Many amateurs don’t ‘release’ the club, so try this for more distance

Welcome to Shaving Strokes, a new series in which we’re sharing improvements, learnings and takeaways from amateur golfers just like you — including some of the speed bumps and challenges they faced along the way.

Learning how to release the golf club is a skill that every amateur must master to hit better shots.

While many of us average players struggle with our ball-striking ability, by understanding how to close the clubface to hit more of a draw, you’ll have more opportunities to hit the sweet spot of the club, resulting in that perfectly flush shot that’ll make your playing partners jealous.

So how can you actually become a pure ball-striker? The first order of business is watching the video above.

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In the video, teaching professional Stefanie Shaw (from Ocean Reef Golf Club in Key Largo, Fla.), addresses a common problem she sees with many amateur players: Keeping the clubface open at impact.

“There are openers and closers of the golf swing,” Shaw says.

“I find that people tend to have too open of a clubface, and the No. 1 thing that they’re trying to do is move their hips faster — which is going to only open your clubface more.”

Essentially, when the swing sequence is off, we try to use our hips to catch up with our hands mid-swing. This is often what causes those slices and mishits — because you lose clubface control.

So Shaw walks through a drill that helps dial back your swing, allowing the club to release and the clubface to close.

Try this drill to start releasing the club

“Your feet are going to stay closer together, we’re going to totally take your lower body out of it, and we’re going to take nice and easy, relaxed swings,” Shaw explains. “I want you at a three or four out of 10 on the grip. And I want you to see if you can get that clubface to close.”

Next, Shaw says to practice swaying your arms, which should help give you the feel of releasing the club.

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“I want you to tee up a few balls, [put your] feet together, and I’m just going to let my arms sway,” she says. “See if I can get that clubface to close and have the ball to start curving left.”

By putting this all together, you’ll stop opening your clubface, which Shaw says will result in farther, straighter shots.

“Anytime I can get this clubface closing, or another term for that is ‘releasing’, you’re going to get more distance, you’re going to stay in the fairway more, and you’re going to like the ball flight so much better.”

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Nick Dimengo Editor