Active Hinging vs. Passive Hinging of the Wrists

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

My instruction evolves. Since I wrote this, my discoveries have led me to believe, it is best to maintain the setup position of the wrists during the backswing and through impact and when the body has finished rotating, the wrists will release. There is no benefit at all (only problems) allowing the wrists to hinge or even passively hinge. This is because we want a straight line of the shaft and the front arm at impact with the body turning and it is very hard to “unhinge” into a straight line without flipping.

ORIGINAL POST:

One of the biggest causes of “Flipping” or “Throwing” the club head at the ball in the golf swing, is due to “Active Hinging“. What is that? Okay, I made up the term, but I had to since traditional golf instruction won’t address this as a problem. Active hinging is letting your hands take over and help hinge your wrists into some position. Almost never is this the “Correct” position. The feeling is that we’ve added a lever, a multiplier, by hinging so we can really hit it hard at impact with our back hand. This is not powerful or repeatable. This is a setup for failure because, for every action there is an opposite reaction which is to un-hinge on the downswing, using the hands and the BODY WILL STOP ROTATING TO SUPPORT THIS FLIP. This removes any chance for an Athletic golf swing. It now turns into a “Chop” like an axe into a tree. Not repeatable or powerful.

So… how do I create “Passive Hinging?” Answer: You don’t. Hence the word passive. It happens naturally when you allow the shoulders to carry the arms & club to the top of the swing without disrupting with the hands.

If your grip pressure is about a 3 on a scale from 1-10, the club head will eventually pass “Top Dead Center”*, fall on its own and automatically hinge your wrists correctly. What it looks like, is a flat to bowed out front wrist (a la Paul Azinger, Dustin Johnson, Trevino, or Hogan’s supination just before impact). Now we’re talking. This wrist hinge has the club face square to the plane. You will know it is right if the toe of the club looks about 45 degrees to the plane not in line with it (watch this for more on Square Face). This correct passive wrist hinge ALLOWS THE BODY TO TURN AS HARD, FAST OR SLOW THROUGH TO THE FINISH without any need for manipulation. There is no need to stop and throw the club head at the ball. In fact that messes everything up.

This is a tough subject, but a very cool concept and the outcome is AWESOME once learned… Ross

* Top Dead Center – Is a term I’m using to describe the point at which the club will pass vertical and start to fall due to gravity on its own (if allowed to). This is the subtle force that automatically hinges the wrists.

How to Setup Balanced & Centered for the Golf Swing

I recently replied to a students comment about how he checks his balance by wiggling his toes just before he hits and I really like the idea of checking your Balance and being Centered, but prefer my method that also covers other concerns at the same time. My answer:

I see the concept behind the toe lifting as a way to check your balance. I use “Sit Down” with the club head behind the ball, to focus on the entire body being centered and sitting into an Athletic Position. This has the thighs ready to support the shoulder turn and automatically distributes the weight via natural instinct, meaning; as the knees bend to allow the backside to sit, the chest moves slightly forward as a counter balance proportionately still keeping the body centered. This is good, in that all clubs have different lengths of shafts and we want to maintain this Athletic Position Ratio (the more we sit, the more the chest counter balances equally) We need this “Sit Down” also for different lies and slopes (uphill, ball below feet, etc). This is a critical part of the routine and only takes a second to check. It is also great feedback that we are centered & balanced and ready to hit.

One small add-on to this moment in the Pre Shot Routine is that the shoulders must be “Level” as we “Sit Down”. Many, many golfers drop their back shoulder at this time causing another problem…. So, Shoulders Level & Sit Down … 🙂