As instruction manuals go, Ben Hogan's Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf is a classic. It's also somewhat complicated. Between discussions of swing plane, supination, and pronation, there's plenty to challenge even the most serious student of the game. But one of the best tips in the book-an anti-slice measure-is also one of the simplest, and oddly enough, one of the most obscure. It concerns the actions of the right thumb.
On page 24, Hogan writes: "If you work [pinch] the tips of the thumb and forefinger together and apply any considerable amount of pressure, you automatically activate those muscles that run along the outside of the right arm and elbow to the right shoulder. These are not the muscles you want to use in the golf swing."
Grab a club and see what a difference this added tension makes. First, grip the club with your right thumb and forefinger pinching the shaft. Feel how it engages the right shoulder? Make a swing, and with the right shoulder activated you'll tend to swing from out to in. Now, relax the right thumb and forefinger. Notice how the entire right arm relaxes, making it much easier to swing straight through along the target line.
Private Lessons 1999 Time4 Media, Inc., used under license by GolfServ Online, Inc. Instructional information provided by Golf Magazine.