The Cupped Wrist: One Small Change to Beat the Slice

Table of Contents

Golf is a complex series of compound movements. A mistake in one area can lead to serious problems. We all want to hit it harder, straighter and higher. But, most of us forget that this happens when we are in a good setup position. 

You need speed and a steady pace, but the majority of errors made by everyday golfers are not related to speed. Before they swing. Particularly, alignment and grip problems can lead to swing mistakes at the top and transition.

A cupped left wrist is one of the most common problems golfers have to deal with. (for right-handed golfers). This leads to a slice, something that almost every golfer knows about all too well. 

This article will help you improve your wrist position so you can hit the golf ball as well as Ben Hogan. Keep reading to learn the best ways to improve your wrist action and start hitting the golf ball more consistently.  

Cupping the Wrist on Golf 

Your hands and grip are your most vital asset in the game of golf and a fundamental of your golf swing. Since they’re the only thing connecting you with the club, it’s important to establish a good grip and wrist movement.

There are three common wrist positions for golfers. Cupped, bowed or flat. Each one has their own advantages and disadvantages which we’ll briefly discuss.

This isn’t something you can easily spot at address position or even mid-way through your backswing. Instead, you should always assess your wrist position from the top. This allows you to easily evaluate your wrist angle, and make adjustments if necessary. 


A cupped lead wrist The extension (also known as extension) can be easily identified at the top your backswing because the clubface is open. This can lead to a slice and we’ll dive more into this topic today. 

Left wrist bowed This is also known as flexion. It is easily seen at the top of your backswing, as the club is pointed toward the sky. This type of clubface can cause a nasty hook due to the closed position. However, it also causes a lot of playability problems. A weak grip can lead to high slices.  Learn more about a bowed wrist.

A flat left wrist can be used is more of a neutral position where the clubface matches your wrist. Tiger Woods, one of the greatest iron players of all-time, is probably the best example of a wrist flat. 

This is the preferred way to go, as your left wrist matches your lead forearm. It also keeps the face square. For long-term consistency, this swing change is essential. Continue reading to find out how to do it. 

Cupped Wrist Position on Golf

As mentioned above, you don’t want a cupped wrist position if possible as it can produce the dreaded slice. If you’re like most everyday golfers, you know about this shot shape more than you care to admit. A slice can decrease your total distance, make it difficult for you to hit fairways, and ultimately, it can result in a weak shot that no one wants.

As Hackmotion stated, “Lead wrist cupping (extension) opens the clubface while wrist bowing (flexion) closes the clubface. Excessive lead wrist cupping (extension) during transition and downswing is why the clubface stays open too long and players struggle with controlling ball flight.”

Ben Hogan is one of the most successful ball strikers of all times. He also spoke about the importance not cupping his book Five Lessons. He states that he has written the book: “In the sequence, there is one position of such signal importance that it warrants closeup study. This is the position of your left wrist and hand at impact. As impact, the back of the left-hand faces toward the target.” 

This is an important aspect of your swing, I hope. And if you’re like most golfers I’m sure you’re asking, “How do I stop my wrist cupping in golf?”

There are several strategies that can help you flatten your left hand and make it more powerful. Let’s get into them… 


Upgrade Your Grip 

Instead of trying to adjust your wrists by adjusting your wrists, try changing your left-hand grip (for left handed players). Your grip is a key component of many swing movements and can be a source of swing problems.

Many golfers have a weak right hand position. This almost always results in a cupped wrist at your swings top and a weak slice that you hate seeing off of the tee. 

You’ll want to move your left hand more over the grip so you can see more of your knuckles. Although this grip change may feel awkward at first, it can help you swing better. 

Try these golf drills

These drills will help you to develop a forward shaft that leans at impact position and compress the golf ball. Alistair Davies Golf

As explained in the video, you will first need to insert a tee in your golf glove. Next, feel the tee point toward the sky at your top swing. To develop this feeling, you can either hit golf balls or practice swings.

Another drill he mentions to feel like you are “revving your wrists” on the downswing. This is similar to what you would do if you were riding on a motorcycle.  

When doing this drill make sure you’re hitting an iron with 70% speed. Don’t worry about distance or even accuracy yet, instead focus on the ball flight above all else. If you’re doing it right you should start to see a straight ball or slight draw as well. 

The training aids below are not something he recommends.  

Purchase a Wrist Training Aid

I’m sure you know that there are tons of training aids for golfers but not all of them are created equal. Some are fantastic and can help you make lasting changes, while others may not be as effective or cost-effective for you.

Wrist trainers are some of the best and most popular golf training aids. The Hanger is the newest one. 

This new training aid will help you develop a consistent swing by allowing you to feel the correct wrist position from impact to address. As they stated on their Website, “The most important factor in accuracy is clubface orientation. theHANGER also gives golfers physical cues if their clubface is open or closed at any point in the swing to prevent hooks and slices.”

This products design is outstanding and makes it easy for you to see your clubface while swinging. The club will stay on plane, promote a flat lead wrist, as well as creating dynamic shaft lean. 

If you’re looking for a low-cost training aid with a high ROI, this is the one for you.

Hack Motion Wrist Sensor

Hack Motion wrist sensor offers a more immersive experience than any other training aid. This golf tool will help you understand your wrist angles, and other parts of your swing better than you could ever imagine. This tool is perfect for those who like to geek out on golf tools and/or are visual learners. 

This training aid can be worn on your wrist to help you master clubface control. What’s great about this gadget is that it gives instant feedback on each swing and is easy to set up in only 30 seconds. The app stores the data and provides audio feedback just like a coach. 

Just make sure to buy the Players model as it’s cheaper plus you likely aren’t teaching students. 

Next steps

Whether you use one or all of the strategies above, just know that these changes likely won’t happen overnight. Anytime you’re upgrading your swing it does take hard work and commitment but this is a change that is worth it. Don’t get frustrated and stay persistent as this will play a big role in your swing moving forward. 

FAQs about the Golf Swings Wrists 

Are you looking for more information about the left arm and correct wrist position during the golf swing? Keep reading to make sure you understand as it’s a vital part of the golf swing.

What does cupping your wrist in golf mean?

My golf instructor defines cupping as, “When you cup your left wrist, meaning you bend it backwards so that the top of your hand moves towards the top of your forearm, the club face will be open at the top of your swing. This of course necessitates manipulations on the downswing to get the club back to square by impact.”

This is Dustin Johnsons opposite position at the top end of the backswing.

What is the importance of a flat wrist?

It’s a big factor in your overall ball striking as it impacts the forward shaft lean and keeping the club on plane. It helps players hit it straighter, and with a better trajectory. To flatten your lead wrist, practice hitting knockdown shots at the range and other strategies. 

Should you cup your wrist while golfing? Is it bad for your wrist to be cupped?

This is a common mistake for everyday golfers and not a PGA Tour player. Most amateur golfers slap their wrist at the top and bottom of their backswings, as well as during transition. This results in an open clubface at impact as well as some big misses on the right side. 

A slightly open face at impact (aka a power-fade) is fine, but too much can kill your ball striking ability. To reduce loft and hit your ball more accurately at impact, you should aim for a neutral wrist position. This is the moment that defines a good golfer from a top-tier ball striker.

For a more consistent swing, use a wrist trainer to strengthen your grip or to strengthen your grip. 

Is it possible to have a cupped wrist and a slice? 

Yes, a cupped hand can cause a slice in the right-handed player. If the left wrist is cupped at top of the swing, the face will be open. You need to have perfect timing to square it up on impact. 

While it can sometimes happen, it’s not consistent for 99.9% of players. Building a golf swing on timing isn’t a great strategy as your scores and ball string will likely fluctuate round to round. 

Is a strong grip causing a cupped wrist when you play golf? 

Yes, a too strong grip can cause a cupping motion in your swing. 

You can have a stronger grip than a weaker one. However, we do encourage you to not overdo it. This can cause you to miss a lot of shots and reduce your accuracy. 

Aim to have a neutral or slightly strong grip if you’re just getting started for long-term consistency. 


What about the trail wrist, though?

You might be wondering, What about the right wrist? It’s a good question in the wrist angle debate but it doesn’t factor in as much as it’s not the dominant hand (unless you’re left-handed golfer).

Final Thoughts about Cupping the Left Hand 

You should now have a better idea of how to position your wrists in golf. It is possible to dramatically improve your ball striking ability by understanding this concept and applying it to your swing. Your wrist position at the top will determine whether you hit either a hook or slice. Remember that grip strength is important when you have a cupped wrist or bow.

Remember that the best ball strikers are those who have a forward shaft lean at impact. They actually lift the golf clubs with their hands, not amateur golfers, who do the reverse. This is a lesson that you should learn quickly by watching TV golf.

This will make the game of golf much more enjoyable and improve your ability to hit the ball. Depending on how long you’ve been playing, it might take some time but it’s worth the awkward adjustment period for long term ball striking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect, Share, and Grow with Fellow Golfers

Take Your Game to the Next Level © All Rights Reserved 2023