How the Hands Work in the Golf Swing

The golf swing is a complex and intricate movement that requires the coordination of several body parts, including the hands. The role of the hands in the golf swing cannot be overstated, as they are responsible for controlling the clubface and generating power. In this article, we will explore the mechanics of hand action in the golf swing, focusing on grip, wrist action, and hand release.


The grip is the foundation of the golf swing, as it connects the golfer to the club. There are three main types of grips: the overlapping grip, the interlocking grip , and the baseball grip. Regardless of the chosen grip style, the key to an effective grip is to maintain a secure connection between the hands and the club without excessive tension.

a. Overlapping Grip: The pinky finger of the trailing hand (right hand for right-handed golfers) rests on top of the index finger of the lead hand (left hand for right-handed golfers).

b. Interlocking Grip: The pinky finger of the trailing hand interlocks with the index finger of the lead hand.

c. Baseball Grip: The trailing hand is placed directly against the lead hand, with all ten fingers on the club’s grip.

Wrist Action:

Proper wrist action is essential for generating power and accuracy in the golf swing. There are two primary wrist movements in the golf swing: hinge and cock.

a. Hinge: The hinge occurs during the backswing when the lead wrist bends back, creating a 90-degree angle between the club’s shaft and the forearm.

b. Cock: The cock is the upward movement of the hands during the backswing, which helps to create a powerful lever system for the downswing.

Hand Release:

The release of the hands through impact is vital for generating clubhead speed and achieving a square clubface at impact. There are two primary types of hand release: active and passive.

a. Active Release: In an active release, the golfer consciously rotates the hands and wrists through impact to square the clubface. This type of release is generally preferred by golfers who struggle with slicing the ball.

b. Passive Release: A passive release occurs when the hands and wrists naturally rotate through impact due to the centrifugal force generated during the swing. This release is more common among highly skilled golfers who rely on the body’s natural mechanics to square the clubface.


Key Hand Positions in the Golf Swing

StageLeft Hand PositionRight Hand PositionGrip PressureWrist Hinge
Top of BackswingHingedSupportingLightMaximum

Grip Types and Characteristics

Grip TypeDescriptionLeft Hand PositionRight Hand PositionCommon Issue
InterlockingFingers interlock between left and rightNeutralNeutralInconsistency
OverlappingLeft pinky overlaps right index fingerNeutralNeutralLimited wrist mobility
10-Finger/BaseballFingers side by side on the clubNeutralNeutralOveractive right hand
Weak GripLeft hand rotated left, right hand rightLeftRightFade, slice
Strong GripLeft hand rotated right, right hand leftRightLeftHook, draw

Hand Actions and Swing Issues

Hand ActionSwing IssueFixLeft HandRight Hand
Overactive Right HandHookStrengthen left hand controlPassiveActive
Overactive Left HandSliceStrengthen right hand controlActivePassive
Early Wrist HingeLoss of PowerDelay wrist hinge in backswingLateLate
Late Wrist HingeInconsistencyHinge wrists earlier in backswingEarlyEarly
Loss of Grip PressureMishitsMaintain grip pressureConstantConstant
Excessive Grip PressureLoss of DistanceLighten grip pressureLightLight

Hand Movements and Swing Phases

Swing PhaseLeft Hand MovementRight Hand MovementSynced MovementTiming Aspect
TakeawayRotate around bodyRotate around bodyYesSmooth
BackswingHinge upwardsSupport hingeYesTempo
DownswingUnhinge and rotateSupport and rotateYesTransition
ImpactSquare to targetSquare to targetYesImpact
Follow-ThroughRotate and extendRotate and extendYesAcceleration

Hand Drills for Golf Swing Improvement

Drill NamePurposeLeft Hand FocusRight Hand FocusKey Aspect
Left-Hand-Only SwingsDevelop left hand controlHinging, squaringN/AConsistency
Right-Hand-Only SwingsDevelop right hand controlN/AHinging, supportingConsistency
Split-Hand Grip SwingsImprove hand synchronizationCoordinationCoordinationSynchronization
Towel Under Arm DrillReduce overactive handsPassivePassiveConnection
Hinge and Hold DrillImprove wrist hinge timingHinging, unhingingSupportingTiming
Pressure PointsMaintain grip pressureConstant pressureConstant pressureGrip pressure


Understanding how the hands work in the golf swing is crucial to improving your overall game. By focusing on the grip, wrist action, and hand release, you can develop a more consistent and powerful swing. Remember that each golfer is unique, and finding the techniques that work best for you may require practice and patience. Consider working with a qualified golf instructor to tailor your hand action to your individual needs and abilities.


  • Ray Barnes

    Ray Barnes, our Senior Staff Writer and a Golf Analyst with a PhD in Sports Analytics, is a beacon of insight in the golfing world. With a deep understanding of the sport's nuances, statistical analysis, and a talent for demystifying complexities, he provides in-depth analysis and captivating narratives that engage golf enthusiasts worldwide.

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