Category Archives: hands lead the clubhead

Golf’s Prime Fundamental

This is a new way of calling everyone’s attention to my favorite subject—the handle leads the clubhead into the ball. I can’t wait to see what the search engines do with that title.

Notice I’m saying “handle” instead of “hands” like I used to. If you think of what the club is doing rather than what you are doing, you are much likelier to get it right.

If you do get it right, and at the right tempo*, you will find the center of the clubface much more often and hit better shots much more often.

Over the years I have given you several methods for doing this. They all work, one is not better than the other. Here, now, is a collection, with links, so you can see them all at once and make your choice.

Try one and if it doesn’t work for you, keep looking. But once you find the one that clicks, keep at it. Don’t go off and try something else. If it works, it works. Spend the rest of your time perfecting it.

Here they are, seven ways to get the handle ahead of the clubhead at impact.

1. Hold the angle – this is my earliest method.

2. The handle moves in harmony with the clubhead – focusing on the club, not on you.

3. The left arm never stops moving – sometimes it does.

4. Throw the club away – or at least swing like you would.

5. The end of the handle moves left – Imagine in the forward swing that the butt end of the club is moving straight across your body toward the target, and let that motion take your swing where it needs to go.

6. Swing the club with one hand – This is a drill really, making a half swing with a sand wedge, with one hand then the other. Unless you are incredibly strong and deliberately want to make the clubhead lead, the weight and momentum of the club will cause the handle to naturally go first. Apply the lesson of the drill to your two-handed swing.

7. Swing the club forward with your arms – Anatomically speaking, the arm is the upper limb between the shoulder and the elbow. That is what is meant here. Think of that meaning of the arms swinging the club forward, a concept championed by Manuel de la Torre.

Gary Player once said something along the lines of, Show me what you think is a fundamental of golf and I’ll show you a championship golfer who doesn’t do it. Maybe so.

Except this one. They all do this one.

* The fastest speed you can swing and consistently hit solid shots off the center of the clubface.

Your Hands Lead the Clubhead – IV

I’ve written often about the hands passing the ball before the clubhead at impact. I feel this is the most important technical matter of the golf swing, and have suggested several ways you can make it happen.

I constantly look for ways to make it easier to do, and more certain. Here is my next iteration. It involves the movement of the end of the handle, that and nothing more.

This new concept takes the onus off the hands to make sure of the leading, and assigns the responsibility to the club itself. The difference in effect is like night and day.

This was going to be a longer post, but everything I wanted to say is now in Bob’s Living Golf Book, sections A6 and H28.

Download the book and read those sections. Please.

Then team it up with a stationary suspension point, make sure your tempo is not too fast for you, and you will have a golf swing that performs beyond your wildest dreams.

Your Hands Lead the Clubhead – III

[August 2019. Move along to The Hands Lead the Clubhead – IV.]

Over the years, I have talked at length about how to perform perhaps the most important swing fundamental there is–having your hands get back to the ball on the forward swing before the clubhead does. This move is absolutely critical for good and consistent ball-striking.

I put up a video a few years ago that shows you what that means and gave you a drill for your learn how have the hands lead the clubhead.

Last year I said it a different way: the handle and the clubhead both move in the same direction. Of course, there is a video that shows you what I mean.

But now I have a third way to explain it to you. I don’t mean for it to replace the other two, but to add to the ways you might come to understand what to do so one of them might just click.

The latest way involves the left arm (right arm for lefties). Let’s call it the leading arm so everyone is happy.

This is then new way of looking at it: the leading arm never stops moving. If it leads the forward swing down from the top and through the ball without stopping its swinging motion, you’ll have it.

Now that might sound odd. When does you leading arm ever stop moving? When you try to hit with your trailing hand, that’s when.

Try it. Swing down and just before you get to the ball, let that trailing hand take over and hit the ball (the error we’re trying to correct). You will notice that the leading arm slows way down or even comes to a dead stop and starts up again.

If your leading arm keeps moving, it is very difficult to hit with that trailing hand. I mean, you can do it if you really try, but just don’t try.

The easiest way to learn this move is by swinging your heaviest wedge, which would be your sand wedge or your lob wedge, with your leading arm only. Back and forth, just like a pendulum. Over and over.

The weight of that heavy clubhead will create a swinging force such that the swinging arm keeps swinging through the ball and you will learn what it feels like for it to keep swinging.

(The weather in western Oregon is lousy right now, so I’m not going to run outside and make a video. I think you can figure out what to by yourself.)

Try this drill. Try the other two. See which one works best for you and when you find it, drill yourself from now to next Sunday. Really. When you have the club leaning forward a bit at impact consistently, you will know what good ball-striking feels like. It feels pretty cool.

I have two more ways for you to learn this, but…later.

Golf’s Most Important Two Inches

You’re never going to hear the end of this from me. It’s the most important swing fundamental there is. Your hands have to lead the clubhead.

A few weeks ago, I changed it to, the handle moves in harmony with the clubhead. Too wordy.

How about the handle leads the clubhead?

Whatever you call it, you see it demonstrated here by our new U.S. Open champion, Brooks Koepka. His hands got to the ball before the clubhead did. Not by much, only about two inches. But that’s all it needs to be.

Brooks Koepka at impact

If you’re not used to swinging through this position, it feels like your hands are two feet ahead of the clubhead, but they’re not. They’re ahead by just a little bit. But it’s the most important little bit in golf.

Your Hands Lead the Clubhead

[August 2019. Let’s get to the point. See The Hands Lead the Clubhead – IV.]

Have I ever said that before? (Only a million times, I hear you cry.)

I got a lesson a few days ago in what happens if you DON’T do this.

I went out to play nine and ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in a while, so we went off as a twosome.

He has a pretty good-looking swing, but let me tell you. Almost everything he hit was a chunk. Off the tee he was OK, because it’s hard to chunk the ball when it’s two inches off the ground.

But on the ground, forget it. Irons, chunk. Pitches, chunk city. It would take him three shots to get onto the green from 100 yards because they were all chunks.

So I decided to watch. Know what I saw? His hands quit right before impact and the clubhead led the way. EVERY time.

I wanted so much to say to him, just do (this) and you’ll be fine. But you don’t say those things.

I’m saying it to you, though, because I saw a classic example of what the clubhead leading the hands does for you, and it ain’t a pretty sight.

It doesn’t matter who you are. GET THIS RIGHT. Learn to have your hands lead the clubhead. You can read about it in Six Fundamentals (it’s Fundamental Five).

Or you can do the towel drill from a post I wrote almost three years ago. But LEARN IT.

There is no way you will ever hit the ball well, consistently well, otherwise.

Your Hands Lead the Clubhead – II

In an earlier video, I showed you a drill to teach yourself how to have your hands leading the clubhead as it comes into the ball.

Now I’m going to show you how to install that technique into your shot-making, one club at a time — the right way to install any major swing change.

If you’re not getting a ball first-ground second contact this technique should produce, you are likely playing the ball too far forward.    Gradually move the ball back in your stance until you get it right.

Your hands lead the clubhead (video tip)

[August 2019. This is the right idea, but for the best way to actually accomplish it, see The Hands Lead the Clubhead- IV.]

When the club is coming into the ball, there is a race between your hands and the clubhead to get there first. Your hands always have to win that race. This video will show you how to learn that.

See also Your Hands Lead the Clubhead, Part 2

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Casting: Golf’s Killer Fault is Easy to Fix

While swing changes should be a matter between yourself and your pro, there is one change I am going to recommend to you. It is very likely one that you need to make. Stop casting.
Casting is releasing your wrist set just after you start the club back down from the top of your backswing. This is too early. If you do that, you’re giving up clubhead speed and accuracy for no reason. By correcting this common error, the difference in the way you hit the ball will be jaw-dropping.

You don’t think you cast? Let’s find out. Swing up to the top of your backswing and look over your right shoulder at the angle made by your left forearm and the club shaft. Set up again, swing the club up and then back down, stopping when your hands get hip high. Look again at the angle your left forearm and the club shaft make. Is it the same angle? If the angle has changed and the forearm and shaft make a straighter line than before, you’re casting. It’s time to get that out of your swing.


To see why, look at the two pictures. In Figure 1, the player still has his full wrist set as his hands enter the impact zone. Notice that the hands are in the same place in both pictures, but when the wrist set is maintained, the clubhead has to go over twice as far, in the same amount of time, to get to the ball. This generates extra clubhead speed with no extra effort.

Figure 1

In Figure 2, the player is casting. As the club enters the impact zone, there isn’t much of his wrist set left. His power was used up long ago and the accuracy of the strike is in question, too.

Figure 2

Casting is one thing that pros don’t do. They retain their wrist set for as long as they can. A better way to put it would be that they don’t let that angle go until the momentum of their swing naturally releases it. That’s what the release is. It’s the speed of the swing building up to the point where the wrists can no longer hold their set. They let go of the angle and the club lashes into the ball.

To learn how to hold on to the set, swing up to the top at your usual speed, and swing back down now very slowly until your hands are hip high. Concentrate on maintaining that angle between your left forearm and the club shaft. Don’t let it change one bit. Slowly swing from there back up to the top again and back down to hip level. Do this over and over so the feeling starts to take hold in your subconscious mind that your wrists don’t move. They just go for the ride. All the while, your hand, wrists, and forearms must remain relaxed so the wrists can release when it is time for them to.

After three tries at this, on the fourth try let your swing go all the way through the ball, letting your wrists release when they swing past hip level. (See also Your Wrists at Impact)

The wrong way to stop casting is to try for a “late hit” and hold onto the angle for dear life for as long as you can. What frequently happens is that the wrist set is held for too long. The clubface is still open as it reaches the ball, resulting in a tremendous slice.

There is no such thing as a late hit. Get that phrase out of your mind. Casting makes you hit early. A relaxed swing with a maintained wrist set delivers the hit on time.

While you’re practicing this, don’t get caught up in what the angle of your wrist set is. Ninety degrees would be nice, and some touring professionals have even a smaller angle. If you can’t get to ninety degrees, that’s OK. Don’t force yourself to go beyond that your flexibility allows you to do. This is a professional move, but it must be based on your physical capabilities.

Visit www.therecreationalgolfer.com