Sam Snead - Snap with your hands


Is that inline with your thought?

Sam Snead is correct, and yes, I do share the same thought as Sam. Nothing new, not sure when this movie clip was shot, but I would guess about 50 years ago. Nothing new…

Sam makes it clear that “dead hands” are not a good idea… I don’t think it’s a stretch to then assume that the “snap” would be active hands or firing hands.

He says you snap at the bottom of the swing… or fire as I would say. In Sam’s book he says he pulls the club down with the back three fingers of his left and, then fires his right hand at the bottom. This would be the snap.

In this vid, Sam at the end says you use your hands then the body… If we think about what Hogan said, about the free ride down, then you hit with the hands at the bottom, then you finish it off with the body.

That’s all we have to do…

The golf swing is pretty simple if you do those things in an orderly fashion!

Thanks for sharing that clip!

Does firing the hands exist anywhere in TGM?

TGM is all about the elbow…

At least the way TGM is taught from what I can gather… a passive elbow pulled straight by CF … swinger… or pushed straight by right arm thrust, hitter… but I know there is a much better way of swinging the club that either of those options.

Oddly enough, Homer quoted in TGM (1-F)

“variations in elbow bend during release will disturb clubface control by the right arm, making it an inferior procedure”. I agree with this statement 100%.

So either Homer didn’t understand… or all the TGM instructors don’t understand what he meant…

But if you keep straightening that elbow out through impact, I’ll keep taking your lunch money after the front nine. :sunglasses:

Yes, I agree Lag, but I would caution the average golfer reading this on two very important points on this issue: one, the direction that your wrists “fire” must be downwards and never toward the ball and/or target - this will cause instant flipping or loss of FLW as the right wrist “fires” in the sideways dimension, and this is an almost universal swing flaw, even to a much smaller degree among good players, hence imagine how easy it is for high handicap golfers to do this sideways or un-hinging wrist released when advised to fire the wrists actively. Two - the timing of this wrist firing is very important as well, objectively no earlier than Lag’s p3 position, although the feel intention will be earlier from the golfers subjective experience due to the time delay illusion. The reason I mention this warning is that the Hit Impulse is so common and so powerful, that it can be quite a struggle for the average golfer to learn how to time this active wrist firing, since they already have such a strong impulse to do it way too early.

A third warning, don’t forget to Pivot Thrust first - or as you fire the wrists - I have never seen any objective evidence of a great player merely firing the wrists without an active Pivot Thrust first or along with the wrists.


I am one of the guy who has always been criticized preaching the importance of “hands” after I found TGM.

From day 1 when I knew some basic information regarding the TGM book, they were, just a few here:-

Educated hands
Hand controlled pivot
Pressure points in your hands
Right Hand-Clubhead; Left Hand-Clubface.
Wrist conditions
Hand action
Hands are the “Command Post”

Etc etc…Sam Snead didn’t like dead hands…what is the opposite word of “DEAD”?


I agree,

It must be done properly… Snead tells you to fire the hands at the bottom of the swing… but makes no mention of what comes after that… so of course it can be confusing…

It is for this reason I am such a huge promoter of post impact pivot thrust… so you fire into an accelerating pivot, that way, the hands can’t ever catch up to the rotation of the pivot…

Again this is why I am very big on passive pivot on the downswing… so there is as much rotational range of motion as possible for this to occur…

I get right on this right away with students… and teach them the importance, and the how to do it …

Educated hands… yes
Hand controlled pivot… no
Pressure points in your hands…obviously
Right Hand-Clubhead; Left Hand-Clubface… both hands do both as equally or balanced as possible…
Wrist conditions… conditioned wrists.
Hand action… very aggressive
Hands are the “Command Post”… brain is the command post… then pivot, then hands…

About three years ago, we stopped teaching most of our students - the 12 or higher folks - to use lag pressure points in their hands or wrists as their go to method for sensing when to fire their Pivot Thrust, or what we call Pivot Thrust Trigger. Even though I and many top ballstrikers I know do it that way, I have found after 16 years of running our golf swing boot camp intensives, that only about 10% of our students can learn this method within a reasonable time frame. For most, it is just too alien a concept, or more commonly, takes too much time to educate their feel sense channel in their hands. Naturally they want to now if there is an easier or quicker way.

There are indeed other alternative measures that work much more easily for most of our students. The easiest is sensing when the upper right arm and/or elbow re-connects to the belly or lower rib cage. That is about as close to Lag’s p3 position as you can get from a feel perspective, a bit earlier than that in reality. You feel the re-connection contact, then you Fire the Pivot Thrust. Half speed swings are best for early stages of training this move. This feeling is “bigger” to your mind and much more concrete than the tiny and very subtle feeling of lag pressure at the first joint of your right index finger.

Another method is totally non-Mechanical - use a Rhythm cue, a number count or a song, and when that note or lyric syllable or number occurs, that is your cue to Pivot Thrust.

I have talked to many top players, both pros and amateurs, who do not sense lag pressure in their fingers or wrists. Most do feel it but call it “feeling the clubhead weight”. But - it is certainly not the ONLY way, or in any way an Essential or Imperative as TGM would have you believe.

The dead hands… or the active hands… it seems so confusing for most, because you hear great players of high esteem talk about both.

I find it really difficult to teach dead hands… I feel like I would have to follow the student around all day with a stick, smacking them every time they “hit”. Some people have it … some don’t. Teaching something seems better than teaching nothing.
I also think hitting is superior in methodology anyway… and getting strong is easy… just do the work. Go to the gym…
lift weights everyday, it’s kind of a no brainer… you will get stronger. In the case of golf, or at least here at ABS, we cross train the technique with the muscular conditioning. I think there is great value in properly directed and guided repetition.

Yeah, it can be quite confusing, to the average golfer especially, partly because of the whole Feel vs. Fact issue. I know some Hitters (Lag’s definition) who feel that they use passive wrist release and I know some Swingers (Lag’s definition) who feel that they use active wrist release. You can only know with 100% certainty I suppose by EMG testing. However there are some other signs that can give us a reasonable chance at understanding what is actually occurring.

I don’t think the arms off the chest dis-connection, out to right field that Lag has described so well here is always 100% conclusive proof of passive wrists simply because you can have a passive wrist cock release with Super-Connected arms and a frozen right arm angle even to some degree. So that swing would have the look of “turning the corner” or in reality just maintaining the elbow shaft plane into followthrough. What Lag is describing as Swinging is not just passive wrist release but also either active upper arm release or dis-connection for the poor player or a neutral upper arm to chest connection, ie less resistance to the outward CF energy, for the good player.

Golfers who actively squeeze the upper arms tight against the chest during Release as Hogan did and advocated and who also release the release cock angle very late into P3 AND who utilize a very fast tempo pivot thrust, MUST use the active and fast wrist cock firing method, to keep the down and out and a little forward clubhead motion from the wrists in good timing with the down and out and a lot forward motion of the clubhead that the Pivot Thrust creates. BUT- you can certainly use this tight Super-Connected arm procedure with a slightly earlier wrist cock release that is indeed entirely passive in the sense that you don’t use the muscles in the wrists and forearms to fire the wrist cock angle open, you let the momentum and CF from the P Thrust do that for you automatically.

What happens with a late P3 wrist cock release point, a fast firing of the wrists matched to medium or especially a slow P Thrust speed? You will hit that shot super-fat and way out to the right. What if you had the same release point but a super fast pivot with passive wrist release? That shot would be thin or even cold-topped and pulled left.

One of the big “secrets” of ballstriking is the timing between the Pivot Thrust and the Wrist Cock release.

Interesting conversation guys. I’m enjoying it.

I agree this has become very important to me, but I don’t know if it is a secret. One over takes the other and you end up with different shot shapes. The ‘secret’ reveals itself pretty darn quick IMHO.

Hey KOC,I hope you realise that after Snead’s “lesson” that poor bloke was flipping it worse than a 40 handicapper.

You can do better than that example to support your beloved TGM.I am dissapointed in you.

Snead was a great player but I wouldn’t go to him for lessons.

Dap - great to see you posting here. You make a good point, and it reinforces the point I was trying to make in my original post in this thread. If you take an average golfer who is already either releasing the wrist cock angle way too early during Transition and/or later starting at Lag’s P3 or so, but in the wrong dimension, ie un-hinging or flipping sideways, (instead of un-cocking downwards while maintaining the bent right wrist and flat left wrist) and you encourage them to actively “fire the hands”, at least 90% of these golfers will in fact do their fatal flaw even worse.

This is one area where Lag and I are not in agreement. I know because I have tested this with thousands of students over the past 16 years of teaching. Any even slight encouragement of the Hit Impulse will make them worse. It is not a matter of telling them to “do nothing” as Lag has said. That would not be very good teaching, no question about that. We use many drills that require the student to do something or to maintain what they have - all as a means of inhibiting the Hit Impulse. Which is not to say that the Impulse is totally eliminated, in fact for most of our students, the attempt to eliminate the Impulse in reality often just delays it, so that when the inevitable Hit does occur, it happens around P3, where it can be effectively made harmless or even help with proper impact - if matched to a fast Pivot speed.
In other words, the major problem with the Hit Impulse is in fact that it is done way too early, and the second major problem is that it is done in the wrong spatial dimension, or sideways - instead of downwards.

My take on Snead’s belief that he is firing the hands is that he was in fact NOT doing so in reality, but rather feeling his wrists being pulled open by momentum and CF. Snead also “felt” that he started his downswing by “Pulling the bell rope” with his left arm, which he clearly did not do. Snead had a medium Pivot speed and a mid wrist release point, and if he had fired his hands, he would have hit a lot of fat shots out to the right.

This is the big problem with basing one’s teaching on feel primarily, as great players can feel the exact same body part in many different ways. I teach the fact first, and then encourage the student to associate a feel for how that body part is moving. But the student MUST be able to demo the correct mechanics first, often in slow motion at first where they have voluntary control over the body motion and can inhibit their old bad habit, and then half speed, and eventually full speed.

Impact bag training can be quite useful in learning proper wrist mechanics, but only up to a point in my experience, mainly due to the difference between the golfers perception of the bag vs their perception of the golf ball. The bag tends to naturally inhibit the Hit Impulse since if you flip the wrists with the bag, you will injure your wrists as the clubhead passes your hands during impact. Your brain “knows” this and so it makes your wrists behave properly. But with the golf ball, and the whole ball boundedness issue, the impulse to flip can be very strong.

Our number one drill for learning to inhibit the Hit Impulse is to focus in feel channel on maintaining one’s original and proper grip pressure from start to finish, and especially during Transition. The golfer will always tighten their grip pressure before the wrist throwaway happens. Keeping the same pressure is “something” - not nothing - that is very effective in inhibiting the Hit Impulse.

Thanks BP,

Teaching most players to “snap” their wrist at the bottom of their downswing is absolutely fatal.It goes totally against Lag’s principle of keeping a stressed shaft and even TGM’s principle of dragging a wet mop through impact.The snap of the wrist does feel to happen but it feels to happen way past what feels to be impact,I believe the secret to solid golf shots is mastering the feeling of the late hit to counteract the hit impluse so that you don’t actually hit late but hit on time rather than early.Lags’s idea of keeping a stressed shaft post impact is his way of teaching the late hit and I agree with him that the only way to do it is with an active pivot/reactive hands and not with active hands/reactive pivot.

I suppose once the late hit is mastered as Snead has done,then it might very well feel like the snap happens at the bottom of the downswing.

Feel and real can cause a lot of confusion and misunderstanding in golf discussion and instruction.

Hi Dap,

Interesting stuff but I would respectfully question your active pivot/reactive hands characterisation of Lags teaching. Maybe active hands/active pivot would be better as the hands fire and then the body takes over? Perhaps it might all be semantics but I don’t think the hands are reacting really so putting that tag on them doesn’t quite work for me. Personally I don’t find the hands controlled pivot / pivot controlled hands descriptions (not that you are using them) is very useful in understanding Lags course. The relay race image works best for me as it implies a crossover/transition from hands (1st stage rocket) to pivot (2nd stage rocket).

All the best, Arnie

Just my 2 cents here.

Lag’s concept of training a hit with the hands surely must be taken in context with the rest of his training programme? This ‘hitting’ is one element of 11 that must be mastered. I wouldn’t place creedence in any single lesson in isolation. An incomplete answer can never be a correct answer. The player unless already naturally proficient will need to get, no MUST get worse before better. Snead is in essence giving a ‘tip’. ‘Tips’ do not work in isolation and Snead i’m sure at least instinctively if not with full knowledge is well aware that this forced on-screen ‘Lesson’ will not be of long term help to this chap unless he has further instruction or works out for himself a whole gamut of other necessary components. This snippet is largely for entertainment purposes. He does however give an insight to what he really feels he does (namely, stressing the shaft at the last second with his hands) and that can be of use to the right mind and person. I would agree that for a ‘flipper’, telling them to simply fire their hands would seem to exacerbate their problems, however, training them to set up as Lag tells us to with fully rotated and cocked wrists so that THEY HAVE a load with which to fire and in the correct manner into an impact bag is a perfectly sound beginning. Better pivot thrust would be the next step for this chap to learn to complement his previous work and he’s now at least on the right path to more consistent, powerful golf shots.

But you would have an unstressed shaft coming into impact and weak golf shots. Isn’t that the give-away?

No - many top players use this method, the vast majority on the LPGA tour for sure. NIck Faldo, Fred Funk, a few others on the PGA Tour.

When I was studying under TGM years ago, I certainly would have cringed at Snead’s suggestion here… but knowing what I know now… I come to a very different conclusion. FIRE THE HANDS!

It’s been fun watching all the students learn to fire their hands at the bottom and start taking control of the golf club. Trying to get a student to hold the angles without them having a sense of what to do with those angles is really tough stuff. I used to try to teach that way… get a player to come down into P3 with cocked wrists, but it was always a complete train wreck, because they either hadn’t acquired the skill to actively release those angles, or have the ability to resist the hit impulse as BPGS1 expresses and correctly so…

But it is certainly true that the ABS ideology is a three step core motor installation, and until module #3 work is sufficiently integrated, we can’t really evaluate things in their proper context.

It would be like putting an engine in a car, hooking it directly to the driveshaft, and into the rear end, but forgetting to put in the transmission. You need them all.

There is very little discussion about post impact pivot thrust in golf instruction… because popular belief is that
once the ball is gone… swing is over… but this is not how great ball strikers think.

Someone posted a video somewhere of Gary Player giving a clinic in Poland I think, and he must have said…
“you have to accelerate the club through the ball” about 30 times… So what is accelerating the club?
The hands? Well, they have already uncocked and rotated… the right arm has a little bit of room to straighten… but not much… but the rotation of the shoulders, torso, pivot, has a long way to go…

People flip the club because the pivot stalls…I have no problem with their instinct to fire the hands. If the pivot acts like a second stage rocket, you can fire the hands very hard and actively… and the better players here like straight8flush know and feel this… so we are just working on getting more of this, and doing it a a way that is also directed with the correct intentions to keep the clubshaft onplane rather than flying off to right field…which does work, but not nearly as well… I used to do it that way…