Time to learn about the release!
Just what is the release?
It's the action of applying the club to the ball.
It can be described as "early" and "late". If you've ever followed any golf forum or read articles on another website or magazine (or other articles here), you'll know that a "late" release is the ideal way to apply the club to the ball.
But, because I promised in a previous article, we're going to start off with how the release affects your swing speed, then we'll get into how to go about doing it.
So you have an early release... what happens?
When you have an early release, you're letting go of your lag too soon.
The immediate consequence of this is a slower swing speed.
You may think you're swinging the club 90 mph, but in reality you're losing speed when it matters- at the ball.
You have a late release- is that good?
Honestly, yeah. It's really good.
The reason is, you're holding off until the last possible second (or millisecond), which means when the club head gets to the ball, it's actually moving faster.
It's kind of what they talk about when they mention "effortless power". Just by holding off letting the club head impact the ball, you get more "oomph"; you don't have to flex muscles, contort your body, or any of that mess.
All you have to do is hold off the release just a fraction of a second longer.
How does that relate to golf shaft fitting?
As you know from the previous article, you start with your initial swing speed. From there, you determine your transition, the point where the backswing becomes the downswing.
If you're passive, you drop down to a softer flex than what your swing speed would dictate. If it's aggressive, you move up a flex.
Now, if you're passive AND you have an early release, that should be a very clear indicator that you should drop to the softer flex.
If you're aggressive AND you have a late release, that should be a clear indicator to go to the firmer flex.
Just to cover our bases:
- If you have an aggressive transition, but an early release, you're likely better off keeping with the recommended swing speed flex rating.
- If you have a passive transition, but a late release, you might want to stick with what the shaft's swing speed rating suggests.
In essence, they cancel each other out.
Now, on to the technical stuff!
How do you release the club?
It's really not that hard to do. To get an idea of what a proper release looks like, just grab a hammer:
Just hinge your wrist up, like you're going to hit a nail.
That's the same motion you want to make when you hinge the golf club up.
Now, make that "smashing the nail" motion. You're "releasing" the hammer- just like you'd do with the golf club!
Now, just translate that to holding a golf club:
See? Just like in the picture with the hammer, all you have to do is hinge your wrist up.
To release the golf club, just hinge your wrist down.
Notice in the picture with the club, my shaft isn't in-line with my forearm? When you're doing this drill, don't sweat that; when you're swinging for real, the force of the club head will help make that happen.
You just have to let it!
How do you practice the release?
Personally, I've found it easier to practice the release by starting with pitch swings.
They're just easier to control, in my opinion. As you get the feel for it, you can move up to full swings.
As you're doing this, though, pay attention to the ball's flight; doesn't it look better when you're releasing the club late? Doesn't the ball go farther?
But having to relearn your distances is a good problem to have, isn't it?