Secrets Pros Know
By T.J. Tomasi
Universal Press Syndicate
If you're like most golfers, you probably fold your trail wrist backward at the top of your swing ― and that's a good thing. But chances are that unlike players on tour, you don't keep that angle until impact. Maintaining your wrist cup allows you to retain the correct lag of the shaft, keeping the hands ahead of the clubhead ― a move that provides maximum power and clubface control.
At the top of the swing the cup in the trail wrist (right for right-handers) bends like one side of a parenthetical sign). The wrist hinges backward due to the force applied on it by momentum, as Aaron Baddeley's is in the photo below, with the cup illustrated by the drawing. Thus it is important to maintain a light wrist pressure at address in anticipation of surrendering to this force as the backswing unfolds. There are many places in the swing where tension is a foe and this is one of them.
Starting down to the ball the back elbow begins to straighten, losing its 90-degree angle. But this can only happen correctly if the trail wrist stays cupped as it was at the top of the swing. Unfortunately, maintaining the cup is not so easy. Some golfers lose the cup very early coming back to the ball and are condemned to a weak flip at the ball. Others (picture Charles Barkley, if you dare) hold the trail elbow bend much too long and lose the power of the piston contained therein. The correct move is to keep the cup sealed intact until your friend momentum pries it open.
Your hands stay ahead of the clubhead because the trail elbow straightens on the way down. That puts pressure on the handle of the club and pushes it toward the target, thereby preserving the wrist cup. It is this piston-like shove that seals the cup in place ― a straight arm featuring your trail palm pointing at the ball, as Robert Gamez's intact wrist cup illustrates in the photo below. Because the pressure (a pushing force) is applied to the handle, the clubhead can't catch the hands until at the bottom of your swing arc, where momentum rips it open.