What should your wrists do in a golf swing?

10 Professionals Contributed |
The role of wrists in the golf swing is a hotly debated topic, with various opinions and techniques abound. Here to unravel the mystery and provide you with expert guidance, we have consulted our group of seasoned golf professionals. In this roundup, our pros will not only answer the burning question of what your wrists should do in a golf swing but also share drills to help you with this aspect of your game.

Wrists control the club face and provide leverage in the swing

The wrists play a crucial role in a golf swing. They are responsible for generating power, controlling the clubface, and creating the correct angle of attack. During the backswing, the wrists should hinge naturally as the club is swung back. This will help create a wider arc and generate more power. As the downswing begins, the wrists should gradually uncock, releasing the stored energy and accelerating the club through the ball. At impact, the wrists should be slightly ahead of the ball, creating the correct angle of attack and ensuring a solid strike. After impact, the wrists should continue to rotate naturally, following through toward the target. Proper wrist action is essential for a consistent and powerful golf swing.”

Wrist drills that golfers commonly use to improve their swing include:

1. Wrist Hinge Drill: Hold a golf club with both hands and hinge your wrists back and forth while keeping your arms straight. This drill helps to develop a proper wrist hinge, which is essential in generating power and accuracy in your swing.

2. Wrist Release Drill: At the top of your backswing, release your wrists to create a fluid motion, allowing the club to swing naturally through the ball. This drill helps to improve the timing and coordination of your wrist movement.

3. Wrist Cock Drill: Start with the clubface on the ground, then cock your wrists up towards the sky, keeping your arms straight. This drill helps to develop a proper wrist cock, which is crucial in creating clubhead speed and power.

Remember, it’s essential to practice these drills consistently to see improvement in your swing.

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Proper Wrist hinge development

During the golf swing, we can greatly increase clubhead speed through the leverage created by a proper wrist hinge. This hinge creates the Lever needed for additional speed desired by golfers during the unloading portion of the downswing. But, learning the proper loading in the wrist is the key element, and in the attached video I demonstrate the easy process to learn this wrist hinge. Practice it without hitting a golf ball until you gain confidence in the motion. Then utilize this skill in your golf swing and enjoy hitting the ball further and hopefully straighter!! The drill described in the video is basically a tennis groundstroke motion learned with one hand (arm and wrist) at a time.

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Set The Lever

In the golf swing, your wrists set the lever, for power. Cocking your wrists, immediately, at a 90° angle going back, creates leverage in your swing. Keep your lead arm straight, going back and hinge your wrists. This angle should be held as long as you can, as you swing back down, towards impact. This is called lag. Release that lagged angle at impact and snap every shot out there long and straight!

The Country Club of Virginia
"Set The Lever" Click to Tweet

Wrist Hinge

I was taught that my hands did nothing in the golf swing and my wrists hinged vertically where my left wrist (for right hander) would be in impact position throughout the swing. The goal was to maintain a square clubface throughout the swing and minimizing dispersion and curve in ball flight, especially under pressure.

Arsenal Island Golf Course
"Wrist Hinge" Click to Tweet

Focus more on Proper Grip & Tension than wrists

It seems that many players like to try to force a wrist snap, turn, lag, etc… Often times the harder you try to do something involving your wrists in a golf swing, the worse it gets. If you focus on the proper grip and making sure that your main grip tension remains in the pinky, ring, and middle finger on your top hand with little tension in the remaining grip, it can be amazing the results you obtain without little more thought than just that. In trying to “force” a certain wrist move, you can often inadvertently create an early release which will cause a great number of other problems. Remember…main tension in the top three fingers on the top hand…that’s why you bought the glove!

Tom Nelson, PGA GM/Head Golf Professional Christmas Lake Golf Course Santa Claus, Indiana
"Focus more on Proper Grip & Tension than wrists" Click to Tweet

Hitch Hike Your Way to a Better Swing Plane

Your wrists in the golf swing work the best when you’re grip is correct. But if you have a great grip, now what do you do? Hitch hike to the top and down for a better plane and impact position. Hope you enjoy this video from 2015 that shows you how to make that happen.

John Hughes Golf
"Hitch Hike Your Way to a Better Swing Plane" @johnhughesgolf Click to Tweet

Feel the hand action

The hands should hold the club and wrists should keep the hands of the player connected to the arms!
I’m being sarcastic, but hopefully making a point!

Simply feel the proper hinging action of the hands and wrists as a result of swinging the club and feeling the weight of the club head. A great and simple drill would be to make a continual swinging motion, half way back, halfway through around waist high. With proper grip position and pressure, you should feel and see a 90 degree angle at the waist high position. (thumbs up, thumbs up on each side) Do this ten times in a row without stopping. Feel this action and your in the neighborhood, and on your way to becoming a better player.
Consciously and deliberately manufacturing hinging the hands and wrist action is a recipe for disaster!!! Feel it , don’t think it!!!

Go well, Play well, Have fun out there

Olde School Golf School
"Feel the hand action" Click to Tweet

The wrists' job

The hands and wrists job in the golf swing are to make the club head work up and down and to maintain a square club face. Proper hinging of the wrist should establish a square club face at the top of the backswing.

PGA Golf Professional
"The wrists' job" Click to Tweet


Respond to club and body movements

Frosty Valley Golf Links

Our Wrist Action

One of the WRIST drills is to do L to L golf swing drill. This old drill is great to get student to hinge on there back swing and post impact.

Fox Hollow Golf Club
"Our Wrist Action" Click to Tweet

TLDR: A quick summary of what our Backswing professionals have to say on the topic “What Should Your Wrists Do in a Golf Swing?”

Proper wrist mechanics are essential for a successful golf swing. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Maintain a neutral wrist position throughout your swing to enhance control and accuracy.
  2. Develop flexibility in your wrists for better clubface control and power generation.
  3. Avoid excessive wrist movements like cupping or bowing to maintain a consistent swing plane.
  4. Synchronize the movement of your wrists with the rest of your body for a smooth and fluid swing.

Understanding the role of your wrists in a golf swing is crucial. By focusing on maintaining a neutral position, improving flexibility, minimizing excessive movements, and synchronizing your wrist action, you can enhance control, accuracy, and power in your swing. Applying these insights can help you optimize your wrist mechanics and elevate your golfing experience.

The Professionals in this Roundup

The Backswing Fix

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