Wrist Angles Control the Clubface
Consistent golf requires consistent contact of the clubface to the ball. The clubface angle determines 80% of the ball flight direction, according to launch monitor data. Your wrists directly control the clubface angle.
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 that open and close the clubface. Extension opens the clubface, flexion closes the clubface. The more control over flexion/extension you have, the better you will control the clubface and shot direction.
Increasing wrist extension in transition steepens the club while 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 on how to measure and correct excessive extension with this link.
Image 1: more flexion (bowing/arching) – closes the clubface earlier and helps to square it to target
Image 2: more extension (cupping/bending) – opens the clubface and delays squaring it to target
Radial/Ulnar deviation is the amount of wrist cock
Radial/Ulnar deviation is often called cocking and uncocking. This motion is an important power source in the swing. However, it is also one of the most misunderstood parts of the swing. On video, it looks like tour players are adding wrist cock during downswing. Many amateur players try to mimic tour players, adding wrist cock in hopes of increasing their lag and distance.
However, 3D wrist data shows that most tour players are not adding massive amounts of wrist cock during downswing, but are actually keeping it constant or decreasing it. This happens because radial/ulnar deviation is a “coupled” motion with extension/flexion. The more you add radial deviation, the more the wrist extends, which opens the clubface and makes it harder to control.
Image 1: Increased radial deviation cocks the wrist
Image 2: Increased. ulnar deviation uncocks the wrist
Rotation is important for squaring the clubface
Rotation is a key motion, responsible for closing the clubface as it approaches impact with the ball. Not enough rotation before impact can leave the clubface open, resulting in slices that push the ball to the right. Too much rotation will close the clubface, resulting in the ball pulling left.
Hackmotion sensor’s 3D data shows that tour players are rotating through impact quite a lot, contrary to the belief that they have a minimum amount of rotation. The difference with tour players is that they rotate consistently – repeating the same amount of rotation each swing. Pro golfers match rotation with flexion/extension, squaring squares the clubface. Using the Hackmotion sensor, you can track the amount of rotation you have, keeping it consistent from swing to 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 also crucial for the short game. In pitching/chipping, understanding how the clubface behaves helps create different ball flight trajectories and spin levels. Hackmotion also measures short game shots.
In putting, every degree of wrist angle change can influence the clubface. Consistency in your wrist angles is key for consistency in putting.
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All of our information is based on carefully analyzed pro player data, developed together with leading golf instructors.
How measuring wrist angles can help you to improve
Coaches and players often encounter these problems:
– The clubface is too open during downswing, causing too much extension in the lead wrist.
– The putting stroke is too “wristy” – wrist angles are changing too much, making the putter face unstable.
Hackmotion allows you to precisely measure and optimize wrist motion. After each swing, you get both a precise measurement and sound feedback, allowing you to track progress from swing to swing and from lesson to lesson. Data can be compared to previous swings and to tour players to better understand what you want to work on.
Take a look at the video below, where Martin Chuck gives a short introduction on how the HackMotion sensor works.
Martin Chuck PGA, Explains HackMotion
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