Getting Quiet Hands
By Terry Koehler, The Wedge Guy
Terry Koehler has been in the golf industry for over 30 years and currently spends his days as the President of EIDOLON Golf, a small premium wedge company in Victoria, Texas. He's been blogging for over 3 years and has written hundreds of articles ranging from golf tips to equipment issues. His blog will appear on ClubSG twice per week. You can reach Terry to have your golf questions answered at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I've talked about "quiet hands" as a core fundamental of short game success on a number of occasions. It's not just something you think about, it's a basic building block of a short game that will serve you well. As a result of that dialog, I received a very pointed question from David W. on the subject. I want to share David's whole inquiry to set up today's post:
"A question about chipping and pitching. I know I need to keep the hands quiet, but occasionally this leads me to quit on the shot and hit it fat or leave it short. It seems the thought or instinct to NOT release aggressively like a full shot, or in other words, the physical and mental part that is "holding off" or "holding back" seems to express itself in not just in the hands, but unfortunately shows up in the arm swing and the body core turn - leading to a bad shot and a wasted stroke. Any secrets to managing these quiet hands without quitting on the short game shot?"This is kind of timely as I played in a different "game" on Sunday at my club than I usually do. These guys are mid-handicappers and really play the game for fun, rather than the blood-thirsty “action” of my other group. But they still want to play well, of course. I watched a couple of the guys really struggle around the greens, as they just flip the clubhead at the ball with their right hand. Sometimes it works, but they hit way too many really gawd-awful shots and run their scores way up.
So, David, you’ve acknowledged that “quiet hands” is desirable . . . your challenge is doing it. Let me see if I can help here. To begin with, it’s hard to think of “not doing” things in the golf swing. I much prefer to find positive things TO do, rather than things NOT to do. So, rather than think of “holding off” or “holding back”, let’s substitute another entire thought process.
What you want to feel on these short chips and pitches is that your arms and hands – and therefore the club – are driven ONLY by the rotation of your body core. I keep a file of clippings of photos of tour pros that I cut out of the golf magazines anytime I see one that illustrates the connection of the hands and body in a short chip or pitch. I’ve illustrated today’s article with this one of Joe Ogilvie to illustrate how the hands are still right in front of his sternum and belt buckle as he’s finishing a short pitch.
So, to help you achieve this goal, try to change your mental focus from the movement of your hands to the rotation of your body core, and to keeping your hands connected to that rotation – not ahead of the body either going back or coming through. You want to feel like your arms and hands only move as a result of your body core movement. Rotate back in one piece . . . release through in one piece. You can practice this in your living room or basement, without even having a club in your hand.
To learn this, I really like the “help” provided by one of the shortened training clubs with extra weight on it. If you’re handy, you can make one of your own by cutting down an old wedge to about 24” long, filling the shaft with sand and re-installing a grip on it (build up the shaft to about 5/8” diameter with tape first). This shortened club can be used inside your home or office and lets you really feel the one-piece rotation I’m talking about.
Let me know how this works, David, and as always, I invite all of you to chip in your own ideas about how David might get the light bulb to come on.
* The Wedge Guy's views and opinions are his own do not necessarily reflect those of SkyGolf.
photo source- Getty Images via Terry Koehler
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