The role/function of hands in golf

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legitimatebeef
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The role/function of hands in golf

Post by legitimatebeef » Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:09 pm

(besides holding onto the club, jackass)

I want to have a discussion on the hands. Beginning golfers en masse are advised to avoid using the hands, to "not let the hands become too active" and such.

Recently I started questioning any and all of the conventional/folk wisdom associated with the golf swing, and now I am putting "passive hands" in the cross-hairs.

Anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that many players, including some of the best ever to play the game, rely upon manual dexterity and feel to execute all manner of golf shots.

I've been actively trying to be more "handsy" in the last few weeks and I see improvements. Notably in pitching. As far as the dreaded "flip", it's not happening. If anything, being active with the hands seems to trigger the body into rotating even more assertively, to avoid getting outpaced by the club.

As I've said before I suppose it's possible for some people to swing with all arms and wrists and a frozen lower body. But I now suspect that for all others this is not a real concern, and possibly the thought of "passive hands" ends up more destructive than constructive.
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Re: The role/function of hands in golf

Post by jasonfish11 » Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:08 pm

So I think this is just a misunderstanding of the saying.

I can't imagine anyone believing that the hands shouldn't move in the swing. But I feel what they mean by "passive" is just loose and relaxed.

Isn't the entire point of Ben Hogan's waggle to releave tension in the wrists.

For me they are very active, but that activity is kind of like being a wet rag that is thrown around by my body and arms.
Keep it short stupid.

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Re: The role/function of hands in golf

Post by legitimatebeef » Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:17 am

Here's some Ben Hogan direct quotes.

"THE ACTION OF THE ARMS IS MOTIVATED BY THE MOVEMENTS OF THE BODY, AND THE HANDS CONSCIOUSLY DO NOTHING BUT MAINTAIN A FIRM GRIP ON THE CLUB."

The capitalization is his not mine. Not much later in the book he goes on to say:

"On a full shot you want to hit the ball as hard as you can with your right hand. But this is only half the story. HIT THE BALL AS HARD AS YOU CAN WITH BOTH HANDS. The left is a power hand, too. If you hit hard with only the right and let the left go to sleep, you will not only lose much valuable power, you also will run into all the errors that result when the right hand overpowers the left. YOU MUST HIT AS HARD WITH THE LEFT AS WITH THE RIGHT."

What's all this, then? That sounds like an awful lot more than "MAINTAIN A FIRM GRIP ON THE CLUB".

After some more talk about "doing" shit with the hands, he then laments: "As far as applying power goes, I wish that I had three right hands!" I am guessing that, if Ben actually did have three right hands, he'd be doing a lot more with them than "MAINTAIN A FIRM GRIP ON THE CLUB".

I am not condemning Ben Hogan, a pioneer in golf instruction, one of the top 2 or 3 ballstrikers of all time and one of the all-time great icons of professional sports (and of America itself :bawl ). Just pointing out once again the extreme difficulty of trying to convey the golf swing in words.
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Re: The role/function of hands in golf

Post by DougE » Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:19 pm

Okay, I did not want to insert myself into this argument, since I try very hard not to be a real handsy player through impact (which does not mean I don't use my wrists and hands---I absolutely do in my backswing with a strong, somewhat supinated wrist set) and my swing works perfectly well for me without thinking too much about manipulation of any sort at impact. But, in an effort to help explain what I think ol' Ben probably means, here's my thought for explaining it. Hopefully my example is illustrative enough to comprehend:

If you were to slap down on a table without using your wrists, but by just raising your arm straight up off the table above your head to 90* from the table top, then using the muscles of your arm and shoulder to bring it down as hard as you can, you will likely make powerful contact with a perfectly flat hand. It's not only easier to hit it with a flat hand while only using your arms for power, but that flat hand will have much more power than if you slapped the table using just wrist and hand, and would be much more difficult for your hand to make contact with the table from heel to fingertip simultaneously. With a solid wrist, which requires virtually all arm to get the power into it, you can slap the table with every bit of the surface of the face of your hand, hitting the table simultaneously. It's much more effective that way. Not sure if that description is clear, but hopefully it makes sense. I think Ben used the word "hand(s)" only because it is the contact point with the club. A strong hand, one that doesn't get wristy at impact is my guess at what he means. Wristy at impact robs distance and typically adds loft. Works good in a bunker though.

Forgive me if I am repeating something that you already established earlier in the thread. I confess, I did not read through the whole thing.

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Re: The role/function of hands in golf

Post by GBOGEY » Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:53 pm

How I feel it, which may be quite different from reality, is on a good full swing my hands are passive. They don't move as much as they seem to follow the club back and up. Of course at some point they hinge, but not intentionally, it's that the movement of the club requires them to hinge and then unhinge.

On a short game swing, it's different. My best short game swings are when the wrists hinge slightly on the takeaway and then seem to hold throughout the shot. Kind of a hinge and hold. Interestingly, I'm not very good at making this happen. When I'm playing well it just happens naturally. When I try to hinge and hold I don't get as good results.

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Re: The role/function of hands in golf

Post by legitimatebeef » Wed Apr 25, 2018 5:30 pm

jasonfish11 wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:08 pm
Isn't the entire point of Ben Hogan's waggle to releave tension in the wrists.
Possibly because the word waggle suggests that any aimless kind of oscillation fills the bill, many golfers have the mis- taken idea that it doesn't really matter how you waggle the club. To put it another way, they think the only purpose in waggling is to loosen yourself up so that you won't be tense or rigid. There's a great deal more to the waggle than that. It is an extremely important part of shotmaking. Far from being just a lot of minute details, it is a sort of minia- ture practice swing, an abbreviated "dry run" for the shot coming up. As the golfer takes the club back on the waggle, he accustoms himself to the path the club will be taking on his actual backswing. As he waggles the club forward, he adjusts himself so that the face of the clubhead will be coming into the ball square and on the line.

During the waggle, as he previews his shot and attempts to telegraph his mental picture from his brain to his mus- cles, the golfer makes the little adjustments necessary to be perfectly in balance for hitting that particular shot from that particular lie. As he waggles, he tunes himself up and tones himself up for his swing. The shoulders do not turn during the waggle. The feet make only small adjusting movements. The hands and arms move. As they waggle the club, the hands and arms pass their rhythm, their tempo of coordination, on to the legs and feet. The trunk of the body and the shoulders pick up this beat, smoothly, from the arms and the legs. The whole body, in effect, becomes synchro- nized to the rhythm in which the various parts will be work- ing cohesively together during the swing.

If you take full advantage of the opportunity the waggle affords, you can practically rehearse the swing you'll be using. I know that I have sometimes concentrated so hard on the shot I was going to hit that I honestly felt the shot could not fail to come off exactly as I intended. On those occasions I had the definite sensation that I had really hit the shot before I even started my club back.
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