Impact Leverage – Weak Wrists vs. Bowed Out Front Wrist

This is an idea that I’ve had about “why” a slightly bowed out front wrist at impact, feels so SOLID and powerful… and thought I’d share:

Given #1:
I’ve mentioned many times, that a solid golf shot at impact, will have the shaft inline with the front arm, leading the club head, and (with my method), the body is unwinding, “dragging” this shape around to the left (right hander). I call this “trapping impact”.

Given #2:
Now, imagine the “weakest” part(s) of the body (related to the golf swing). Hum… Thighs, Hips, Shoulders, Arms, Wrists, Fingers etc.. Well, in my opinion it is the wrists! Especially when they are cupped or bent inward. That seems to be a position that is NOT very strong or can be held very long against leverage.

Given #3:
Okay…lets add the word “leverage” into the mix. They realized long ago, the longer something is, the easier it is to use it to move something else… take a long pole for instance. It works well until it breaks at some point.

So how does this all relate to the golf swing and impact?

Well, my thinking is, that if you are at impact with a bent inward front wrist, the different forces occurring at 80-100 mph, are enough to make it difficult or impossible to maintain that wrist angle, and it wants to flatten out or even bow out (because the club head is lagging behind a little) this due to the “leverage” factor.

The ball getting in the way must play some role in holding the club head back some too. These things make me think the wrists will struggle through impact, unless they are in a very solid shape that fits what is going on. Ben Hogan was aware of this and suggested to supinate the front wrist just before impact.

This bow out shape is the strongest position for the wrists to be in at impact, because of the angle of the shaft and being drug around to the left via the body’s rotation (my method).

Feel for yourself… setup like you’re going to take a shot and let the club head touch the ground slightly. Then, use your body to drag the club head around to the left and find the strongest position for your front wrist or wrists to be in while your dragging. So… if you’re not in this strongest shape at impact, you’re probably in a weaker (not as repeatable) position. This is one reason some shots feel more solid than others.

Hint: The real culprit is usually the back hand throwing the club head at impact that puts you into that weak position.

The Snow Eagle

This is just a fun post of something I thought was kind of cool.

Was the middle of winter and it looked like it might snow, but that didn’t keep us off the course. We had just teed it up on #1 when a few flakes started to fall. We didn’t care and teed off. We always walked so we started down the par 5.

As we walked it started to snow harder. We got to our shots and said, let’s just finish the hole then walk back in. So we hit our second shots. I hit a really good shot to the back of the green where I had about 20′ for eagle. Of course by now, it was really coming down as we trucked to the green to finish.

By the time we got there, the green was totally white (except the hole). Can’t stop now, I said… I’ve got an eagle putt. Well I’m sure you can guess by now what happened. I wasn’t sure how hard to hit the putt, or how the ball would react across the snow. Well, I putted and the funny thing was how the golf ball collected snow along the way, and got bigger and bigger then dropped into the hole. It had turned into a golfball-snowball.

Before, In and After the Moment

Wow, what’s all that have to do with golf?

It is my opinion that, there are 3 types of “focus” or “thinking” needed to perform consistently and develop your golf game. Before, in and after “The Moment”.

Before the Moment:
The “time” during the off season, or before your round, or between holes, or just before your shot (prior to your routine), is what I call “Before the Moment”. This is the time to focus on what your options are, what the goal is, what you’re capable of. Then you commit, you decide “What you will do”.

Each opportunity to “focus” takes different amounts of time, are done at different times, but combine to achieve goal #1 above, “Perform consistently and develop your game”.

In the Moment:
Trust your decision. NO MORE THINKING! At this moment, you MUST be automatic, rehearsed and familiar with the next 15 seconds. This is “recalling an over learned skill*”. This is just like unlocking your car door. You can do that “consistently”, because you learned it a long time ago, were successful, then stored it as a “skill” to call upon when needed. You don’t second guess yourself about writing your “signature”. You “trust” that you know how and just write. You must learn how to do this with taking a golf shot to be consistent. You can’t be learning something and be automatic. You have to have practiced (many times) and succeeded to believe…”I have this shot“. This is when golf gets really fun!

The real key here, is your “routine”. This is your protective “bubble”. It is the time you stop “thinking ahead”, “talking to your friends”, “trying to remember your golf lesson”, “adding an extra new moves”, you get the idea. The ONLY thing you do when it is time to take your shot is … “follow your routine”. This won’t be hard if/when you practice your routine. Hint: Your routine should only be about 10-14 seconds long max. If it’s longer, you’re thinking about too much, or making extra setup movements/adjustments that are not necessary.

After the Moment:
Right after the shot, it is critical to protect your attitude with non-judging self talk. Be productive (not destructive), how you mentally talk to yourself. You do have a choice you know. This is the time to learn from what you experienced and move on. That shot is done! Tell yourself you’ll think about it later and decide then, how to improve or change what happened.

After the round, find time to sit down and recap your total experience. Look for patterns that you can improve (like many putts coming up short), or hitting into the same bunker off the tee (pick a different shot, target line or club). Look for where you waste strokes**. You might take a lesson (or ask me for help).

After the season, you might again recap your entire game. Again, look for patterns (Blocking Driver, choking with 3′ putts etc.), then go search out real answers …practice and put into your routine, so you can take it to the course.

FYI, the lower you go in score, the harder it is to save strokes.

*I think I learned the term “over learned skill” from “Subconscious Golf” instruction I heard many years ago. Awesome stuff!! I learned/taught much from that information and highly recommend listening.

**FYI (again from Subconscious Golf, I believe), you can waste one shot on every hole and still par! So, if you double bogey you wasted 3 shots. Here is how I experienced this:

Way back when, short par 4, cold top Driver about 50 yards dead left under a very low bush. I started to beat myself up and caught myself, stopped that thinking, and said to myself… Okay, how can I par from here. This changed my attitude back to a “challenge” with myself. It put creative mode in gear and sent me visualizations of how it could be done. I got on my knees, knocked a long iron out from the bush back into the fairway… at the time I actually had an old Powerbilt (1) iron, (stayed focused), knocked it up on the green about 12′ and made the putt. Best par of my life to this day, because I was about to give up, but took control of my thinking (didn’t let emotions control me). I have taught this lesson to countless students over the years… Ross

Constant Arm Pressure – Golf Swing

I have mentioned many times over the years, to keep “constant” grip pressure during the entire golf swing. This concept really lets the body take control for a more repeatable swing. I’ve discovered that a certain number of golfers, will keep their grip pressure constant, but through impact, they allow their “arms” to take over trying to add speed/distance. What happens when the arms take over is, the body stops to support and help “sling” or speed up the arms. This works against what we try to do using the Large Muscles.

If the arms take over, they usually pass the body’s rotation, pulling the shots (if the face is square), or cutting the shot if the face is a bit open.

The answer, is to learn to rotate using the body’s rotation without the arms helping or taking over through impact. If you start with a short, shoulders-only backswing, then a medium paced, complete rotation to the finish… like 40 yd. shot. You can really feel if the arms take over. You want to practice this shot to the point you can rotate without any grip pressure/arm pressure change. Then, just lengthen the backswing a bit as you improve.

There is nothing wrong with having a “firm” constant grip pressure (to maintain a square face), and a squeezing of the elbows towards each other to help keep control.

Control the Front Arm for a Consistent Golf Swing

The golf swing is moving so fast, there is no time to “fix” something during the swing. My method looks to remove or control the “pitfalls” that ruin the swing. One pitfall is the front arm.

The front arm acts as an extension of the golf club. That front arm and shaft better be working as one line at impact or we’re in trouble. Let’s see how we get into trouble.

The front arm can lift up, down, out, in and roll. It can bend at the elbow. It can bend at the wrist (in many directions). And the worst pitfall, it can take over and move the club on its own. Wow, no wonder we have problems.

The good news, all of these pitfalls can be controlled! We just have to activate certain muscles in the front arm, to take back control and maintain the shape we need, for a consistent golf swing.

My method starts with the elbows close together and pointing back at the hips. I do this because it keeps the arms “in check” and working with the body rotation. In check means, they are connected or in-tune with the body’s motion. The body controls the arms.

Now, one muscle or “attached” feeling that can help all this work, is to have the upper inside of the front arm, slightly connected to your side. Setting up with the elbows close together usually creates this, but if you have trouble with that, just feeling like the upper inside of the front arm is attached or connected to your side, can help too. This only works if you’ve got that elbow pointing back at the front hip. If the front elbow points out towards the target, it can chicken wing or bend and will disconnect.

Some golf instructors like to use a head cover placed in the front arm pit and held, to feel this connection. You can experiment with this too.

The Big Key for all this to work, is the body must keep rotating and accelerating all the way to the finish. This “upper arm” idea is just a way to control the front arm from taking over or the arms in general from taking over through impact. Give it a try.

What Opens the Club Face? It Started Square

Q. I was trying to figure out what was causing me to open my club face on the downswing when I had had a nice square face during the shoulder turn. Could it be that I am starting my body rotation before the momentum of my club is complete and therefore my body is getting ahead of my arms and hands and causing the club face to open?

A. Yes!.. Sometimes you get thin or open face, because the arms (usually the back elbow) gets stuck behind the back hip, because the hips are rotating before the elbows have returned back in front. You also may have a bit of an arm or hand lift right at the top of the backswing.

The Help:
Shorten the backswing to only using the shoulders… when they’re done, start the downswing and visualize your body rotation bringing the arms back in front, as you continue all the way to the finish*. The body leads, but can’t race away, must bring arms/club along. I will make many references to this in the new videos I plan on making this Spring.

*Traditional golf instruction has you clear your hips first (huge power loss) then, to fix the face being WIDE OPEN, release (roll your hands) quickly and hope you time squaring the face… when all you had to do was just use your body rotation to bring the arms/club back in front, and USE the hips/body’s rotation, as a big power source.

Fixed Wrist Drill – Square Club Face & Correct Shaft Angle

This little drill will fix so many problems related to opening, closing, hinging and flipping the club head during the golf swing. This video assumes you already know the DUPLESSISGOLF setup*.

[vimeo 77235615 w=400 h=286]

* If you are unsure about how to setup (precursor for doing this drill), please click here… Ross

Easy Golf Swing – Setup Elbows Wrists Shaft – Hold that Shape to the Top – Turn that Shape to the Finish

My method is very repeatable because:

– We keep 60% (or more) weight on the front foot during the backswing*.

– We setup the Elbows/Wrists/Shaft, exactly how we want to be back at impact (setup shape).

Setup Shape
Setup Shape

– We then use the shoulders, to turn that “setup shape” to the top of the backswing as we hold** the shape.

– We then unwind our body*** to rotate that shape back through perfect impact, as we continuously unwind to the finish.

Yay!! straight, solid golf shot… You can do that again and again… have fun.

My Arm Setup and Swing

I setup my arms/wrists first thing as I start my routine and am standing behind the ball looking at my target. Then, I hold that shape and let my arms hang down and use that shape as a template to setup to the ball. Using the club face as a guide, my feet move me around to align that arm setup to my target. The arms/wrists/shaft never change. Once aligned, I sit down. This will have me perfectly balanced with parallel body lines.

Now I’m setup, I then stare**** at the target and picture my 2 “Keywords” (one backswing, one downswing). My (2) Keywords are, SpineUnwind. I like to visualize my shoulders turning around my spine, then my body unwinding. Once I’ve pictured me doing these 2 words, I look back at the ball and GO… I do the 2 keywords.

Alternate Keywords:

Find what works for you. Eventually all these keywords meld into 3 concepts … SETUP, SHOULDERS, BODY. But as you are learning, you may need a few extra words.

– Shaft in line, elbows pinch, wrists fixed… Shoulders turn that shape the Top… Body turns that shape to the Finish.

– Setup Shape… Hold Shape using the Shoulders only… Turn Shape through to the finish.

– Setup Impact… Hold Impact to the Top… Turn Impact through to the Left (right hander).

– Setup… Shoulders turn… Body unwinds.

The Hands Ruin Everything

The real swing killer is usually the “Hands” throwing the club head. Learning to stop throwing the club head can be learned with a couple of easy drills I have. The “Key” is time… you must put in the time (practice) to reap the benefits. You can’t just think your way through this. Muscle memory is replaced in time and with repetitions. Maybe a couple weeks/months…everyone is different, but you will improve daily and learn a lot about discipline and commitment… You will “Know” you’ve improved and will keep these improvements. Oh, yea… and will take them to the course, only if you practice them as part of your routine…your Routine is the ONLY thing that you take to the course.

* If we maintain at least 60% of our weight on the front foot, we can rotate around our front hip socket, as fast as we need on the downswing, because we don’t have to “Fix” having swayed, slid or moved off the ball. Most golfers that slide off the ball, do it because the ball position is in the middle of their stance and that is not athletic, they can’t rotate… causes flipping, fat shots, shanks and many other issues.

** We want to maintain the relationship of the elbows/wrists/shaft so we “hold” that shape. We do not want the wrists to hinge or breakdown into a bad position… we don’t want the elbows separating or breaking down. Just hold the setup shape and turn your shoulders and when the shoulders can’t go any father, start the downswing using the body. We don’t need much backswing. The power is in the downswing unwinding and rotating.

*** Yes, unwinding the body is very powerful. It is the move many other sports use to hit Home Runs, Throw the Discus, Javelin, Footballs, Baseballs etc. The faster you turn, the farther the ball goes. It is usually the hands trying to help that ruins the body’s natural ability to rotate. If the hands take over, the body stops rotating thinking that you’re hitting at something rather than rotating through it. We “Trap Impact” with our entire body mass rotating… much more reliable than just the club head being thrown by the hands.

**** The reason I use the word stare is, I want to be looking at my target picturing what I will do, in rhythm, when my face looks back at the ball. This technique works AWESOME. It is like a mental rehearsal… as long as you are looking at the target. If you just glance at the target, then look back at the ball and try to picture what you want to do IT WON’T WORK!

To Hinge or Not to Hinge

I always knew that an active wrist hinge (traditional golf instruction), changed the club face and was not repeatable. This wrist hinge was only done in preparation to throw the club head at the ball for power. Well, you may get a little power from it, but for every action there is an opposite reaction… so essentially… hinge on the backswing, leads to a flip on the downswing. The chances of timing this into a solid, straight golf shot are very small. Plus, when every thing is hinging at the wrists, the radius of the swing is cut in half (the length is only from the wrists, to the club head.

So as my method progressed, I wanted to have a full radius at impact (the front arm in line with the shaft leading the club head), AND use the body rotating as the source of power. I could see this in all other athletic movements (like throwing a ball).

For many years, I taught “passive hands” and “constant grip pressure”. Some of my earlier teaching mentions, the wrists passively hinge and unhinge on their own. This was in hopes that we could remove the inconsistencies of active hinging and active unhinging. These thoughts of passive hands and constant grip pressure, did help improve consistency.

As time passed, many of my students still had the urge to throw the club head and had trouble trying to stop flipping. It then dawned on me that since we want a straight line of the front arm and club shaft at impact, we could setup that way to begin with… then maintain that setup shape using the shoulders only to carry the arms/club to the top of the backswing (Steve Stricker look)… and since there was no change in the wrists, there would be no urge to have to flip to return the shaft in line with the front arm or square the club face back at impact. We could just use the body to unwind, bringing the arms/club back down in front of the body and around to the left (right hander).

Using this concept, I realized we can setup with the shaft in line with the front arm, elbows close together and SET THE WRISTS* (just how we want them back at impact)… then we just maintain that shape (hold the wrists in that shape and pinch the elbows), then use the shoulders only for the backswing. This winds the Large back muscles for a ton of power potential… then we just use the body to unwind.

* Experiment with the amount of grip pressure. Squeeze and hold pretty tight the entire swing and just use your turn to trap the ball…you should hit a nice solid shot via your body rotation not hands.

No Height on Hybrids & Fairway Woods

A student asked for help because he was not getting any height on his hybrids and fairway woods. Here was my response:

Hi Todd
Generally the big culprit for no height on fairway woods or hybrids is incorrect ball position at setup. This is usually too far back in the stance. If the ball is played in the middle or its position is too far back in the stance :

1) …it is there because you want to use your hands to hit at the ball and that is the best position to maybe make contact.

or

2)… you will not be able to rotate and then MUST use your hands to save the shot or you’ll shank or block right (right handed golfer).

or

3)… you started with the ball in the correct position but you did not keep your weight forward (60% or more front foot) on the backswing and you moved off of the ball, essentially changing the ball position. If you do slide to the back foot on the backswing, there is a need to have to slide back and if you’re sliding, you can not be rotating …so you must use your hands to try to save the shot.

What to do:
So, what you should do is…setup with the ball position, front hip socket or even front toe… learn to rotate and not flip at the ball. At impact the shaft must be in line with the front arm and you must be rotating… if you do, the ball will easily come up, have height and go far and straight… Ross

FYI… The best way to know for sure which one or combination of the above is/are your problem(s), I need to see a couple of swing videos of you. That way we are not guessing and I can also look for other elements that will help your swing. I call this a Golf Swing Analysis.