Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why CP and Why CF

One of the questions that has been bandied about on my forum ( is why would a golfer want to utilize a CP Release or a CF Release.

Again, here’s a picture of John Erickson showing a CP Release (left) and a CF Release (right).

CP = Centripetal Force
CF = Centrifugal Force

Most people get transfixed on the upper arms being connected to the chest in the CP Release vs. the upper arms being ‘disconnected’ to the chest in the CF Release. However, that is more or less the result instead of the intent. Meaning that somebody utilizing a CP release doesn’t do so in order keep the upper arms connected to the chest. They utilize the CP release and that in turn results in the upper arms connected to the chest. In other words, one can distinguish what type of release a golfer uses by looking at the upper arms and their relationship to the chest. But, there really is not a benefit to keeping the upper arms on the chest by itself.

CP Release

The CP release moves the Horizontal Swing Plane to the left. The horizontal swing plane is the bottom arc of the golf swing. What we know about the geometry of the circle of a golf swing (and D-Plane), *if* you want to hit a shot dead straight at the target and *if* you are hitting down on the ball, you need the horizontal swing plane to be left of the target.

Have you ever hit an iron shot flush and dead straight at the target and then saw that your divot was pointing left of the target? That’s because the divot HAS to point left of the target to hit a shot dead straight at the target (provided you hit the ball square on the sweetspot).

Essentially, if you’re hitting down on the ball, in order to get the clubhead path square to the target, the bottom arc has to be left of the target. Remember, if you’re hitting down on the ball you have yet to reach the bottom arc of the golf swing.

So typically a CP Release will result in a path that is square to the target or slightly left of the target (outside-to-in). Thus the typical shot will be more of a straight shot or a fade.

Thus, when you hear the term ‘CP Release’, you typically need to think straight or fade.

CF Release

The CF release moves the Horizontal Swing Plane to the right. If you’re hitting down on the ball, you can STILL utilize a CF Release. Furthermore, if you’re hitting down on the ball and using a CF Release, your clubhead has yet to reach the bottom arc of the golf swing.

So all that happens is the golfer will still take a divot, but the HSP is either square or to the right of the target. This will move the path more to the right of the target (inside-to-out). Thus, when you think CF Release…typically you should think of a draw.


There’s the obvious part of CP Release is if you want to hit the ball straight or with a fade, particularly with your irons.

Also, a CP release will likely make the ball fly with a lower, more penetrating ball flight. That’s because in the end, the Angle of Attack will be steeper than in your typical CF release.

However, I believe that a CP Release also relies less on timing because the rate of closure will be less.


The rate of closure is the rate that the clubface closes thru and after impact. One can have a very high rate of closure and still hit the ball very straight. However, they are now relying more on timing to get the clubface square at impact.


One of the big reasons why I feel that CP decreases the rate of closure is that it keeps the handle of the club lower at impact.

Looking at the Hogan photo, a golfer with more of a CF release would likely have a higher handle at impact which will make it more likely to close at a faster rate.

My philosophy about the golf swing is that the four fundamentals are:
  • Effectively and Efficiently Pivoting the Body
  • Clubhead Path Control
  • Low Point Control
  • Clubface Control
So when I think of the CP Release, it really helps the golfer improve their clubface control.


There’s the obvious ‘if you want to hit a draw’ argument. Also, because you are getting the path out to the right, it will be more difficult to keep your right wrist bend and thus the Angle of Attack will likely be shallower and thus the ball will likely fly higher up in the air. So if you can do either CP or CF on command and you’re playing at Augusta National, I’d recommend utilizing the CF Release to get to those par 5’s in two with the long irons.

And because the ball will likely fly higher, the CF release usually gets the ball to go further. It’s much like the AoA with the driver, the more a golfer shallows out their AoA with the driver, the ball will go further. So if you’re utilizing a CF release over a CP release, the AoA will become more shallow and the ball will likely go further.

That’s why you don’t see CP Releases on the Re-Max Long Distance Driving Tour.


Another reason for the CF is the modern driver.

I believe the modern driver suits a flat to upward attack angle much more than a downward attack angle. I believe the older drivers, like the persimmon drivers, favored the descending attack angle.

The modern titanium driver is not only bigger, but the sweetspot is up very high on the clubface compared to the vintage persimmon or metal driver.

I think because of the sweetspot location of the modern driver, golfers who hit downward on the driver will struggle to hit it consistently well. We saw this happen with Tiger Woods over the years. He started to struggle with the driver and he tried to counter that by hitting it lower which meant he had to hit down more with the driver and he just got progressively worse and worse with his driver. Trackman showed that Woods’ attack angle a few years ago with the driver was -3 degrees. Thus, somebody could have a much slower clubhead speed and wind up hitting the ball much further and probably even more accurately.


As an owner of a very nice vintage persimmon driver, the one problem I run into when I want to use it is finding tees that are the proper length. One thing I forgot about with the vintage drivers is that the risk of hitting a ‘pop fly’ is much higher than with the modern titanium driver. Thus, it’s a huge risk to try and use an upward attack angle with a persimmon driver because you may wind up hitting it only 75 yards or so.

Thus, I believe that back in the days of persimmon you did not see many PGA Tour golfers using an upward attack angle or even a ‘flat hit’ (0* attack angle). I think the majority hit much further down on the ball with the driver than they do today with the modern titanium driver.

It’s the reason why I think golfers like Colin Montgomerie dropped so much in world ranking, they excelled at a time when the metal/persimmon driver would work fine with their steeper attack angle. But in today’s game with the modern titanium driver, if they are giving up 5 or more degrees of attack angle, they losing huge amounts of yardage to the field and are probably not as accurate.


Just a note that one can hit a CP draw and a CF fade. This can be done by the aim of the club and body at address. Somebody like Fred Couples is a perfect example of a golfer who utilized a CF Fade for much of his career. That’s why he was able to hit it so far despite using a fade (same with Mickelson and Nicklaus). This CF fade is also known as a ‘push fade’, but the ‘good’ push fade towards the target.

You really don’t see much CP draws, although Sam Snead is probably the best example. He aimed to the right with his shots and hit CP draws to the target (aka ‘pull draw’).


It’s certainly fair to say that a CP Release works best with irons and a CF Release works best with woods. One of the big reasons why most golfers use the CF Release is that it’s just much easier to actually perform than the CP release, particularly with longer clubs.

The CP release will typically result in straight shots and fades and will typically have a lower trajectory. The CF release will typically result in draws and higher trajectory shots. That is unless the golfer utilizes the ‘push-fade’ shot by aiming left at address and using the CF release to push it right of where they aimed and cut it towards the target.

It’s again the debate of precision vs. power, but the quest is always to achieve both.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't you say sadlowski is a little on the CP side?