While the proliferation of personal video and launch monitor technology has allowed golfers to scrutinize their swings like never before, there’s one issue with all of it.
You have to wait until after you hit the ball to see what the heck happened.
That’s all well and good from a theoretical perspective, but you still have to go through with the swing once you start it, with no way of knowing if you’re actually doing what you’re trying to do until a post-impact review.
That’s why I’ve always liked training aids that give a player real-time feedback, like the Flatball I wrote about in this space a couple years ago.
(Of course, the ultimate real-time feedback is what the golf ball does when you hit it, but you knew that already.)
As with my dalliance with the Flatball, my quest this time around was refining both my clubface control and my low-point control.
Really, when you think about it, that’s the golf swing in a nutshell: Managing the angle of the clubface and where the sole hits the ground. All the rest could be interpreted as window dressing.
Intrigued by what I’ve seen on the man on a Golf Channel program and, yes, more than a few social media ads, I visited George Gankas’ website in search of the G-Snap — an apparatus that attaches to your lead hand/wrist via Velcro and a string loop that slips onto your middle finger.
The aim of the G-Snap is to encourage you to flex (or bow) your lead wrist before the start of the downswing, thus encouraging a more direct, shallower path to the ball and more of a descending angle of attack.
The latter aspect is one I’ve had a hard time with over my two decades of playing golf. I can typically sweep the driver off the tee with no issue, easily getting the ideal ascending angle, but irons off the ground have run hot and cold. When I was younger, I fought the chunks frequently; lately, I’ve had more of an issue with thin contact when my swing isn’t grooved.
How the G-Snap delivers feedback is through an audible click when the user’s wrist is flexed enough to bend the plastic insert inside. You can also feel the click ever so slightly, which reinforces the feedback. Two senses are better than one, right?
What put me over the top to make the $49.95 purchase was some limited success I had last winter with bowing my left wrist at the end of the backswing.
During a practice session in my brother-in-law’s simulator, it seemed like the more I bowed my left wrist, the crisper the contact. I had grown up with the idea that cupping (or extending) the left wrist was how a player should ‘set’ the club at the top, and then for several years I didn’t think about the wrist at all, focusing more on using the ‘big muscles’ to turn and pivot.
But I knew I was leaving something in the tank as it pertains to using my wrists to max effect, which started to sting even more when I began speed training in earnest two years ago. More clubhead speed is fantastic, but if you’re not hitting the ball near the center of the clubface, some of those gains were going to be wasted.
I’m happy to announce that using the G-Snap while hitting balls — sometimes for just the start of the session, sometimes for the whole thing — has led to significant improvements in both clubface contact and shot dispersion. What I didn’t expect was how much it would help my tee shots in addition to the iron play I was hoping to boost.
Over a recent three-day golf weekend Up North in Michigan, I hit 28 of 42 fairways* (67 percent) and 36 of 54 greens** (67 percent), including a final round 3-under 69 that tied a career low and set personal bests for driving accuracy (10 of 14) and greens in regulation (14 of 18).
Shot 81-75-69* to hoist this thing again. Of course Lukas had to squirrel in there to lift the trophy. 😆
*Tied career low … nice pic.twitter.com/y25unc80Ho
— Matt Gajtka (GITE-kah) (@MattGajtka) July 23, 2023
*I count a ‘fairway hit’ for any drive that leaves me with a clear shot at the green from a reasonable lie.
**I count a ‘green hit’ for any approach shot that finishes on the green or the fringe.
Previous to that experience, I’d be fortunate to approach 50 percent in driving accuracy and 60 percent in approach accuracy. More often than not, I’ve lived well below 50 in both categories, relying on my short game to maintain a decent handicap.
Breaking news: The game felt a lot easier with the ball in play! (Amazing, right?) In fact, if I had to pick one improved aspect over the other, I would say the driving accuracy lifted a huge burden off my shoulders and allowed me to enjoy the sport more. I maintain my belief that the first shot on a hole is the most pivotal.
Obviously, clubface control is clubface control. A swing with a driver or 3-wood off a tee is not that different from a shot off the turf with an iron or wedge. Being more in-sync with your swing mechanics will benefit you everywhere from tee to green.
That’s why these results are so exciting. I’ll note that I respond more to practice that features in-the-moment feedback, in order to better ingrain the desired movement patterns, without what I would call the ‘straitjacket effect.’ You’re free to swing the club any way you like, but the only way you’ll get the satisfying snap is by getting your lead-wrist conditions right.
The G-Snap is one of a series of products available on Gankas’ website, so you could definitely spend a lot more on getting your release nailed down the way the instructor prefers. There’s a G-Snap for the trail wrist now, too, plus a boxy device called the Shallower that’s meant to keep your forearms in close proximity throughout the swing.
But for me, getting my lead wrist in more of a flexed position has helped cure what’s ailed me for several years. The G-Snap is prescriptive, but not restrictive, which is a balance that I think will be palatable for many searching golfers out there.
PGN Grade: A