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March 19 2013

9:21 AM

Tip from Travis: Hinge and Hold

Kevin Streelman jump-started his final round with this 85-foot chip on the third hole at Copperhead.

By Travis Fulton, Director of Instruction, PGA TOUR Academy

One of the biggest shots of Kevin Streelman’s life was his short pitch shot on the third hole Sunday at the Tampa Bay Championship. After a perfectly executed golf shot, Streelman got some much-needed fortune when the ball found the bottom of the cup. This short game shot from the greenside rough is a shot we see a lot on the PGA TOUR, and over the last couple of years, has adopted the name "Hinge and Hold."

However, what’s interesting is this particular "Hinge and Hold" technique has got some mixed press on what it may (or may not) be suggesting. Therefore, let’s see if we can clean it up a bit and explain exactly how Streelman hit the shot in Tampa.

“Hinge” defines the key movements of the backswing. A good hinge allows the clubhead to work up the line of the lead forearm, creating a needed angle between the forearm and clubshaft. Streelman did a great job of hinging the lead wrist this way. Even though the clubhead was moving up the plane, the lead forearm and clubshaft still remained in its inline relationship. As a result, the clubface can rotate slightly open, so when the clubshaft reaches halfway back, the toe of the club is pointing to the sky.

One of the most common errors in the backswing is this: A player will hinge the lead wrist where the lead hand becomes bowed. This movement sends the clubshaft quickly out of line with the lead forearm, allowing the clubhead to move behind the hands. This technique doesn’t promote the clubface to rotate open, but rather. stay closed and off plane, leading to needed compensation on the downswing.

“Hold” suggests the movements of the downswing thru impact. What’s critical here is that as you turn through impact with the body to maintain the bend in the trail wrist. When done properly, the inline relationship between the lead forearm and club shaft will stay inline well after impact. Even though the lead wrist is un-hinging, the clubshaft alignment to the lead forearm stays intact, allowing the clubface to square up thru impact.

The term “Hold” can be misinterpreted sometimes because it suggests that you don’t unhinge the lead wrist and/or allow the clubface to square up. Rather, “Hold” originated from the fact that most amateurs release the trail wrist too soon, sending the clubhead well past the lead wrist thru impact.

Therefore, “hold” is a term to help decrease this from happening, and keep the hands more passive so the alignment of the lead forearm and clubshaft can be met and sustained through impact just like Kevin Streelman demonstrated on Sunday.

Travis Fulton is the Director of Instruction at the TOUR Academies at TPC Sawgrass and the World Golf Village. For more information on the TOUR Academy, click here.

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