A golf club can feel light as a feather when you pull it out of a golf bag, but it becomes heavier than a barbell when you start swinging at golf balls. The hands and wrists play a key role in handling the club's weight. By learning to create the proper wrist angles in the golf swing, you can make the golf club feel light and under control throughout your swing.
The Toe Up Drill
The legendary instructor Harvey Penick helped women golfers learn to set their wrists earlier in the backswing for better control. To set the wrists correctly, practice swinging the club back to waist high. At that point, the club shaft should be parallel to the ground and parallel to the target line. The toe should point to the sky. Practice that move often so you can start setting your wrist angle earlier in the swing.
The L Drill
Another legendary instructor, Jim Flick, taught that halfway into the backswing, the handle of the club should point at the target line and there should be an angle like the letter L between the club and the forearms. This position, Flick said, made the golf club feel light and controllable. Halfway into the follow through, your wrists and club should mirror that position. Make half swings, checking these two positions to learn the proper wrist angle. Hit balls with a short iron off a tee to groove this action.
Some golfers lose control of the club when they start the downswing. Their wrists suddenly straighten, like they are casting with a fishing rod. Penick had a "magic drill" for fixing this. Swing the club back to the top of the swing and pause. Start down by shifting your weight to your left foot and letting your right elbow drop to your right side. Keep your wrists set at a 90-degree angle. Repeat that move two more times, then swing all the way through to the finish.
The Pitch Shot Drill
Pitch shots can help you learn to set and hold onto a proper wrist angle. Practice hitting 20- to 30-yard shots with a sand wedge or pitching wedge. On the backswing, set your wrists immediately so the club head gets above your hands early. On the downswing and into the follow, through feel like your hands stay ahead of the club head. You may feel like your follow-through is shorter than your backswing, which is okay for this drill.
- The Impact Zone; Bobby Clampett
- The Little Red Book; Harvey Penick
- On Golf; Jim Flick
David Raudenbush has more than 20 years of experience as a literacy teacher, staff developer and literacy coach. He has written for newspapers, magazines and online publications, and served as the editor of "Golfstyles New Jersey Magazine." Raudenbush holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a master's degree in education.