Today I want to talk about the hinge action.
There's actually 5 types of hinge actions, but you really only need to concern yourself with 3 types of hinge actions and out of those 3 hinge actions, only 2 should be used in full swing shots. But it's nice to understand all three because if you can understand and execute all 3 hinge actions, then you will be more likely to avoid incorrect hinge actions.
VERTICAL HINGE ACTION
Vertical hinge action should only be used with short shots. You will hear a lot about the 'cut shot' in TGM circles, but what most people are talking about is using a vertical hinge action with a shot around the green. I actually just started using this quite a bit. I will use what I call a 'cut chip' and a 'cut lob.' The cut chip is your ordinary chip shot swing with a vertical hinge action. The 'cut lob' is a bit like a flop shot. The face is fanned open, but not wide open like on a flop shot and again I use a vertical hinge action. I use this shot when I'm trying to get the ball to land a little softer than normal and is especially good when the green is sloping downhill or if you know the ball is going to run on you and you're trying to prevent it from rolling too far.
In TGM, they will refer to the vertical hinge action as having 'layback.' The way I explain it is at impact the left wrist should be flat, but the wrists hinge in a clockwise motion. If I were to chip using the vertical hinge action, the clubface will point upwards towards the sky. Phil Mickelson uses a lot of vertical hinge in his short game chips:
Again, you should not use vertical hinge action with say a 9-iron from 140 yards. It's a hinge action meant for the short game. However, it is helpful for the golfer to understand because not only will it help with some short game shots, but being able to understand and execute vertical hinge action will now give the golfer the feel of what is the wrong hinge action on a full swing.
HORIZONTAL HINGE ACTION
Horizontal hinging is almost like the opposite of vertical hinging. With a chip shot length stroke, at the finish the clubhead should be on the plane line, but the toe of the clubhead should be pointing at the target. The key is to do it with a flat left wrist at impact. Most golfers who try it, wind up flattening out their right wrist to get the toe pointing at the target, which of course bends the left wrist at impact. When I try to do horizontal hinging (I actually use angled hinging), I use my normal swing feel to have the flat left wrist at impact, but right about impact I feel like I'm trying to get my right palm facing towards the ground.
For me, I find horizontal hinging a difficult procedure to repeat consistently, but it is a very powerful move and if it can be repeated consistently, that's how the Jason Gore's of the world (ungodly long, accurate and consistent ballstriker) play their golf. Here's a Ted Fort video showing golfers the horizontal hinge and how it is properly executed.
Horizontal Hinging is great for somebody who wants to work the ball with more of a draw and to keep it lower. I will use some horizontal hinging on short shots that I want to keep the ball low. At this point I don't use it very often in the full swing since I do not feel that comfortable with it, but I plan on working on this hinge action so I can use it on full shots from time to time.
The ball tends to draw from the horizontal hinge action because the clubface is not likely to be wide open at impact. When the clubface gets wide open at impact, it's very hard to draw the ball because now the clubhead path effectively becomes more out-to-in.
ANGLED HINGE ACTION
Angled hinge action is a bit like a hybrid between vertical and horizontal hinge action. There is some 'roll' action and some 'layback.' This is a popular hinge action for hitters and a hinge action that Mr. Homer Kelley appeared to like.
In vertical hinging I talked about how the clubface 'lays back' and points up at the sky. In horizontal hinging I talked about how the clubhead is down the plane line, but the toe is pointing at the target. With angled hinging, the clubhead is down the plane line, but the clubface is at about a 45 degree angle. Ben Hogan utilized angled hinging.
I utilize angled hinge action and I generally hit the ball very straight or with a little baby fade. In order to hit a draw, I feel like I need to make more of a inside-to-out path than those who use horizontal hinging. The problem with angled hinge action is those who use it probably lose a little bit of power with it and it's somewhat easy to start steering the clubface instead of releasing it. However, usually steering and coming over the top go hand-in-hand, so if you develop a problem with steering, work on your clubhead downswing path first.
Whatever hinge action you use, it's important to note that the left wrist should be flat at impact. I highly recommend the Taly for the flat left wrist at impact and in particular if you are planning to go to more of a horizontal hinge action, which is meant a *bit* more for 'swingers.' (Angled Hinging is meant a little more for 'hitters.')
1. 5 hinge action procedures, really only need to know 3 of them.
2. Vertical hinging meant for short shots. Vertical hinging on full shots loses power and can lead to steering.
3. Vertical hinge action around the greens usually lands the ball a bit softer. Great for hitting shots over a bunker or trying to let the ball roll, but limit the amount of roll as the ball lands softly.
EXTRA: Vertical hinging can be used in putting as well, but should be used in conjunction with more of a 'straight back straight thru' stoke or a stroke that is very close to SBST, with an upright putter stance and a rocking shoulder motion.
4. Horizontal hinging has the full roll feel with the clubhead down the line and the toe pointing directly at the target. Great for a draw and power. Better hinge action for the 'swinger', but can be used by the 'hitter' as well.
EXTRA: Do NOT use horizontal hinging with the putter.
5. Angled hinging is a hybrid between vertical and horizontal hinging. Clubhead down the line, but the clubface is at about a 45 degree angle. Better hinge action for the 'hitter'. Produces straight and 'power fade' ball flights.
EXTRA: Angled hinging can be used with the putter. This is meant for more of a noticeably arced putting stroke path. I take the #3 PP and feel like I've got a laser pointing at the target line and then I try to trace that line back and thru. The putter head will arc if you do this properly. In fact, it cannot help but arc if you do this properly.