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Original Issue

Hand position on the backswing

A great many players make golf (which is a hard enough game to begin with) much harder for themselves when they break their wrists on the way back. About halfway through the backswing they lay their wrists off on a lateral plane, pushing the hands well behind the body in this same motion. This puts the golfer in an awkward and weak position. His clubhead, incidentally, is wide open. He has a terrible time on the downswing. He has to roll the wrists over and make many other adjustments in a small space of time in order to come into the ball. On the other hand, when your hands are properly positioned on the backswing you don't have to adjust them on the downswing, and this makes coming into the ball incomparably easier.

The average player, I think, falls into this incorrect hand and wrist movement on his backswing when he tries to flatten his swing with a deliberate action of the hands instead of "flattening" his swing with his shoulder turn. If most average golfers could study photographs of their swing, they would be amazed to see how often they make no appreciable shoulder turn going back. A proper shoulder turn, of course, affects many important aspects of the swing. Among other things, it takes good care of the hands: when you rotate your shoulders the full way, your hands just have to come up into the correct position.

AL MENGERT, Echo Lake Country Club, Westfield, N.J.





NEXT WEEK: Lionel Hebert on driving down tight fairways