There are so many things to think about as you approach and address your ball. You need to consider your stance, distance from the pin, and current lie and hope that you pick the right club out of your bag to execute the perfect shot.
Something that recreational golfers often forget to consider before executing their backswing, however, is their hand position. In the majority of instances, from fairway to green, your hands should be slightly in front of the ball.
And even though you probably know this, you might be wondering if there’s a way to remind yourself of the fact!
Well, for many golfers, that’s precisely where the forward press comes in. But what is the forward press exactly? And can it really benefit your ball striking?
We answer these questions and more in this article while telling you everything you need to know about the forward press and how it could enhance your overall golf game.
- What Exactly is the Forward Press Golf Swing?
- Does a Forward Press Help My Golf Swing?
- Is the Forward Press Bad in Golf?
- Do Golf Pros Use the Forward Press?
- Should You Forward Press When Chipping?
- Should You Forward Press When Putting?
- Should You Forward Press When Hitting Irons?
- The Forward Press Setup: Are You Going to Use it?
What Exactly is the Forward Press Golf Swing?
The forward press golf swing in golf involves moving your hands slightly forward to lean your club shaft toward the pin. To correctly perform a forward press, you need to press your hands in line with your front leg before executing your backswing.
We break the forward press down in more detail further on…
In some respects, it’s misleading to call it a golf swing in itself, as the forward press merely refers to your hand position as you complete your setup.
Does a Forward Press Help My Golf Swing?
In most instances, the forward press can have a positive impact on your golf swing. First and foremost, the forward press helps you to hit down on the ball, which is a key component of solid ball striking. Ultimately, this reduces your likelihood of thinning the ball, which tends to happen when you hit up on the shot.
The simple act of shifting your hands forward an inch before executing your backswing also ensures your swing starts in line with your front leg, as opposed to your midriff.
This means that you’re able to maintain a straight line from your shoulder all the way down through to the ball, which helps you reduce errant shots that sometimes creep into your game as a result of a poor line at setup.
Golfers find that adding the simple forward press to their swing helps in all aspects of their game, from long irons to putting, so it could be worth trying it out on the range to see what impact it has on the shots that you play.
But it’s only fair to acknowledge that not everyone is sold on the forward press, and some golfers at all levels of the game hit perfectly fine strokes without it.
As with lots of different components of your setup and swing, you need to find out on the range what works for you and practice with your tweaks in mind.
Is the Forward Press Bad in Golf?
Like many other aspects of golf, the forward press can be potentially bad for your swing if you don’t execute it correctly. When you’re new to initiating the forward press, it can be tempting to overcompensate and push your hands too far out in front.
If you do this and don’t correct yourself, your clubface will be distorted and it will result in a pulled shot or even a shank.
Equally, you need to be careful not to open the clubface to the right (which is common for right-handers who attempt the forward press for the first time), as it will yield an equally undesirable shot.
To ensure you get the forward press right, practice out on the range and gradually increase and decrease the distance that you push your hands out in front of your body.
It will take some time, but you will soon see the benefits, and it won’t be long until you can incorporate it as part of your standard setup routine.
Do Golf Pros Use the Forward Press?
There are pros who agree that the forward press is a crucial part of their swing and therefore several pros use the forward press on The PGA Tour with good success. Sam Snead and Phil Mickelson are two big advocates of the forward press.
No matter which club they’re about to play. Sam Snead, for instance, describes the forward press in the following way:
” The single most important device for getting nerves and muscles ready to execute the golf swing properly is the forward press. I’ve never made a golf swing that did not start from a forward press. “
What’s more, Phil Mickelson told Golf Digest that the forward press is a big part of his setup when lining up a putt, stating:
” Although the forward press in putting is a matter of preference, it has always been my style to use one, and I recommend you give it a try. “
If it’s good enough for Sam Snead and Lefty, then surely it’s worth a try for the rest of us?
And to be fair, they’re certainly not the only pros who maintain the habit of pushing their hands out before starting their backswings.
If you pay attention to a live broadcast of a golf tournament, you will see many pros following suit, whether it’s just out of habit or if it improves their accuracy.
Should You Forward Press When Chipping?
Because you want your hands to be ahead of the clubhead on impact, you should execute a slight forward press when chipping. Don’t push your hands too far out in front, but press them out slightly, so you get a feel for where you want to make contact with the ball.
As well as pressing your hands slightly forward, it’s crucial that you keep your head on top of the ball when chipping and that you’re looking down directly onto the shot.
If you get your head behind the ball, you will push your weight back and will struggle to elevate the ball as you desire.
Ultimately, the forward press is an excellent technique to incorporate into your greenside setup and can help you execute much more accurate and consistent chip shots.
Should You Forward Press When Putting?
There are definitely benefits to executing the forward press as you line up a putt. While hitting up on the ball isn’t important on the green, the forward press is still likely to have a positive impact on your stroke.
From a putting perspective, this is more from a psychological point of view.
Pushing your hands in front gives a sense of committing to the putt, which instills confidence and conviction in your putting stroke.
Again, you don’t need to overcompensate and tilt your hands too far forward, but executing a slight forward press on the putting green could transform the way you putt, so it’s well worth experimenting with it to see how you get on!
Should You Forward Press When Hitting Irons?
When addressing the ball with an iron in hand, you need to shift your hands slightly forward in your stance or execute a forward press. For irons, it’s a good idea to pre-program yourself to tilt the shaft forward so your hands are in line with your inner thigh before starting your backswing.
Then, as you execute your swing, you should feel as if your hands return to the same position that they started in.
This improves your consistency and helps to cut out shanks and thin shots, which are all too often a scourge on the scorecard of recreational golfers.
Perhaps the only club where the forward press isn’t necessary is when you’re about to hit your driver (although some will disagree!).
Your hand position should be central with your driver, as you want to hit up on the ball at impact, as opposed to down with your irons and wedges.
But other than when you’re playing the big stick off the tee, if you train yourself to tilt your hands slightly forward to execute the forward press before your backswing, you’re likely to see your accuracy and consistency improve as a result.
The Forward Press Setup: Are You Going to Use it?
The forward press is an incredibly simple yet highly effective way of improving your ball striking. The setup is not that hard to master.
Whether you’re playing a midiron off the tee, a wedge on approach, or putting out on the green, tilting your shaft toward the pin and pressing your hands forward can have a hugely positive impact on your strokes.
When you’re next out on the range, challenge yourself to adjust your hands accordingly as you set up to strike the ball and see if it makes a difference to your accuracy and consistency.
If it does, then there’s absolutely no reason not to implement the forward press when you’re out on the course for real.