Early handset

Low and slow, widen the arc and float loading. Nice work gurus. These are perfect things to get you to whip it dead inside, pull you out of your posture and get stuck or come over the top on the way down.

I am sure the haters are going to comment that I am suggesting an immediate wrist cock. As usual, I am promoting an in sync motion where the hands are not passive or active, they work together with the body.

In my “Plane and Release by Feel” video (below), I show how the hands will gradually set if you allow them too. The problem is, so many of us have bought into these distance enhancing cliches that keep our hands from setting in sync…so we must retrain ourselves to set the hands in sync with the shoulder turn and arm swing.

A GENERAL guideline is by the time your left arm gets parallel to the ground, you want your hands to set so the left arm and shaft create a 90* angle.

The best way to find out the rate at which you set your hands is to practice little pitches. Through trial and error you will find how quickly you need to set your hands in your full swing.

If your chipping is awful and your ball striking is inconsistent, there is very likely a late handset problem.

Here is an anecdote. Frank’s long time friend came down to Jacksonville when I was there. He had a late handset. I told him to set his hands with no turn. He did it and told me there was no way that was right. Ironically, he turned more than he did when he was trying to make a big turn off the ball. The late handset made his arms get inside too quickly.

You want the hands t set in sync with the rest of the swing.

Here is the kicker…the later the handset, the more likely you are going to pull the handle in transition.




  1. IPM

    The Plane and Release By Feel drill is the gift that keeps on giving.That drill single handedly saved my golfing career. Monte, I find that when I try an early handset my left wrist cups (I have a neutral grip). Is that a big deal?

    • MWS

      Some of the short game gurus (a la James Siekmann) actually advocate a cupped left wrist on chips and pitches as it keeps the bounced exposed and on plane allowing the proper release and more room for error. Bowing the wrist usually exposes the leading edge which is great for full shots but tough for consistent short game stuff.

      • IPM

        Yeah, normally I’m pretty consistent with the wedges. But my irons and woods are all over the map. Right now I’m trying to decipher it’s a setup issue, a swing issue, or both.

  2. MWS

    Monte you are 100% correct. As I’ve been in the process of setting the club earlier to help eliminate arm runoff, I’ve noticed a direct benefit in not pulling the handle, being underplane on the downswing, vertical shoulders through impact, and *gasp* tush line.

    This is what Monte is talking about:

    Still a work in progress obviously. Monte you have helped with his before on GolfWRX. this would also relate to your post about a “fake” or under turn on the backswing.

    I will post a video later today where the earlier hand set causes less arm runoff and my shoulder turn is much bigger without feeling / forcing bigger.

  3. woody

    Good column today. I’ve heard John Daly and Davis Love III say low-and-slow.

    A possibility for slow (as in, not fast): it gives your body time to be involved.

    Low? “Low” might go with straightening the left arm, as opposed to bending it quickly with an arms-only swing.

    Wide arc? Again, I think this is a straight-left-arm idea. (Bubba touts the wide arc, I think Davis Love III also.)

    None of these tips are in my bag.

  4. FredL

    What’s Lenard? Is the 90* between shaft and arm?

  5. calvin

    You got to keep your lenard from bending too much
    without tensing up..

  6. Mike Z

    Another early handset:


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