When To Start Wrist Hinge To Create More Power For Senior Golfers

During this swing tip we are going to discuss when to start to hinge your wrist to create more power during your golf swing.

Power is crucial for any golfer to create as the more power you swing your golf club with, the faster the club head will move and the faster the club head moves when it strikes the golf ball, the further you will hit your golf shots.

Take up your address position, with the correct hold, posture and ball position. Create a well balanced start position. From here, if you hinge your wrist immediately as you swing the club away from the ball, your club head will travel too vertically during your backswing, producing a very upright swing that uses your arms predominantly. This will reduce the amount of shoulder turn that you are able to generate and therefore reduce the power within your golf swing. Swinging predominantly with your arms will produce a very steep angle for the club head to travel back down towards the ball at and as a result, you will also tend to hit the top of the golf ball.

Conversely, if you swing away from your address position and do not hinge your wrists until very late in your backswing, you will find it very hard to keep your left arm (if you are a right handed golfer) straight and extended at the top of your backswing. Keeping your left arm straight throughout your backswing is crucial for creating power as it means the club head has to travel on the widest swing arc around you and therefore it gives you the most time to pick up speed as you swing back down towards the golf ball.

Hinging very late causes a flopping action with the club at the top of your backswing where your left arm collapses and the club points down towards the ground which is incorrect and the largest swing arc is not obtained.

To hinge your wrists correctly, you need to initiate your backswing movement from your left shoulder (right handed golfer). Move your left arm and the golf club away from the ball as one unit. Once your hands are across or in front of your right thigh, begin to hinge your wrists so that the club head rises up from the target line. By the time your hands are hip height and the club shaft is pointing away from the target to the right and parallel to the target line, the club head should be as high as your hands.

You can check you are hinging your wrists correctly by using a mirror or reflection to the right of you as you set up. From your address position, look to the right at your reflection. Move the club towards the reflection and when your left arm is pointing directly at the reflection, the club head should be covering your hands so that you cannot see them.

You have now started your wrist hinge correctly and will create the maximum power possible during your golf swing, helping you to hit your longest golf shots.

When and How to Start Wrist Hinge to Create More Power

When and How to Start Wrist Hinge to Create More Power

It seems that every golfer wants to know how to create more power. Even though there is far more to golf than just hitting long shots, the average golfer is obsessed with maximizing swing speed and outdriving everyone else in their group. In this article, we are going to give in to this distance obsession and offer up some advice on how you can create more power in your own game. Specifically, we are going to talk about how using your wrist hinge effectively can unlock plenty of previously unused yardage.

Your wrists are one of the biggest sources of power you have available in your swing. In fact, using your wrists the right way is the most important thing you can do to hit long shots, other than mastering proper body rotation. Once you are able to marry correct body rotation with a successful wrist hinge, you will be well down the path to long drives and powerful iron shots.

Unfortunately, most amateur golfers struggle to use their wrists correctly. In fact, most average golfers aren't anywhere close to proper wrist action, which is why so many golfers struggle to hit the ball a decent distance. You can unlock a significant amount of power by hinging and unhinging your wrists in the right way, and at the right time. Of course, if you have been doing it wrong all this time, making this change is not necessarily going to be easy. You will have to be dedicated to putting in some hard work on the range if you would like to transform the way you use your wrists in the swing.

Any article which offers advice on how to hit the ball farther should come with a disclaimer. That disclaimer is this – distance is not the most important part of your golf game. If you are serious about shooting lower scores, power should actually be rather low on your priority list. Instead, you should be thinking about things like your short game, your ability to control your trajectories, course management strategies, etc. Sure, adding distance can help you a little bit on the path toward better scoring, but it will not have nearly the impact of those other areas. Go ahead and work on your power production, but be sure not to neglect the more important parts of your game at the same time.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

The Big Picture

The Big Picture

Before we get down into the details of how you can use your wrists to generate power, we need to take a step back and look at this topic from a wide angle. Why are the wrists important in terms of power production? What will happen if you use your wrists incorrectly? Only when you have a clear understanding of this topic will you be able to understand why it is so important to master the correct wrist hinge technique.

The following points will outline the importance of the wrist hinge in the golf swing.

  • Holding onto your power. It is no secret that the rotation of your body is responsible for most of the power that is generated in the golf swing. To accelerate the club, you need to turn your body quickly in one direction and then the other. Without a great turn, you will only be able to use your hands and arms to create speed. While this method might be able to hit some decent shots, it will never allow you to reach your goals. What you might not know, however, is that your wrists are responsible for storing the power which is generated by your body rotation until it can be used to propel the club into the ball. This is called lag. As you swing down, you are letting your body build up speed while the club head lags behind. By holding your lag until the last possible moment, you build up as much speed as you can and then unleash that speed into the ball. Your wrists do the job of holding your lag by hinging back toward the club on the way down. Then, as impact approaches, you use your wrists to unwind all of that power and send the ball rocketing into the distance.
  • Executing a clean strike. One of the overlooked elements of power in the golf swing is the clean strike. Without a clean hit, most of your power will be wasted and your swing will be extremely inefficient. By using your wrist hinge properly, you can keep the club on track for a perfect strike into the back of the ball. That strike will put the sweet spot of the club right where it needs to be in order to transfer energy from the swing into the shot. In the end, you will get the most out of your swing because your wrists will have directed the club into impact perfectly.
  • Dealing with difficult lies. You might be able to get away with not using your wrists properly when playing from a perfect lie, or when hitting from a tee, but things get much more difficult when you draw a tricky lie somewhere around the course. Whether your ball is down in the long rough, or maybe resting in a divot, you will need to use a downward angle of attack to hit the shot. And, as you may know, it is necessary to use your wrists properly in order to create that angle. Without correct wrist action, the bottom of your swing will be flat and the club head will never have a chance to get down to the ball successfully.
  • Staying as balanced as possible. While it might not seem like it as first, there is a close relationship between your wrists and your overall balance during the golf swing. If you manage to use your wrists correctly, it will be easier to stay balanced because there won't be any extra lateral movement in the swing. Players who don't use their wrists in the right way tend to slide toward the target in the downswing, trying to move the club through the ball as well as they can without using their wrists. Unfortunately, this leads to a complete loss of balance. By using your wrists to let the club rotate through impact, you can stay balanced while still swinging quite hard.

The biggest key when it comes to using your wrists in the golf swing is lag. If you can lag the club nicely – which is something that every professional golfer in the game knows how to do – you will be well on your way to success. Lag is what unlocks that 'hidden' distance that so many golfers are trying to find, and it is what makes golfers more consistent as well. If you get nothing else out of this article, your understanding of lag and why it is important will be a valuable lesson to take with you moving forward.

Learning the Hinge

Learning the Hinge

With the groundwork laid for your understanding of the wrist hinge, it is time for some instruction. This section is going to focus on teaching you the proper way to hinge your wrists during the golf swing. While not all players do this the same way, there are some general guidelines you can follow. Once you read through this section – and the rest of the article – it will be up to you to get out on the range and test what you have learned.

The points below are helpful to keep in mind while working on your wrist hinge skills.

  • Not during the takeaway. The first rule of thumb you want to keep in mind while thinking about the wrist hinge is that it needs to wait until after the takeaway has been completed. This is a rule which is frequently violated by amateur golfers. If you start your wrist hinge while still in the takeaway phase of the swing, you are going to move the club off plane and trouble will follow you from there. The best way to proceed is to keep your hands and wrists quiet early on, letting the swing get started as a one-piece motion. Then, once the club has moved at least a foot or so away from the ball, you can start thinking about the wrist hinge.
  • Before you arrive at the top. While you do need to wait until after the takeaway is complete to hinge your wrists, you should also be aware that it needs to be finished before you get to the top of the swing. So, somewhere between your takeaway and the transition to the downswing is where your wrist hinge is going to be located. Some players like to hinge their wrists immediately after the takeaway, while others wait until the backswing is nearly over. Both options can work, so experiment with your own swing and find the sweet spot which offers the best results.
  • Right wrist back, left wrist flat. The actual motion of hinging your wrists is going to involve folding your right wrist back while flattening out your left wrist at the same time. That might sound complicated or confusing, but it is very easy to do – almost natural – with just a little bit of practice. During your next trip to the range, take a grip on the club and just work on your wrist hinge without even making any swings. When you hinge your wrists the right way, the club will feel loaded and ready to go.
  • It needs to be integrated cleanly. The last tip we are going to offer on this topic highlights the fact that your wrist hinge needs to work seamlessly with the rest of the golf swing. You aren't going to stop your backswing cold just to hinge your wrists before starting up again. Everything needs to be brought together into a cohesive package. One of the biggest challenges you will face in practice is finding a way to mesh together your wrist hinge with your turn.

If you have never thought before about your wrist hinge, the instructions in this section may be intimidating. It is hard enough to hit a golf ball at all, how are you supposed to do it while thinking about all of this stuff? The key is to actually not think about these points at all. You should work on them in practice, one at a time, until your wrist hinge is comfortable and it has a natural place in your swing. Then, from there, you can build up your confidence one shot at a time. Eventually, you won't be thinking at all about any of these points – you will just be letting it happen.

Holding onto Your Lag

Holding onto Your Lag

Here is the big challenge. Most golfers, with some practice and the right instruction, can learn how to hinge their wrists in the backswing. That hinge is going to create the all-important lag that we discussed earlier. Now, from the top of the swing down to impact, how do you go about holding onto that lag? This is where things get tricky.

That natural inclination for most golfers is to use their hands to force the club head down toward the ball right from the top of the swing. This does make some sense, of course, as it is the club head which is going to wind up hitting the ball when all is said and done. However, forcing the club head down first is going to rob you of the opportunity to generate any significant power. Your shots will be weak when you give up your lag at the top, and you may not even hit the ball solidly at impact, either.

To hold your lag, the first thing you need to do is convince your body that this is the right way to go. It is probably the opposite of what you have been doing throughout your golf life to this point, so this old habit is going to die hard for sure. You need to be fully committed to holding your lag, and you have to believe that this is the method that is going to allow you to take a step forward with your performance.

Once you have your mind in the right place, the next step is to start your downswing with a rotational movement of your hips. The first thing that should move toward the target is not the club or even your shoulders, but your hips. By unwinding your hips to the left from the top of the swing, you will be setting yourself up for a powerful strike. The hips lead the way, the torso and shoulders follow along, and eventually the arms and the club whip through at the final instant. This is a beautiful action when it all comes together, and the ball will explode off the club face in the end.

It takes great patience to hold onto the lag you worked so hard to build, even as the downswing is developing. Your hips will be turning toward the target and something in the back of your mind will be telling you that you must release the club right away in order to hit the ball. That isn't true. The release will happen almost on its own as a result of the turning force in your swing. Keep rotating toward the target, maintain a steady head position, and let the club unwind in its own time.

If you are having trouble mastering the art of the lag in your own swing, it may be necessary to hit some short shots while learning how this works. Head over to the short game practice area and hit some pitch shots while lagging the club to the best of your ability. It will be easier to lag the club on pitch shots because things are not happening as fast as they happen in the full swing. You will be able to feel everything that is going on, and you will be able to hit a number of shots in quick succession. Once you feel your lag working on pitch shots, gradually build up to bigger and bigger swings until you finally feel that proper lag working for you with the driver.

Without a doubt, lag is the most powerful thing you can add to your golf swing. It isn't going to be easy to make this addition, and there will be bumps along the way, but it is no exaggeration to say this can change your game. You stand to potentially add significant yardage, and your shots will be cleaner and crisper than ever before. Learn how to hold on to your wrist hinge deep into the downswing and you will become an impressive ball striker as a result of your efforts.

Wrist Hinge in the Short Game

Wrist Hinge in the Short Game

There is no doubt that wrist hinge is extremely important during the full swing. But what about in the short game? Do you need to hinge your wrists when playing shots on and around the greens, and if so, how do you do it? Let's take a look at this topic here in the last section of our article.

When you are putting, you don't want to hinge your wrists at all. The putting stroke is a motion which involves a simple rocking of the shoulders, while the hands and wrists just go along for the ride. There is nothing to think about with regard to the wrist hinge here, since there shouldn't be any movement in your wrists from start to finish. As long as your wrists are quiet, they are doing their job in this case.

For chip shots, you are going to want to involve your wrists slightly. However, you aren't necessarily going to lag the club like you need to do in the full swing. You will hinge your wrists just slightly going back to set a nice angle, then you will swing through toward the target while keeping everything steady and stable. There isn't a huge difference between a putting stroke and a chipping motion, other than a partial hinge of the wrists on the way back. You don't want to attempt to use your putting technique when chipping, but you don't have to chip with a full wrist hinge, either. Something between those extremes should work nicely for your average chip shot.

The story is a little different when stepping down into a greenside bunker. For an explosion shot from the sand, you will want to use a full wrist hinge to generate as much speed as possible. You need to rip the club head through the sand in order to lift the ball out of the bunker properly, and that is only going to happen with a full wrist hinge and a nice shoulder turn. Basically, you want to use your full swing technique when in a greenside bunker. However, instead of trying to hit the ball itself, you are going to swing the club down into the sand. It is the sand that will lift the ball out of the trap, and the shot should wind up landing gently on the green.

Learning how to hinge your wrists properly can help elevate your golf game in the months and years to come. This is not one of those 'quick fix' kinds of tips, however – you are going to have to put in some work if you would like to see the benefit of the lessons offered above. Take your time to think through the advice we have offered and then put it to work on the range during an upcoming practice session. With an improved wrist hinge – and hopefully plenty of lag – your golf game will be in a good position to take a big step forward. Good luck!