Backswing Wrists Hinge

It’s a question as old as the golf swing itself, and one with no definitive answer.

Most instructors teach golfers to take the club back using the arms and shoulders, letting the wrists hinge naturally once the shaft is parallel to the ground. In other words, don’t consciously force the wrists to hinge, but avoid keeping them rigid beyond this point.

That said, some golf teachers advocate an earlier, more abrupt wrist hinge, setting an angle of about 90 degrees between the left arm and shaft and maintaining it to the top of the backswing. A prime example of this method was Seve Ballesteros, whose powerful wrists began hinging almost immediately on the takeaway.

It’s important to note the position of the club with the hands at waist height. The shaft should be parallel to the ground, with the toe pointing directly skyward.

If the shaft remains below the hands, your wrists may be too rigid. If it’s headed dramatically upward, the wrists have cocked too much. Likewise, a toe pointing in front of you (i.e. in a closed position) means the arms and hands haven’t rotated enough. They’ve over-rotated if the toe points behind you (in an open position).

Remember during the golf swing, if your arms, shoulders and hips are working properly, the wrists should hinge automatically and on time.

Early Wrist Hinge

Early Wrist Hinge



There are several misconceptions and debates regarding where and how the wrists hinge in the backswing. Many operate under the assumption of a one piece takeaway while others advocate an early wrist hinge. David Leadbetter believes hinging the wrists early prevents a flat backswing where the club gets stuck too far inside. The flat backswing often leads to an over the top motion at the start the forward swing. In addition, a flat backswing creates too many extra and unnecessary movements and compensations throughout the entire swing sequence. Leadbetter is known for his hinge and turn swing method.

Many players set their wrists at different positions in the swing, however, several high profile players actually set their wrists early in the swing. In fact, Seve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo are known to set their wrists slightly early.

Faldo practiced a pre-set wrist drill to help him get the club in the correct position at the top of his backswing position. Place a club a few inches from your feet and parallel to the target line. Next, keep your left arm straight and move your wrists so the club is parallel with the club on the ground. The butt end of the grip should point toward the target parallel to the target line. Once the club is set properly, simply turn and you will find the club in a perfect position at the top of the backswing. Next, swing down, hit the ball and follow through. Follow the sequence, Set-Turn-Swing. If the drill works for Nick Faldo it can help anyone feel the perfect backswing position.

Ian Poulter is another Tour Professional who advocates and practices an early wrist hinge. Poulter has a tendency to miss tee shots to the right of his target as result of a laid off club at the top of the backswing. Poulter hinges his wrists early to help get the club shaft pointing toward the target at the top of the backswing.

Most professional players allow the club to reach parallel with the ground when the hands reach hip height. An early wrist hinge positions the club to be tilted up when the hands hinge so quickly. There are many professional players that successfully utilize an early wrist hinge. However, amateurs need to be aware that professionals have a tremendous amount of talent and timing. There are several set backs the average amateur might encounter with an early wrist hinge. Picking the club up quickly can lead to an open club face, directly causing a slice. Professional players typically keep the club face square throughout the entire swing. The early wrist hinge can also create a restricted shoulder turn. Unfortunately, the restricted shoulder turn robs potential distance and accuracy.

Players who initiate the swing with an early wrist hinge and pick the club up too quickly can try the following drills to learn the correct sequence. If you fight the early wrist hinge with an inside takeaway try placing a club on the ground with the grip against the left heel and the shaft against the right big toe. When the hands are opposite of your right thigh the club should be approximately parallel to the shaft on the ground. This will help eliminate the early wrist hinge and prevent the club from getting inside on the takeaway.

Trying to find the correct balance of body, arms and wrists can be difficult in the takeaway. Take your normal set up, however, place the club head in front of the ball. Swing the club back and feel the momentum of the club while the body, arms and wrists initiate the swing. The drill helps eliminate picking the club up with an early wrist hinge and over rotating the shoulders as the club goes back.

Left Wrist Hinge

Left Wrist Hinge



The left wrist plays an integral part during the backswing and forward swing. The left wrist hinges during the back swing and creates approximately a 90 degree angle. During the forward swing, good players maintain the 90 degree angle, or less, as the club swings toward impact. The wrists unhinge through impact and allow the club to whip through the impact area.

Wrist Hinge and Lag

One of the ways to generate solid and powerful shots is to keep the club head lagging behind your hands. The longer you maintain the lag the more club head speed you can generate closer to impact. PGA Tour players generate an enormous amount of swing speed by releasing the club at the appropriate time in the forward swing. Amateurs often waste a tremendous amount of speed with an early release. Club head release occurs when you lose the lag and the wrists unhinge in the forward swing. Ideally, the release should take place close to the ball so the club head whips through impact.

Many amateurs release the club, unhinge their wrists and lose the lag at the start of the forward swing. The following is an easy drill that helps teach how to maintain lag and release the club at impact. Take your stance and swing the club back with your left arm, however, as you start the forward swing hook your right index finger around the shaft to maintain the left wrist hinge. This keeps the 90 degree angle between the left arm and club. Swing down toward impact while maintaining the club head lag.

Hinge and Hold

Phil Mickelson is widely known for his exciting flop shots, however, his go to shot around the green is known as a hinge and hold technique. This is a great way to simplify a pitch shot. The hinge and hold creates an immediate left wrist hinge during the backswing and holds the angle through impact.

Hinge

Begin with the weight forward on the front leg and foot. Pre-set the shaft leaning forward with a flat left wrist and bend the right wrist. During the takeaway hinge your wrists immediately. Avoid taking the club inside during the backswing. It can be difficult to recover on such a short swing. Rather, the club should be parallel to your stance.

Hold

Start the forward swing through the ball and hold the wrist hinge through impact. The key is returning to impact with the shaft leaning forward. The biggest error is releasing the bend in the right wrist with the shaft vertical or backwards into impact.

The hinge and hold is essentially creates a perfect impact position that should transfer to a full swing. Remember the ideal impact position creates a straight left arm, flat left wrist while the club head lags behind the hands. The prototypical impact position is the same as hinge and hold and will pop the ball up in the air every time. The shot is simple and can be performed from the fairway or rough. This is a great shot if you struggle hitting the ball in the air or flip the wrists through impact.

Golf Backswing Wrist Hinge

Golf Backswing Wrist Hinge



Watch nearly any Tour Professional for an ideal swing sequence. The majority of professionals create an effortless swing where the arms and body work seamlessly together. Amateurs often get confused and out of sync right at the beginning of the swing. Many swing flaws begin when the player picks the club up with his hands and wrists or pulls the club inside at the start of the swing. Starting the swing with a big wrist hinge is a potential precursor for a pull or slice.

Importance of the Wrist Hinge

A good wrist hinge in the golf backswing leads to better and more consistent golf shots. An incorrect hinge makes it difficult to return the club face in a square position at impact. Additional movements increase the likelihood of an open or closed club face at impact.

Remember, the golf swing operates with a cause and effect relationship. For each incorrect or extra movement you need to develop a compensation that helps you recover. The swing occurs in approximately a second, which makes any alterations extremely difficult. Therefore, efficient swings without wasted movements lead to more consistent and accurate golf shots.

The wrist hinging and unhinging is a huge source of power in your swing. Think about the motion of hitting a nail with a hammer. If would be difficult to just hit the nail without moving the wrist. However, when the wrist hinges you create more power and speed. The same goes in the golf swing, stay relaxed and allow the proper wrist hinge. Hinging correctly allows you to reach the top of the backswing correctly, which in turn allows the correct lag and unhinging of the wrists at impact. The forward swing should feel the left wrist pushing while the right wrist is pulling toward impact.

Avoid Wrist Roll

Common errors during the backswing start with rolling the left wrists at the start of the backswing. Rolling the left hand and wrist over the top of the right hand moves the club flat and inside during the takeaway. The inside takeaway instantly leads to compensations and adjustments. Focus on the upward wrist hinge in the golf backswing. Think of the left thumb position during the swing. Once the left arm is parallel with the ground the left thumb should point up toward the sky. When the left thumb points up the hinge is going upward in the backswing.

Set Up

Make sure to set up correctly with the appropriate bend at the hips. Achieving the correct spine angle will encourage the necessary upward wrist hinge during the backswing. Players that create an upright stance at address promote the hands and wrists to roll inside during the takeaway. The correct set up and spine angle allows the wrist to hinge while the club travels up on the appropriate swing plane.

Maintain the Wrist Hinge

The correct wrist hinge promotes consistent and accurate golf shots. However, some players ruin a solid wrist hinge at the top of the backswing. Focus on maintaining the wrist hinge and avoid flipping the wrists at the top of the backswing. Avoid flipping the wrists at any point in the swing. Flipping at the top of the backswing often leads to an early release at the start of the forward swing.

Proper Wrist Hinge

Proper Wrist Hinge



Achieving the proper wrist hinge in the swing is important and extremely difficult. The following drills offer a variety of methods to learn the proper wrist hinge throughout the backswing and forward swing. Although creating the proper hinge is key, it is equally important you maintain the appropriate lag through impact for more powerful and consistent shots.

One Piece Takeaway Drill

Begin by taking a normal stance but place the butt end of your grip into your stomach and grip down on the shaft. Start to swing the club back, however, you will feel your arms and body work cohesively together while the butt end of the grip is pressed against your body. This is a good drill to eliminate early wrist hinge and feel the arms and shoulders initiate the swing. Keep the lower body still as you swing the club back.

Grip Down Drill

The Grip Down Drill is beneficial to learn the proper movements including the swing plane, swing path, proper wrist hinge and release of the golf club. Begin by taking a normal stance.

Place a club or alignment stick on the ground approximately three feet from your feet to represent the target line. Place your hands on the shaft just below the grip. Start with the club head around your knees and the end of the grip pointing towards your stomach. Swing your arms and the club back and initially keep your lower body still. Allow the wrist to hinge and feel the shoulder turn and hips rotate. In addition, allow the wrist to hinge while the left arm and club form a 90 degree angle. The butt end of the grip should point down toward the golf ball and target line. If the end of the grip points toward your toes or other side of the ball the wrist hinge and swing plane are slightly off.

When the end of the grip points down at the target line initiate the forward swing. Try to keep the end of the grip pointed at the target line as long as possible and swing through the impact area. Again, allow the wrist to hinge and the end of the grip will point down at the target line. Now the right arm and club form the 90 degree angle. Repeat the drill and groove the correct swing plane, swing path, proper wrist hinge and release. This is one of the easiest and most beneficial drills you can practice to improve your swing.

Swoosh Drill

The swoosh drill helps maintain lag, teach the correct release and indicates where you actually release the club. Take a driver or longer club and turn it upside down so you grip the shaft just above the club head. Begin with your normal stance with the grip pointing down toward the ground. Then swing the club up to the top of your backswing. When the club is approximately parallel with the ground the wrists will hinge so you achieve a 90 degree angle between the left arm and club. Keep the angle through the top of the backswing position. Start the forward swing and maintain the 90 degree angle or less for as long as possible. When done correctly the inverted club should make a swoosh sound through the impact area rather than the start of the forward swing. The correct hinging of the wrists promote lag and the unhinging of the wrists. When done correctly unhinging the wrists will lead to farther and straighter golf shots.

Left Thumb Drill

A simple adjustment with your left thumb can help create the sensation of the correct wrist hinge for more powerful shots. Take your grip than slide your left thumb off the grip and over the top of your right wrist. Take a few shorter swings with an iron and feel how the thumb helps maintain the right wrist angle and proper lag through impact.

Power Lag Flat Wrist Pro

When you understand the proper wrist hinge and lag, visualize the correct sequence and practice the drills yet still can not achieve the correct position it might be time for a training aid. The Power Lag Flat Wrist Pro costs approximately $40 and teaches the correct hinge and lag for more powerful golf shots. The Power Lag trains the hands to maximize club lag and provides immediate feedback when the wrist is fully cocked.
More specifically, it develops proper wrist hinge, wrist pronation, promotes the proper lag, corrects slices , over the top movement and prevents casting the club.

The Power Lag is a top pick from both Golf Magazine, Golf Tips Magazine and endorsed by top instructor Jim McLean.

Correct Wrist Hinge

Correct Wrist Hinge



The wrist hinge is one of the most misunderstood aspects of the swing. In fact, Incorrect hinging of the wrists rates as a common swing flaws among amateur golfers. Two of the most common phrases in the golf swing include cocking the wrist or breaking the wrist during the backswing. Golf instructors generally use the term wrist hinge when describing the proper movements of the wrists during the backswing. The correct wrist hinge generally occurs once the club reaches waist high and parallel with the ground. At this point, the club should not continue going back. The swing generates a rotational movement, not a lateral movement. Therefore, the next movement involves the club going up to the top of the backswing. The proper backswing is aided by the left wrist hinging and forming a 90 degree angle between the left arm and club. Maintain the wrist hinge all the way to the top of the backswing.

Upward Hinge

Once the club is approximately parallel with the ground allow the wrist to hinge upward and not sideways. When you hinge the club sideways the swing plane becomes flat. The end of the grip tends to point on the opposite side of the target line. An over the top downswing is often the result of a flat backswing. The correct wrist hinge travels upward and helps keep the club on the correct swing plane during the backswing and forward swing.

There are two popular thoughts on the swing. Many players utilize a one piece takeaway in their swing. On the other hand, some players use an early wrist hinge. Amateurs often create more problems and compensations as result of an early wrist hinge.

Allow the wrists to hinge once the left arm is parallel with the ground. If you allow the wrist to hinge before the left arm is parallel you have created an early wrist hinge. The majority of amateurs are better off creating the low and slow feeling of the takeaway and allowing a natural wrist hinge once the club is parallel with the ground.

Grip Pressure

Grip pressure and tension play a vital role in the correct wrist hinge. Some players grip the club so tight they prevent their wrists from hinging properly. Therefore, the left arm is parallel with the ground, yet they still can not create the correct wrist hinge necessary for solid golf shots. Tension limits the muscles to work properly. Think of a simple task like writing with a pencil. Obviously you can not write as neat when you grip the pencil tightly. On a scale of 1 – 10, maintain a grip pressure of 3 or 4 so your wrists can hinge properly.

L to L Drill

Take your normal stance and swing the club back. The left arm remains straight and parallel to the ground while wrist hinges so the club is poisoned in a 90 degree angle. The 90 degree angle gives the impression the left arm and club form a letter L during the backswing. Since you swing the club in an arc around the body you achieve another letter L after impact when the right arm is straight and club is perpendicular to the arm.