How to Release the Golf Club

How to Release the Golf Club: The Top 3 Golf Swing Releases

Have you ever wondered how to release the golf club correctly at impact?

Golf is one of those sports that shows there is no one way to do anything correctly. Players can bomb it off the tee and others can hit short but still win the hole. If you watch much PGA Tour golf you will quickly realize there are tons of different swings.  

But whether it’s Tiger Woods or Jim Furyk, they only got to that level by producing consistent results.  

Building a consistent swing should be your number one priority.

One of the best ways to do it is to work on your release position. Releasing the golf club properly at the impact zone is essential in creating a great game. 

You can have a different grip and backswing but it all comes down to what the clubface is doing when you hit the ball. 

Why Does Releasing the Golf Club Properly Matter?

With decades of material, there is still very little published about releasing the golf club properly. Which is ironic because releasing the club is the most important part of the golf swing. It’s where you actually hit the ball!  

If the club is not released properly it will lead to an inconsistent clubface at impact and very inconsistent results. In addition to using the correct wrist action in the backswing, your grip has a huge impact on what type of release will work best for your game.  (For a deeper discussion of the grip, head over to our primer on the grip.)

The wrong grip with the wrong type of release can lead to very inconsistent results.  

Before getting to the release focusing on your setup is so important. It is almost impossible to hit the golf ball consistently if you aren’t square to your target. Stance, grip, alignment play a huge role in setting yourself for success. 

Make sure to focus on these first then begin to think about the release and impact positions. Keep reading for a great drill on alignment and how to release the golf club properly as well.

Here are the three main types of golf swing releases that are most common among players:

Top 3 Ways to Release ​the Golf Club​​​​

  • 1
    Push Release
  • 2
    Crossover Release
  • 3
    Slap Hinge Release

Slap Hinge Golf Club Release 

The first way to release the golf club is known as the “slap hinge release.” 

This is, in my opinion, the worst way to release the golf club as your wrists are overly active at impact. But, the slap hinge release is often referred to as one of the easiest release to perform and can be good for beginners. 

As you get into the impact position your hands are flat and wrists are leading the clubhead. Once you’ve made contact with the golf ball the left wrist releases up and the right hand releases underneath.  

The slap hinge allows the wrists to uncock and unhinged at the impact zone. This causes the clubhead to go into a vertical plane. The loft of the golf club is adjusted during impact which produces a higher ball flight.  

Who the Slap Hinge Release Works For

The slap hinge is a good fit for players who are not able to generate a ton of club head speed naturally. This makes it a great option for beginners and for senior golfers. As you add loft throughout impact it is great for players who don’t have a ton of strength to get the ball up quickly. 

The slap hinge release also tends to work well for players with a neutral or strong grip position. 


Why the Slap Hinge Release Isn’t Consistent 

The main reason the slap hinge release doesn’t work consistently is that it depends on perfect timing at impact.

Any swing based on timing makes it very difficult to repeat on a consistent basis, especially in pressure situations. 

Even the best players in the world won’t be consistent with this type of release.

Crossover Golf Club Release   

The crossover release is usually suited for more skilled amateur players. With the crossover release, your right-hand makes impact with the golf ball and works its way over the left hand.  

In the crossover release, the wrists are actually rotating during impact which causes the club to go into a horizontal plane. The clubhead opens at the beginning of the impact zone and closes throughout impact. 

This usually results in a draw and is great for players with neutral or even weak grips. 


Why the Crossover Release Isn’t Consistent 

I’ve seen some great players have the crossover release playing a high, beautiful draw. But, I’ve seen those same players shoot in the 60’s one day and the 80’s the next day due to the timing involved. 

Like the slap hinge, the crossover isn’t as consistent because it is heavily dependent on timing. As the right hand is rolling over and your timing is off it can result in a lot of misses left.  

If your swing gets quick and you flip the ball expect a lot of misses left, going left. These can be huge misses that are tough to bounce back from.

Push Golf Club Release 

The “push release” is very different than the other two releases. It is much less dependent on timing, making it the most consistent way to release the club at impact. 

The push release tends to work best for golfers with a stronger grip. At impact, the clubface is slightly open until impact at which your hands catch up to square up the face. 

In the push release, the wrists are doing nothing at the impact position. 

This approach is square to square with no movement of the wrists. Additionally, the loft is never changing throughout impact. The push release doesn’t add speed but it does offer the greatest distance and most consistent ball flight. 

Who the Push Release Works For

If you’re just starting out or don’t have much swing speed the push release won’t be the best option for you just yet. 

The push release does produce a flatter, more boring flight which does not benefit beginning golfers. But, if you’ve played the game longer and have some experience, this is the most efficient golf release. 

The push release allows you to generate so much power because of the lag effect. Think of Sergio Garcia, his lag is tremendous and is able to compress the ball at impact. He has been one of the most consistent ball strikers on tour because of the massive amount of lag produced

Why the Push Release Works Best

The push release works best because it eliminates timing which makes it the most consistent over the long-term. If you are trying to break 80 or play competitive golf you need to build a solid foundation not based on perfect impact timing. 

It’s nearly impossible to consistently low scores with a swing made up of timing.

The Best Golf Club Release Drill

Releasing the golf club properly isn’t the easiest thing to feel. Luckily, this drill from Dave Marsh (iGolfTV) will help you understand how to release the golf club consistently. 

His style is known as a “no manipulation” or “push release” golf swing meaning you take the wrists out of the swing completely. 

Watch this video and use these steps to get started:

Golf Swing Release Drill

  • 1
    Tape an alignment stick to a 9 iron so that the alignment club extends under your left armpit.
  • 2
    Get two more alignment sticks or clubs and place one on your feet and one at the ball. They should run parallel toward your target.
  • 3
    On the backswing align your club directly on top of the alignment stick at your feet. This is position number one.
  • 4
    On the way up on your backswing the club should be facing toward the sky and butt end of the club toward the ground. This is check-in point number two.  
  • 5
    From this position you simply unwind starting with your hips. The hips will bring along the shoulders, arms, and hands (in that order). This will bring the club to impact position square, with no wrist manipulation. The less you can depend on timing the more consistent shots you will produce.

What is the Best Way to Release the Golf Club? 

Hopefully, you are confident on the three main ways to release the golf club properly. Ultimately, you want to create a swing that is as consistent as possible. 

If you build a swing that is based on timing you are setting yourself up for some tough ball striking days. Both the slap hinge and the crossover have their benefits but largely depend on nearly perfect timing. 

The push release is the best way to square up the ball and create consistent ball striking. The left wrist should remain flat throughout the impact zone for the most consistent contact. There should be no horizontal hinging motion of the left wrist at impact is made. 

The next time you watch a PGA Tour event be sure to watch the players and how they release the club. The majority will use a push release and some might even play the crossover release. It’s about finding out what works best for your game, your abilities, age, and strength. 

Start with the first two and as you advance try to switch to a no manipulation, push release for the best results and lowest scores. 

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