Golf tip: So you don't want to hit it left...

Why finger and thumb hold the clue

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Sometimes on the course there are situations when you do not want to hit the ball left at any price. Perhaps out of bounds stretches the length of the hole or a water hazard borders the fairway. At times like this it’s essential that the hands do not turn the clubhead over to the left through impact.

The muscle group most responsible for turning the blade over is the index finger of your right hand. In the past several famous golfers have used a technique to good effect when needing to avoid trouble on the left.

Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Bobby Cole all used to practice shots with the index finger and thumb of the right hand completely off the grip. It stopped them over releasing at crucial times - especially when the left side of the hole was a 'no-go' area. By taking the index finger off the rubber of the grip, it becomes very difficult to turn the blade over.

Try a few practice swings to feel what it is like to swing without using these two fingers and I'm sure that shortly you will be able to hit a ball with hardly any loss of power and know with confident that you will not lose a shot to the left.

John Hoskinson has been a professional golfer for over 30 years, during which time he has had the privilege of playing against many of the top players in the world. He's written four bestselling books including a fictional novel, and has spoken to over 80,000 young people at schools, about making the right choices in life. He is also the top golf writer for Suite101 where he has written over 300 golf articles. 

Article first publshed May 2009, updated April 2013

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