By Dr. T. J. Tomasi
Keiser University College of Golf Senior Faculty and Director of Research
A good way to think of your backswing is that its role is to create certain power angles between you and your golf club — angles that multiply the force of your swing. Once you create these angles, you need to keep them intact until they release naturally.
One of the most important of these angles is the one created by your right wrist (left for left-handers) as it bends into a “hinged” position at the top of your backswing. Your wrist will do this in response to the momentum of your backswing — if you allow it to happen. Returning the clubhead to the ball is another story. During the downswing, there are strong forces pulling/pushing on the club that can cause golfers to lose the crucial right-wrist hinge much too early in the downswing. When this happens, your swing springs a power leak, and all you can do is deliver a weak slap at the ball that kills both your distance and your accuracy. At the top of your swing, let your trail hand cup (hinge) so its palm faces toward the sky. Once you create this position, keep it until the force of your swing releases it through impact. The hinge will stay in place naturally if you refrain from putting pressure on the shaft, a mistake most golfers make in trying for power.
At first, keeping your right wrist bent (concave) longer than you’re used to will feel like you can’t square the clubface in time for impact. But through practice, you will realize that you can keep the hinge and square the clubface to the ball with power, not by manipulating the clubface with your hands, but through the sequence of motion as your body unwinds. Since the swing speed is low, hitting short wedges is a great way to feel the sequence that retains the cup or hinge of the trail wrist.
A word of caution: While focusing on keeping your trail wrist bent, make sure to allow your trail elbow to straighten naturally as you swing the club down and toward the ball.