The hand is a complicated work of art made up of the wrist, the palm and the fingers. The hand complex contains 29 bones, 29 joints, 123 ligaments, 34 muscles, 48 nerves and 30 arteries — WOW! About a quarter of the motor cortex in the human brain (the part of the brain that controls all movement in the body) is devoted to the muscles of the hands.
The hands contain the densest areas of nerve endings on the body in order to provide tactile feedback, but the hands also have the greatest “positioning” capability of all of the body parts, i.e., they are the prime-time manipulators. The fact that they are trained by evolution to “position” objects can be a problem during the golf swing, where overmanipulation of the club is ruinous. It’s up to you to train your hands to cooperate, but not to run the show.
There are no muscles in the fingers — the muscles that move your fingers are located in the palm (17 of them) and in the forearm (18). They’re connected to the finger bones by tendons, which pull and move the fingers.
Most gripping power comes from your last two fingers, but be careful of applying too much pressure there because overcontracting muscles of the forearm make it more difficult to rotate your forearms correctly.
Hand surgeons say that if you have to lose one finger, lose the index. Fingers are most useful working together, and the index finger is the most independent. This is one reason I don’t like the index finger down the shaft when putting — it’s too independent to make a coordinated stroke under pressure.
At address, your trail wrist has a slight bend to it, with the knuckles of the back of the hand tilted back toward your forearm. This allows the back of your front wrist to remain in line with your front forearm, a relationship it should maintain until after impact.
During the takeaway, keep the hands moving along the toe line. At waist high, the front wrist is still straight and the club is parallel with the ground, i.e., it has not been elevated by the wrist cock.
At the top of your swing, your trail wrist bends back toward your forearm. In this cupped position, it supports the weight of your club. Imagine a waiter carrying a tray of food with one hand — that’s exactly the position your wrist will assume at the top.
To keep the clubface square to the target, the trail wrist remains bent all the way to impact, just as it was at address. The majority of golfers lose the angle formed by their trail wrist too early on the
Here’s a thought to help retain this key angle: As the hands pass over the back foot, the palm of your trail hand looks at the sky with your knuckles to the ground. If there is any single position that the good player achieves and the bad one doesn’t, it’s this one.
On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being very soft and 10 being your tightest grip), normal shots are played at about a 6. Out of the rough, grip firmer with both hands at about an 8 on the scale. Soft pitches require softer hands, around a 4.
The major pressure point, no matter what shot you are playing, is where the hands come together on top of the club, not the last three fingers of the left hand as this only increases tension in the forearms and interferes with the proper release of the clubhead.
After impact, not all players’ hands look the same. To avoid hooking, Vijay Singh allows his trail wrist to bow so much that his hand almost leaves the club when it’s parallel to the ground. Fred Couples does much the same. Others, like Zack Johnson, keep the front wrist in line with the forearm much longer during the follow-through.