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Trail Wrist Role in Golf – The Holy Grail of Great Ball Striking

At HackMotion, we deal a lot with data from the lead wrist. The lead wrist data is often easier for golfers to see, understand and feel.

However, this does not mean we can ignore the trail wrist completely.

The trail wrist in golf plays a role, and after analyzing more than 1,000,000 swings of both amateur and professional golfers, we can see clear patterns about how the trail wrist functions.

Let’s take a look at the trail wrist role in golf and see if you can grab some information that helps improve your golf swing mechanics.

Trail Wrist Role in Golf Swing – Key Takeaways

  • The key movement is increasing trail wrist extension in the downswing and maintaining it at impact.
  • When we look at lead wrist extension, we are decreasing it on the downswing, making the trail and lead wrist work opposite of each other on the downswing to promote consistent impact positions.
  • At impact, the trail wrist position is ideally 10 to 15 degrees more extended than the address position.

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Optimizing Trail Wrist Movement in Your Golf Swing

Keep the Trail Wrist Extended Through the Swing

When we look at the lead wrist in golf, the goal is always to remove extension on the downswing and through impact.

However, with the trail wrist, things are different. The trail wrist requires you to add extension as you move from the top of the backswing through impact.

At the top of your backswing, the trail wrist should be extended or cupped.

As you move through impact, the trail wrist continues to increase in extension even more. When the club is parallel to the ground, it should reach its maximum extension.

When you look at the lead wrist, you’ll notice that it is flexed. The extension in the trail wrist allows for flexion in the lead wrist.

Rotate the Body as the Trail Wrist Extends

The best players in the world do everything they can to square the clubface at the top of their swing so that they can rotate through with all the power they have.

However, if the trail wrist is not in the right position and it is more flat or flexed than extended, you won’t be able to rotate through the golf ball with the same speed or power. The downswing will instead be spent squaring the clubface.

If your trail wrist is extended at the top of the swing and the clubface is square, the body can fire through towards the target.

Let the Trail Wrist Extend at Impact

As your golf club moves through the impact position, your trail wrist must stay extended. A trail wrist extended through impact lets you get more power and keep the clubface square.

On average professional golfers have 10-20 degrees more extension at impact compared to their address position.

Wearing the HackMotion can help you see where your wrists are at setup, how they change through the swing and what they are at impact again.

To get a general idea of what this looks like, grip a golf club and notice how your trail wrist is maybe slightly extended or almost flat.

As you swing back in slow motion does that position get more extended or does it stay flat?

You’ll want to see a little extra extension and then even more as you swing down through the golf ball.

Common Mistakes in Amateur Swings

Not sure if you have an issue in your golf game with your trail wrist?

You’ll probably notice a lack of distance and inconsistency as the two main culprits.

However, there are a few more specific things you can look for.

This video from Rob Cheney gives you some information on premature uncocking of the wrists—essentially, the scooping of the golf ball at impact. It also discusses excessive flexion, which moves the trail wrist into a flexed position too soon and causes a loss of power.

If you are struggling with the trail wrist, chances are it is one of these two very common issues.

Practical Drills for Improving Trail Wrist Motion

The best way to work on your wrist position in your golf game is to find a drill that works for you.

Here are a few drills as well as the HackMotion Audio Feedback that should make it easier to get your wrists in the correct position and focus on that trail wrist.

Trail Hand Open Drill

The trail hand open drill ensures that you place your trail hand on the shaft uniquely to encourage proper movement through impact.

With the trail hand open drill, your flat trail hand will rest against the side of the grip and push the club through the impact position.

This trail hand positioning will help improve any issues with flipping the wrist, as this will be impossible to do from this position.

HackMotion Audio Feedback

When you determine if your wrist issues are a bigger problem with the trail or the lead wrist, you can start using HackMotion audio feedback to correct the issue.

Set a range for the wrist position, and make sure you can hear the sound played by the HackMotion during your entire backswing and downswing.

The audio feedback works in real-time, making it much easier to pinpoint the exact location where things go wrong in your golf swing.

Set the range a little wide at first and then narrow it to really see a marked improvement in your trail wrist mechanics.

Motorcycle Drill

Although the Motorcycle drill in golf is often thought to be more for the lead wrist, it works just as well for the trail hand.

With the motorcycle drill, you will feel as though you are rotating your hands as if revving a motorcycle on the way down.

The motorcycle drill helps you close the clubface properly and maintain it in that position through impact.

Push the Right Palm Down

Without the trail hand in the right position, you may struggle with leaving the clubhead open at impact or with hands that are overactive.

Luckily, there is a way to fix it with this drill. The drill helps you feel the motion of pushing your right palm down (for the right-handed golfer) as you make your way through impact.

You can do this in slow motion, start to feel what the motion should be like, and eventually see how the wrists play such a big part in your clubface position.

Why Work On the Trail Wrist vs Lead Wrist?

The trail and the lead wrist are important in the golf swing. At HackMotion we have analyzed more than 1,000,000 golf swings of players and we notice that since the trail wrist is usually the dominant wrist for the player sometimes it is easier to focus on.

If you struggle with getting the lead wrist in the right position, try switching to working on the trail wrist for a while and see if it makes any impact on your game.

Sometimes, all it takes is a mindset change to see the difference.

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Most of the information out there about the trail side in the golf swing deals with the trail arm, not the trail wrist.

However, as a golfer, you should be aware of both the trail arm and the trail wrist because the relationship between the two is quite strong.

What does trail arm in golf mean?

Trail arm in golf means the right arm for the right-handed player or the left arm for the left-handed player. As you are swinging the golf club through the ball, the trailing arm is lagging behind.

What should trail wrist do in a golf swing?

The trail wrist in the golf swing will somewhat mirror the lead wrist. On the backswing, the trail wrist will have considerably more extension than the lead wrist.

On the downswing, that extension will increase slightly before decreasing right before impact. Golfers will have more extension at impact in their trail wrist than at the address.

Should the trail wrist be bent at impact?

After analyzing more than 1,000,000 golf swings, HackMotion has helped us determine that extension of the trail wrist at impact is a great position to be in.

With a bit more extension, it’s easier to flex the lead wrist, compress the ball, and improve ball flight and consistency.

Are their perfect trail wrist measurements with HackMotion?

Remember that, just like with the lead wrist, no exact amount of extension or flexion will guarantee your success.

The trail wrist measurements will vary slightly, but you must follow a pattern of adding extension on the downswing and having more extension at impact than you had at the address.

Final Thoughts

At this point, you should feel more confident about the trail wrist role in your golf swing.

Use HackMotion to work on both trail and lead wrist movement and determine which is most effective for you.

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