Learn the Punch Move for More PowerThe key to delivering the clubface consistently and powerfully to the ball and eliminating weak shots to the right lies in a trick called "the punch move."
The most common swing fault I see is a weak shot to the right. Common wisdom in golf says that you'll never see a bunker placed long and right because for righties, shots to the right fall short of the green 99 times out of 100.
Shots can go to the right for one of two reasons: a slice caused by an over-the top, outside-in move or an open clubface. Both faults effectively add loft to the club in your hands, turning that 7-iron into an 8-iron or worse. It's no wonder shots to the right come up short.
To help those who "hold on" through impact, I've focused on releasing the clubhead through what I call "the punch move." Releasing the clubhead eliminates the feeling of "holding on" through impact, a move that leaves the clubface open and saps you of power and accuracy.
My student (above) is "holding on" through impact here. His wrists and forearms have not rolled over each other, and the palm of his right hand faces the sky and the back of his right hand faces the earth.
The Punch Move
Here my student has properly released the clubhead: his wrists and forearms have rolled over each other and the back of his right hand is facing outward, not down to the ground.
Practicing the Punch Move
Grab a partner or a friend. Take your golf stance and have him stand facing the same direction as you - just down the target line. Ask your friend to put his left hand out where your hands will pass through impact with his palm facing you:
Once your friend is in position, rest your left hand against your left leg and make a fist with your right hand. Put your right arm and hand in an approximate address position. Swing back to the top, and then swing back down. Make a conscious effort to (gently) punch your friend's hand properly, with the back of the hand facing away from you. Repeat this motion several times in slow motion, then grab a mid-iron and try to generate the same feeling through impact.
Frame 1: address position. Frames 2, 3: swing back to the top. Frames 4-6: come down from the top to impact. Frames 7, 8: "release the clubhead," roll the wrist, and make a solid punch.
The right hand controls how you release the clubhead through impact. Proper release leads to accurate, more powerful shots. If you hold on through impact, the punch move will teach you to feel the proper release. Best yet, it can be practiced anywhere - in your office chair or while you sit on your couch at night. There's almost never a time when you can't be improving your golf swing!
Jerry Smith is the head professional at Tam O'Shanter of Pennsylvania, where he conducts dozens of fittings and lessons per week for recreational golfers. Jerry is a Class A Member of the PGA of America and a Titleist Staff Member.
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