With so many different swings in the hall of fame, it’s clear that there are a lot of ways to successfully swing the golf club. However, there are commonalities all great ball strikers share. Conversely, there are commonalities poor players share, too. And the No. 1 thing on both of those lists is hand and wrist position at impact.
There is not one great player that I can think of that didn’t or doesn’t have their lead wrist in flexion while having their trail wrist in extension at impact. While at the same time, many amateur’s wrists are in the exact opposite position. Their lead wrist is in extension while trail wrist is in flexion.
Flexion and extension can be confusing until you think of it in the right way. Think of flexion as flexing forward, while extension is extending backward. At the moment a player is striking the golf ball, their lead wrist should be flexing forward while the trail wrist should be extending backward. You can see Collin Morikawa doing these things in the picture below.
When a player gets this position correct, they get two benefits as a result — maximized clubhead speed and clubface control. Better said, they can hit the ball further and straighter. Clubhead speed is maximized because the club head is releasing properly at the moment of impact and not losing power with a premature release. At the same time, control is increased because the leading edge of the club head remains square to the target line longer.
Many amateur’s wrists are in the exact opposite position. The lead wrist is extending backward while the trail wrist is flexing forward. The clubhead has released early resulting in a power loss while the leading edge is crooked in relation to the target line. Hence, both a loss of club head speed and ball control. You can see the incorrect position in the picture below.
A great way to learn and integrate the proper wrist position while improving your short game is to first learn the technique in chipping and then carry it forward into mini wedge play. Once a player has learned to control their wrist position in their short game, they have a greater chance to maintain that position in the full swing.
If you can work on finding these correct hand and wrist positions at impact, your iron play will improve and your scores will drop.