The Release Video Series: Are you a shotmaker or a ballstriker? Jim Hardy and Chris O'Connell detail what must happen at the moment of truth

By Mike Lednovich, Editor & Publisher

OCOEE, FL. — So you want to have the swing of a tour pro. Question is, which pro?

Is it Rickie Fowler or Sergio Garcia? Maybe Bubba Watson or even Tom Watson.

“I classify the swings of tour pros into two groups – shotmakers and ballstrikers,” said renowned instructor Jim Hardy, while sitting on the patio of the Forest Lake Golf Club on a windy afternoon. “Bubba Watson, Phil Michelson, they’re shotmakers, They curve the ball. Sergio Garcia, Rickie Fowler hit the ball with not a lot of side spin. But they can curve it if they want to. They’re ballstrikers.”

Why this matters to golfers is critical because in squaring the clubface at impact, the swing mechanics of shotmakers should never be used by ballstrikers and vise versa .

Hardy detailed the components of each swing at the impact position in his book “The Release: Golf’s Moment of Truth” in 2016. Now, Hardy and teaching partner Chris O’Connell are launching the video version of “The Release” which is four hours of streaming instruction available at

Chris O’Connell

“We think ‘The Release, golf’s moment of truth’ video series is ground breaking instruction,” said O’Connell. “Jim and I love to work on the zone of the swing that hits the ball.”

Hardy first rattled the foundation of golf instruction with his groundbreaking book “The Plane Truth for Golfers” published in 2005 and then the instruction videos “The Plane Truth.”

In the book and videos, Hardy identified two categories in which all golf swings can be divided and analyzed. More importantly, he found two separate sets of fundamentals for each swing. Hardy labels these two categories as the “One Plane Swing” and the “Two Plane” Swing.


“My mentor John Jacobs said it best – the sole purpose of the golf swing is to produce a correct repetitive impact. The method employed is of no significance as long as it is correct and repetitive. That’s what we’re teaching in The Release videos,” Hardy said.  “Current touring pros who swing on decidedly upright planes — The Two Plane — include Bubba Watson, Ian Poulter, Jason Day, Karrie Webb, Cristie Kerr. While the decidedly flatter plane — One Plane — players are Hunter Mahan, Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, and Matt Kuchar.”

The differences between “two plane” and “one plane” players are dramatic.

Sergio Garcia is a “One Planer”
Phil Michelson is a “Two planer”

“Two plane swingers include leverage, pullers, hitters, left arm/hand and outward. One plane swingers include swing the clubhead, throwers, swingers, right arm/hand and inward,” Hardy explained. “You can see by these descriptions their opposite natures.”

Hardy said an important aspect of The Release videos is for golfers to understand these opposite factors.

‘It’s when we see opposites side-by-side that we fully understand them. Without sour, we don’t fully understand sweet.” Hardy said. “That’s exactly what we do in The Release video series. If you want a sweet swing, you don’t want to use the ingredients from the sour swing.”

Hardy identifies each release as LOP (Left/Outward/Pull) and RIT ( Right/Inward/Throw).

“We present elements of the LOP and RIT very close to each other because I believe we learn effectively in a blank universe. We show you what to do and not what to do. If you understand the opposite, your not wondering where you are in your golf swing,”Hardy said.

The videos have three sections:

  • The history and terminology of release and swing plane; the correct motion of LOB and RIT releases
  • Shots, swing faults and drills for proper mechanics
  • Examples of LOP and RIT players on tour with analysis by Hardy and O’Connell
Jim Hardy

“Prior to the Plane Truth, 90 percent of golf instruction and people playing were two plane. If you had a one-plane swing it was believed you did something special to make it work. Jim’s book changed all of that,” said O’Connell, who works with Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, and Gavin Green and is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher. “We teach both two-plane and one-plane. We’re not teaching a quote method way. We’re teaching proven swing mechanics based on a person’s build and their physical capabilities. For us, it’s all about having a square face at impact and how you can do that over and over.”

Hardy believes the videos the help golfes better understand the concepts of the book.

“There’s tons of photos in the book, but they’re static and one dimensional,” he said.  “In the videos we very much want to get people who read the book to not only get the correct moves, but also have some big ‘a ha’ moments.”


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