Early Release, Casting, & Scooping Swing Characteristics
Ok, the title is a little overdramatic, especially a person as stoic as me.
I’m sorry, but I was shocked, and the sarcasm came out.
Before I write an article, I always research keyword terms. So, as you can imagine, when I searched for casting, scooping and early release all that came up were “Fisherman, who serve ice cream and are out on early parole.”
Seriously, though, I searched all keyword derivations for early release swing fault. I used the Google Keyword Planner feature included in the software package called Long Tail Platinum and searched for terms such as swing fault early release, casting early release and scooping, casting swing fault, casting early release, casting and early release swing characteristic, casting and early release swing fault, casting and early release, scooping swing fault, casting/early release/scooping, casting early release scooping, and more.
The number of keyword searches in Google for all of those terms was zero.
WTF people, according to Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) 55.9% of amateur players early release or scoop. Seems crazy to me that no one is searching Google on how to correct the early release swing characteristics.
At the time I published this article, I have discussed 9 of the 12 most common swing characteristics. Using the same keyword tool, I found that people have been searching Google for all those swing characteristics.
Even S-Posture, which according to TPI only 25% of golfers have that swing characteristic.
In fact, only two other swing characteristics are more common than early release among amateur golfers. These swing characteristics are Loss of Posture and Early Extension, 64.3% of all golfers having these swing characteristics.
Let’s discuss the early release (casting) and scooping swing characteristics to see what they look like, and I’ll explain how we can determine if you have either of those swing characteristics.
As a bonus, I have also created a Free Guide that lists exercises you can perform to correct the physical limitations that cause early release and scooping.
The exercises included in the guide are linked to the Titleist Performance Insitute (TPI) video library so you can see how to perform each exercise.
Click the button below to receive the free guide that contains exercises that will help you with these three swing characteristics that are robbing you of distance.
What is Early Release (Casting) and Scooping?
For the remainder of this article early release and casting should be considered the same swing characteristic.
Early release occurs when the angle formed at the wrist between the forearms and club shaft increases towards 180-degrees (top of the thumb and arm are in a straight-line) or the thumb dips below parallel (ulnar deviates).
I know terms like ulnar, radial, pronation, supination, extension, flexion can all be confusing. I try not to use them if I can. Not using those terms may make my text wordier, but don’t want to confuse people.
However, if you do get confused, here is an excellent slide deck that shows all of the terms and how they relate to the body. Click to visit slide deck.
Early release is commonly called casting because it looks similar to a fisherman casting a lure with a fishing pole.
Swing instructors will advocate that the wrist should remain cocked until late into the downswing. In fact, a lot of power is generated during the last milliseconds of the downswing by the wrists un-cocking, and snapping the clubhead through the ball.
Therefore, the early release swing characteristic reduces clubhead speed and causes significant loss of power in the golf swing.
The easiest way to understand what I am talking about is to see the club positions in the video screenshots below.
How Prevalent is Early Release?
As I mentioned to you before, early release is the 3rd most common swing characteristic.
According to TPI, 55.9% of amateur golfers exhibit the casting and scooping swing faults.
If you think about it, by fixing this swing characteristics almost 60% (maybe more) of all golfers could hit the ball farther.
Why more than the 56%, because many people release their wrists early, not to the point where it can be defined as a swing fault, but more than enough to rob them of power in their golf swing.
Percentage of Golfers that Early Release or Scoop
How to Tell If You Have the Casting Swing Characteristic
The easiest way to tell is to look at a video recording of your swing from the face-on view.
- Advance the video to your downswing and find the frame where your lead hand is level with or a little below your hips.
- Draw a straight line through your hips (should be tilting toward the ground away from the target).
- At this point in the downswing, your wrists should still be significantly cocked upwards (radial deviation).
- If the clubhead is level with, or below the hip line, then you have the early release swing characteristic.
The screenshots below were taken from a video by Me and My Golf, where PGA Golf Professional Andy Proudman demonstrates the casting swing characteristic. I tried to record video of myself casting and I couldn’t really do it. So I went to YouTube.
In the first photo, you can see that his wrists are not cocked and the top of his hand is almost parallel to his arm. The clubhead is well below the line drawn across his hips. He is exhibiting the early release or casting swing characteristic.
The next photo is showing the club in a more proper position. The wrists are still cocked and the club is upright as the hands swing below the hips.
Swing Assessment Program
Are you slicing or hooking the golf ball? Do you think your swing is costing you distance? Are the common swing faults, like early extension, over the top, and loss of posture costing you frustration and strokes?
Did you know that your golf swing can provide clues to swing faults?
Using two videos of your golf swing recorded with your smartphone, I can identify which of the swing characteristics you may possess.
I have developed a Swing Assessment Program to assist in determining swing faults. Correct swing faults with simple corrective exercises.
Use the buttons below to learn more.
The "Learn More" button will take you to a page on this website that describes the program in detail.
The "Visit Course Website" button will take you to the area of my website where I host my golf conditioning programs.
Scooping Swing Characteristic
Scooping occurs when the club shaft is leaning away from the target at impact adding more loft to the clubface.
It is often hard to get the a good image of the golf club at impact. This is because the clubhead is moving at its fastest pace during the swing at impact, and unless you have an expensive stop-action camera getting photos at impact is difficult.
To get around this, I advance the video to the follow-through and see if the clubhead is above the hands when the arms reach hip height.
The photos below show this well.
Although the first photo is not taken directly face-on you can still see how the clubhead is above his hands. Notice how his wrists have snapped through the ball and form an angle between the club shaft and the trail forearm.
This person is exhibiting the scooping swing characteristic.
In the second photo, the clubhead is below the line, and the hands and trail arm is in a straight line. This swing does not have the scooping swing characteristic.
There are two common swing results of early release.
These are the loss of distance and inconsistent ball striking. If the clubhead is released early it becomes difficult to compress the golf ball.
When the wrists are un-cocked at impact clubhead speed is increased providing power to the golf swing. Power is lost with early release.
Early release and scooping tilt the club shaft back during contact increasing the relative loft of the club. All of this pre-contact club movement makes it hard to hit the ball in the middle of the club and the inconsistent change in loft makes distance control hard to judge.
Physical Causes of Early Release
Wrist mobility is very important in the golf swing. Especially radial deviation, as it allows you to hold the club upright as your arms lower in the downswing. If your wrists have mobility limitations often the result is early release.
Forearm and grip strength are also key to hold the club upright and to unhinge the wrists late in the downswing.
Even though this swing characteristic appears to be an arm and upper body issue, it can be caused by lower body limitations. If your hips and ankles can’t rotate properly, or in the correct kinematic sequence, the upper body will take over and dominate the downswing.
Core and lumbar spine stabilization provide the hips and upper back a stable segment to rotate around. I find that core strength is one of the first areas golfers should train.The core is easy to train without having to fix mobility limitations first, and it will help transfer power from the lower body to upper body more
The core is easy to train without having to fix mobility limitations first, and it will help transfer power from the lower body to upper body more efficiently.
Your pelvis needs to move from the neutral position, into anterior and posterior tilt freely during the swing. The lack of mobility or a jerky movement pattern will disrupt the kinematic sequence and may cause the arms and wrists to take over the swing.
The physical screens below will help determine what physical limitations you have that could be causing your early release.
Note: I will link the physical screens to an article once I have written it.
Wrist Four-way Test
The wrist four-way test will determine if you have the mobility to deviate, extend, and flex (hinge) your wrists to the extent needed to hold the club in an ideal position during the swing.
Kettlebell Upright Test
I like to use a kettlebell held upright by the handle and raised above the head to test your forearm and grip strength.
Overhead Deep Squat Test & Half-Kneeling Dorsiflexion Test
The overhead deep squat will test your ankle mobility. Depending on the results of the overhead deep squat, the half-kneeling dorsiflexion test may be used to check your ankle mobility.
Lower Quarter & Pelvic Rotation Tests
The lower quarter rotation test should be used to check your hip rotation and the stability of your core. If the hips can’t rotate properly, your swing will lack speed and power. Lack of hip mobility can cause the upper body to take over and the wrists to release early as they try to compensate for the lack of speed.
Pelvic Tilt & Bridge with Leg Extension Test
These tests are needed to test the strength and stability of your core. To core needs to be strong to stabilize the lower spine, and allow for better rotation of the hips and upper back.
The pelvis needs to articulate during the swing to keep the swing sequence in order.
Undergo a Physical Screen
It is best if you have a certified Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) Fitness Professional show you how to perform the physical screens and observe the tests.
I also have a Swing Analysis Program where you send me videos of your swing and I evaluate them for swing characteristics, return the results, and provide you with exercises to correct the limitations.
Or, if you live in Upstate New York I have an in Home TPI Screening Service.
If you have the early release or scooping swing characteristics, don’t worry.
There are exercises that will increase your mobility, flexibility and strength. I have prepared a free guide with those exercises for you!
It lists the exercises that will help you correct limitations causing your mobility issues.
Each exercise is linked to a video to show you the proper way to do the exercise correctly.
Click the button below and enter your first name and e-mail address so I can e-mail you the Free Exercise Guide for Early Release (Casting) and Scooping!