As senior golfers advance in years, one of the biggest fears they harbour is the loss of distance.
It is inevitable that as age increases, distance will do the opposite, but there are ways to help fend off the trend. One reason senior golfers begin to lose distance is a lack of wrist hinge or incorrect wrist hinge during the backswing. The hinge of the left wrist (for right handed golfers) creates a lever between the club and left arm. This lever increases the amount of potential speed a golfer can generate through impact.
Swinging through the ball, the wrist unhinges (uncocks), releasing all the power stored up during the backswing.
The Wrist Hinge - Broken Down
There are some key positions during the backswing which will ensure the golfer can achieve a full and correct wrist hinge.
1. At address, the left arm and club should form a reasonably straight line when viewed face on in a mirror.
2. As the player takes the club away, the hands begin to rotate slightly.
3. When the club has reached waist high and the shaft is parallel to the ground, the toe of the club should point straight up at the sky. This position is important to achieve a proper wrist hinge.
4. From this position, the club can begin to rise until the club shaft points up at the sky. If this position is correct, the angle created between the left wrist and club shaft should be 90 degrees.
5. Once the wrist is fully cocked, all the golfer needs to do is rotate the shoulders away from the target.
This five step breakdown of the wrist hinge may sound complicated but can be achieved in a single connected movement with a little practice.
To get the feeling of how the wrist hinge should feel, a senior golfer could practice this drill which can be completed without a club.
1. Take your posture and let the left arm hang down. Put your right arm behind your back out of the way.
2. Make your left hand into a blade with the back of the hand facing an imaginary target down the ball-to-target line.
3. Swing your left arm back to the top of the swing and stop.
4. Once at the top of the swing, clench your fist. This should give you the feeling of a hinged wrist.
By following these tips, you can improve your wrist hinge to maintain your distance.