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The end of the backswing

On all shots from the chips through the irons to the woods, always try to have a little wrist action at the end of the backswing. Let me make clear that the wrist action I speak of has nothing to do with the downswing; it's entirely concerned with the finish of the back-swing. This small suffix of wrist action introduces a little lightness to your swing at a very important point. Its value cannot be overemphasized because the end result is that it gives you that minute thing called timing.

Let me explain this a bit further. If the golf club is swung so that it has the free release of centrifugal force, the ball can be hit truer and with greater clubhead speed than if the golfer tries to hold the club on line, to steer the ball, as he hits through it. If a golfer's grip comes up dead at the top of the backswing, however, he can't make a correct dynamic swing: he has to leap and jump to hit. This is the reason why that touch of wrist action at the top of the backswing is so valuable. It reaffirms the life of your swing and your timing. While you're taking this wrist action, your body goes forward and out of the way (as you can observe in the swings of most of the top professionals) and the golfer is able to perform the most nearly perfect arc on the downswing. In short, this little bit of wrist action is the key to developing a great deal of clubhead speed without effort.

Frank Stranahan, Crystal River, Fla.



NEXT WEEK: Wally Grant on the gradual weight shift