Understanding Wrist Hinge in the Golf Swing (Video)
Understanding Wrist Hinge in the Golf Swing (Video)

So let us now have a look at how wrist hinge or more importantly wrist cock can make a big influence in your golf swing. When you set up to the golf ball, you should feel that you are gripping the golf club nicely and your hands are just nice and loose on the grip, not too much tension in there. If you look from the front on angle here, you will see that already my wrist have a slight cock or hinge in them. They are not going to sit perfectly straight line there. They should sit slightly down in this position. As I turn to this angle now, I keep this position, I am going to turn my chest making a nice one piece turned back, my hands are just starting to flex upward slightly as I come around to an L-shaped position here. You will see the shaft gets to vertical, the left arm gets to a horizontal position and that would be about a 90-degree wrist hinge. As I finished that swing to the top, I keep a nice, firm wrist action. I am not letting the club drop or fall here, this would reduce the power and the tension I have.

So it is one piece, L-shape and finish and as I reverse that back down, the club will naturally release to a straight line and I have pretty much reversed that on the follow through, hinging to here than hinging to another L-shape. Letting my hands have that nice, relaxed hinging action is a very powerful way of delivering the golf to where you are using much speed is possible but keeping the clubface nice and controlled, nice and squared for impact.

So if you can understand the fundamentals of wrist hinge and wrist cock that will definitely help you improve.

2012-05-11

The wrist hinge is one of the trickiest parts of the golf swing.

Full Understanding of Wrist Hinge in the Golf Swing

You do need to hinge and unhinge your wrists properly if you are going to hit good shots, but you don’t really want to be thinking about this motion actively as the swing develops. Ideally, your wrist hinge would take place almost automatically, as a by-product of the other things you are doing with the golf swing. It’s not going to be easy to get to that point, but you’ll notice a significant improvement in your play when you do conquer this challenge.

In this article, we are going to aim to educate you on the topic of the wrist hinge. It’s hard to improve at this difficult game if you don’t have a clear understanding of everything that you are trying to do with the swing. This applies to the wrist hinge just like it applies to many other parts of your swing technique. Take time to learn all you can about various pieces of the golf puzzle and you will find that things start to come together a bit more effectively on the course.

In addition to explaining how the wrist hinge should work, we’ll provide some tips that should help you make progress on this point. By using a couple simple drills, you can teach yourself to hinge and unhinge your wrists in a way which is likely to lead to solid shots. Nothing comes easy in golf but working on this point will pay off in the long run when your ball striking reaches a new level.

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 Basics of the Wrist Hinge

The Basics of the Wrist Hinge

With something like the wrist hinge in your golf swing, you need to have a perfectly clear picture of what you are trying to accomplish if you are actually going to have success. If there is any confusion in your mind as to what you are trying to do, it’s going to be very hard to build a quality swing. We’ll work on eliminating any confusion in this section, so you can move forward with an increased level of confidence in your game.

Let’s work through a few key points on how the wrist hinge works.

  • Nothing happens early on. One of the problems which occurs when players work on the wrist hinge is they fall into the trap of setting their wrists early in the takeaway. That is not what you want to do. During the takeaway phase of the backswing, your hands and wrists should be quiet as you turn away from the target. Don’t let your wrists get started during this early part of the swing, or you’ll run into trouble later on. There is no exact point when it becomes okay to use your wrists – it’s different for every player – but just make sure at least the first few inches of the backswing involve nothing but a turn of your shoulders away from the target.
  • Up, not back. When you do get started with the wrist hinge, you should be hinging your wrists mostly in an upward direction, in order to elevate the club. This is going to set a nice angle between the shaft of the club and your left arm – which is the whole point of the wrist hinge in the first place. If you make the mistake of folding your right wrist back on itself, you’ll force the club into a poor position behind you, and it will be nearly impossible to save the swing from that point forward. We will talk more about this mistake in the next section.
  • Don’t let your wrist hinge rush your swing. Maintaining an even tempo is important when making your golf swing. You don’t want sections where you rush the swing combined with sections where you take it slower. Instead, you want to move the club at a steady pace from start to finish. Obviously, the speed of your swing is going to pick up as you approach impact, but the overall rhythm with which you swing should be nice and smooth. This is one of the reasons many golf teachers will tell you to keep your hands out of the swing as much as possible. When you let your hands get involved, you’ll be more likely to rush at certain points while slowing up at others. Specifically, you’ll be likely to hurry through the part of the swing where your wrists get involved, since you can move the club so quickly when hinging your wrists. Do your best to separate the turn of your body from the setting of the club. It’s fine if the club moves a little quicker while you are setting your wrists, as long as your body continues on turning at the same even pace.
  • Over before you reach the top. For most players, the best plan is to finish the wrist hinge before the club reaches the top of the swing. Some players do manage to blend their wrist hinge into the transition, but that is an advanced move and not recommended. Your goal should be to set your wrists fully before you get up to the top of your swing, so you can complete your turn and start into the downswing without any extra movement in your hands or wrists. This type of transition should feel solid, consistent, and steady. Work on the timing of your wrist hinge so you can complete it before the backswing is over and you’ll be well on your way to improved results.
  • Hold on as long as possible. So far, all of our points have had to do with the hinging of your wrists. This last point is the only one we will provide with regard to the unhinging of your wrists. This is because the unhinging action should be relatively simple, and almost automatic. Rather than a conscious decision to unhinge your wrists at a given point, the straightening of your wrists should occur as a consequence of everything else that you do in your swing. When you swing the club correctly from start to finish, there won’t be much to think about here – it will just happen. The only point we want to make is that your goal should be to hang on to the angle you have created for as long as possible. On the way down, make sure to maintain the angle between your left arm and the shaft of the club. Giving this angle away early is a huge mistake, and one of the most common errors in golf. As you swing down toward impact, try to feel as though you are taking the butt end of the club down toward the ball. This sensation will help you maintain your angle and create as much speed as possible in the downswing. As the club reaches the bottom of the swing arc, your angle should naturally be released as a result of the momentum of the swing. In the end, you’ll be left with a swing which saves up power and uses it at the perfect possible moment to launch the golf ball into the distance.

It’s not easy to master the wrist hinge, but hopefully you now have a better understanding of how it works in a proper golf swing. From here, the next step is to evaluate your current wrist hinge before getting down to work on ways you can make it better.

Common Mistakes

Common Mistakes

One of the best ways to improve your golf game is actually to understand how certain parts of the game can go wrong. By knowing what to watch out for, it’s very likely that you’ll be able to make yourself a better player over the long run. That is exactly the idea we have in mind when presenting this section. There are some common mistakes that you will want to avoid when working on your wrist hinge, and those mistakes are listed below. Do a good job of staying away from these errors and you are going to be a bit step closer to hitting your goals.

  • Hinging the wrists immediately. We mentioned this in the previous section, but it needs to be repeated here because it is so important. If you hinge your wrists right from the start of the swing, you are almost certainly going to have trouble striking the ball cleanly. The problem comes in the form of a faulty swing path. Most likely, an early wrist hinge is going to send the club much too far to the inside of the target line. That is going to bring the club in close to your body, and you’ll feel crowded for the rest of the backswing. When you get to the top of the swing, you’ll have a chance to push the club away from you to create some room – and that’s exactly what you’ll do. This is called an ‘over-the-top’ move, and it is what leads to most slices. It’s hard to get out of this pattern once it starts, so pay careful attention and do your best to avoid this mistake.
  • Waiting too long. Another point we mentioned briefly in the previous section. If you wait too long to hinge your wrists, you may run out of time and wind up hinging them during the transition – or even after the downswing has started. It’s not technically impossible to play golf this way, but it certainly isn’t easy. Try to fit the wrist hinge somewhere between the takeaway and the top of the swing so you can have it out of the way and ready to go when the transition arrives. This will make for a cleaner transition and you should find that your ball striking consistency improves.
  • Only using wrist hinge. It’s great to execute a proper wrist hinge in your backswing, but a wrist hinge alone is not enough to allow you to hit good shots. Specifically, you need to make sure that this hinge is working together nicely with a great rotation of your upper body. Turn your shoulders back away from the target in the backswing to load up with potential power that can be unleashed on the way down. It is the combination of a great shoulder turn and a proper wrist hinge that will permit you to reach your potential as a ball striker.

There are certainly more mistakes than just these three which can be made with regard to the wrist hinge. This is a great place to start however, so pay attention to your own technique and see if any of these problems are present in your game.

Two Helpful Drills

Two Helpful Drills

It’s one thing to read some tips in an article such as this on how to improve your wrist hinge, but it is another thing entirely to get out and work on your own technique. In this section, we are going to provide you with two drills so you can do just that. These drills will provide you with a nice starting point as you begin to focus your practice efforts on improving the performance of your wrists in the golf swing.

Let’s get right to it by outlining the process required to perform the first drill. Please follow the step-by-step directions below if you would like to try this drill for yourself.

  • For this first drill, you are going to need only a single golf club and no other equipment. It doesn’t particularly matter which club you use, so go ahead and grab whichever one may be nearby. In addition to a club, you’ll also need to have a safe space to make some practice swings. You can do this drill at the driving range, or you can do it somewhere else that you have enough room to make swings.
  • Take your club and set yourself up in a comfortable address position. This drill is basically going to work in three stages. The first stage is the takeaway, where you are not going to use your wrists at all. Start your swing by turning your shoulders away from the target and be sure to keep your wrists completely out of the action. Once the club has moved at least a few inches back from the ball, if not a bit farther, you are going to stop and hold your position.
  • Next, you are going to continue the drill by starting your hinge your wrists in order to set the angle between the shaft of the club and your left arm. Keep swinging up while hinging your wrists and stop again when you have a 90* angle between your left arm and the club shaft. At this point, your left arm should be roughly parallel with the ground.
  • For the last of the three phases, you are going to swing the rest of the way up to the top of the backswing. Once you reach the top of the backswing, the drill will be finished, and you can start again.

The start-and-stop style of this drill is going to help you develop a better feel for when the wrist hinge should take place in the golf swing. You don’t want it to happen during the takeaway, and you also don’t want it carrying on too far into the backswing. This drill will isolate the hinge between those two segments, so you can take care of it properly and move on with the rest of the swing.

The other drill we would like to recommend is outlined below.

  • In terms of setup, this drill is exactly like the one described above. You are not going to be hitting any shots with this drill, so you don’t need to be at the golf course or driving range (as long as you have somewhere else safe to swing). Again, for this drill, you’ll need just a single golf club and nothing else.
  • Take your stance just like you would for any regular shot. However, before you get started, you are going to drop your right hand off the handle of the club. Place your right hand in your pocket or behind your back and start the swing with your left hand. As you get beyond the takeaway, what do you notice? Most likely, you’ll find that setting your left wrist without the right hand on the club for assistance is quite difficult.
  • Now, start your swing over, but this time use only your right hand while keeping your left hand off the club. The experience is going to be much different. It will be easy to set the club and hinge your wrist, but you might have trouble waiting until the takeaway is complete. The temptation will be to hinge your wrist right from the start, almost immediately upon beginning the swing.

Once you’ve tried to set the club with one-handed swings, put both hands back on the grip and proceed with a normal swing. Now that you have both hands available, you should have an improved appreciation for how they can work together to produce a quality swing. You left hand can help you make it through the takeaway cleanly, while the right hand can take charge when the angle needs to be set.

It important to learn how to get your hands to work together nicely. You don’t want one taking over and stealing control from the other, as they both have important roles to play in the swing. We think this second drill does a nice job of helping you to understand how the hands both need to be doing their job if the backswing wrist hinge is going to be mastered.

Wrist Hinge in the Short Game

Wrist Hinge in the Short Game

Let’s wrap up this article by talking about how the wrist hinge works in the short game. It’s great to hit quality shots from long range, but you aren’t going to turn those shots into low scores if you aren’t able to perform well on and around the greens.

With putting, it’s simple – there should be no wrist hinge involved. Your wrists should remain perfectly quiet while you use a rocking motion in your shoulders to move the putter and send the ball on its way. Many golfers make the mistake of letting their wrists get involved, even if only to a small degree, and those players usually struggle with the flat stick. By taking all wrist action away when you are putting, the task of rolling the ball on the right line with the right speed becomes much easier.

As you step off the green and pick up one of your wedges, you will want to get your wrists involved to a slight degree. The amount of wrist hinge you use when chipping depends on the type of shot you are trying to play. Hitting a little bump-and-run shot which is only going to fly a few feet before rolling across the green? Very little wrist hinge will be necessary. Need to hit a high flop shot that stops quickly when it lands? You’ll need to set your wrists fully, much like you do when hitting a long shot. Practice a variety of short game shots while paying attention to your wrist hinge in order to fine-tune this part of your technique.

We hope this in-depth discussion on the top of wrist hinge will help you improve this piece of the golf swing puzzle. As you work on this fundamental, be sure not to forget about the other things that need to be working properly in your swing. A wrist hinge alone is not going to produce quality shots, after all. By blending an improved wrist hinge with solid fundamentals throughout the rest of your swing, it’s possible to raise your whole game to a new level. Good luck!

So let us now have a look at how wrist hinge or more importantly wrist cock can make a big influence in your golf swing. When you set up to the golf ball, you should feel that you are gripping the golf club nicely and your hands are just nice and loose on the grip, not too much tension in there. If you look from the front on angle here, you will see that already my wrist have a slight cock or hinge in them. They are not going to sit perfectly straight line there. They should sit slightly down in this position. As I turn to this angle now, I keep this position, I am going to turn my chest making a nice one piece turned back, my hands are just starting to flex upward slightly as I come around to an L-shaped position here. You will see the shaft gets to vertical, the left arm gets to a horizontal position and that would be about a 90-degree wrist hinge. As I finished that swing to the top, I keep a nice, firm wrist action. I am not letting the club drop or fall here, this would reduce the power and the tension I have.

So it is one piece, L-shape and finish and as I reverse that back down, the club will naturally release to a straight line and I have pretty much reversed that on the follow through, hinging to here than hinging to another L-shape. Letting my hands have that nice, relaxed hinging action is a very powerful way of delivering the golf to where you are using much speed is possible but keeping the clubface nice and controlled, nice and squared for impact.

So if you can understand the fundamentals of wrist hinge and wrist cock that will definitely help you improve.