Wrist Angle at Downswing

By John Giatropoulos
Last Updated: 11/06/2016

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This is an interesting topic, and one that many golfers need to fully understand. The wrist angle throughout the swing can cause various issues, and it is especially important during the downswing.

Lets take it from the beginning. You have setup to the ball, your stance at address is all set, and you have your hands pressed a little forward.

When you first take the club back and start your backswing, you rotate your shoulders, take the club low and away (to create a larger arc) and shift your weight ever so slightly to your trail side.

Figure 1

Cool.

When you have taken the club back to the top of your backswing, you have to swing the club down and hit the ball right? At the top of your backswing your wrists are cocked or "set", so when do you "unset" or release your wrist angle in your downswing?

To feel your wrist angle, grab a club. Grip the club like you would to hit a golf shot. Now lift the clubhead as far as you can vertically using only your wrists, creating a smaller wrist angle between your cubhead, hands and arms. THIS is wrist angle. We will call this angle "set" position.

Now let the club back down using ONLY your wrists. This is "releasing" wrist angle. We will call this "release" position.

So now that we know how both feel, we can talk more about how to proceed. Let's take a look at your swing so we can have a visual.

Figure 2

I drew lines on your swing to show you the angle that your wrists create during the downswing. The wrist angle at the downswing should be fairly close to 90-110 degrees and should be in the "set" position.

You want to imagine maintaining that wrist angle through your downswing. A good visual would be to start the downswing with the butt end of the club FIRST.

If you swing with the butt-end of the club first, your wrist angle will magically be maintained in the "set" position.  If you start the downswing with the clubhead first or your hands, well, the angle formed between your lead elbow, hands and clubhead will be wide open in the "release" position.

This is what a lot of folks call maintaining "lag".  By maintaining that "set" position with your wrists, you are delaying the release of your wrists, and the club is lagging behind (which is what we want).

If you have ever watched golf on television, and saw Sergio Garcia hit a golf ball, he has a tremendously small wrist angle, and a TON of "lag".

Now Im not suggesting to emulate Sergio, in fact, not many people can, but what I AM saying is to recognize that there is something called wrist angle, and that you need to maintain the "set" position during the downswing and not release the club too early.

If you release your wrist angle early it can lead to a condition called "casting". I suppose they get this from fishing, because it resembles a fisherman casting with a rod and reel. You are releasing the wrist angle and casting the golf club instead.

So. This was a lot. Just keep in mind, to maintain your wrist angle during your downswing, think about starting the downswing with the butt end of the club first. This will help you maintain the "set" position with your wrists.

Your wrists will naturally release when you get into the impact zone, and gravity takes over. You can't keep the club from releasing naturally so do just that. Let the club release naturally. When you do, all that maintaining of your wrist angle will generate a lot of power to the golf ball.

Figure 3

If you are into training aids, there is actually a good one out there that will help you maintain your wrist angle throughout the swing. It's called the Tour 144 and has been around for quite a while and has gotten some great reviews. I am an Amazon Affiliate, full disclosure.

This product claims to eliminate "casting" or that early release of your wrists. If you do check it out on Amazon, I'd love to hear your review.

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