Why do some golfers hit the ball much farther than others? Size, strength and agility play important roles. But few golfers can hit for good distance without uncocking the wrists through the impact zone.
If you've made a full backswing turn and started down by shifting your weight onto the left foot, you've got the makings of a good release. Your legs and hips unwind your torso, followed by your shoulders, arms, wrists and hands. The "delayed hit" keeps the wrists cocked until the bottom of the downswing.
There are two mistakes you can make: Releasing your wrists too early or not at all.
Most golfers release their wrists too early, giving into the "hit impulse" at the start of the downswing. Instead of starting down with the legs, they initiate the downward action with their shoulders and arms, forcing the wrists to release while the club is still in the downswing. Distance is lost when you throw the club prematurely with your shoulders and arms.
You can't "make" your wrists release at the perfect moment -- the downswing happens too fast. But you can build the centrifugal force that makes it happen by starting the downswing with a shift of your lower body.
"Frozen" wrists that never release usually result from mistrusting your swing and consciously blocking or steering the clubface and the ball toward the target. You may be hitting fairly accurate shots, but your club-to-ball contact feels wooden and lifeless and you're losing 20 to 30 yards on tee shots.
Start your corrections on the practice tee. Loosen everything up, lighten your hold on the club and relax your entire body as you prepare to swing. After reaching the top and making your weight shift to the left foot, just let the shot go!
When you begin doing this, your shots will fly farther -- and probably to the left of the target as well. Expect it because you've probably been aligning your body well left of the target, giving the old no-wrist swing a chance to "block" the ball on line. Combine your new releasing swing with a square alignment and you'll be longer, straighter and more consistent.
Private Lessons 1999 Time4 Media, Inc., used under license by GolfServ Online, Inc. Instructional information provided by Golf Magazine.