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Controling the clubface is the key to better ball striking.
Controling the clubface is the key to better ball striking. (GolfPublisher.com)

Learn to train your hands

Chuck EvansBy Chuck Evans,
Special Contributor

At our Medicus Golf Institute schools we have a saying, "Learn to control your hands so that you can control the clubface. If you control the clubface you control the ball. Control the ball you control the game."

Sounds easy enough...right?

Actually it is easy if you learn how to properly train your hands. Since the hands are the only part of the body holding the golf club it is imperative that they know precisely what to do. If they are not trained then hitting a shot where you want it is purely an accident.

So, how do you train the hands?

First off, do not use a golf club to train with. Instead use a tennis racquet, ping pong paddle, or anything that is racquet-like. The face of the racquet emulates the clubface, but on a much larger scale, so it is easier to monitor.

There are only three things a clubface can do:

1. Layback
2. Close
3. Hood

Each of these motions produce different trajectories, but a straight ball flight.

Layback produces the highest trajectory while closing produces the lowest. Layback can be "under rolled" - the push slice - and closing can be "over rolled" - the duck hook.

These motions also have names associated with them and they are called Hinge Actions. Horizontal Hinging is closing and works like a door opening and closing, a full roll feel. Vertical Hinging works like a pendulum, a kind of a "reverse" roll feel, and Angled Hinging works like a canoeist paddle, no roll in either direction.

On their respective planes there is always a no-roll in either direction. But when they are placed on an inclined plane, where we play golf on, they take on the characteristics of that plane.

For instance, Horizontal Hinging on it's associated plane does not open or close but when placed on the inclined plane it is turned to the right and rolled to the left. An over roll would result in a smother hook.

So any type of curvature starts with either an over roll or under roll of the selected Hinge Action.

Now let's start training the hands. Grab your racquet and hold it in your left hand straight out in front of you so that the left arm is horizontal to the ground and that the racquet face is at a right angle to the imaginary target line. Now move your left hand to the right across your chest. Did the racquet face turn or roll? Of course not. That's because it is on it's associated plane. Now move it back toward the target. Did it turn or roll? The answer is still no!

Now hold the racquet and assume your address position. Take your left arm back like you did before until it is a mirror image of what you did on the horizontal plane. This time the left hand and racquet face had to "turn" to match up, didn't they? You see, whatever the face angle is on it's associated plane has to match when placed on the inclined plane. So with Horizontal Hinging there is a "feel" of turning to the right and rolling to the left. Your job is to not over roll the clubface.

Once you have gained a mastery of educated hands then the hands do not care what you place in them. It could be a tennis racquet, baseball bat, or golf club. If they are trained they will respond properly.

Chuck Evans, G.S.E.D., a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, is one of only 31 golf instructors worldwide designated to hold a doctorate in golf stroke engineering. He is executive director of instruction for the Medicus Golf Institute and has served as director of schools for the PGA Tour Golf Academy, and as director of instruction for the United States Golf Institute. He is also the author of "How To Build Your Golf Swing."

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Education of the hands

    Joe Bosco wrote on: May 8, 2012

    Thank you Chuck, for writing this! i have been teaching the education of hands more and more -- it is so often not addressed or understood by so many teachers and players.
    Best, Joe Bosco - Titleist Staff Teaching Professional at The Glen Club, Glenview IL


  • hand control

    jg mummer wrote on: Sep 20, 2008

    Fantastic tip..
    However for some reason I seem to get better understanding from a picture.
    is there anyway you can show this concept through some type of video or pictures?
    Thank you so much for your tips