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Role of Wrist Angles in the Golf Swing

Wrist Angles Control the Clubface

To play consistent golf you need to achieve consistent contact of the clubface and the ball. The clubface angle determines more than 80% of the ball flight direction, according to launch monitor data and your wrists directly control the club face angle.

Therefore learning to measure and optimize wrist angles and wrist motion is a shortcut to better golf. Let’s take a look at how each type of wrist motion influences the clubface.

  • Flexion/Extension – also called Bowing/Cupping, Arching/Bending the wrist
  • Radial/Ulnar deviation – also called Cocking/Uncocking the wrist
  • Rotation – global rotation of the forearm

Lead Wrist Extension/Flexion opens and closes the clubface

Wrist extending (cupping/bending) and flexing (bowing/arching) are the motions which open and close the club face. Extension opens the clubface, flexion closes the clubface. The better you control the amount of flexion/extension you have the better you will control the clubface and shot direction.

Increasing wrist extension in transition steepens the club, more flexion shallows the club.

The most common problem for amateurs is having too much lead wrist extension at the top and during the downswing which leads to open clubface and slicing.

You can read more how to measure and correct excessive extension by following this link

Image 1: more flexion (bowing/arching) – closes the clubface earlier, helps to square it to target

Image 2: more extension (cupping/bending) – opens the clubface, delays squaring it to target

Radial/Ulnar deviation is the amount of wrist cock

Radial/Ulnar deviation is often called cocking and uncocking motion and is an important power source.  However it is also one of the most misunderstood parts of the swing because on video it sometimes looks like tour players are adding a lot of wrist cock during downswing. Many amateur players try to copy it and add wrist cock by force hoping that they will increase their lag and distance.

However 3D wrist data shows that most tour players are not adding massive amounts of wrist cock during downswing and many of them are actually keeping it constant or decreasing it. This happens because radial/ulnar deviation is “coupled” motion with extension/flexion. The more you add radial deviation, the more the wrist also extends which opens the clubface and makes it harder to control it.

Image 1: more radial deviation cocks the wrist

Image 2: more ulnar deviation uncocks the wrist

Rotation is important for squaring the clubface

Rotation is one of the key motions which is responsible for closing the clubface as it approaches impact with the ball. Too little rotation before impact can leave the clubface open and result in slices and pushes to the right. Too much rotation will close the clubface and result in pulling the ball left.

Hackmotion sensor’s 3D data shows that also tour players are rotating through impact quite a lot, instead of the belief that they have minimum amount of rotation. The difference is that they do it consistently – repeating the same amount of rotation which is matched up with the amount of flexion/extension they have (which also squares the clubface). Using Hackmotion sensor you can track the amount of rotation you have and keep it consistent from swing to swing to improve the consistency of your swing.

Image 1: lead forearm rotated open (clockwise motion) before impact

Image 2: lead forearm is square

Image 3: lead forearm rotated closed (counter-clockwise motion) after impact

Short game and putting

Wrist angles are important not only for the long game. In pitching/chipping understanding how the clubface behaves helps to create different ball flight trajectories and spin levels. You can use Hackmotion also to measure these short game shots.

In putting every degree of wrist angle change can influence the clubface and make the putt miss the hole. Being consistent in your wrist angles is key for consistent putting stroke.

Read more about using HackMotion Sensor for putting here

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How measuring wrist angles can help you to improve

Coaches and players often encounter these problems:

–  too open club face during downswing, too much extension in lead wrist

– the putting stroke is too “wristy” – wrist angles are changing too much and influencing club face

Using Hackmotion you can precisely measure and optimize the wrist. After each swing you get a precise measurement and sound feedback so you can track progress from swing to swing and from lesson to lesson. You can compare the data to your previous swings and to tour players to better understand what you want to work on.

Now take a look at the video below where Martin Chuck gives a short introduction on how Hackmotion sensor works.

Martin Chuck PGA, Explains HackMotion

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Ready to Try HackMotion Sensor?

  • HackMotion sensor is used by world’s leading coaches – Phil Kenyon, Allen Terrell, Scott Cowx, Mark Blackburn, David Orr, Brian Manzella, Mike Schy and many others. Join the rank of the most the educated coaches.
  • PGA Tour winners Dustin Johnson, Bryson Dechambeau, Brad Faxon and European Tour winners Thorbjorn Olesen, Lucas Bjerregaard and many others have used it to measure and optimize their wrist motion.
  • Access tour player data and compare your data against it. Find out your release pattern and optimize your performance.
  • Audio feedback helps to fix common swing faults – too much wrist cupping (extension) in full swing causing open club face and inconsistent wrist angles in your putting stroke.


The 3 Tour Wrist Patterns



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