golf swing wrist action

Wrist Action in the Golf Swing

Do you know that your wrist plays a vital role in your swing and distance? Proper wrist action is important if you want to improve your distance and the direction of your shot. With bad wrist action, you have a hard time getting the ball in the hole.

Many golfers ignore the wrist as they generalize it with the rest of the arm. Many have little awareness of what the wrist does. It’s essential to learn wrist action if you want it to transform how you hit. This article digs deeper into wrist action and how to improve your golf swing.

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Wrists and Their Use in Golf

There are two main wrists uses that are important in your golf game. These include the front wrist, which is the left wrist for right-handed players and vice versa. The second is the back wrist which is the right wrist for the right-handed players and vice versa.

Hinge Positions for Wrist Action

To help you understand better, this article will explain three types of hinge positions for wrist action. Let’s have a look;

  • Cupping: This position is whereby the wrist creates a cup-like shape when you bend it back to enable the top of your hand to move to the top of your forearm.
  • Bowed: This is another wrist position where the palm folds towards the forearm, causing the wrist to bore.
  • Side to Side: In this position, the back of the wrist stays flat, and your hand moves from side to side.

Wrist Hinge Positions

There are three positions for the wrist hinge. These include flat, bowed, and cupped position, as discussed below.

The Flat Left Wrist

The flat wrist position on top of your swing is generally the front wrist. At this position, the front of your wrist will stay flat at the top of your swing. You’ll also notice some sideways movement towards the target. You will maintain the flat back position of the wrist despite the movement.  This position is popular among many golfers worldwide.

Bowed Left Wrist

In this position, a golf player bows the front wrist at the top of their backswing. This method is popular among renowned golf players like Dustin Johnson. While this is one of the hardest positions to master, it can help improve your distance if you get it right.

Cupped Left Wrist

This is another position on the tip of the backswing that many players find themselves in. The position is not that idea as it requires excellent hand-eye coordination, which most golfers don’t possess. The position adds another moving part to your swing, but it gives a great distance to your shots if you get it right.

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Wrist Positions to Try

If you’re starting your wrist work journey, you should start with the flat position. You can then move to the rest after you mastered this one.

Always ensure the back of the front wrist stays parallel to the angle of the clubface no matter the position you choose. If you can master this drill, you’ll manage to hit straight shots and still achieve great distance.

You can check how you do this position by getting someone to shoot a video. Make sure you’re in the down-the-line angle to get the right video. Pose the video on the top of the swing, and then draw a line across the back of your front hand as well as across the clubface. Ensure the lines run in the same direction.

Releasing the Wrists

Once you’re done with the backswing, it’s now time to work on the downswing and hit the ball. You need to maintain the angle of your wrists long enough to get a solid ball contact and achieve great distance.

You’ll create an angle between your forearm and the shaft of your club, which gives you excellent clubhead speed and a great distance. You should strive to maintain that angle longer to get more snaps at your clubhead at great impact.

The first movement from the top of your swing should involve dropping your hands directly to the ball. The clubhead will lag behind your hands, creating speed. You’ll then straighten up your wrist when they get to the height of your waist.

After impact, release the wrists until they get to the opposite of your other side of the body. Your back wrist will bow while the front wrist will cup. They’ll slow down and finally rest on your shoulders as you finish the position.

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Wrist Action Mistakes to Avoid in Golf

Since there are many moving parts, angles, hinging, and lagging, making a mistake with your wrist action is common. But you can’t allow mistakes to be the order of the day. Here are some wrist action mistakes you should watch out for and how to troubleshoot them.

Premature Wrist Setting

One mistake golfers make when it comes to wrist action is setting the wrist too early in their swing. Once you begin a swing, you bend the wrists immediately, which is a grave mistake.

Don’t rush to get your wrist on the top of the swing position. If you do this, the chances are that you’re going to go too far at the top of your golf swing. You’ll then end up with balancing issues and difficulty in timing your impact. The results of these are shots that fly off-line.

Early Wrist Release

Many amateur golfers release their wrists too early. You must maintain your wrist angle long enough if you want to get good clubhead speed. Instead, amateurs end up straightening their wrists too early and end up with a much slower swing speed. Learn to keep the lag to achieve great distance.

Delaying Wrist Release

Releasing your wrists too early is a mistake, so is it releasing too late. While you need to lag the clubhead to get high clubhead speed, staying in the hinged position too long will not do you any good. What you’ll get if you do this is a sidespin on the ball that leads to a slice that goes off target. Release the club head by straightening out your wrists at impact. This way, you’ll not hit the ball off-line.

Important Drills for Improving Wrist Action

Getting the correct wrist action is not easy. This is not something you’ll learn from watching other golfers because you won’t see their wrists as you learn. Well, you don’t need to worry because there are still essential drills to help you out.

Drill 1: The Impact Bag Drill

Hitting the impact bag should be your very first drill to improving your wrist action. This is a thick pillow that consists of tap-like material. Here’s how it goes:

  1. Put the bag in the same position where you’d put a golf ball
  2. Hit the impact back to stimulate and impact position. This will tell you whether you’re releasing your club too early or too late
  3. If the bottom of the club hits the bag, you’re releasing too early.
  4. If your hands get in front of the bag at impact, you’re releasing too late
  5. Make sure the clubface smacks flat against the back. Line up your hands in the position of your golf ball or slightly ahead.

Drill 2: Swing Club Upside-Down Drill

Here is another great drill that can help you improve your wrist action. Let’s see how it goes.

  1. Turn your club upside down, so you grip near the head and not the grip itself
  2. Pull out a normal golf club swing
  3. Listen to the ‘whooshing’ sound as you swing down
  4. Listen to the area where the sound is coming from
  5. The noise is where you’re releasing your wrists and the clubhead
  6. If you hear the whoosh behind you, it means you’re releasing too early
  7. If you hear it in front, you’re releasing too late
  8. The correct way is when you get the whoosh from the right around where you’d place the ball

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Drill 3: Ruler on Back of Front Wrist for a Flat Drill

Get prepared for this drill by getting a short ruler and a rubber band. Here’s how it goes.

  1. Wrap the rubber band on your wrist and put the ruler underneath the rubber band on the back of your front wrist.
  2. Take slow practice swings without hitting full shots
  3. This helps you feel how the back of your wrist stays flat on the backswing

This drill aims at helping you keep your wrist flat and lined with the clubface at the top of your swing. Make sure you’re doing it right by shooting a video of your swing at a down-the-line angle. See if you’re achieving the goal of keeping your face and wrist angle the same.

Bottom Line

Wrist action is one of the hardest parts of playing golf because they’re not easy to see if you want to copy other players. But you can’t overlook them in your golf swing because they still play a crucial role in ensuring you hit the ball further with great impact.

If you don’t master proper wrist action, getting the ball flying high and straight to your target will be a nightmare. Practice the drills above and learn to avoid common wrist action mistakes. If you get it right, you’ll love how your golf game will improve with time.

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