How The Hands Are Supposed To Work, By Sam Snead

"Take your golf stance and hold your left fist out in front of you.

Then, with your right hand, spank the left fist as if it were a baby.

Now you know how the right hand is supposed to work in the golf swing.

The palm should face the target at impact, just as the clubhead faces it.

All you do is put the right hand in that position at address and wrap your fingers around the club.

The left hand works just the opposite.

The back of the hand should face the target at impact, so you also want it facing the target at address.

Now you know something about how the hands are supposed to work."

Reference : 'The Driver Book, by Sam Snead', Chapter Four. Preface by Byron Nelson, The Kaye Golf Trilogy, Vol. 1. Nicolas Kaye, London. Copyright © 1963 by Golf Digest, Inc.

Sam Snead - The Driver Book

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Hands Elbow

"No golfer is better than his hands. I repeat this statement often. Yet we have thousands upon thousands of golfers looking for something else wrong in their swing when they mishit the ball. They do not want to know about the hands." Henry Cotton

Introducing Patty Berg 1946 U.S. Women Open Champion

Patty Berg and "Babe" Mildred Didrikson Zaharias in 'A Game Of Champions'. Golf greats of the 30s and 40s including Bobby Jones, Lawson Little, Horton Smith. VHS Available on Amazon : Golf Memories [VHS]

Sliding Of The Club (1900) By H. H. Hilton

"It will often be found that whereas one club has a penchant for 'pulling,' its 'fellow' will persists in propelling the ball to what is termed in cricket the 'off' side.

It is called 'slice' in golfing phraseology, but a sliced ball generally means a stroke which has a decided cut or spin upon it. The natural inclination of a beginner is to employ the part of his anatomy which nature has endowed with the greatest comparative physical power. It may be that he is blessed with an abnormally strong forearm; golfingly, he is not blessed, as the swing of a golf club is not from the forearm but from the joints, the wrists, and the shoulders, and to obtain a true golfing swing the muscles and sinews of the right forearm must be slack in order to obtain the necessary freedom of action. Let any beginner, or even experienced player, try to swing a club round his shoulders while keeping the sinews and muscles of the right arm tight; he will find that the club cannot possibly be taken round the neck, he either must let the hand loose altogether or give up the task, and it is here that the great secret of a true golfing swing comes in - the 'sliding of the club in the right hand.'

Look closely at instantaneous photographs of first-class players taken when at the top of the swing, observe closely the position of the club in the right hand; it will be seen that it reposes delicately between the thumb and the first two fingers.

Mr. H. H. HILTON, AT TOP OF SWING. Showing position of hands. 1900

MR. H. H. HILTON, AT TOP OF SWING. Showing position of hands.

It would almost appear that the player has lost command of the club with this particular hand, but this is not so; the muscles are simply relaxed in order to enable the club to be swung well round the neck, he has still full possession of the club, and the power behind the remainder of the hand can be applied at any moment during the downward swing.

The Book Of Golf And Golfers By Horace G. Hutchinson 1900It is this sliding of the club in the right hand which is the main difficulty with all beginners; they naturally assume that to strike hard it is necessary to grip tightly. This in a sense may be true, but they cannot understand that the pressure is not applied until the club is well on its downward journey, and a tight grip with the right hand not only restricts the freedom of action on the upward swing, but also on the downward swing.

Keep the club loose in the right hand, and try to play with loose joints, particularly in the knees and the wrists, and never forget to follow through after the ball."

Reference : 'The Book of Golf And Golfers' By Horace G. Hutchinson With Contributions By Miss Amy Pascoe H. H. Hilton, J. H. Taylor, H. J. Whigham And Messrs Sutton & Sons With 72 Portraits New Impression Longmans, Green, And Co. 39 Paternoster Row, London New York And Bombay 1900 All rights reserved First printed in 8vo. April 1899. Reprinted June 1899. Cheaper Edition, small 8vo. February 1900. Chapter II. Golf As A Game Hints To Beginners By H. H. Hilton, page 40.

Download : 'The Book Of Golf And Golfers' By Horace G. Hutchinson, Chapter II. Golf As A Game Hints To Beginners By H. H. Hilton Winner Amateur Championship 1900, 1901, 1911, 1913 (Runner-Up 1891, 1892, 1896), Open Champion 1892, 1897, U.S. Amateur Champion 1911.

"If the right hand is gripping the club tight it will take the nearest way to the top, and instead of our swinging or slinging the club it is lifted up. It is impossible to get the true arc if the right hand absolutely overpowers the left at the start, as the left shoulder is doing nothing, and a swing cannot be accomplished unless the shoulder is moving." George Duncan

Snap Of The Wrists (1910) By George Sargent

Plate No. 4, showing proper position of the wrists at the top of the swing

George Sargent

"A good deal has been written at various times by the leading players past and present, and a good many books filled on the great and interesting subject, "How to Play Golf."

But the subject is far from exhausted; in fact it almost seems like the venerable fiddle that no matter how much one may learn about the game, there is always a little something else to strive for.

I will endeavor with the aid of a few illustrations to explain as clearly as possible the methods I use myself, also to give a few hints on what not to do.

First and foremost of comes driving; whilst it may not be the most effective part of the game, it certainly is the most enjoyable, for to stand up and drive a ball straight down the course for about two hundred yards carry, gives one as great a feeling of satisfaction as anything I know of.

For a commencement we will proceed to examine the grip or method of grasping the club. I use the overlapping grip, the same as does Harry Vardon, J. H. Taylor and James Braid; I consider it the best grip for the simple reason it enables you to proportion the amount of work to each hand so much easier than any other style of grip; it also enables the two wrists to work together in such a manner that you get more command over what is often termed as the delightful snap of the wrists.

The snap of the wrists is nothing more or less than perfect timing, or swinging your club in such a manner that it reaches its highest speed the exact instant it strikes the ball.

Time Your Wrists

It is the snap of the wrists that makes you a long driver or a short one; if you can time your wrists perfectly you will be a long driver; if not your energy is wasted and you will be one of the mediocre ones. I am considerably astonished that American golfers, usually such a go-ahead people, have not adopted the overlapping grip more generally than is the case. I admit it possibly does not suit everyone, but nevertheless I firmly believe the great majority would be greatly benefitted by its use."

Reference : 'GOLF, THE PROPER WAY By George Sargent, National Open Champion, The American Golfer Vol. III, No. 6 April 1910' (Copyright 1910 by The American Golfer, Inc. All rights reserved.) Golf Pro at Scioto Country Club.

Reference : 'BRAID OR VARDON, WHICH? By R. Stanley Weir, "About long driving", Golf Illustrated.

"I consider it the best grip for the simple reason it enables you to proportion the amount of work to each hand so much easier than any other style of grip; it also enables the two wrists to work together in such a manner that you get more command over what is often termed as the delightful snap of the wrists. It is the snap of the wrists that makes you a long driver or a short one;" George Sergant

Two Ways In Which The Wrists Will Work By Vivien Saunders

Structured Tutorials For All From The Champion's Coach. In The Golf Swing And The Long Game. Available on Amazon : The Vivien Saunders Golf Clinic: the Golf Swing and the Long Game [VHS]

"In the golf swing, the wrists perform two disctinctly different movements. (1) They turn. (2) They bend. The turn comes from a twist of the forearms. The wrists let loose with a terrific smack, the energy that has been held in check by their bent and twisted position." Seymour Dunn

Importance Of the Waggle (1921) By George Duncan

"I have seen it laid down in books exactly how a waggle should be made. It is said, I think, that the club-head should describe something like the figure of eight in the air. I do not believe in this. I ask nobody to make a particular pattern in the air.

All I want to begin with is that there should be nice free wristwork in it.

But there is one kind of freedom that is all wrong, and it is frequently seen. It consists in that opening of the right hand which I mentioned before. Now when you address the ball - I assume the overlapping grip - the pad at the base of your right thumb is pressed firmly against your left thumb which is down the shaft. There it ought to stay throughout your swing. I believe this is very important indeed.

I always think this is one of the great merits of Harry Vardon's methods that he follows this rule so thoroughly. Look at him when he is going to play an iron shot and you will see that he seems almost to screw one hand into the other. His grip looks and is perfectly firm. You will never see daylight between the right pad and that left thumb of his.

Now if you keep your hands well together in your waggle, it will make it far easier for you to do so in the swing. A great many golfers have the habit of partially opening the right hand in the waggle without being conscious of it. That is why I am so emphatic about looking out for this fault. I have had a player come to me, for the time being utterly incapable of hitting a shot, and found that it was entirely due to this opening of the right hand which had crept first into his waggle and then into his swing.

There is another point that wants watching. I have said elsewhere that the golfer's body should in the course of the swing take up no more than the space which it originally occupied at the time of the address. The same remark applies to the waggle. Perhaps nobody quite attains to it, and the player must not think so much of it as to get cramped ; but there should certainly be no superfluous body movement, and particularly no drawing up of the body.

Finally, the waggling process should not take too long. All players cannot get ready to play shots at the same pace, and it is no good forcing yourself into a method too hurried for you, but it cannot do any good to hang over the shot beyond a reasonable time."

Reference : 'Present-Day Golf' By George Duncan And Bernard Darwin, Illustrated By Photographs By G. W. Beldam, London Hodder And Stoughton Limited 20 Warwick Square, E.C.4 PART I By George Duncan, Chapter VIII. On The Importance of the Waggle.

Download : 'Present-Day Golf' On The Importance of the Waggle by George Duncan, Match-play winner 1913, Open Champion 1920.

" Golfers in the novice stage have great difficulty in keeping the right out of the start of the swing, and also in realising that they have wrist-joints that will bend and turn." George Duncan

"I think the accent should be put on 'striking' from the moment you start the game, and that to project a ball there is an impact and you must realize that there is a shock coming. In other words, the ball is bounced off the club face. It is not pushed along. The tyre drill is now a ritual for me - this was the thing to hit with a golf club to strengthen and educate the hands." Henry Cotton

Something To Hit Against (1924) By Cecil Leitch

"During the summer of 1914 I lengthened my game considerably, and became a more powerful player in every respect through a casual conversation about tennis.

It was pointed out to me that a poor performer at tennis invariably attempts to play a backhand stroke with the back of a loose wrist pointing in the direction in which she hopes to play the ball.

In this way she loses all the strength of her forearm which she could bring into the stroke were she to grip the racquet in such a manner that the back of her hand were turned towards her.

At golf, this led me to the discovery that I was not making full use of the strength in my left forearm through a similar mistake, and I decided to experiment by bringing my left hand more into play by turning it slightly over to the right.

Cecil Leitch Summer of 1914

1. AGE SEVENTEEN. 'THEN AND NOW. 2. PRESENT DAY. These two swings are practically identical, the only difference being that the left wrist is now under the club owing to the recent alteration in the grip of the left hand referred to in Chapter II and shown in Illustration facing p.14.

By this small change in grip I found I had something to hit against (if I may so describe the feeling), and the results were truly pleasing. With the faulty action the wrist has to pull the club, but when the left hand is turned towards the right, the club is thrust at the ball.

Not only does this grip give greater control over the club, but it encourages a straight left arm."

Reference : 'Golf Simplified' By Cecil Leitch. Chapter II How To Acquire Length And Direction, page 48. Winner Ladies' Open Championship, 1914, 1920, 1921; English Ladies' Close Championship, 1914, 1919; Ladies' Championship of France, 1912, 1914, 1920 and 1921; Canadian Ladies' Championship, 1921. Thornton Butterworth LTD. 15 Bedford Street, London, W.C.2. First Published 1924.

Download : 'Golf Simplified' Chapter II. How To Acquire Length And Direction by Cecil Leitch, Open Champion.

"FORMULA FOR DISTANCE - develop power for greater club-head speed at impact through bigger body turn and wrist snap. Arnold Palmer himself said this, but there is one point missing which would help - and that is to know where the wrist snaps." Henry Cotton

Hitters And Swingers (1936) By Alfred Padgham

"GOOD golfers may be divided into categories : hitters, and swingers.

In The Case of Hitters

In the case of hitters there is more conscious use of the right hand than in the case of swingers. And because there is more conscious use of the right hand the shot is a different type of shot.

Firstly, although the shaft may be held at the end of a straight left arm, it will not necessarily be in a straight line with it either at the address or at the moment of impact.

Secondly, the plane of the arc of the club-head will be less likely to cross the plane of the arc of the hands, and the right hand will be more consciously over the left hand throughout the back swing.

Thirdly, the shot may be played with delayed wrist action in which case the actual hit is still made with the right hand, or, at least, with both hands together, and not with the left hand passing through the ball; or the shot may be made with conscious leverage of the right hand against the left, in which case the down swing will be started with a fling backwards of the club-head, followed half-way down (in theory and room-practice) by a deliberate crossing of the right hand over the left, without unstraightening the left arm, and an attempt to hit the ball with the toe of the club, without follow-through after impact.

In The Case of Swingers

In the case of swingers, of whom I consider myself one, and whose method I have tried to describe more in detail, it is the left hand that is the master hand throughout.

And not only the left hand but the left side. The importance of the right hand may not be diminished, it may even be increased, but it has become subsidiary. This left-hand shot, because it is the simplest, is the most effective. You know those little dummy soldiers, with unjointed arms like railway signals ? Well, picture such an arm, the left one, coming down and through the line of the ball as a result of left-side leverage, with a whip at the end of it, and you get the idea of the golf swing.

And, because the whip has no thong, but only a piece of steel, or a piece of of leaded wood at the end of a stiff shaft, the whipping effect will have to be obtained by restraining this weighted end from moving out to the circumference of its legitimate circle till the last minute. A Hercules might be able to extend the shaft so that the club reached its maximum circumference above his head, and then swish the fully extended radius of club and shaft round at the ball in one mighty circle.

The Par Golf Swing by Alfred Padgham illustratedThe par golfer achieves the same result by gaining speed without resistance for his left arm and then releasing the club-head through the ball, taking the power not so much, as in the case of the Hercules, from making the feet work against each other, as from the spring coiled up in the crouching left side.

Once you have acquired the knack of delayed wrist action, you will be delighted at the economy of labour and the magnitude of result, and no one who has ever mastered left-hand swinging through the ball will ever think of going back to right-hand hitting at the ball."

Reference : 'The Par Golf Swing' By Alfred Padgham Illustrated Preface By Evan M. MacColl. London George Routledge & Sons Ltd Broadway House, Carter Lane, E. C. 1936. Printed in Great Britain by Butler & Tanner Ltd., Frome and London. Recapitulation, page 103, British Open Champion, 1936.

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"Keep both hands fitted compactly together. They must coordinate the essential factors of left-hand control and right-hand power, and unless they are working closely, your hand action will be faulty." Ben Hogan

Fitted Compactly Together (1948) By Ben Hogan

Keep both hands fitted compactly together

"Keep both hands fitted compactly together.

They must coordinate the essential factors of left-hand control and right-hand power, and unless they are working closely, your hand action will be faulty."

Reference : 'Ben Hogan's Power Golf', A. S. Barnes And Company, The World's Largest Publishers of Books on Sports, 232 Madison Ave. New York 16 N.Y. Copyright, 1948, A. S. Barnes And Company, Incorporated. Tenth Printing, 1952. Page 10.

Download : 'Power Golf Ben Hogan Slice Grip' Ben Hogan Copyright, 1948, A.S. Barnes & Company, Incorporated. Including 'Uphill and Downhill Shots'. U.S. Open Champion, 1948.

"If the shot is to be pushed the hands remain ahead of the ball at impact. If an ordinary shot is required, then the wrist can be allowed to 'throw' or 'flick' the club. Poor golfers often slice because of an untrained right hand." Henry Cotton

Hand Action to Create Back Spin or release the ball By Ray Floyd

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"The wrist cock that you then have must be maintained until your hands arrive in the hitting area in the downswing. Otherwise, the power of your wrists and hands will be lost and your club head will come into the ball from the outside, which spells trouble." Patty Berg

Wrist And Hand Action (1951) By Patty Berg

"You probably have heard the remark, "good hand action is the secret of good golf!"

It is quite true. The hands keep the club in the groove, supply the power, "feel" and "touch" so necessary to every golf shot. The hands and wrists carry tremendous power if they are allowed to function properly. Conversely, faulty use of these elements causes loss of crispness when the ball is hit and, consequently, distance.

If the backswing has been executed properly, you will find that your wrists have "broken" so that your hands are underneath the shaft at the top of the swing. In golf terminology, we say that your wrists are cocked. This cocking of the wrists will take place in the backswing after your club reaches a position about waist high.

Golf For Women Illustrated Patty BergThere should be no conscious effort made to cock the wrists for they will inevitably do so gradually as you proceed with the backswing. The wrist cock that you then have must be maintained until your hands arrive in the hitting area in the downswing. Otherwise, the power of your wrists and hands will be lost and your club head will come into the ball from the outside, which spells trouble.

This act of unleashing the power stored up by the wrist cock at the proper time is where the high-handicap player usually goes wrong. He hits too soon - in other words, he starts uncocking his wrists at the start of the downswing.

When the forward swing arrives in the hitting area, do not let the left hand turn or roll over.

See to it that the back of the left hand is toward your objective through the hitting area and the first part of your follow through."

Reference : 'Golf for Women: Illustrated' by PATTY BERG with 96 action photographs CASSELL & COMPANY LTD. London. First published in Great Britain 1951 Second Edition 1952.

Download : 'Chapter 3 The Grip' and 'Chapter 5 Wrist and Hand Action' by Patty Berg.

Download : 'Inside Golf For Women chapter 4 THE GRIP (Hold on, But Not Too Tight)' including "Presto! That old bugaboo, the slice", page 24, Patty Berg cbi Contemporary Books, Inc. Chicago Copyright © 1977 by Patty Berg.

Women's Western Open Champion 1941, 1943, 1948, 1951, 1955, 1957, 1958. U.S. Women Open Champion 1946 (beating Babe Didrikson Zacharias over 36 holes). Patty Berg, World Golf Hall of Fame Member, was based at the Cypress Lake Country Club, Florida

"The left hand guides the club (with the left arm being the radius of the swing) and the right hand does the hitting. You've got to guide the club into the groove and you can't do a good job of guiding and hitting with the same hand." Tommy Armour

Control Application of Power (1959) By Tommy Armour

Thomas Armour 1920

Thomas Armour

"The combination and coordination of factors involved in making a golf shot are so complex that people are inclined to look for something concealed and mysterious as a golf fault.

The trouble generally is some simple little error that cannot be logically and quickly located and easily corrected.

In good golf there are only four fundamentals and you should keep reminding yourself of them.

They are:

  1. a good grip of the club,
  2. a proper stance,
  3. good footwork,
  4. control and application of power.

That fourth element, which is as important as the other points, requires swinging the club back and down in the groove with left-hand control and hitting with the right hand.

That is all there is to top-class mechanical golf. Although it doesn't seem like much, there can be thousands of hours of blood, sweat and tired muscles spent in converting those details into a perfect shot. You' ve got to guide the club into the groove that leads to the ball and you can't guide and hit with the same hand. Once you've lost control of the club you are entirely lost.

Golf is not a game of smash and slug. Being big and strong doesn't give you an advantage at golf. Some little golfers have been tremendously long hitters. You can name Ben Hogan, Bobby Cruickshank and Bob Toski in that class of the little and long.

It is the speed of the clubhead, not the size of the muscle, that accounts for the big distance shots in golf.

Smoothness is the keynote until the right hand snaps in with the power (shaded sections) by Tommy Armour

Smoothness is the keynote until the right hand snaps in with the power (shaded sections).

As big and powerful as Harry Vardon was, his shots seldom displayed his power.

He was a smart golfer - one of the very smartest the game has ever known. The big holes he could reach in two shots, but he didn't bang at them with full steam ahead unless he found it wisely necessary. At the first National Open in which I played in the United States - the one in 1920 at Inverness at Toledo - I remember Vardon being on the ninth green each round in two shots. The hole was about 470 yards long and had a narrow opening. Jim Barnes was a long hitter and was twenty-five yards ahead of Vardon in one round, I recall, but Vardon was on the green first. Vardon could hit the ball harder and keep it straighter than anybody else I've ever seen.

A Round of Golf With Tommy ArmourHe could always bring forth that extra something that he needed to get more length, but he seldom had to call on it, he was so consistently precise.

Precision is a key word in golf but you don't see the average golfer trying to establish high precision in his game. Precision starts with the control of the club by the fingers. Then after getting dependable controlling grip of the club, the ordinary golfer doesn't pay enough attention to his stance. When the grip and the stance are neglected the chances of hitting the ball precisely are minimized. When due attention is given to these factors the chances of missing the shot are greatly reduced."

Reference : 'A Round of Golf with TOMMY ARMOUR 15 Meditations of a Golfer who is about to have a drink' page 101. Lyons & Burford, Publishers This book is dedicated to a million hopefuls like my pal Bill Copyright © 1959 by Thomas D. Armour Copyright © renewed 1987 by John Armour and Benjamin Andrews. Originally published in hard cover by Simon & Schuster, New York, New York. Winner of the US Open, the British Open, and many other professional tournaments.

"As the club nears the hitting area - the impact area - the wrists are uncocked, and hand action takes over through the shot. At impact, the back of the left hand and the palm of the right hand are pointing down the line that parallels the line of flight." Patty Berg

Swing-Feel Is In The Hands (1967) By Jessie Valentine

Better Golf Definitely 2 Point Plan Anchor Feel Jessie Valentine 1967"Feel controls every aspect of the golf swing. Briefly, I am setting down what has governed my own game.

You may think it is splitting hairs, but when someone says 'make the clubhead do the work', I could scream. You must never make the clubhead do anything. You LET the clubhead do the work, because if feel has produced a swing the clubhead desperately wants to do the work.

The only control is exercised by your grip on the club, about which I will advise later.

The Clubhead Must Be Allowed To Swing

The most important single item for you to accept, therefore, is that the clubhead must be allowed to swing. Do not attempt to make it work.

In practice, the swing must never be broken down. You should regard it as a single movement. The motion of the swinging clubhead is absolute, never disjointed. Prior to putting the hands to use, and mainly to recapitulate, I want to underline the usage. Undeniably, and all instructors are in agreement on this point, the hands are the most important unit which comes into action for swinging a golf club. This is because feel starts in the hands; only the hands can experience feel; without it a golf swing is impossible. As stated, in my opinion, while the hands transmit all the power, they actually generate only a limited amount of power. Do not misunderstand this sentence. I did not say the hands start the swing - this might be interpreted by lifting up the club only with the hands - I said feel starts the wind-up, because I want the natural urge to swing the clubhead to put in motion the chain action that winds up the spring.

Anchor Your Head 2-Point Plan Jessie Valentine 1967 Chin Behind The Ball

FEEL - The Sensation

It goes this way: FEEL - the sensation which the swinging clubhead produces in your hands - starts the limbs winding up. Anxious to spring back from the coiled position, the hips, shoulders, then the arms start to unwind. This release-of-the-coil action not only brings down the arms, but half way down, the feel of the accelerating clubhead urges the hands to whip through and attack the ball. The hands have responded to FEEL by cracking the clubhead at the ball and pouring every ounce of power generated by the big limbs released from the coiled spring position.

Quite clearly, nothing must interfere with the action of the hands, either when they are inducing body wind-up by swinging the clubhead back and upwards, when the 'pull of the unwinding spring' brings them down, or when they lash through at the climax for the attack on the ball.

Reference : 'BETTER GOLF - definitely!' Jessie Valentine MBE Three Times British Ladies Champion As told to George Houghton Pelham Books First published in Great Britain by Pelham Books Ltd 26 Bloomsbury Street London, W.C.1 1967 © 1967 by Jessie Valentine and George Houghton Set and printed in Great Britain by Tonbridge Printers Ltd, Peach Hall Works, Tonbridge, Kent, in Times eleven on fourteen point, and bound by James Burn at Esher, Surrey. 3 The second half of the 2-point plan establishes that only swinging gives maximum power. Scottish Ladies Champion 1938, 1939, 1951, 1953, 1955, 1956. British Ladies Champion 1937, 1955 and 1958. New Zealand Ladies Champion 1935. French Ladies Champion 1936.

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"When the lash of the whip doesn't crack, it means the thong has been pushed through, possibly with much more force than necessary. The crack comes because timing has made the end of the thong come through late, but fast. That is what we're after with the swinging golf club. Kinetic energy is the main power that is being hurled into the clubhead and the ball. The clubhead must swing." Jessie Valentine

Right Hand And The Slice (1986) By Phil Rodgers

"There are three methods of connecting the right hand to the left on the handle of the club.

They are: interlocking, overlapping and 10-finger.

Phil Rodgers Play Lower Handicap GolfInterlocking and overlapping are the most common. Whichever way you like to connect the right hand is OK.

...Whichever connection you use, the right thumb always angles to the left across the top of the handle, and the hand completely covers the left thumb.

Some golfers turn the right hand to the right so the palm is under the handle and the left thumb is exposed.

They usually hook or slice their shots badly.

Other golfers turn the right hand far to the left, or "on top" of the handle. The left thumb is covered, but the position is too extreme and promotes a sliced ball."

Reference : 'Play Lower Handicap Golf', by Phil Rodgers with Al Barkow. Photographs by Steve Szurlej. Foreword by Jack Nicklaus. Copyright © 1986 Phil Rodgers. A Golf Digest Book.

Available on Amazon : A Unique Teacher of the Pros Shows You How to Play Lower Handicap Golf

"Henry Cotton, perhaps the greatest of all British professionals, has always maintained that 'a golfer is only as good as his hands'" Bill Cox

The Half Swing And Freedom in The Wrists by Chris Meadows

Improve Your Golf Video Series Programme 1. Chris Meadows and Paul Foston
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"Near the top of the swing the wrists must be bent sharply towards the right shoulder. In this way you set the trigger for the 'throw of the club'." Alex Smith

The Proper Wrist Action (1907) By Alex Smith

"A second essential is the proper wrist action. I first want to give you a left hand and then a right hand exercise, and for this purpose a crook-handled walking stick or rolled-up umbrella (also with a crook handle) is better, as being lighter than a club, and so more easily managed.

Alex Smith Open Champion, United States and Western Open Champion

Alex Smith

Let the thumb lie on top of the shaft and straight down it. That will ensure the proper grip, with the back of the hand well over. Swing the walking stick around to the right, aiming at the point of the right shoulder. The left wrist will properly turn in slightly (towards the body) so that when the stick is well up the left arm will be lying close to the chest and you can see the full back of the left hand. The motion is so simple that you can hardly go wrong in it.

For the downswing imagine that you are executing the ordinary backhand stroke at tennis. You will soon discover that it is this slight inward turn of the left wrist that gives the power and snap to the stroke, and that is all there is to it.

Now for the right hand exercise.

Grasp the shaft in such a way that you can just see the nails of the right hand, and hold the stick as much as possible in the fingers.

In this right hand grip the thumb should be around the shaft - not on top of it - and the holding power will be secured by jamming the shaft between the thumb and forefinger. You will be surprised to see how much of a grip you can obtain by holding the club in this finger fashion rather than sunk in the palm of the hand. Now, in the swing back, pay particular attention to the point of the right elbow. It should not swing straight out and up from your body, but around it and as close to the side as possible.

Lessons in Golf by Alex SmithThe right wrist turns slightly out, so that at the top of the swing you still see the finger nails of your right hand. The chief thing in this exercise is to keep the point of the right elbow down and close to the side, and to swing around the body in a backward direction. The reason why I will give in the proper place. With the right elbow moving out from the body the club is taken up very much straighter than when the elbow moves back, keeping close to the side.

Its second office is to create driving power, and this is secured by what I have called the "throw of the club".

To make you understand what I mean, it will be necessary to resume our exercise in swinging.

Reference : 'Lessons in Golf' By Alex Smith Open Champion, United States and Western Open Champion. Lesson II Stance, Grip, and Swing. New York, Arthur Pottow, 48 West 27th Street. Copyright 1907 by Arthur Pottow. Grannis Press.

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"I am convinced that this turn of the wrists is the keystone of the structure on which the whole fabric of a true swing is built." J. H. Taylor

Left Wrist First Into Play (1914) By Arnaud Massy

"Ignoramuses will have it that the upward swing exerts no influence on the way the ball is struck, - a matter whereof the downward swing must needs have the sole responsibility.

Golf By Arnaud Massy 1911No greater mistake could be made, and after a little practice the tyro will not be long in realising the truth of my statements, which are sanctioned by my own professional experience.

To begin with then, the movement of the upward swing must be begun entirely with the wrists, and it is the left wrist that comes first into play.

It is the left wrist that, by exerting a slight pressure, begins to move away the head of the club from the ball, while the right follows up the movement by pulling in the contrary direction.

The movement is not an easy one to describe. The one hand rests on the upper extremity of the shaft as a sort of fulcrum, while the right pulls; at the same moment the left elbow is a little bent so as perfectly to adjust itself to the movement as a whole.

It is very seldom a player succeeds at first go off in beginning the upward swing in this way. The majority of beginners, instead of letting the wrists do the work, committing the grave mistake of making a semi-circular movement with the whole arms. It is an impossibility in this way to attain an accurate game, the error entirely throwing out the proper sequence of the stroke."

Reference : 'GOLF' by Arnaud Massy. Chapter VI. The Drive - Analysis of Movements - The Swing, Page 45. Translated By A. R. Allinson With Thirteen Diagrams And Twelve Plates. Methuen & Co. Ltd. 36 Essex Street W.C. London. First Published in 1911, by Pierre Lafitte et Cie of Paris. This translation First Published in 1914. Champion of The World, 1907.

Download : 'GOLF' Chapter VI. The Swing by Arnaud Massy, The Drive - Analysis of Movements, First Movement, Page 45.

Download : 'Simple Movement the why and how of exercise' laura mitchell and barbara dale 2 Gravity and levers, muscles and nerves 'the law of leverage, one firm spot, a safer fulcrum' © Laura Mitchell and Barbara Dale 1980. First published 1980 by John Murray (Publishers) Ltd 50 Albermarle Street, London W1X 4BD, page 24.

"Once you have acquired the knack of delayed wrist action, you will be delighted at the economy of labour and the magnitude of the result." Alfred Padgham

The Wrists Must Give It The Lead (1922) By Harry Vardon

"Many golfers try to hit with the arms. That is a mistake. The arms should be in effect simply a continuation of the shaft. I do not believe there is such thing as a master arm in the real golf swing. The two arms work as one, and as part of the entire mechanism of the body.

The Gist of Golf By Harry VardonA common cause of swaying is a tendency to take the club up too quickly.

Once a person has become an accomplished player, the rapidity of his up-swing is not necessarily a matter of great importance, because instinctively he works his body properly, but for the beginner or mediocre golfer, a fast upswing is usually fatal.

It results in most cases in a hasty snatch of the club-head from the top of the swing, and it is an invariable rule that if you start the arms first - either at the beginning or at the top of the swing - the result is bad.

The club-head must lead in each place. The wrists must give it the lead. Then the arms will follow it and do what is needed of them."

Reference : 'The Gist of Golf' by Harry Vardon Illustrated From The Photographs Posed by the Author' New York George H. Doran Company Copyright © 1922. Chapter I, The Driving Swing With Some Advice Concerning Clubs and The Grip. Page 25.

Sources : Internet Archive Universal Library Or download PDF here on

"From the moment the body swing commences, after the initial wrist movement, the right elbow starts moving round the side, till at the top of the swing it is in a position exactly opposite to that assumed in the upright swing. This allowing the right elbow to move round the side (after the initial wrist turn) at the same time as the body is turning from the hips, is, in my opinion, a most important point. Suppose my right elbow were to leave the side, then I feel I should lose power." J. H. Taylor

Maximise Your Distance By Pat Dempsey Long Drive Champion


"Thus the wrists are set two ways. They are (1) turned due to the twist of the forearms, and they are (2) bent, or cocked. It is the combined uncocking and untwisting action that produces the so-called snap of the wrists. And this last instant snap, or whipping movement, is responsible for 85% of the velocity of the club head." Seymour Dunn

Fault "Of The Masterful Right" (1906) By J. H. Taylor

"No. 4a is the finish of a correct follow through. It will be seen that the right shoulder has not been allowed to come too far round, and that the left hand has done the predominating share of the work.

Perhaps The Commonest Of All Faults In Taking The Club Back The Right Elbow Has Been Allowed To Leave The Side J H Taylor Open Champion Golf Faults Illustrated The Drive By G.W. Beldam & J.H. TaylorIt will be seen by comparing this photograph with No.4, that the reason why the club has finished in the correct manner is that the left wrist and arm have been allowed to control the club, and the right has been subservient to it, and allowed to bend in an upward direction from the elbow, whereas in No. 4 it is only too apparent that the right arm has supplied the motive power, and moved in a downward sweeping direction.

This fault is often due to the fact that, speaking generally, the right arm is stronger than the left ; and, in consequence, the right arm tends to usurp too great a share of the work of swinging the club. Indeed, the fault might almost be called the fault "of the masterful right."

In this case, in order to secure correctness, the golfer has to overcome, by assiduous practice, the natural (or is it acquired?) tendency to use his right arm in a predominating degree.

Golf Faults Illustrated By G.W. Beldam & J.H. Taylor 1906At the same time the finish portrayed in No. 4a is really the natural finish of a correct swing."

Reference : 'Golf Faults Illustrated By G.W. Beldam & J.H. Taylor, New & Enlarged Edition, London: George Newnes, Limited Southampton Street, Strand, W.C. Second Chapter The Drive, page 39.

Download : The Drive "Fault of the masterful right" - including "Perhaps the commonest fault of all," By J.H. Taylor.

Download : The Golfing Swing Upright Swing Flat Swing By J.H. Taylor Open Champion.

"Let any reader try for himself the gain he must feel in power when the right elbow is allowed to act as stated. Personally I feel 50 per cent. more power coming into my stroke, with far greater control of the body movements and hence better timing power, than when I try to swing in an upright manner." J. H. Taylor

Position of The Right Elbow (1937) By Archie Compston

"Here is a perfect top-of-the-swing position, from which the player can deliver a powerful blow without either losing his balance or drawing across the ball from "outside in".

Here is a perfect top-of-the-swing position

Note particularly the position of the right elbow - pointing downwards and as close to the side as possible without being cramped. The firm grasp with the last two fingers of the left hand is extremely important.

Far from perfect - and far from rare. A draught of air under the right arm at the top of the swing should be a warning to every golfer.

Right elbow at top-of-the-swing far from perfect - and far from rare by Archie Compston

The fatal "loop" - the club coming down over the top of the head and across the ball - is just going to begin. The right hand has been forced partially to let go of the club. To cure this very common fault try tucking a handkerchief under the right armpit; it should be kept there without difficulty throughout the swing."

Reference : 'Go Golfing' with Archie Compston and Henry Longhurst. Chapter 1. Why Does The Average Golfer Remain Average? This is the Principal Reason, page 26. Duckworth, 3 Henrietta Street, London, W.C.2. First published in 1937 All rights reserved.

"A draught of air under the right arm at the top of the swing should be a warning to every golfer." Archie Compston

Golf As I See It Fred Daly Right Elbow Inside The Left Making It Impossible To Hit Outside The Line of Flight 1951

Fred Daly Pro At Mahee Island Golf Club 1947 Open Champion. Right Elbow Inside the left

"As the club comes down on the ball, do not allow the left elbow to swing out and away from the body. It must be kept back so as to allow of the "snap of the wrists" at the critical moment when the ball is struck. If the left elbow swings away an instant too soon the hands go through in advance of the clubhead and the result is either a slice or a loss of power." Alex Smith

Point Downward (1957) By Cary Middlecoff

Cary Middlecoff Advanced Golf"One thought that I frequently keep in mind while swinging is that my right elbow should point downward at all times during the swing. I do not regard this as a fundamental of the swing, but rather as something that will aid in making you carry out the swing fundamentals.

We have said that the clubhead must be brought into the ball square to the line of flight, which becomes a physical impossibility if the right elbow flies out and up during the swing. Then the clubhead must be brought into the ball from the outside in - the cut across.

If the elbow is kept pointing downward, it will remain reasonably close to the body, as it should, and will permit the inside-out clubhead action that is essential to meeting the ball with the clubhead square to the line of flight."

Reference : 'Advanced Golf' by Cary Middlecoff Edited by Tom Michael of The Commercial Appeal, Memphis. Prentice-Hall, Inc. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. © Copyright, 1957, By Prentice-Hall, Inc.

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"One thought that I frequently keep in mind while swinging is that my right elbow should point downward at all times during the swing. I do not regard this as a fundamental of the swing, but rather as something that will aid in making you carry out the swing fundamentals." Cary Middlecoff

Right Elbow To The Right Side (1963) By Sam Snead

"Early in the downswing the right elbow should return to the right side.

This helps you delay the uncocking of the wrists until the hands enter the hitting area. It also returns the club to the ball from the inside. If the right elbow is flying, or flapping in the breeze, you will have a tendency to cut across the ball from the outside, giving the ball slice spin that is all too familiar to the weekend hacker.

The wrist cock is delayed by not only returning the right elbow to the right side but also by lowering the shoulder. As the hands enter the hitting area - that is, as they pass the belt line - the wrists uncock and you release your power as the clubhead lashes into the ball. In hitting against a firm left side, with the weight on the left foot and the left arm, hip and shoulder all in line, I feel that I give a slight push off my right foot. I call it a "kick" and it helps me get more snap into my shot. On the downswing, when I shift my weight over to the left side and then "kick" or push off my right foot the big muscles in my legs and back are generating power.

My hands are merely the contact with the club. They transmit power but generate very little.

If you try to snap or hit too hard with them you will destroy your timing. Use your hands in a smooth and non-exaggerated manner. Instead, rely on a good turn and a slight push off the right foot to produce power as you come into the hitting area.

The Driver Book by Sam SneadI seldom swing with 100 per cent of my power. As I will enlarge upon later in the book, I feel that you must learn to swing within yourself, and that about 85 per cent of your power is enough. I am not advising you to swing lazily. You have to hit the ball hard, and 85 per cent of your power is plenty hard.

I have won my share of driving contests and have kept the ball down the middle, too - probably more than most long hitters if you don't mind me saying so. I feel this is as a direct result of taking the club back in a one-piece package and also starting the downswing as a one-piece package.

The hands, arms, shoulders and hips should flow in one nice package. If they don't, you can forget all about smokin' a big drive."

Reference : 'The Driver Book', by Sam Snead, Chapters Six and Seven. Preface by Byron Nelson, The Kaye Golf Trilogy, Vol. 1. Nicolas Kaye, London. Copyright © 1963 by Golf Digest, Inc.

Available on Amazon : The Driver Book

Right Elbow To The Side By Harvey Penick With Tom Kite

Harvey Penick's Little Red Golf DVD. Lessons and Teachings from a Lifetime in Golf. Featuring Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw Narration by Dave Marr. Available on Amazon : Harvey Penick's Little Red Golf DVD

"Make certain of returning the elbow of the right arm directly to the ribs as the downswing commences, at the same time relaxing the right wrist and thereby increasing its inward set. This has the effect of dropping the club a bit towards the player's rear and thus enhancing the opportunity of hitting straight through the ball on the line of play." Bobby Jones

Grip And Hand Action (1969) By Bill Cox

As we progress, we shall see that the key to good golf lies in strong hands and a good wrist action. Henry Cotton, perhaps the greatest of all British professionals, has always maintained that 'a golfer is only as good as his hands', and I think there's a lot of truth in that.

If one were to study the actions of first-class professionals, one could not fail to notice that there is really a tremendous variation in their styles and movement. Some professionals have flat swings, others are more upright, some have long swings, others short, and so on.

Nevertheless, through their hands all these players are able to feel exactly where the clubface is pointing at any part of the swing and, most important of all, at the moment of impact they know that the clubface is square to the ball and to the intended line of flight.

These fellows' hands and wrists are in complete control of the clubhead at all time. Most beginners are plagued with a slice or cut, when the ball veers sharply to the right. It is the beginner's commonest complaint. There could be many reasons for it, but as often as not, the cause of the trouble lies in the grip.

Bill Cox's Golf Companion 1969If you don't take up the correct grip, it means that you will have to try to manipulate the clubface during the swing itself. This could throw the swing completely out of gear and out of its groove.

Many golfers do not achieve maximum clubhead speed at impact, and therefore maximum distance, because they have not learnt to cock their wrists well. Use maximum wrist action as you come into the impact area, and you'll be surprised how much distance you can get with this simple yet powerful wrist-action shot.

When you've got it, you've found the secret of golf."

Reference : 'Bill Cox's Golf Companion' Bill Cox And Nicholas Tremayne With Line And Half-Tone Illustrations J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd London © Text and diagrams, J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd, 1969. Made in Great Britain at the Aldine Press, Letchworth, Herts for J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd Aldine House, Bedford Street, London First published 1969.

Download : 'Bill Cox's Golf Companion' 2. Bill Cox, Golf Teacher The 'Secret' Of Golf' 83 Grip And Hand Action 95. First published 1969. including "After forty years of playing, teaching, writing and talking about golf almost every day, I have come to one conclusion:"

"A proper timing of the swing is essential to consistent long driving. If the hands are in advance of the club head at the instant of contact with the ball, a slice is sure to come off and the reverse, if the club head meets the ball ahead of the hands, a pull will result. To correct this be sure that the hands and the face of the club are in the same position as in the address when the face of the club meets the ball." Jerome D. Travers

Key Learning Point

So as to allow of the "snap of the wrists" at the critical moment when the ball is struck

"My theory is that the power of the down swing comes from what I call "the throw of the club".

Now, the true course of the club head in all full driving shots is that of a slightly flattened circle - an eclipse, if you want to use the mathematical term.

All the doctors agree on this latter point, and the only difference is the method by which they make the club head travel in this slightly flattened circle. Of course the new school players do not lift the club straight up as they swing back; otherwise they would be chopping at the ball.

They secure the flattened arc of the true swing by the backward movement of the right elbow. Try it yourself and you will see the difference at once.

With the right elbow moving out from the body the club is taken up very much straighter than when the elbow moves back, keeping close to the side.

Its second office is to create driving power, and this is secured by what I call the "throw of the club".

When the right elbow has swung back as far back as it conveniently can, the club will be nearly perpendicular, pointing vertically to the sky.

Now bend both wrists sharply towards the point of your right shoulder and the club will be in the horizontal position behind your neck.

You will understand, of course, that in the actual swing there should be no distinct divisions in this up-swing, the different movements all blending into one harmonious whole.

I told you that near the top of the swing the wrists must be bent sharply towards the right shoulder. (Note that this bending is different from the turning of the wrists.)

In this way you set the trigger for the "throw of the club" - you feel the weight of the club head poised for the down-forward sweep.

With the right elbow well to the back and close to the side you must now reverse this inward bend of the wrists. Throw them back and out as sharply as possible, and when the club head is some two feet away from the ball let the right wrist take command.

This is "the throw of the club" and upon its proper execution depends in great measure the power an accuracy of the stroke.

As the club comes down on the ball, do not allow the left elbow to swing out and away from the body. It must be kept back so as to allow of the "snap of the wrists" at the critical moment when the ball is struck.

If the left elbow swings away an instant too soon the hands go through in advance of the club head and the result is either a slice or a loss of power.

A favorite phrase nowadays is "timing the club," by which is meant the securing of the full power of the wrists, arms and body at the moment when the actual hit is made.

The phrase is a good one, but unless the coach can explain how to bring about this desirable result the mere words will not help the beginner much.

My theory is that this "timing" is dependent upon keeping back the left elbow, thereby enabling the full force of the stroke to be brought into the ball.

In my theory of the swing the power of the stroke depends on proper hip rotation, the correct turning of the wrists, and the position of the elbows. Provided, that the right elbow moves around and close to the body on the up-swing and the left elbow is kept close to the body until after the ball is struck, the stroke will be a powerful and accurate one, the arms finishing as shown in the illustration."

Reference : 'Lessons in Golf' by Alex Smith. Lesson II Stance, Grip, and Swing. Open Champion, United States and Western Open Champion New York, Arthur Pottow, 48 West 27th Street 1907. Copyright by Arthur Pottow. Grannis Press New York.

Download : 'Lessons in Golf', Lesson II Stance, Grip, and Swing, including Alex Smith's theory on "the power of the down swing comes from what I call the "throw of the club" - With Illustrations.

Miss Pamela Barton, British Woman Champion, tremendous snap

"And lack of length is due to lack of power in the wrists and fingers.

Miss Pamela Barton, British woman champion and a pupil of Compston since the age of 16, is the longest hitter in women's golf.

He attributes her victory largely to strength in her hands.

Here you see the tremendous "snap" that she is able to deliver into the blow at the last moment."

Reference : 'Go Golfing' by Archie Compston. First published in 1937. Chapter 14, page 77.



by Louise Suggs - When I first really began thinking about hands

"Eastlake Golf Course is the legendary home course of Bobby Jones and the oldest golf course in Atlanta.

Stewart Maiden, a highly regarded Scottish professional, was the teaching pro at Eastlake and was Bobby Jones' swing coach.

Before I became a member and was still in high school, O.B. Keeler had noticed my game and asked Steward if he'd come to Austell and watch me hit a few shots, which he did. Quite frankly, it surprised me that he came, but I wasn't old enough or smart enough to adequately realize the caliber of who he was at the time.

He checked my grip and said, "Lassie, always check your grip. You can put the ball anywhere you want in your stance, but if your grip is good, you can move your hands to get the ball moving any way you want it to go. If you can move your hands quickly enough, you can get out of any jam."

That's when I first really began thinking about hands.

And to this day, I still believe that the golf swing begins with a good grip."

Reference : 'And That's That!' The Life Story of One of Golf's Greatest Champions Louise Suggs With Elaine Scott Foreword by Barbara Bush AuthorHouse™ LLC 1663 Liberty Drive Bloomington, IN 47403 © 2014 Louise Suggs. All rights reserved The Swing - Hands, Feel, and Imagination 69.

by Jessie Valentine - Increased my confidence on the greens

"The other aspect of my game that differs is that I now hold my putter with the right hand in control at the top.

This has increased my confidence on the greens. I am in favour of the same grip for every shot, although experimentation sometimes helps putting."

Reference : 'BETTER GOLF - definitely!' Jessie Valentine MBE Three Times British Ladies Champion As told to George Houghton Pelham Books First published in Great Britain by Pelham Books Ltd 26 Bloomsbury Street London, W.C.1 1967 © 1967 by Jessie Valentine and George Houghton Set and printed in Great Britain by Tonbridge Printers Ltd, Peach Hall Works, Tonbridge, Kent, in Times eleven on fourteen point, and bound by James Burn at Esher, Surrey. 13 Last thoughts on the practice ground, before tackling serious golf my way, page 96. Scottish Ladies Champion 1938, 1939, 1951, 1953, 1955, 1956. British Ladies Champion 1937, 1955 and 1958. New Zealand Ladies Champion 1935. French Ladies Champion 1936.

Reference : 'Jessie Valentine: queen of golf 1958' "Born in Perth in 1915, Jessie Valentine (nee Anderson) was one of the dominant figures in women's golf for a period which spanned two decades from the mid 1930's to the mid 1950's." BBC - A Sporting Nation - Jessie Valentine

by Emma Innes and Sara Reardon - How the axe gave human their hands

"How the axe gave human their hands.

Discovery finds tool was key to our evolution. Newly discovered bone helps to explain the evolution of human hands:

  • The 1.4 million-year-old bone - a third metacarpal - shows how hands changed between 1.7 million years ago and 800,000 years ago,
  • It runs across the palm joining the wrist and middle finger and keeps the wrist steady while a small object is held between the thumb and fingers."

Source : MailOnline Copyright © The Daily Mail and The New Scientist, 2013.

by Gene Sarazen - Do not start your backswing by breaking your wrists


Gene Sarazen Better Golf After Fifty Do not start your backswing by breaking your wrists

"Do not start your backswing by breaking your wrists. This will throw off the entire swing."  Gene Sarazen. U.S. Open Champion 1922, 1932 ; Masters 1935 ; British Open 1932 ; P.G.A. Champion 1922, 1923, 1933. P.G.A. Seniors 1954.


by Paul Runyan - Hand and arm action

Paul Runyan Book for Senior Golfers"Your lack of hand action in the hitting area causes you to slice, and until you correct that deficiency you are better off aiming to the left. The predictable error will at least leave you in play. You really cannot devote too much time to hand action.

After all, the clubhead does not naturally swing by the ball without being helped.

A powerful pivot and stretch of the muscles at the top of the backswing creates enough speed for centrifugal force to take over on the way down.

But once this speed has been created, the hands must turn through the ball too, in order to stay out of the way of the clubhead.

Recent high-speed cameras studies (which we'll discuss more thoroughly in the chapter on The Drive) have shown us that poorer players actually decelerate in the hitting area. So half the trick to good power lies in keeping the hands supple and flexible enough to help turn the clubhead through the ball once it has begun to move quickly.

  • If I am playing an intentional fade, the arms are moving through their normal arc a little too fast for the hands to catch up.
  • With the intentional hook, my arms move a little slower, so that the hands can not only catch up, but actually push the toe of the clubhead emphatically past the heel in the hitting area.
  • In the straight shot, of course, the speed of arms and hands are meshed."

Reference : 'Paul Runyan's Book For Senior Golfers', Chapter 4 'The Stance, Or Address Position', page 20, and Chapter 10, The Medium Irons, page 80. Dodd, Mead & Company, Copyright © 1962 by Paul Runyan.

Download : 'Can't devote too much time to hand action' by Paul Runyan, 1961-1962 Senior P.G.A. Champion And World's Senior Champion. Paul Runyan's Book For Senior Golfer, Chapter 10.

Download : 'Variations A. Hitting Ball High B. Hitting Ball Low' by Byron Nelson, Chapter XIII. Won 19 major P.G.A. sponsored tournaments in 1945 season for record.

Available on Amazon : Paul Runyan's Book for Senior Golfers

"Paul Scott Runyan (July 12, 1908 - March 17, 2002) was an American professional golfer. He was among the world's best players in the mid-1930s, winning the PGA Championship in 1934 and 1934. Of Runyan's 29 career PGA Tour wins, 16 of them came in 1933 and 1934. In the finals of his 1938 PGA, Runyan defeated Sam Snead 8 and 7, despite Snead's vastly greater length off the tee, as much as 75 yards per hole.

Fellow golfers nicknamed him the "Little Poison", at 5ft 7 in (1.70m), because he did not drive the ball very far (Ed. average of 231 yards. Source: 'The Short Way To Lower Scoring'), but also because he had terrific short game. Runyan had worked tirelessly on his short game from boyhood, since he realized early on if he were to succeed in golf, he had to compensate for his lack of length.

Master Teacher - Runyan's teaching prowess led many top pros to him over his 75 years of teaching, including Gene Littler, Phil Rodgers, Frank Beard, Jim Feree and Mickey Wright. Golf magazine wrote:"...since the late 1930s, he has probably been the most influential short game instructor."

Source: Paul Runyan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

by Ernest Jones - The right wrist joint

"The beginner often finds difficulty in moving his hands in the correct manner at the beginning of the upswing. He is prone either to bend outward the left wrist joint (flexion), as in Fig. 19, or to go to the opposite extreme and overturn the left hand, as in Fig. 20, loosely known as overturning the wrist.

The Golf Swing The Ernest Jones Method by Daryn Hammond 1920He can, however, always arrive at the proper movement of the hands by noting the position which the left hand will automatically take if it is allowed to accommodate itself to the extension of the right wrist-joint (see Fig. 21).

He should not, of course, allow his left hand to be passive when he is making the up-swing of an actual shot ; the left hand should be at least as active as the right, but the complete extension of the right wrist-joint will always give the true position of both hands and arms, and consequently the true course of the club-head."

Reference : 'The Golf Swing The Ernest Jones Method by Daryn Hammond', London, Chatto & Windus 1920, First Published, April, 29, 1920 Second Impression, July, 30, 1920 CHAPTER IV The Action of the Wrist Pages 65-79

Sources : Online at the 'Internet Archive'. Or download PDF now on

"Ernest Jones, 1887 - 1965, was an English professional golfer. He is renowned for his accomplishments in teaching many famous professional golfers as well as amateurs. He tutored Virginia Van Wie for many years, including during her stretch of three consecutive U.S. Women's Amateur Championships from 1932 - 1934. He also worked with Glenna Collett Vare, Lawson Little, Betty Hicks, Phil Farley, George Schniter, Horton Smith and other top players of the era. Along with Harvey Penick, Tommy Armour and Percy Boomer, he was inducted into the World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame, in 1977."

Source: Ernest Jones - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia More information on Ernest Jones & Daryn Hammond also available at the U.S. Golf Teachers Federation®.

by Tommy Armour - Get your grip right

"In my teaching, I eliminate every possible detail that might confuse the pupil when he's actually playing. That's no time for him to be disturbed by having to make some conscious effort.

He should be free from the interference of the consciousness.

I have found that one of these disturbing points is the tendency of the right elbow to get away from the body during the swing. This fault is definitely a result of an improper grip.

When the club is held correctly, the right elbow is sure to stay comfortably close to the body and pointing down.

Tommy Armour How To Play Your Best Golf All The TimeThus does the correct grip eliminate the pupil's becoming distracted by paying attention to the elbow position during the swing.

When the grip is good, that becomes good automatically.

The correct grip, which is the governing component of hand action, is certainly the greatest single detail towards achieving direction and distance of the golf shot.

When you get your grip right, you have automatically eliminated many of the bothersome details which may confuse you and prevent proper execution of shots."

Reference : 'How To play Your Best Golf ALL THE TIME', Illustrated by Lealand Gustavson, Copyright © 1953, by Thomas D. Armour. Published by Simon and Schuster, Inc. New York, 1953.

by Alex J. Morrison - Approximately the same angle

"Each hand must be placed on the club at approximately the same angle.

The V's formed by the thumb and forefinger of each hand are good indicators of the angle at which your hands transmit force to the shaft.

Place your left hand on the club first, with the hand turned over so that the V points toward your right shoulder. The natural position of your right hand on the club will find its V also pointing toward the right shoulder.

The Right and Wrong Position of The Hands By Alex J. Morrison 1932

"THE RIGHT AND WRONG POSITION OF THE HANDS Right. In order to work in harmony both hands must be placed at approximately the same angle to the club. Wrong. One hand is bound to work against the other when the hands are placed on the club at different angles."

It ought to be apparent that if the V of your left hand is permitted to point toward your left shoulder while the V of your right hand is behind the club, the variance in these angles will invite the right hand to overpower the left and play havoc with the striking of the clubface.

And this is something that cannot be overcome once the swing has started."

Reference : 'A New Way to Better Golf' By Alex J. Morrison With A Foreword By Rex Beach And An Introduction By Bernard Darwin. London William Heinemann Ltd. Chapter IX Doctoring The Ailing Swing. First Published October 1932 Second Edition October 1932 At The Windmill Press.

Interviewing Alex Morrison By Grantland Rice, The American Golfer, February, 1933.

Alex J. Morrison was a golf instructor. His students include Henry Picard who taught Jack Grout who was Jack Nicklaus' enduring coach and mentor.

Alex Morrison wrote two books that are now out of print. His other book called 'Better Golf Without Practice' contains instruction on visualization techniques.

Source : Alex J. Morrison Wikipedia

by Jim Barnes - If necessary put a handkerchief under the right arm pit

"Dear Sir: Can you tell me what probably causes me at time, to hit mashie shots off to the right at an angle of about forty-five degrees? Usually I am fairly straight on these shots, but occasionally I fall into this trouble. I use an overlapping grip and an open stance. D.M.W.

Trouble of this kind comes from hitting the ball back of the heel or socket of the club.

This may be caused by standing too close to the ball, or even by standing too far away, in which case, feeling that it is necessary to reach for the ball, the player over-reaches a bit. Usually where this last is the case, the player stands rather too erect with the knees locked, the arms practically straight in line with the shaft of the club, and well out from the body.

The remedy for troubles of this kind, whatever the came, is to keep the arms from the shoulders to the elbow pretty close in to the sides, especially the right one.

I believe in standing well up to the ball for all mashie shots, with enough of a bend or crouch to allow the upper part of the arms to stay in close to the sides, in addressing the ball.

On the backswing be sure to keep the right elbow close in.

If necessary put a handkerchief under the right arm pit and keep the arm enough in on the stroke to hold it there.

You can stop any trouble of hitting the ball on the heel by following this simple tip."

Reference : 'Golf Medicine From Master Doctors' A Prescription Counter That Has a Cure for Your Golfing Faults. The American Golfer July 12, 1924.

by Tommy Armour - One of the great secrets of good golf

"When you've got the necessary, elementary, though adequate understanding of how to hold the club, how to stand to the ball, and how to get into action from the ground up, the stage is set mentally and physically for the Big Show to go on.

The Big Show is a performance in the fine art of hitting.

To let you in on one of the great secrets of good golf, which really isn't a secret at all, one golfer gets more distance because he uses his hands for power, while the other fellow is trying to get distance by using his body.

On your long shots, hit the ball with the right hand just as hard as you can while keeping the body steady, and on shorter iron shots, hit with the right hand briskly and then, keep the body steady."

Reference : Tommy Armour's book 'How To play Your Best Golf ALL THE TIME', Illustrated by Lealand Gustavson, Copyright © 1953, by Thomas D. Armour. Published by Simon and Schuster, Inc. New York, 1953.

by Phil Rodgers - Sliced to the right because the body turns too quickly

"Many golfers make a conscious effort to not uncock their hands on the downswing until the last possible instant.

This is also known as the "late hit", or "saving your hit". The late hit can create a powerful shot, but not powerful enough to make up for the inconsistency it brings to the game.

It is extremely difficult to time. You want a gradual, smooth acceleration. The idea is to have a smooth transition from the backswing to the downswing.

The ball is hit straighter and with maximum power when the body, arms and hands, and club move with constant acceleration in proportion to their size throughout the entire swing.

For another thing, the late hit makes the shaft of the club flex too much. The holding back of the club creates a tremendous bowing of the shaft, and the best golf is played with the least amount of shaft flex. That statement may come as a surprise, which is why it is emphasized.

Recalling the three-gear concept, when going for a late hit you are, in effect, moving the third gear - the club - proportionally slower than the other two through the total downswing.

Phil Rodgers Play Lower Handicap Golf The Full Swing Better Early than late HitIf it continues at that ratio, with the arms and body going faster, the club will never get to square at impact.

At impact the hands and arms must slow down to let the club catch up. The club then explodes by the ball and creates a "snap hook", the ball diving sharply down and to the left.

If the club doesn't catch up, the ball is pushed or sliced to the right, because the body turns too quickly and pulls the hands and club across the ball from outside in.

To avoid the slice or push, the body must stop turning to let the club catch up. Or the club must be sped up to synchronize with the other two gears. But there is hardly time.

It takes tremendously strong wrists to bring the heaviest part of the club into correct alignment for impact with the ball.

The players who make a career in long-driving contests can do it. But they are also, generally, very wild off the tee."

Reference : Phil Rodgers' book 'Play Lower Handicap Golf', by Phil Rodgers with Al Barkow. The Downswing. Photographs by Steve Szurlej. Foreword by Jack Nicklaus. Copyright © 1986 Phil Rodgers. A Golf Digest Book.

Available on Amazon : A Unique Teacher of the Pros Shows You How to Play Lower Handicap Golf

by Johnny Revolta - Difference between hand action and wrist action

"Let me pause here and discuss the single most important point in good golf - hand action.

Hand action is what causes the whoosh to a swing. It is the zip, the pep, the power, the life of a swing. Too many golfers confuse hand action and wrist action, and in their confusion doom themselves to the permanent status of duffers.

Your wrists bend naturally. That's part of the mechanics of the bodily functions. Simple as that fact is, duffers don't fully understand it.

Most beginners slice. An important reason for slicing is their habit of picking up the club at the start of the backswing.

They take their stance and and then bend their wrists back to start the club on the backswing. They are thinking in terms of wrist action. This is true of most beginners and of most golfers who fail to break 90.

As I have pointed out in the one-two-three-SWING exercise, the wrists are straight during the one-two-three part of the exercise. But on the SWING count there is a slight give in the wrists. That is hand action. With very short chip shots there is practically no hand action.

There is only the slightest give in the wrists. As your shots get progressively longer, there is more and more give in the wrists. As a result there is more and more hand action as the shots get longer.

If both my wrists were broken and taped up, I could still swing a golf club. But I would do it in a mechanical fashion. There would be no whoosh in my swing. There would be no life. It would be like a driving machine.

Now, what is the difference between hand action and wrist action? Wrist action is the conscious cocking and uncocking of the wrists during a golf swing.

Hand action, on the other hand, is the controlled action of the hands.

It is somewhere between stiff, unyielding wrists and the other extreme, loose flopping wrists.

Learning hand action is one of the primary reasons behind my teaching you the one-two-three-SWING exercise. In the one-two-three part of the exercise I am deliberately teaching you to hold your wrists straight and firm.

In swinging the club rapidly just to the ball, you force your wrists to remain firm and your hands to be in control of the swing.

Johnny Revolta Short Cuts To Better GolfOn the SWING count you have the freedom of the fuller swing - enough to produce that give in your wrists and yet to have complete control over the club.

And that is hand action. Again let me stress that hand action is the natural result of a good golf swing.

You don't have to worry about that. It will simply happen.

I have taken time out from this lesson to explain it principally to impress upon you that hand action will not occur if you consciously cock and uncock your wrists.

It will not occur if you pick up the club at the start of the backswing by bending your wrists instead of swinging the club away. With good hand action you will swing the club away for the backswing.

And the downswing will have that satisfying whoosh of the club shaft that signifies power, control, and distance."

Reference : Johnny Revolta's 'Johnny Revolta's 'Short Cuts To Better Golf', Revised Edition, by Johnny Revolta and Charles B. Cleveland. Illustrated by Jerry Gibbons. Copyright © 1949, 1956 by Johnny Revolta and Charles B. Cleveland. Designed by Maurice Serle Kaplan.

Available on Amazon : Johnny Revolta's Short Cuts to Better Golf

by Ernest Jones - In a discussion of Control the subject of Hands is almost synonymous

"In a discussion of Control the subject of Hands is almost synonymous, for it is only possible to feel what you are doing with the clubhead through your hands.

One cannot pay too much attention to the proper use of the hands and one can never over-emphasize their importance.

One can see, for example, that golf is a two-handed game, yet the most natural failing is to let the right arm overpower the hands from setting the clubhead in motion.

It is, therefore, very important to cultivate the feeling of the left hand being in control of swinging the clubhead.

For example, anyone using an axe or a heavy hammer would find that the hand holding the end of the handle would not lose the control of swinging it, though the lower hand might be sliding up and down.

The hands take a natural position on the handle of the club. I often illustrate the fact that the hands take the same relative position, the palms facing each other, when holding the club - the hand faces the line of flight to where you want the ball to stop.

Placing the hands too much under the grip is the most common fault in holding the club, for when the hands are opened it would show the palms pointing upward instead of to the line of flight.

Again, it is the "line of flight" that we are interested in when placing our hands on the club, not the arc taken by the ball, as that is governed by loft of the clubhead."

Reference : My System of Teaching Golf By Ernest Jones June 1932, The American Golfer.

by George McDonald - Push the club head back with the left hand leading

"...what you should do, then, is to push the club head back with the left hand leading and doing most of the work.

GOLF for the Middle-Aged  and others George McDonald BottomeKeep the left arm straight and the arms from shoulder to elbow close to the body and avoid pushing the arms outwards or you will get across the ball on the downswing.

At the same time the left knee begins to turn inwards and you commence to pivot with the hips, so that when the back swing has reached its maximum you can feel that your left shoulder and back are 'behind' the ball...

When you pivot, you, as it were, you wind yourself up like a spring and you have to unwind so that you get the maximum effect at the moment of impact.

On the down swing the body and hip movement must keep pace with, but not get ahead of the arms and hands.

If you unwind the body too quickly you will get your shoulders round before you hit the ball and this will cause you to draw the club head across the ball and may result in a slice, while if you do not unwind the body fast enough the reverse is the case and the shot will probably be hooked.

It is not very easy to explain, and photographs, I think, do not help, but if you try it out in front of a long mirror I am sure you will grasp what I mean."

Reference : 'GOLF for the Middle-Aged and others', by George McDonald Bottome, Faber and Faber London. First published in Mcmxlvi by Faber and Faber Limited.

by Gary Wiren - When to cock the wrists

"At the turn of the 20th century, the great players of the world first started their right hip and arms away in the backswing, letting the hands and clubhead follow as though they were being dragged. The clubhead would catch up and pass the hands in a reflexive fashion, cocking the wrists in the process.

In the 1930s and 1940s the "one-piece takeaway" became the vogue and players started to cock their wrists in the backswing somewhere between their right leg and right hip, until they were fully cocked when they reached the top of the backswing.

In the last two decades we've seen players like Jack Nicklaus and Miller Barber who wait almost to hip height before cocking their wrists. It does encourage a wide arc, but can result in occasional "rebound" of the hands from this late cocking at the top, causing timing of the impact to be more difficult for the average player.

The PGA Manual Of Golf by Gary WirenMore recently, a trend is to have the club nearly pointing vertically by the time the left arm is horizontal, as in the style of Seve Ballesteros. (Players with a low hand position at address, like Ballesteros, essentially have their wrists partially cocked already.)

Some players also complete the wrist cock after the forward swing has already begun. Ben Hogan was perhaps the best example in this category. This move, the further cocking of the wrists on the forward swing, by the way, is characteristic of most-long hitting players.

A possible viable option for the future is the preset. In this style the wrists are cocked before the backswing is in motion, a precocking method.

The player must select a preference. If based on today's popularity, it would be a combination of "one piece" with a little "early set" action blended in."

Reference : Gary Wiren's book 'The PGA Manual Of Golf', The Professional's Way to Play Better Golf, Gary Wiren PGA Master Professional, Ph.D. Chapter 7. In-Swing Fundamentals: The Remaining Principles. Macmillan USA. A Simon & Schuster Macmillan Company Copyright © 1991 by The Professional Golfer's Association of America.

by Harry Vardon - The player who falls into this error generally slices

"It is a mistake to suppose that by putting the back of the right hand under the shaft, and holding the club deeply in the palm, you get more power.

Or perhaps I should say that it is an error to suppose that you profit by getting more power in this manner, supposing that you do obtain it.

As a matter of fact, you ought not be conscious that the hands in particular are doing a lot of hard work.

Their function is to put the club-head into the proper position for hitting the ball; not to do the hitting.

They are to all intents and purposes a connecting link between the arms and the club - nothing more.

It is the swing - the swing of the club, the hands, and the arms acting as one piece of mechanism - that produces the power and makes the ball travel.

If you try to hit with the hands, you are almost sure to spoil the effort by holding too tightly with the right.

The player who falls into this error generally slices.

The hands in their desperation arrive opposite the ball before the club-head reaches it, and the latter is therefore drawn across the ball.

It is a fallacy to suppose that any particular part of the body, such as the arms or wrists, has to be very specially applied to the task of hitting the ball.

The whole anatomy should work as one piece of mechanism, with the club as part and parcel of the human frame.

You need to hold a club firmly, especially with the thumbs and forefingers, but not like grim death.

There is no earthly reason why so many golfers should have corns on their hands - the consequence of very tight gripping. The palm gripper nearly always has a lot of corns.

The club is held so that the two thumbs rest on the shaft, and, with the fore-fingers, form V's. The right hand, instead of being under the shaft, is brought round, and the back of that hand faces away from the line of play. The back of the left hand looks towards the line of play.

Here, then, we have the hands nicely balanced - the backs of the hands facing in opposite directions, and the thumbs and forefingers formed into V's with their apex uppermost. This is a sound grip so long as you remember to make the hands meet on the shaft. They must not be apart, even to the extent of the tiniest fraction of an inch.

To proceed from that the grip described to that known as "overlapping", all that you have to do is to bring the right hand a little higher up so that the ball of the thumb rests on the back of the left thumb and the little finger of the right hand deposits itself on the forefinger of the left.

In this way you make the grip more compact and render the union of the hands complete.

It is a point well worth remembering that when the early effects of changes advised by a teacher make the shots seem more difficult than ever, it is often a prelude to success. When the only way to put a player right is to undo at the outset all that he has done wrong, he generally suffers a period of purgatory."

Reference : 'The Gist of Golf' by Harry Vardon. Illustrated From The Photographs Posed by the Author. New York George H. Doran Company Copyright © 1922. This extract from : Chapter I, The Driving Swing With Some Advice Concerning Clubs and The Grip, Function of The Hands.

Source : 'The Gist of Golf by Harry Vardon', online at the Internet Archive Universal Library.

by Gene Sarazen - I knew I had solved the problem

"In the 1920's after winning the U.S. Open, I was having a lot of trouble with my swing. As you all have no doubt done, I started experimenting with my swing.

I would pivot differently, try a more upright swing, shift the weight or keep it up front, make a larger shoulder turn. I even changed from the interlocking to the overlapping grip.

Nothing worked, and the different grip only resulted in a loss of yardage.

I studied other golfers who had streaks of wildness and noted that we all had one thing in common: we were prone to losing the club at the top.

On the other hand, greats like Hagen and Jones kept their hands firmly in place all the time.

This explained the inconsistent golf I was playing. But what could I do about it?

Then one day, after playing a round of golf with Ty Cobb, the great major league baseball player, at the Augusta Country Club, I asked him if he had any special training regimen to help him stay on top in baseball. "Gene," he said, "I carry a leaded bat around with me when I play. And during practice sessions, I run around with shoes that are weighted too. I practice swinging the bat in my room every day."

After talking to Ty, I decided the idea could be transferred to golf by means of a weighted club. I put lead pieces in the head of one of my clubs until it weighed 22 ounces. Every chance I had I would swing the club back and forth forty or fifty times, until I felt I could move it without losing my grip.

I had similar clubs all over my farm, in different rooms in various places where I was staying, and I would swing them whenever I got a chance. Gradually I developed hand action.

In a couple of years I saw a tremendous change in my game. I started to get full control of the club from start to finish, and I began to cut out the disastrous 7's and 8's that would ruin a tournament for me.

During a tournament in 1931, I noticed that my hands were in the same position at the top as they were when I was addressing the ball.

I knew I had solved the problem by using the heavy club. That' why the weighted trainer has become a regimen with me. It is the only thing that could have cured this fault.

I am very strongly in favor of this 22-ounce club for golfers who play only on week ends. A lot of these golfers play a very fine game, but the layoff from Sunday to the following Saturday would hurt even a pro's game.

Probably the heaviest thing these golfers have in their hands during the week is a cigar or a martini glass. But if they had a heavy club, they could go out on the lawn, or in the garage, and swing it back and forth. When they returned to the club the following week end, they would have a better swing than when they left the previous Sunday.

There is no doubt that the weighted club is a great training aid for the golfer who wants to stay in the groove and increase his power.

You see, you have to cure faults in a natural way. One of the troubles with today's hurry-up golfer is that he thinks he or his pro can cure a fault in five minutes. Well, a great player can't cure a fault for weeks and weeks.

Then to make certain the correction stays with him, he has to test it under the stress of competition and the pressure of the score card and pencil. Then if it will live through that stress, he has mastered it and achieved his goal.

My career has spanned some forty-five years, and I get a great kick out of watching the modern players, the terrific power hitters, powder the ball long and straight. But it is better to get some naturalness into your swing. Mechanize it, instead of trying for the long ball as the young fellows do.

Gene Sarazen The correct grip will put this naturalness into the right groove.

And if you learn to grip the club correctly, your swing will begin to grow around your hands."

Reference : Gene Sarazen with Roger Ganem's book 'Better Golf After Fifty', Copyright © 1967 by Gene Sarazen. Harper & Row, Publishers, New York. 

Gene Sarazen made his first major breakthrough in golf by winning the 1922 U.S. Open at the age of twenty.

By 1935 the Old Squire became the first golfer to win the four most important events in golf: the U.S. Open, P.G.A., Masters and British Open.

Almost twenty years later, Sarazen was again winning tournaments. This time it was the 1954 P.G.A. Seniors. He repeated in 1958.

by Paul Runyan - The Pitch Shots - For a half-swing, the wrists cock half-way

"As you swing back the weight is retained wholly on the left foot. The shoulder pivot which takes place and the accommodating turn of the hips merely transfers the weight from left heel to left toe, and back to the heel again on the downward stroke.

There should be no lateral shift to the right foot.

For on these shots you want to make sure the club catches the ball on a downward arc.

The pinching action causes the ball to run up the club face and be gripped by the grooves there to produce backspin. From a horizontal hit the ball would fly off the club face sooner and you would get no backspin.

In pitching, the backswing should be a bit firmer than in the full shots, in direct ratio to the length of the swing.

If you make a swing that is twenty-five percent full, you manage only a twenty-five percent cock of your wrists. For a half-swing, the wrists cock half-way; in a three-quarter swing, three-fourths of the way.

You must maintain this ratio of arm to wrist swing.

Otherwise, if your arms travel through only a quarter of their normal arc, for example, and your wrists break fully, you will probably go past the ball on your downswing before your hands ever catch up. And even if they did catch up the result would be too powerful.

So, the arms return to the ball with the wrists from this more limited cock. You then have a natural follow-through. Its length depends not only on the fullness of the backswing, but also upon how much turf has been taken in hitting the shot.

Your head must stay meticulously still, both vertically and laterally...

As I have said...

From Paul Runyan's book 'Paul Runyan's Book For Senior Golfers', The Pitch Shots, Chapter 8. Dodd, Mead & Company, Copyright © 1962 by Paul Runyan.

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