like this. We get the angle through the shaft and the forearm here and then we don’t do anything with it. And we finish in this position: left handle still on top for the right-handed golfer, club face would be slightly open, maybe even a bit of bend in the left arm in this position. And this is quite an awkward position. It doesn’t look particularly powerful so it doesn’t feel particularly powerful.

A different position of a good release would be having the same angle on this side but then releasing that angle to this position on this side. So I’ve let my left wrist go down, now my right wrist comes over the top. Let’s just see that again. Good position coming down into the ball and releasing it over as opposed to same downswing but bad impact position. So, we want to get that releasing of the golf club going over this way. A lot of people will get this right as a practice swing, but then actually when they hit a ball, we get this bad habit. One really good tip here would be actually video your golf swing. Freeze frame what you look like through the ball and see whether you’re guilty of releasing the golf club incorrectly or whether you’re doing it correctly.

A great tip to help you get the feeling for doing this right is what I would term as a split grip or split-handed grip. So, you put your left hand, for a right-handed golfer, in the normal position. The right hand would go down about where your shaft stick is on the grip, so take your grip down here. Now make a few little practice swings: left arm going straight on the way back, left arm going straight on the way through. Now, because your right hand have to travel much further than your left hand but it has to travel it in the same time, your right hand goes quicker than your left. So, your right hand must swing faster from here through to here. So your right hand is accelerating over the top of your left.

And once you can do a few split grips there, you get the feeling for the right movement. Then, slide your right hand up a little bit, maybe do half a dozen of this level so your right hand is just on the base of the grip and, again, faster with the right hand, really working the rotational motion, certainly avoiding this. I’m trying to get my left arm nicely out and straight and letting my right hand rotate over and then bring your hand up again and a couple more of that level, then bring your hand right up to its normal position and still feel like your right hand wants to dominate through the ball and extend through impact.

Then if you can actually try chipping a few shots away or hitting a few normal shots, just pitch it forwards and look where your left and right arm finish at chest height. And you can see my extension through the golf ball here and my rotation is quite solid. Let me just hit a bad one for you so you can see what the bad position might look and feel like.