Impact Leverage – Weak Wrists vs. Bowed Out Front Wrist

This is an idea that I’ve had about “why” a slightly bowed out front wrist at impact, feels so SOLID and powerful… and thought I’d share:

Given #1:
I’ve mentioned many times, that a solid golf shot at impact, will have the shaft inline with the front arm, leading the club head, and (with my method), the body is unwinding, “dragging” this shape around to the left (right hander). I call this “trapping impact”.

Given #2:
Now, imagine the “weakest” part(s) of the body (related to the golf swing). Hum… Thighs, Hips, Shoulders, Arms, Wrists, Fingers etc.. Well, in my opinion it is the wrists! Especially when they are cupped or bent inward. That seems to be a position that is NOT very strong or can be held very long against leverage.

Given #3:
Okay…lets add the word “leverage” into the mix. They realized long ago, the longer something is, the easier it is to use it to move something else… take a long pole for instance. It works well until it breaks at some point.

So how does this all relate to the golf swing and impact?

Well, my thinking is, that if you are at impact with a bent inward front wrist, the different forces occurring at 80-100 mph, are enough to make it difficult or impossible to maintain that wrist angle, and it wants to flatten out or even bow out (because the club head is lagging behind a little) this due to the “leverage” factor.

The ball getting in the way must play some role in holding the club head back some too. These things make me think the wrists will struggle through impact, unless they are in a very solid shape that fits what is going on. Ben Hogan was aware of this and suggested to supinate the front wrist just before impact.

This bow out shape is the strongest position for the wrists to be in at impact, because of the angle of the shaft and being drug around to the left via the body’s rotation (my method).

Feel for yourself… setup like you’re going to take a shot and let the club head touch the ground slightly. Then, use your body to drag the club head around to the left and find the strongest position for your front wrist or wrists to be in while your dragging. So… if you’re not in this strongest shape at impact, you’re probably in a weaker (not as repeatable) position. This is one reason some shots feel more solid than others.

Hint: The real culprit is usually the back hand throwing the club head at impact that puts you into that weak position.

8 thoughts on “Impact Leverage – Weak Wrists vs. Bowed Out Front Wrist

  1. I still struggle with ‘flipping ‘ the club, and end up hitting behind the ball, or hitting thin. But recently I’ve been more deliberately pausing at the top of the back swing, and this makes a big difference. It somehow seems to allow time for all the body parts to get aligned ready for the downswing, and for the hips then to come through and pull the club around. I can’t do it consistently yet, but it is a swing thought that helps.

    I find it harder to consistently swing with a fairway wood, compared to irons. Is there a reason for this?

    1. It is hard to “flip” and turn at the same time. Really focus on seeing yourself accelerating all the way to the finish with your rotation… and more “dragging” the shaft around to the left (right hander).

      Hitting behind the ball can be flipping, but most of the time it is because there was sliding towards the back foot on the backswing, then not sliding enough on the downswing to get back to the ball. Make sure you’re keeping at least 60% or more weight on the front foot. The Stop Swaying Drill will also help with this.

      It is hard to speculate why you’re more inconsistent with fairway woods vs. irons. My first inclination is once again that you’re not turing through the ball and stopping and using the hands to help hit at it. Watch the Drills like the Fix Wrist Drill so you can learn to trap the ball through impact with your turn.

  2. I’ve been hitting relatively straight shots but lots of inconsistency with hitting solid shots and no matter what I’ve tried it feels like I am loosing power in my swing. I’ve really worked on my wrists and also my front elbow to make sure they don’t twist in my backswing and when I do it right the feeling I get is that I’ve achieved full power and the results reflect that. I believe the hardest transition to the swing you teach has been understanding what it means to maintain the square clubface throughout (and keeping elbow from turning out) but I do like the results when I do things right. It is taking practice to break my old habits but I am finally feeling like I am understanding what you are teaching. Thanks Ross.

    1. Yes, everyone struggles with change and are at different places in the transition. The golf swing is the hardest thing you’ll do. If it was easy and easily repeatable, everyone would be on tour. Now, don’t forget you get one Golf Swing Analysis with your Membership. I can help you with specific issues when I see your swing. Also, search in the Blog and Forums, words like “Power” or “Distance”. We’ve discussed many of the comments you’ve made about your swing. You can also ask me in the Forums specific questions.

  3. Getting that back hand to not flip seems so difficult. The golf swing is so fast, it is not obvious when it actually happens.

    1. Yes, but the “flip” can be “replaced” or “restricted”. The opposite of “flipping” is “not flipping” or “holding”. I feel the back wrist bent inward and the back hand is holding that shape as my body turns. Those two things are doing two different jobs. It is like, the body “turns” while the back wrist “holds”.

      What this does in your mind’s eye is, …instead of trying to “not” do something (avoidance*), we have a visualization of what we “want-to-do” to “replace” the problem with what the back hand should do and how it should look the correct way.

      * I learned this from an old cassette tape I heard long ago called “Subconscious Golf”. You’ll be more successful if you visualize what you “want to do” vs. visualize what you’re trying to “avoid”. If you only send a picture to your mind of what you don’t want to do, that’s the only picture the mind has, and it thinks that’s what you want… so, change to the “correct” visualization. This really works! (takes some practice), but easy to learn.

      1. Is there an expected amount of tension in the triangle during the swing in order to hold the shape? Or is it more of a relaxed hold of the bent back wrist shape?

        1. This is an everyone is different “thing”. You want a “continuity”, meaning equal amounts of tension around the triangle to maintain the shape. You don’t want so much tension that it binds the shoulders to move freely. Mostly we’re just keeping the elbows “in check”, so the arms maintain a constant radius or length.

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