Bowed Left Wrist to Square Clubface, Golf Tip

Ask any tour pro or golf swing student, “Whose impact position would you most like to copy?” The vast majority will answer, Ben Hogan’s.

Sixty years after his heyday, Hogan remains the gold standard for pure ballstriking. And his impeccable impact pose is the envy of every serious golfer. More specifically, Hogan’s bowed left wrist is the subject of much awe.

It’s something all golfers should aspire to copy. We’ll provide a helpful drill momentarily; first, let’s study the bowed wrist in more detail.

At the instant when club met ball, the back of Hogan’s left wrist pointed directly down the target line, with a slight but notable outward bowing. This created a small angle between the left forearm and shaft, assuring that the hands remained in front of the clubhead, the shaft leaning toward the target, when the ball was struck. Voila! Compression of ball against turf -- the key to long, penetrating iron shots.

Of course, Hogan was one of golf’s most accurate players because his left wrist position squared the clubface consistently. Even if you never achieve his bowing action, developing a flat wrist position will improve your ability to hit the target.

Rather than consciously trying to flatten out your wrist at the moment of contact, it’s important to recognize this position as a by-product of proper swing technique. In other words, get the fundamentals correct and the magic moment will happen naturally.

As promised, here’s a practice drill to get you trapping the ball, Hogan-style:

  • Start with a short iron and set up with the ball in the center of your stance.
  • The shaft should lean toward the target, with your hands ahead of the ball.
  • The left arm and shaft should form a straight (or nearly straight) line from shoulder to ground.
  • Before taking the club back, lift your right heel, but keep your toes touching the ground. This will tilt your body ever so slightly, promoting a downward strike.
  • Swing normally, and continue hitting shots until your contact is consistently solid. You should make a divot with each swing.
  • Switch to a longer club, hit several more shots, and so on through the bag.

If you’re making crisp contact and hitting straight, penetrating shots, you’re getting the hang of this flat-wrist thing – without even thinking about it.