The Dead Hands Swing

Whenever you feel pressure, your heart rate naturally increases, your breathing quickens and adrenaline starts to flow. But that’s not a good thing when you are about to hit a shot that requires as much precision as you can muster. The last thing any player wants on a pitch, chip or bunker shot are quick, jerky movements.

The best solution to develop a short game that will stand-up under pressure is to not use your muscles to power your short game. Instead, let the power you need to get the ball to the hole come from the energy provided by a free-flowing swing.

It’s the small yet incredibly strong muscles in your fingers, hands, wrists and forearms that kill your short game touch. You need to make a conscious decision to keep those muscles out of your shots and use what we call at the Dave Pelz Scoring Game Schools, “Dead Hands.” If you are swinging with dead hands, those muscles have only two jobs: to cock your wrists during the backswing and hold the club so it doesn’t fly our of your hands during the rest of your swing.

That’s it.

To produce the same shots on the course (where you will be under pressure) that you do in the practice area (where there is little or no pressure), you must stop using your small muscles during practice and use the length and rhythm of a finesse swing to power those shots. Through practice, you will learn how long your swings have to be to produce the shots you want. Concentrate on feeling the centrifugal force and natural motion of the swing powering the shots, rather than “hitting” shots with your hands and arm muscles.

When you make practice swings, focus on finding a smooth, repeatable rhythm that you can imagine will produce the shot you want. Once you can see, feel and judge the proper motion with a practice swing, you will be more likely to produce it with a real swing. And with continued practice, you will develop a short game that you can count on when your heart is pounding and the match is on the line.

Do you have a question you’d like Dave Pelz to answer? E-mail him at [email protected]

Dave Pelz is the Technical and Short Game Consultant for GOLFONLINE and GOLF MAGAZINE. For more information on the Dave Pelz Scoring Game Schools and learning aids, go to or call 888-DAVE-PELZ.