Should Your Wrists be Passive in the Golf Swing?

Hi. I’m Rotary Swing founder Chuck Quinton, here with certified instructor Chris Tyler, and today we’re going to talk about what the wrists do, or shouldn’t do, in the golf swing.

One of the things that we see that is unbelievably common in the golf swing, and probably one of the most detrimental, most common, fundamental flaws that we always see is that the golf swing is, for so many golfers, is happening just with their arms and hands. The body ends up just kind of responding to all the momentum that the hands and arms and club are generating, when really, we want the exact opposite. We want the body to get all of these smaller things moving and dominate the club movements so that the little muscles can respond to certain things that we want to do to alter ball flight.

But really what the wrists primarily do in the golf swing is that they’re basically a passive hinge, for lack of a better way of saying it. Yes, there’s some muscle activation, but most people way overdo this. So what we want to show today is what the most common flaws are, and then how actually doing less and being more passive with your hands will actually get the club to go where we want it.

Chris, why don’t you turn down the line so that they can see where the club tends to go in the takeaway, and show them what the most common flaws that we see when the wrists get really active.

The most common thing we see is early hinge of the hand, hinge of the right wrist, getting the club buried in behind the body and not getting much movement from the body at all.

Yeah, exactly. So to this point he hasn’t turned at all, but he’s moved the club several feet, and all he’s done to do that is just hinge his wrists. Now clearly there’s not a lot of power available to him because he hasn’t used any muscles in his body, and by the time he keeps going to the top he’s going to have a really short and narrow swing. It’s going to get collapsed, things can break down, the wrist can get bowed, it can get cupped, it can do all kinds of stuff, but basically what you’ve done is you’ve made a very handsy swing.

Now to get the club to this position in the takeaway that we wanted, what we really want to do is control the big movements, because just this little amount of flexion in the wrists and hinging in the wrists is going to move the club a long, long ways. It becomes very difficult to control with these small muscles because the club’s moving very fast, there’s a lot of momentum, and it’s too difficult to control it, to get that club there.

Go ahead and set up for me again. What I want you to focus on is keeping the wrist doing basically nothing, for the most part, and pull your shoulder back and let’s get to the end of the takeaway here. So now, as he adds just a … Now this feels kind of awkward I would assume, because the club’s starting to get heavy because it’s getting long and gravity is pulling down on it.

What you’re naturally going to want to do is add a little bit of wrist cock in here because the club is getting heavy, but what he’s really doing is responding to the weight of the club and controlling the movement with his body. Here he’s focusing on taking his shoulders back, pulling that right shoulder blade back, and letting his wrists respond to the weight of the club, rather than snatching the club back right away and letting the body do nothing.

Let’s turn face-on so they can see that face-on. Now let’s do the same thing. Right shoulder’s going to go back, and the big thing is, again, his wrists aren’t doing anything. Now his wrists are kind of left in reserve to respond to the weight of the club. As he continues on to the top, the same thing. He doesn’t just pick it up and snatch it to the top, he’s going to keep turning and turning and turning and turning and relax his hands … Relax your hands … and as he turns to the top the club’s going to feel heavy, so his wrists are going to naturally set.

Relax your hands. So now, instead of snatching it to the top and not being able to control the position at the top, if he’s responding to the weight of the club, and his body’s doing the majority of the work, his wrists are going to be pretty passive and relaxed, just enough to support and control the club.

As he starts down … Go ahead and start down … the same thing is happening. He’s not pushing against the shaft with his left thumb or his right wrist. The wrists are basically passive, and so as he keeps moving everything back down the wrists are going to release and time the release … Relax … at the bottom automatically. He doesn’t have to push against the shaft, doesn’t have to do anything there. His wrists are basically passive.

The way I think about it is that the golf swing basically doesn’t happen from here down. Your hands and wrists are never actively, per se, controlling that golf club. You don’t want to try and time that release at the bottom. It’s way too finicky, it’s way too fast. You want your arms and hands to be very relaxed and passive. That’s going to allow the club to release and time the release due to physics on its own, rather than ripping the club back.

If you think that the golf swing kind of happens more from here up, and not from here down, and you keep your wrists soft and supple, all of a sudden you’ll start to get that lag that you want at the top, and the downcock that you’re looking for, because it will happen naturally and automatically, rather than you worrying about what your hands should be doing.

What you need to understand is that you need to focus on the big body movements. The wrists and hands, as I said, not really that active in the golf swing. Focus on five minutes to master rotation. Learn how to turn your body to the top to control the club. Focus on the two inch shoulder blade glide in the takeaway and how little your arms really move, and you’ll dramatically simplify your golf swing and get all of these other side benefits of lag and downcock that you’re working on in your golf swing. They’ll happen automatically when you focus on making a big body movement-driven golf swing, rather than trying to control everything with your arms and hands.

Chuck Quinton
is the founder of the RotarySwing Tour online golf instruction learning system. He played golf professionally for 5 years and has been teaching golf since 1995 and has worked with more than 300 playing professionals who have played on the PGA, Web.com and other major tours around the world.
Chuck Quinton

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Chuck Quinton

Chuck Quinton

is the founder of the RotarySwing Tour online golf instruction learning system. He played golf professionally for 5 years and has been teaching golf since 1995 and has worked with more than 300 playing professionals who have played on the PGA, Web.com and other major tours around the world.

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