I am a lefty who plays right handed. Thus you would think I’d have an advantage, but no, due to my right hand. I can hit the ball better when I place my right hand over my left (not cross-handed, just a weak grip), but, I know that isn’t a good grip or the best way to swing the club. Could you give me an idea of the true role the right hand should play, and what I can do to minimize its influence?
There are many misconceptions about the role of the right hand in the golf swing; the most common being that it’s “just along for the ride”. The truth is, in a right-handed swing the right arm is crucial in supporting the club on the downswing, ensuring it’s on the right path, developing lag and assuring the clubface rotates to a square position at impact. Its role is something that should not be minimized.
From the top of your backswing, your right shoulder drops down and begins to turn as your right arm and elbow drops down. This movement is what initiates the “finding the slot” or “attacking from the inside” and puts the club into a solid lag creating position. If this doesn’t happen, your left arm is forced to transfer the power you’re right arm isn’t, to the ball. This will cause you to release your wrists from their cocked position prematurely, resulting in an out to in swing path and a loss of power.
As you swing down into impact, the right hand maintains the lag position and helps to exaggerates it. If you grab a club and swing only with your left hand; as you come into impact the centrifugal force alone will cause your wrist to release early. The right and left hand together help to maintain this position longer enabling a later release and more power.
Moments before impact, the right hand will initiate the wrist release and begin the rotation of the club as it squares coming into impact. Again the right and left hands must work in unison to accomplish this; the left hand alone does not have enough power to do so… and the result will be an open clubface and a slice. This result is common to what you might see with someone who has a weak grip.
I would think, even as a lefty playing right-handed, the centrifugal force the golf swing creates is too much for one arm to handle (studies suggest the club weighs effectively over 120 pounds near impact). So minimizing the effects of your right hand is not something I would advise if you’re interested in creating a consistent and reliable golf swing.
Although I didn’t specifically answer your question Tom, I hope this provides you with a better understanding of the role of the right hand in the golf swing, and you can learn to work with it rather than minimize its effects. When considering your comment about hitting the ball better when you move the right hand into a weaker position – I can only see this happening if your hands aren’t playing an equal role in delivering the club to the ball. You may want to consider moving your left hand into a weaker position and your right into a stronger one – as this may balance them out.
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