Roll Release vs Square Release

The debate has been going on for years i.e. roll release vs square release which is better.

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Top golf players actually play with both. You would see someone with roll swing winning the tournament and in other square releases, pros are acing their game.

So it seems more of a personal preference than a must technique to have. But this blog post will actually go much deeper into the comparison and discuss if the discussion is even worth doing.

Before we get into the detailed comparison let’s talk very briefly about what is roll and square swing.

square release vs roll release

Roll Release

As the name indicates something is rolling and is actually your wrist. So before the time of contact, the wrist rolls into the ball. The perception is that there is some extra force added by this movement which adds more distance into the shot

Square Release

It means keeping things straight as much as possible. That is your wrist does not roll or twist at the point of contact with the ball. After the impact with the ball, you can roll your wrist and follow the complete natural follow-through of a golf swing.

The Importance of Hitting at the Center of the Ball

If you remember physics in high school, hitting at the center of any object induces minimum rotation momentum and maximum straight momentum.

So hitting with any of the release techniques if you are consistently able to hit the ball at the center then you will be imparting minimum angular motion into the ball. As a result, your ball will travel straight and with maximum distance.

The Point of Contact Time

Not just golf where you quickly play the shot. In a snooker or pool, the point of contact between the ball and the cue tip is very small.

In the case of golf, it can be around 2.5 microseconds. It is a pretty small time to have super impacts. So whatever you do before the point of contact is actually important.

That is your swing and its technique. Anything done after the point of release is not going to change the trajectory of the ball.

So a perfect swing till the point of contact will be the best shot.

So lets correlate this concept with square release vs roll release.

Square Release:

This is difficult to master but if you are able to do so then the probability of hitting the ball straighter is higher. It is because the role of the wrist is not there and you can hit a more robotic shot that is more likely to be consistent.

Roll Release

The end twist of the wrist can actually make you hit the ball off-center. It all happens so quickly that being a new player you are less likely to control the point of impact between the club and the golf ball, as a result, you can lose distance.

So practice is the key, if you master square then you will become a more consistent player. The mechanics at the point of contact are important because they will define how good the shot is going to be.

Which Is More Natural

Roll release is more natural when it comes to the dynamics and mechanics of a golf swing. You can keep your body less stiff and practice shots over and over again to perfect the point of contact with the ball at the time of release.

The square release can make you more consistent but the problem is that it is not a natural thing when it comes to the golf swing.

Therefore, more players opt to do roll release than square release.

It is also the reason why the square release has become prominent because players have to do practice to complete the transition from roll to square release.

A beginner notices the difference and in order to become more consistent with the shots begins practicing the square release.

But if you have taken the decision of transitioning then stick with it. As your muscle memory during the golf swing would then become convoluted and you will end up losing more distance than you previously had with the roll release.

Which Is Better In My Opinion

Both are good but I feel the transition from Roll to Square is hard. You can actually do other changes in your golf swing that will help you get longer distances and gain consistency by developing muscle memory.

Also, good drivers and irons are now available in the market that is more forgiving than in the past. They will help minimize bad shots and try to give maximum forward or linear momentum to the ball.

Additionally, see what golf ball suits your playing style The compression of a golf ball at the time of contact also comes into play. Choose the ball which suits best your style of game.

The debate square release vs roll release should come later into your style of game because as a beginner you need to fix other important mechanical aspects of your swing which play a more important role in how good your shot is going to be.

Usage by Pros for Roll Release vs Square Release

Player NameRoll Release (%)Square Release (%)Average Drive (yards)Fairways Hit (%)
Tiger Woods703029561
Phil Mickelson505028758
Rory McIlroy604030262
Brooks Koepka802030757
Dustin Johnson901030959
Justin Thomas505030060
Jordan Spieth307028555
Jason Day406028956
Rickie Fowler604029257
Bryson DeChambeau703032058

Scoring Average on Par 3, 4 and 5

Player NameScoring Average on Par 3Scoring Average on Par 4Scoring Average on Par 5Total Scoring Average
Tiger Woods2.984.034.6270.0
Phil Mickelson3.094.134.7171.2
Rory McIlroy2.974.044.6370.4
Brooks Koepka3.034.054.6370.1
Dustin Johnson2.994.054.6970.2
Justin Thomas2.924.054.6570.1
Jordan Spieth3.034.114.7571.2
Jason Day3.054.084.6970.5
Rickie Fowler3.034.124.6971.1
Bryson DeChambeau2.964.054.5669.5

Scrambling Percentage

Player NameScrambling Percentage (%)Average Distance to Pin (feet)Sand Save Percentage (%)Scrambling Rank
Tiger Woods6518631
Phil Mickelson6221612
Rory McIlroy5922593
Brooks Koepka6319671
Dustin Johnson6120622
Justin Thomas5723574
Jordan Spieth6221642
Jason Day6022604
Rickie Fowler6021624
Bryson DeChambeau5824605

Greens in Regulation

Player NameGreens in Regulation (%)GIR from Fairway (%)GIR from Rough (%)GIR from Other (%)GIR Rank
Tiger Woods687350231
Phil Mickelson657148222
Rory McIlroy677552241
Brooks Koepka697653251
Dustin Johnson687451231
Justin Thomas677350231
Jordan Spieth647047214


  • 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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