Your wrist position can make or break your golf swing in more ways than you may realize.
Your wrists are the most important part of your ability to hit the ball more consistently and with greater accuracy. Your hands play an important role in shot shaping, as they are the only body part that connects with the grip.
Most golfers have a bowed wrist, or cup their lead wrist, which can lead them to slice or hook hooks. A flat lead wrist position is better for golfers as it allows them to hit straighter shots.
But if you had to choose between a bowed wrist or cupped wrist, I’d argue the everyday golfer can benefit from bowing more. Continue reading to learn about a bowed wrist, and how to improve your wrist position.
Bowed Wrist Golf 101
Having the correct wrist action in the golf swing is key to becoming a top-tier ball striker. But where is the right position for your wrists and wrists? How do you judge if you’re doing it right or wrong?
We’ll answer all of these questions and a lot more by the time you’re reading this article.
First, let’s identify the three common wrist positions in the golf swing.
The best to spot the position is by recording your golf swing and analyzing the top of the backswing. This isn’t something you can necessarily judge at address position or even impact position.
Once you pause the video to look at the top of your backswing, one of three things can occur with the left wrist (assuming you’re a right-handed golfer):
- Flat left wrist
- Bracelet left bowed
- Cupped left wrist
Let’s break down each of these positions to figure out what is best for ball striking and what creates these positions.
The flat wrist is also known by the first position. This position is ideal to aim towards at the top your backswing. For a great example, Tiger Woods (15-time major champion) is a good choice.
His wrist angles are remarkable, making him one of the most respected iron players. His left wrist matches his forearm, and the club is in an ideal position at the top. This makes it easy to unwind on his downswing and get ahead of the ball when he hits impact.
This is when the hands are in front of the ball. forward shaft lean. It’s a position that most everyday golfers aren’t familiar with as most cup their wrists, which makes it nearly impossible to compress the ball.
The best way to create a flat wrist is with a neutral golf grip and on-plane takeaway. It’s definitely easier said than done but something to strive towards in your golf career.
Cupped Wrist = Open Position
You probably know what a cupped right wrist feels like if you have ever hit more slices than you care. A cupped left wrist is very different to a flat wrist at top of the swing. It usually leads to an open clubface.
It can lead to many nasty pushes or slices when the wrist is pressed at the top of your swing. Because the club face is wide open, it’s almost impossible to square up at impact. It can also lead to a steep downswing, which is not the best contact.
For right-handed golfers, the number one reason for a cupped left hand is a weak left grip. Even if the grip changes are uncomfortable, this issue can be fixed.
Click here to see our complete guide on how to fix a cupped wrist.
Bowed Position = Closed Position
A bowed position, which creates a closed clubface, is the third position that the wrist can be in. I mentioned at the beginning that most golfers would prefer a bowed wrist to a cupped wrist.
Why might you ask?
Because of the bowed lead wrist, it is easier to lower the golf clubs and create an in-to-out swing.
When you shallow the golf club, not only do you make better contact but you also hit it straighter. In fact, you might even hit a slight draw that you’ve always wanted (instead of that pesky slice).
When you properly shallow the club, it’s easier to get the hands ahead of the golf ball at impact. This compression motion is not something the average golfer does enough of. If you hit it thin or fat and don’t make your divot ahead of the ball, chances are you know what I’m talking about.
In his book Five Lessons, Ben Hogan discusses how important it is to bow your wrist. Saying, “Every good golfer has his left wrist in a supinating position at impact. Poor golfers do the exact opposite. As his club comes into the ball, he starts to pronate the left wrist – to turn it so the palm will be facing down.”
Let’s get into a few ways to change the left wrist so you have a bowing wrist or a flatter position at the top of your swing.
Change your grip
You can improve your wrist position by changing your grip. If you’re cupping it, then you’ll need a stronger grip. But if you’re bowing too much and starting to hit nasty hooks, you might need to weaken your left-hand grip.
While it’s better to have a bowed wrist than a cupped wrist in most cases, more isn’t always better. It creates a hook shot and can cause a lot of trouble on your left side of the course.
Plus, as the old saying goes in golf, “You can talk to a fade but you can’t talk to a hook.” If you’ve ever hit a snipe hook off the tee, chances are you know exactly what that saying means.
Use a hanger training aid
There are many training tools available for golfers, but the most popular is the wrist trainer. Since so many golfers struggle with this part of the swing, it’s never been easier to get instant feedback and improve.
The Hanger training aid is our favorite out of all the options.
- It’s easy to use (no apps)
- Helps you stop flipping
- Provides visual feedback
- This helps you keep your swing on the plane
- It is small enough to fit in your bag
- Attaches easily with most grip sizes
Simply attach it to the grip and place it between your wrists. Thanks to the design you’ll get visual feedback on the clubface which helps improve your control and accuracy. You can quickly learn how to keep your clubface in line with your swing by doing a few drills.
Get the Hackmotion Wrist sensor
While the Hanger is great, it doesn’t have all the technology of the Hackmotion. If you’re a serious golfer who likes to learn from an app and even more feedback, this is the training aid for you.
Hackmotion is a wearable device which allows you to track your clubface position while swinging. Attach the device to your wrist and place the sensor on your left (for right-handed golfers), and begin swinging. It will connect to the app and provide real-time data as well as auditory feedback when you hit golf balls.
It’s comparable to the deWiz golf watch but focuses specifically on wrist mechanics. You will also be able to practice controlling the clubface, and keep track of your progress over time. It’s never been easier to learn about extension, flexion and other terms that may confuse you.
It’s easy to see why coaches and players love this device and why it was featured in Golf Digest.
FAQs about the Golf Swing’s Wrists
Are you looking for more information about how to swing change? Keep reading to find out the most common questions and answers.
What does a bowed hand signify?
This means that the club face is pointed in the direction of heaven. Dustin Johnson is the best example of a top golfer with this position. His bowed wrists are easily recognizable, but it is a good match for his career earnings of millions.
What causes a bowed hand?
A strong grip on the left hand is the main reason for a bowed wrist. When you can see more knuckles on your left hand at address you’re much more likely to bow your wrist.
A little bowing is acceptable and a good idea for most golfers, as it makes it more difficult to hit a big slice. A slice is something that almost all golfers have experienced at some point. This can help to straighten your ball flight. You’ll also be able to hit the ball longer and make better contact using your irons.
What does a bowed right wrist do in the golf swing
The left wrist is bowed, making it easier to compress the golf ball and create a forward shaft.
Professional golf is played with a bowed hand.
Jon Rahm and Dustin Johnson are two of the most prominent examples. Rahm can generate incredible power despite having a very short backswing.
His wrists. As a Golf.com article said, “Jon’s superpower comes from his wrists. Because he bows his left wrist at the top, he doesn’t need to worry about putting the club in the optimal “slot” on the way down — it’s already there!”
TheArticle also mentioned that Jon struggles to extend his wrist and that’s why you will never see him cupped at the top of the swing. He does what is most natural to him, which is swinging his swing.
Rahm is able to create a lot of power with his strong lower body.
Is a bowed wrist a good idea?
A slight bow can be a good thing. It helps to create a shallow swing and straighten the ball flight. This type of wrist action is very beneficial for golfers who tend to go too high and hit a slice. Too much can lead to a hook.
Final Thoughts about a Bowing Wrist
If you have to choose between a cupped or bowed wrist at your top of your swing, a bowing position will be better for your game. However, too much bow can cause problems.
A flat lead wrist at top of your backswing is ideal. This will allow you to improve your accuracy and avoid huge misses in either direction.
You can improve your wrist position by using the training aids and drills listed above. If you’re changing your grip, just know it can take some time for it to feel normal but it’s worth the change.