Flat Left Wrist at Top of Backswing – Golf Swing Lesson

In golf a flat wrist at the top of the backswing is a very important concept to master. This online golf lesson is dedicated to explaining the backswing and particularly the concept of a flat wrist. For a right-handed golfer this will be a flat left wrist at the top of the backswing.

A solid, flat left wrist in the backswing of the golf swing assists with keeping the golf club on plane, keeps the transition from getting loose, helps stop over swinging and most importantly helps the golfer hit straight golf shots with consistent, controlled trajectory. Read on for a full explanation and don’t forget to watch the video at the end and leave your comments.

Golf Backswing: Flat Wrist at the Top

There are so many possible angles and wrist positions in a golf swing, we first need to clarify what these are and what the desired backswing position looks like. By definition the flat wrist position at the top of the backswing for a right handed player involves having the left forearm, left wrist and back of left hand all in alignment as if a ruler were strapped to the arm like a splint while the wrist is hinged or cocked approximately 90 degrees. Assuming the golfer has a neutral golf grip, the leading edge of the clubface will also be in the same plane as the back of the left hand. See “Top of Backswing” photo upper left.

The difficulty of getting into this flat wrist position in the backswing for most golfers is due to the hinging of the wrists and rotation of the forearms during the takeaway and backswing. The wrists can hinge in four directions and the forearms can rotate back and forth in two directions. In layman’s terms the wrists hinge or cock up and down and hinge back and forth while the forearms can also roll back and forth. These movements can get pretty mixed up if not trained correctly or if simply left to whatever the player deems comfortable. In fact to further complicate things, we want a flat left wrist at the top of the backswing and impact, while at the start of the golf swing the left wrist is actually slightly cupped.

Don’t get confused yet. Let’s get the layman’s terms, medical terms, and golf terms all defined so the language doesn’t sidetrack us. I’m using a yardstick in the photos instead of a golf club since the flat sided yardstick will reveal more detail about the positions. Try it; it’s good for working on the grip also.


Cupped left wrist in golf

Cupped left wrist – dorsiflexion

Cupped left wrist. Medical term is dorsiflexion with knuckles bent back toward watch face. Notice flat face of yardstick faces up “adding loft.”

Golf Backswing - Cupped Wrist at the Top

Cupped wrist at top of backswing with Open Clubface

Generally causes an open clubface at top of backswing with toe pointed down, followed by  casting and scooping at impact with high weak slices unless the player is able to manipulate the wrist back into a flat position on the downswing. Note Ben Hogan went from cupped wrist at the top to flat or bowed at impact, but it is a very difficult, advanced move for most, and he was trying not to hook.


Bowed left wrist in golf

Bowed left wrist – Palmar flexion

Golf Backswing - Bowed left wrist at the top

Bowed wrist at top of backswing with Closed Clubface

Bowed left wrist. Medical term is palmar flexion with palm bent in toward inner forearm.

Generally creates a closed clubface facing the sky at top of backswing. Club tends to get laid off and too flat on downswing. Shots are usually low and/or hooked unless the player manipulates the wrist and clubface back open on the downswing, in which case blocked shots become prevalent.


Flat left wrist in golf

Flat Left Wrist

Flat left wrist with slight palmar flexion considered good for top of backswing & impact position.

Back of hand, forearm, watch face and leading edge of yardstick are all “flat” in the same plane. With a neutral grip, this would yield a perfectly “square” clubface with the leading edge of the face in alignment with the back of the hand at top of backswing and impact.


Dorsiflexion of right wrist in golf

Dorsiflexion of right wrist

Bent right wrist. Medical term is dorsiflexion.

Good position at mid backswing, top of backswing and pre-impact area.


Wrist cock in golf

Wrist Cock – Radial Deviation

Left wrist cocked or hinged. The medical term is radial deviation of the wrist with the thumb being hinged toward the radius bone along top edge of forearm.
Good wrist position for mid backswing to top of backswing as full wrist hinge is desirable while keeping a flat wrist.


Wrist unclocked - ulnar deviation in golf

Wrist uncocked – Ulnar deviation

Left wrist cocked down or unhinged. Medical term is ulnar deviation of the wrist.

Position is similar to wrist position at impact.
This impact wrist position is not a conscious act. Centrifugal force and the weight of the swinging club will unhinge the wrist and bring it down into impact.


Neutral Golf Grip

Neutral Grip

Player’s view of neutral grip in setup position centered in front of body.

Notice cupping in left wrist. Right wrist is more cupped than this on an actual golf club.


flat left wrist - bent right wrist in golf

Flat left wrist / Bent right wrist

Flat left wrist / Bent right wrist

Mid backswing view just above waist high of wrists – flat left wrist starting to hinge with slight palmar flexion, bent right wrist hinging with dorsiflexion.

These wrist positions will be maintained through the top of backswing and downswing to impact.


How to get the flat wrist position.
As the takeaway starts, the club and hands move back the way a quarterback hands off a football … this is the classic one-piece takeaway, nothing has happened at the wrists yet. As the hands get beyond the right thigh, the right wrist begins to bend backward or to the right known as dorsiflexion and the left wrist begins to flatten known as palmar flexion. The left wrist is virtually flat already at the half way point in the backswing.

The final motion to the top of the backswing involves a slight increase in left wrist hinge (upward wrist cock or radial deviation) while also rotating the forearms to the right. This wrist cock or radial deviation must happen without losing the previously attained flat wrist position.

This is where most golfers fail. As they add more wrist cock, or radial hinge, they tend to cup the left wrist which alters swing plane and clubface position. When done correctly, the right wrist is bent back so it feels like a tray of dishes could rest in the palm of the right hand at top of backswing. This is maximum dorsiflexion for the right wrist while keeping left wrist flat and fully cocked. Now the wrists are loaded for a powerful onplane delivery to impact with a square clubface and proper effective loft at impact.

Try this and you should see improved accuracy, a better divot  and more consistent trajectory. If you are looking for private golf lessons, click here to book a golf lesson.

Article Authored by +Herman Williams

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  1. Herman, can you comment on pressuring the grip of the club at the top of the back swing in order to obtain maximum radial deviation of the left wrist. Please be detailed as to the contribution of each hand/wrist unit. Also please comment on the downcock move and pressuring the grip during the transition from the top.

    • Hey Robert, thanks for your comment. I assume you are an orthopedist and know more than a little about the wrists. I’m not exactly sure how to respond regarding “pressuring the grip” but here goes. Max radial deviation will occur pretty naturally if the player has a relaxed hold on the golf club and allows the momentum of the clubhead to actually finish the wrist set at the top. It happens pretty naturally if the lead arm radius remains fairly firm and the arms come to a stop before the clubhead itself. Some players who make an “early set” with wrists will miss out on this opportunity and rely on their own active wrist hinge prior to reaching the top of backswing, but this is less common and not necessarily wrong just a different style.

      Players seeking more hinge or radial deviation can look for the following keys:
      1) Relaxed grip pressure, but not to the point that the fingers come loose on the handle – note fingers can grasp solidly while wrists remain pliable.
      2) Firm lead arm to create arc width with the feeling of pushing the butt of club away from body center with both hands – this may be the “pressuring” move you’re looking for and will encourage max radial deviation in wrists during the swing. I refer to the feeling of pushing the butt of club directly away from right ear for a right-handed golfer at top of swing … if shaft stays roughly horizontal to the ground while pushing away from ear, the wrists hinge tremendously.
      3) Proper downswing sequence starting with change of direction toward target with feet/knees/hips prior to clubhead actually finishing it’s backswing arc. This sequence is much like that of a baseball throw in which lower body starts to target as weight of ball momentarily stretches the throwing arm and wrist back. This mimics the downcocking we see in golf. It’s a moment in time where it feels like the baseball or the golf club is “parked” at the top while the lower body starts its motion and creates a dynamic stretch across all parts of the body including the wrists. Again if there is a conscious pressuring in the hands it would be a momentary feeling of driving the butt of club away from right ear as lower body goes the other way.

      Hope this helps.

  2. Really enjoyed flat left wrist video. Been playing about 50 years. Probably most of the time drew the club back inside and crossed the line at the top. Hit a lot of pushes and hooks. I’ve learned to stop the inside start but I believe that I get a cupped wrist at the top from the beginning of my downswing rather than the end of my backswing. When I practice the backswing only my wrist is straight and in line with my left arm, but when I film a full swing I’m cupped at the top. Have tried removing right thumb and index finger from grip throughout the swing and I “think” it’s helping. Any other ideas. I think my dominant right hand takes over when it senses I’m getting ready to hit the ball. I know I should banish this thought but my brain thinks it knows better. Paul G

  3. Herman,
    Awesome video,

    I have been working on a flat wrist at the top and a more neutral grip, but I feel alot of tension in the right arm kinda to the side of the bicep between the shoulder and elbow and also slight tension in the left bicep. My question is should I be feeling this especially in the right arm? I feel like some of it is due to by flattening out my left wrist it is causing my backswing to shallow out. Before your videos I had both V’s pointing to right shoulder and left wrist was bent, I felt like I was in good position but I tended to flip my hands at impact and hit hooks and pulls.

    • Hey Dwight, I always look for the path of least resistance toward improvement. I don’t mean taking a shortcut and skipping over a flaw, but you may be just as well off with your old grip but working mostly on keeping the hands ahead of clubhead through impact. If you can do that, the hooks should ease up. That being said, some players find the only way they can get rid of the flip is to get that flat wrist locked in at the top. Just remember you’ve got options and no need to do something your body doesn’t like. I would add that a flat swing is not required with the new “flat wrist” move, so you may try elevating the armswing to see if it relieves some of those aches and pains. Sometimes it’s a matter of adapting to new moves and regaining flexibility in places we haven’t used. I occasionally goof around hitting balls left-handed and my forearms and wrists always get sore because I have some clubhead speed but no consistent training from that direction. Tough for me to diagnose from afar, but hope you have luck dialing it in. – Herman

  4. Hi Herman,

    Great video!! Your videos are amazing and have really helped me! How do the wrist positions change if I possess a strong grip? I am working on delofting my irons and creating a more piercing ball flight. It feels as thought with a strong grip, my left wrist will be cupped at the top. I was instructed to switch to a stronger grip because of a weak ball flight and flipping motion.

    Any drills for me to stop flipping through impact and having a weak ball flight?

    Thanks again!

    • A strong grip is fine; you just have to match up the rest of the style elements to cooperate with the grip. So you are right on the money that you should expect a cupped wrist at top of backswing. From there you need to be sure your trailing arm (right arm for right-handed golfer) is able to drive into the downswing with the elbow leading the way. Players that scoop or cast invariably fail to get the trailing elbow to pull forward adequately. Most instruction tells you to drop the elbow to your side at start of downswing but this is oversimplified. The elbow actually needs to actively press forward like making a sidearm throw … the elbow must stay ahead of the hands almost until you get to the ball. You will still have a sensation of flipping, but it will happen after impact where it is appropriate. I usually have players practice half swing with a full wrist hinge going back just above the waist and then trying to drive the butt of club past the ball to hit the lowest possible shot. Once they get the hang of it we start going back gradually farther and farther until we have a full swing that can maintain the shaft lean at impact. Good luck.

  5. Herman: Thank you for the explanation of the backswing and setting the wrist. My question involves the involuntary wrist and hand release that you mention during the downswing. Is it your thought that when we downswing, we hold the club loosely enough so that the head will catch up with the handle (so to speak) at impact without any hand or wrist manipulation? If so, are you saying we swing with our shoulders and core of our body with the club simply being the last piece of the swing itself? As a “handsy” player (handicap from 3 to 15), I have experienced both great feel and poor consistency over many years. I want to be sure that I am correcting this handsy swing so I need to understand how much trust goes into the centrifugal force discussion. Thank you.

    • Hi Tom. I would always tailor my answer to a question like this to the style of the player. Honestly I may have opposite answers for some players. For the more advanced player with well-trained hands that are active, I will go for the core leadership and passive thoughts for hands allowing centrifugal force and physics to work their magic. I do believe this is the ideal description of what should take place. But the fact that we are feeble human beings, not all of us react to that message positively. Assuming we like this physics/centrifugal force approach, you are correct that the swing is led from “center” outward in a sequence with legs, hips, shoulders, arms and then hands all essentially accelerating and then running into their respective range of movement limits which causes them to decelerate while clubhead whips by and outruns the core to the finish. I might allow a self-described “handsy” player like yourself to increase your grip pressure slightly and focus on driving the show from the bigger muscle groups. Hope this was helpful.

    • Dave, I agree with the direction they are describing for wrist movement but i always worry how literally people take some of this stuff. If you press down excessively it will both cause your hands to move downward and it will cause an early wrist set which is not really our intent here. I still recommend pushing the club straight back and allowing the dorsiflexion to happen past right thigh. If wrists are bending properly the pocket of right hand should not disconnect from the left thumb. You don’t need to worry about what angle, you are simply bending the right wrist at its maximum range of movement. As you continue upward have the butt of club point toward the ball and you will have solved both of your questions which really have to do with the proper planing of the club. The point about the forearm rotation is to break the concept/bad habit that many players have in which they think the wrists hinge vertically in the backswing. Wrists and club should hinge on plane back at an angle and the right wrist bends back versus hinging vertically. Hope this helps.

  6. I have an issue pushing shots with longer clubs. But with irons, especially mid/short irons I don’t really have any push issues.

    I worked on getting a flat left wrist with the long clubs and it greatly improved eliminating my pushes.

    My concern is that i may start hooking my shots with my short irons. Is this just a matter of learning not to rotate the clubface over as aggressively when using a flat wrist?

    • John, you might need to limit that rotation but with the irons you have the luxury of striking with more shaft lean at impact. Keeping the butt of club out in front of clubhead with the irons has the effect of delaying face closure and you can use the ground somewhat to stabilize the face at impact.

  7. Herman,
    Been playing for 65 years. In 1969 I shot 72. First round at even par. I knew during that round I was doing something different with my hands at the top of the backswing. Hit 15 greens! Soon lost it! Lots of inconsistencies ever since. Recently I was hitting balls on the range. Same old stuff then thought, for some unknown reason, about the flat left wrist! For the rest of the practice hitting wedges the results were amazing! Even a little closed at the top felt stronger. Solid contact and more distance! I believe the flat left wrist at the top is one of the key fundamentals to the golf swing. Wish I had realized this years ago! Probably the best advice you could give to improve one’s game!

  8. Hello,
    although uncomfortable, if I hold the club in my left hand and slide my left thumb toward the butt end of the club, I go from cupped to flat automatically.
    Should I continue to do that?

    • That is the definition of a “short thumb” position on the grip. We don’t normally expect the wrist to appear flat in the setup, but should do so at top of swing for the typical neutral grip player. Short thumb tends to work better for a majority of players in my experience.

  9. I have often tried to get my left wrist flat at the top of the swing, but doing so severely limits how far back the club goes comfortably. I’m flexible enough to get the club pointed to the target at the top of the swing, but only when I cup the left wrist. When I try to flatten it, I suddenly feel like an 80 year old who can only take the club half way back. I’m sure my wrists flex normally compared to other people, but something about the way I’m trying it keeps the club from hinging(?) past about a 3/4 backswing. Any idea what I might be overlooking?

    • Mark, I really believe you aren’t overlooking anything. I suspect if we were on the lesson tee together, I would be advocating what you think is a 3/4 swing. Most adult men simply cannot get enough range of movement in the shoulders to get the club parallel at the top unless they reverse pivot, bend the elbows or cup the wrists too much. Getting to parallel is really not a fundamental.

  10. Hi Herman,
    Thanks for the great instruction. I’m struggling to understand the role of the leading left wrist radial action. Am i correct in thinking only the right hand is creating speed at impact and that the wrists don’t add as much speed as maybe we think, unless you swing like Fred Couples.

    Thanks Bob

    • Technically the muscles that activate the wrists are pretty small, fast-twitch guys that don’t really have the strength to manipulate so much at the speeds we see in downswings. However we tend to gloss over the movements broadly and call it “wrist action” as it seems to be the easiest way to communicate. A significant amount of wrist action is due to physics as momentum, centrifugal force, etc. tend to take over and unload everything once the body and arms can no longer accelerate. To give you something useful, I like to see students using the lead arm in a way that allows the wrist to unhinge downward like driving a nail while simultaneously rotating the entire arm through impact to rotate the clubface through the ball. All of this is happening while the right arm, which is technically in a “trailing” position behind the ball, has to overtake the left arm going to the target. Literally the right arm has to swing farther going forward if you think about it because it is extended farther down the club. So pull with the left and throw with the right all while letting the club unhinge into the ground as the face rolls over.

  11. I flopping at top of backswing and it hurts my left wrist will a flat wrist help that problem or should I preset my wrist earlier thanks AC

  12. You have very instructive videos.

    I have a question. When I place my thumbs on top of the shaft, can I also place my hands ahead of the ball like Paul Casey’s video? It seems both the neutral grip and placing the hands forward of the ball (for all clubs) will help keep my wrists flat. Thanks, Dan

    • Dan, it’s not necessary to create “flat” wrists in the golf setup, but if it’s working better for you there’s probably no major harm. A significant forward press causes most players to struggle with takeaway path and backswing plane. To get really specific regarding the grip and thumb location , the left thumb pad is usually just slightly right of center on the handle (between 12 and 1 o’clock) and the right thumb is sitting left of center on the handle at approx 10 o’clock sort of half on and half off the side of club.

  13. Hi Herman
    Great website and your videos on u-tube a very instructive !
    Can you help or perhaps give me a key to fix my swingproblem?
    I’m a 18 handicap struggling with the following swing fault
    Every now and then (at least 2 times every round) the club-face will hit the ball completely open and the ball will fly straight right – its really frustrating – and I only do it with irons
    It as if my left forearm rotate clockwise just before hitting the ball

    Thank you

    URi Baruk from France

    • Uri, it’s pretty unlikely your problem is really such an open face causing these shots going right. The face is probably open but it’s more likely you are hitting the ball off the very tip of the toe or shanking it off the hosel at the heel. Both of these extremes cause the ball to quickly go dead right. Since you only do it with irons, it’s more likely to be the shank since you have flat faces and no hosel to deal with on drivers, fairway woods and most hybrids. I recommend getting some impact sensitive face tape or using a talcum powder spray on the face of your irons to determine exactly where you are making contact, then work from there on a solution. My shanking info is here: http://www.hermanwilliamsgolf.com/stop-shanking-golf-ball/

      • Hi Herman

        Many thanks for your reply !
        When this occurs I can actually see that the club face is wide open
        so I don’t think its a shank
        thank you

        • Uri, if you’re sure, try the face tape or some sort of marking powder or paint to see where your contact is anyway. If your contact is centered, then you don’t have to worry too much about swing path or plane. Then you can just focus on clubface rotation thru impact. Just before hitting a shot make a few one-handed practice swings with your lead arm (left arm for right-handed golfer) and really exaggerate twisting the face literally in the ground as if closing the face in the divot. do this 3 or 4 times and then immediately step up and play a shot. The forearm rotation should still be in play and your shot should be straighter.

  14. I’m confused. At address, my club is square to the target and my left wrist is slightly cupped (as shown in your neutral grip photo). If, during the backswing, I flatten my left wrist, won’t that close my club face? Or does it just de-loft it?


    • Chris, You are asking good questions and glad to see you are scrutinizing it this closely. Your description would be exactly correct if you simply returned to your setup with that flat wrist, closed delofted feeling.

      However, a few things cause the cupped wrist you start with at address to change later in the swing. If you watch my takeaway video you will notice at mid-backswing how the left arm starts to rise and rotate. This begins to flatten the wrist with no manipulation of the face. Basically at the top, the arms are no longer exactly centered on your body like they were at address and they are much higher … the wrist geometry changes as a result. The other issue is impact. Every position at impact is quite different than setup. Ideally your body will be slightly open, shifted forward and the hands will be farther forward than they were at address. Once the hands are ahead of the shaft, you have your flat wrist with a square face. Another way to think about it using your description, if the backswing seems to deloft and close the face, then it would make sense to create lag in downswing, clear the body and shove the hands out in front to avoid hooking the ball. Suddenly you realize these are all the components of a Pro downswing and impact. Thanks for commenting. – Herman

  15. Hi Herman, I worked on the flat wrist and I must admit the backswing feels more powerful now. I noted a couple of things, though. My take away feels flatter now, and if I misshit a ball I typically hit it fat (ground before ball). I am focusing on sliding my hips to the left (right handed) to initiated the downswing – as you say – but might come in too low then (after flat backswing and hip slide..). An opinion on this? Also, would you do the same movement/wrist position for the driver? I tend to have a stronger grip for the driver (not strong left, weak right) as I used to slice the ball.. Thank you for your thoughts.

    • Sounds like the changes have probably flattened your swing overall. Anytime you are coming in shallower/flatter on your downswing, your clubhead will naturally be closer to the ground prior to impact. If you don’t maintain enough wrist hinge/lag you will invariably strike the ground before the ball. Hip slide could be causing your spine angle to lean back away from target and also cause fat shots. The flat wrist concept is not intended to flatten your swing, but flattening may have been an unwanted by-product. Experiment with a little steeper plane and trying to maintain more lag. It may be ok to use the stronger grip for driver … most players have a harder time squaring that club anyway.

  16. When I do this maneuver correctly and get into the position you describe I get the feeling that I’m opening the blade , vs what I’m used to, and that my swing is less upright or flatter. I suspect that there’s a hidden fear here that if I get the leading edge of that club on plane at the top that I’m not going to be able to get it back to square at impact. Sound familiar? P.S. I’m a single digit handicap but my misses tend to be pulls, pull hooks, or blocks.

    • Absolutely Les … trust it. Get the blade more open “feeling” (it’s probably an illusion) so you can release aggressively with no fear. Somewhat of a Ben Hogan feel prior to impact. He was a little cupped at top but definitely came to the ball with a shallow somewhat open blade and then closed it or held it off at will to shape shots. If you do the opposite, swinging from somewhat closed at the top, you either come down closed and pull it, or you “reverse rotate” the forearms coming down which drops the club inside and open blocking the ball off to the right as you described.

      • Sweet, I’ve been Hermanized. Your reply is a confidence builder that I’m on the same page with you. I’ll be working on the change and can’t thank you enough.

  17. Great article. The way that helps me think about it is keeping my wrists in the same position as they are lined up at the ball. So, throughout the backswing I keep my wrists or try to in the same position as address. This helps me mentally keep my left wrist flat and the club on a better squared up path toward the ball on the forward swing. This may not be the best way for most people but keeping this idea in my head really helps me keep my left wrist from cupping. I played baseball for years where your wrists play a much larger role in the swing than golf. Because of this I almost need to keep “wrist” out of my swing. In turn , this allows a very natural wrist movement meant for the golf swing. Very good article. This is just my way of doing it but may not work for everyone.

  18. Hi Herman,
    Long ago, through experimentation, I stumbled upon the the technique of letting the weight of the club head create wrist hinge via gravity at the top of my backswing with very positive results. I had always assumed that wrist hinge/wrist cock was supposed to be more of a consciously performed physical move, so I reluctantly eventually abandoned the gravity method. Now, many years later, I’ve reinstalled this component of my swing, once again with positive results. Is this move fraught with peril, or is it a viable and proven option for getting wrist hinge properly incorporated into the swing?

    • Definitely viable … most Tour players exhibit an increase in wrist hinge during transition and early downswing. The only downfall is some players achieve so much hinge or delay that they temporarily fight to get the clubface squared up with the new-found lag. I usually prefer to patiently work thru that even if the ball is off-line intially.

  19. This is excellent tutorial. Club head at 45 degrees at top is key, that is square. I used to shut the face and I could get away with it because I didn’t u wind my body properly, but still could duck hook with the best of them. A square (45 degree) club face up top allows a player to utilize what some call a shaft lining impact swing…basically taking wrist snapping (usually a compensation method for poor backswings) away. The wrists should NEVER turn over,unless you’re making a special shot. Your finish Ina. Shaft lining swings create maximum power because, accuracy and most importantly, confidence in consistency. Sure, you’ll miss now and then, just like touring pros do, but you’ll be a better ball striker. High finished with wrists nt “flipped” over and elbows together about 8″ apart virtually make it I possible to let you wrists get in the way.

  20. Hi Herman,

    Your videos have help so much, but I’m still having issue hit my irons way to high. I would love for the ball to start of a much lower trajectory, but for the life of me I still can’t do it. Probably losing 15 yds on irons due to ball flight.

    • Ken, try practicing some 3/4 shots with a lofted iron but don’t hinge very much in backswing. It will be a shorter and wider swing arc … picture Steve Stricker. Then on the downswing just try to race thru impact with your hands way out in front of the shaft and clubhead. This technique may actually create a little more wrist hinge for you on the way down. This should help you master the feel of a “leaning” shaft at impact necessary to launch the ball lower. Gradually you can learn to incorporate the same feel into full shots. Sometimes a lot of hinge in backswing creates a lot of scoop at the bottom. No hinge feels so weird we actually try to regain some on the way down.

  21. Hi Herman.

    I’m cubbing my left wrist at the top of my backswing. I feel its a result of the rotation that makes my wrist cub, when i reach the top of the backswing and start my weight tranfer. This movement in the opposite direction hinge my left wrist to the point where it cubs and the club gets past horizontal.
    This results in almost no lag. Im at a hcp, where i feel that my lack of distance has become a serious problem, when playing from the backtee.

    Any advice on how to not cub the wrist right before I start the downswing?

    Thanks a lot for your good and useful videos and articles

    – Mads, Denmark.

  22. Herman,
    I played in a scramble tournament last week and really embarrassed myself in front of my boss, as well as my other playing partners. After the round, it dawned on me that I had no pre-shot routine. So, after doing my online research, I went to the range to practice developing a pre-shot routine. I had also read about the “flat left wrist” principle. I incorporated that into the practice as well, and my ball striking seemed to be quite consistent. But, here’s the rub. I went through nearly my entire bag of clubs, and as the clubs got longer, the ball striking quality diminished. One thing I seemed to be aware of was the longer my backswing, the more I hit poor shots, ie. weak, sliced driver. Do you think that may indicate that I’m not maintaining that flat wrist on the longer backswing?

    Also, you referred in your video to the concept of rotating the left forearm through impact. That reminded of a concept I was working on a few years ago where I was “extending” my right arm through impact. That seemed to make a big difference in how I struck the ball, but, again, with the shorter clubs. Does rotating the left forearm and/or extending the right arm address the same principle?

    And, one last thing…how difficult is it to change from an interlocking grip to an overlap grip? I’ll do anything to help my game…well, almost anything. 🙂

    Thanks, Herman.

    • Long clubs are inherently tougher to master everything you’re changing, so be nice to yourself. I think it’s likely you are still cupping a little at the top, but if you do a great job of “bowing” the left wrist in downswing and “releasing” with left arm rotating, you should be ok. Extending right arm dovetails well with the left arm’s role but might not be sufficient to get everything you want. you’ll still likely need to work on left arm. Grip change should not be a big deal. Check my video on “how to stop blocking golf shots” for more help.

  23. Hi Herman,
    I have been playing golf for 5 years and have always Been an outside to in massive slicer, especially my driver. It was fun to play then. About 2 years ago I developed what was a much more consistent swing and would hit a push fade. Now after analysing my swing, the last few months I have an extremely consistent swing…. Inside to out swing plane (not overly) and hit my irons crisp, solid compression and the dollar bill divot in front of the ball. My draw is 5-10 yards and controllable. But the problem is that’s my ideal shape. I can’t hit it straight without pulling it straight to the left. And if I take away straight from the ball I tend to shank it right. I have a straight left arm through a 80% backswing but recently noticed I have a slightly bowed left wrist at the backswing position and a cupping after impact. Should I
    1. Try to change my swing to a flat wrist in both positions.
    I can hit a fade but only if I take a weaker grip. My normal grip is neutral – strong (see 2 whole knuckles) also I play off 8.
    Thanks in advance,

    • Cupping after impact is usually an indicator that the shaft starts to outrun the hands at impact and will close the face enough to pull the ball as you indicate. If your hands stay in front of the shaft thru the ball it is less likely you will pull it. You may also lose any draw-shape but should at least avoid pulling. This same “flip” of the wrists can be a source of shanking as well. I would seek to be flat or slightly bowed wrist thru impact first and see how much benefit that is before changing backswing position. Good luck. – Herman

  24. Hello Herman. First, thanks much for your excellent video and blog posts.

    I have been a “strong grip, cupped wrist” player all my life and consequently hit steep, my long irons and woods low, with a shut clubface, and struggle with being “floppy at the top” and hooking the ball. (I can’t fade the ball to save my life.)

    I actually once briefly reached a handicap of 1.5, and currently site at 6, which perhaps just shows how well I can compensate, and that I have really grooved my faults.

    I recently had an epiphany, using “The Swing Glove” training aid which forces a weaker grip and flat left wrist, and I realized just how far off I have been. I can sometimes get in a groove where I finally hit with the “true loft” of the club for the first time in my life, instead of closing the face down, and not only can actually fade the ball but can hit my 3 wood off the deck, which I have never been able to do.

    But when I take the glove off, the magic disappears. I am okay at slow speed, but it is so ingrained I just can’t seem to stop while I’m in motion.

    Can you give me some tips/drills that might help me attain, and retain, proper flat left wrist, and “serving tray” right, hand positions at the top? Thanks much!


  25. Hi Hermann all I can say is wow. I did try this before but my grip was too strong. Kept closing the face and hitting it fat. I was always skeptical about weakening my grip. I have a very rotary style swing. I went back to two knuckles on show in my left hand a neutral grip. Coupled with the correct right wrist hinge the snap in my swing.

    The noise from the club sounds like a whip. I don’t have much arm roll in my swing so this keeps my club very square. It took me to the next level thanks for the comprehensive explanation.

  26. There is one thing that baffles me about the flat left wrist at the top. I am a 10 handicap, 65, and generally hit a draw. 7 iron is about 165. My bad shots are pushes, especially with the woods. Makes it hard to eliminate half the fairway, but that is timing issue. The only way for me to improve my handicap now is to learn how to hit a controlled fade and improve my short game-things I will work on now that I am retired. The problem is at the set up. Unless I use an extremely weak grip at set up or push the butt of the club far forward, the left wrist is bowed. At the top, it is slightly bowed, but the clubface is in line with my forearm. Manipulating the club with the hands to get to a flatter position at the top seems like a bad idea. Should I forget about it and just work on the other stuff?

    • Definitely don’t worry about the look of the wrists at setup. It will be different than top of backswing and impact. I don’t think i would worry much based on the way you’re hitting the ball.

  27. Golf season just begun. I am about an 19 handicap. So far i started were i left off from last year. I really like the left wrist info. I am having good results on the range with good contact. But my divots go to the left and my ball goes to the right. A push with all my irons and a nice power fade(push slice) with my woods and my driver. I control it by aiming left of the target. I have had golf buddies look at my swing. I have a in to out swing. Some what nuetral grip with interlock. I really want to fix my problem. Do you have any suggestions without seeing my swing.

  28. Great videos. Spot on for the flat left wrist at the top of the backswing. I have been trying for many years to get into that position at the top to get more consistency. Recently got it, and I could really feel the left knuckles driving through the ball at impact. Unfortunately, lost it again. My grip is relatively neutral, but I somehow still cup the left wrist at the top. Can’t get the same impact position as the left wrist feels cupped at impact (??). Is it because the takeaway is too handsy (i.e. not enough shoulder rotation)? Appreciate your comments on how to do a correct takeaway to arrive with a flat left wrist at the top, including why the left wrist ends up either cupped or bowed. Many thanks.

    • Will, there are many reasons players end up at impact cupped. Rather than go into all of that, it may be faster for you to just concentrate on what you can do in the downswing to get things going correctly. Regardless of your position at the top, (Ben hogan was cupped on purpose) it is still possible to get into a good impact position with a bowed left wrist and shaft leaning toward target. Dorsiflexion of the right wrist is the secret to getting to the top in better position … you can search that here on my sight.

      Check these 2 videos and articles: http://www.hermanwilliamsgolf.com/golf-blocking-lesson-to-stop-push-shot-golf/

      Then focus on the move at the mid-point of the downswing in which you will be rotating and/or bending your wrists in a manner to close the face and bow the left wrist. It basically feels like pointing your right palm away from you to the right from the top of backswing all the way down to the hit. Right wrist stays bent back and feels like you hit the ball with the heel of the right hand.

      • Hi Herman

        Thanks for the reply. Saw your video on Camilo Villegas Style only AFTER I posted the first comment, and it’s exactly what I was looking for. The takeaway part where the left forearm rotates from a palm down to palm up position is just perfect, something which I have not been able to find on other instructional videos. Fully agree with you on getting the left wrist bowed at impact (as I’m a big fan of Hogan and read his Five Lessons numerous times). I find that much easier to do with a flat wrist at the top rather than a cupped one. Managed to slash my handicap down to 5 (from about 10) in a few months when I got it previously. Losing that position recently is now actually a blessing in disguise, as I found your site and now I consciously know what I need to do to get it consistently back again. Thanks so much again, and I’m happily looking forward to spending more time on the range (as well as checking for more gems on your website).
        P.S. How come no instructions on the short game on your site? I’m sure many readers will benefit from your insights.

        • Thanks Will. As for shortgame, it’s a 2-fold issue. Hard to film outdoors at my facility with all the traffic and interruptions and jokingly … I can’t “give away” all my secrets. 🙂

  29. Thanks Herman your videos have really helped my game in particular this one on keeping a flat left wrist,my iron shots are now much straighter and I’m a lot more consistent off the tee.
    Thanks again.
    Brian UK

  30. Well done and thanks Herman. Your 3 videos and text show this important and critical part of the golfswing very well. I have discovered this wondeful ‘secret’ myself just recently and have been amazed at the difference of my swing and ball striking. I feel so much more compact and in control. Your videos and instruction have helped to clarify and confirm what I have been feeling, and am so happy that I have leaped a major hurdle in the development of my golf swing. The only thing that I can add to your great instruction and was a stepping stone to my discovery is the position of the arms at setup. It is important the your arms are hanging straight down from your shoulders creating an angle with the club as it rests on the ground, as opposed to the arms being at the same or close to the same angle as the club at setup . This allows for the correct left wrist cup and neutral right hand grip at setup. I hope I have explained that well.

  31. What a GREAT explanation of an icredibly important function. I had to read this a few times to comprehend but it was worth it. Thanks Herman for the knowledge.

  32. Hi Herman
    Just watched your video on grip and wrist set in the backswing and impact position now it all makes sence, at last somebody who knows what they are talking about.
    Best regards
    John Hicks.

  33. 1st class instruction – played golf for 20 years knowing something was not quite right and I have now found the holy grail of wrist hinge explanation.

  34. Hello Herman,
    I have always been a strong left hand grip player with a cupped left wrist at the top. This caused me to hit the ball too high with too many misses right! I have found this video and the other 2 to be very helpful in making my swing less handsy and more consistent. However i find the left thumb in the neutral grip really limits my wrist cock compared to what it was. Its 80 degrees now at the most! Not sure yet if this is a good or bad thing yet?
    Is this to be expected?

    • Jack, this sounds perfectly ok. Look at players like Steve Stricker … quiet wrists at top of backswing, very predictable ball striking. You probably will give up some wrist hinge but improve solid contact and direction.

  35. Herman , this is a superb explanation of hand/wrist positions in the golf swing . I have just learned , through a video lesson with my local pro , that I was playing with a cupped left wrist at the top just as you discuss . Because I have fast hands , I am still able to keep a low single digit handicap , but my ball striking is terribly inconsistent and cannot hold up under tournament pressure . VERY frustrating . In just one session with my pro where I learned the same principles in your video , the quality of my shots skyrocketed . All of a sudden I could compress the ball and my positions throughout the swing improved noticeably . I stopped fanning the club open at takeway and flipping it at impact . Timing becomes much less important and consistency improves . Turning the knuckles of my left hand slightly down towards the ground at takeaway seem to help things even more . After 50 years of doing it wrong I now have a shot of attaining the consistency I have always lacked . Very exciting . I highly recommend your video and accompanying article to anyone .Many thanks .

  36. Thanks Herman,

    I did see alot of sites that talk about something called Golfers Elbow. I have never heard of this before, but they did recommend, Ice, Stretching and resting. I didn’t swing a club for an entire week and that didn’t help to much. Will try stretching

  37. hi i am a bit of a hacker but pretty straight of the tee and into the greens my problem is distance i think i have found what i think the problem is as i hit the ball my right wrist flicks as if to lift the ball into the air giving me lots of height but no distance i have seen videos of myself doing this do you have any ideas that might help thank you very much Billy

    • Billy, thanks for checking in. that scooping is a common problem. First you need to make sure your grip is squared away so check my article and video on grip. Then you will want to look at “lag” and “release.” I have several articles and videos dedicated to these topics if you just type those terms in the search bar here on the site or go to my YouTube Channel and look there. http://www.youtube.com/user/hermanwilliamsgolf
      Good luck. – Herman

  38. Google flat wrist came up here. Been working on my fundamentals and noticed if I have my forward hand knuckles facing the ground during the 1st part of the take away ( that’s what it feels like….I think it’s a flat wrist) seem to make solid contact like never before. After a few 3 off the tees … I split the fairway every time and picked up about 10 or 15 yds per drive. Curious as to why that is?…take lessons locally but came by this by fluke…it’s incredible !

    • Glad you found us. Keeping that lead hand square with wrist slightly bowed helps you strike with the shaft leaning targetward which usually means you’ll make ball first contact. Most of our faster swing movements with the body cause the clubface to open up at some point in the swing. You have figured out how to prevent that from happening and are enjoying the rewards. Hope you can maintain it. – Herman

    • Hi Herman,
      Just wanted to update since i’v been using your techniques my scores have moved down in the 80’s almost 75-80 % of the time. I also had my best score of 79 ever. I’ve been playing 20 years, i’m 52 and your instruction has helped the most. I think the flat wrist at the top might be the most important part so far. It makes hitting the Driver so much easier and i now hit it at least 30 yds further which is crazy. On holes i would be hiting 6-7 iron i’m hitting 8 or 9 irons. I played on last sunday and one guy who i didn’t know said my driving was robotic because t was so repeatable. I’ve told many people about you as well.
      I think i now can shoot in the 70’s more often if i don’t make stupid mistakes.

        • Herman,

          As i stated your videos have helped me completely change my swing for the better. The last few weeks i’ve been having pain in my left elbow and forearm. I think changing from over an over the top move to bringing the arms straight down in the back swing has been putting stress on my elbow i guess. I also don’t even keep my arms that straight either so i wouldn’t think that should cause so much stress. Do you have any treatment recommendations?

          • I’m no substitute for qualified medical advice, but check to see if you think you are casting prior to impact. If the wrists uncock too early it can “sling” the arms out straight and pull on the joints while also stretching all the ligaments/tendons. Sometimes overuse with a new move can be a problem too. Take a few days off and try stretching your wrists and forearms daily.

  39. Just got back into the game after a long absence. I’ve always been a snap hooker/blocker of the ball with a generally sound swing. This notion of the flat left wrist immediately took a dozen strokes off my game. Not after a couple of weeks of practice, not after a couple of rounds to feel it out – immediately. Not going 3 off the tee on every third hole and ripping second shots left (or blocking them right) O.B. makes a big difference on the scorecard. Thanks for a great lesson.

    • Wow, nice job! 12 strokes is a big deal. I think if you Google “flat left wrist in golf” we come up #1 in the world or close to it. Glad you found the article and video. Keep up the good work.


  40. Thanks so much for these articles and videos. I have been desperately struggling to find some consistency in my game, reading books, taking lessons, but nothing was clicking for me. When I found your site and this article regarding the flat wrist at the top, a light bulb clicked for me. Getting into the flat wrist position by what feels to me like I am turning the top of my left hand towards the ground, almost hooding the club, on takeaway was the key to finding some consistency for me. Though not all of them go straight yet, I am making much better contact on a consistent basis. No more embarrassing duck hooks. Golf is enjoyable again. Thanks again.

  41. Herman, wish I had a flat left wrist at the top of my swing every time. Sometimes I feel the left wrist is flat and know it’s ready to pull any amount of power into the back of the ball! But other times it’s a bowed hook or a cupped gamble. I’m usually well positioned with short clubs and upright swing but have difficultly with long clubs and flat swing, especially the driver. I’ve tried upright with driver; works but does not feel natural. What will help me find this position more often and why do so many of use struggle with this, apart from lacking talent? ps- handicap 11, tall, thin, middle age male Thanks, Ray

    • Ray, I’ve been buried. Sorry for slow reply. Look at my Camillo Villegas/impact video. It actually has some takeaway insight that may help. Your wrist should be flat at the midpoint of takeaway then the forearms should rotate to elevate the club and put it on plane. If you get to the midpoint and just hinge vertically it may be throwing you off.

  42. I have developed a nasty pull hook with everything in the bag. As a consequence I hit very few greens in regulation and my golf game is down hill. I’ve had people look at the following: the grip is good, neutral towards weak. Some people have suggested that I don’t clear my hips, thus the club face gets ahead of my hands. I don’t know any drills to help with this. Any you might have I would really appreciate it. Thank you.

    • Assuming you are right handed golfer, you need to try and have your right elbow pointed at your body and still slightly flexed at impact. This would naturally mean that the crease of the elbow is facing up toward the sky. When the right arm straightens early and the elbow points out to the right, your clubface will close before contacting the ball. This is not just a matter of tucking the elbow in either. you can tuck it initially as you start down and still have it fly out and extend before contacting the ball. Check back in and let us all know how it worked. – Herman

  43. Hi,
    I have a problem of hitting flat shots. I attribute the problem to controlling the left wrist.
    At address my left arm and the club shaft form an angle of approximately 150 degrees. On the backswing the left arm/shaft angle is reduced to approximately 90 degrees do to hinging. On the downswing near the hitting area this angle opens up do to unhinging. In my case, before contact this angle opens up to something greater than the address angle resulting in an extension of the shaft and hitting the ground behind the ball.
    How does one control the unhinging to hold the angle to below 150 degrees.

    • Actually what you have noticed is pretty typical even for the Tour players. 150 degree angle probably becomes 160 at impact. Centrifugal force is too great to stop it. Your hands will simply be higher at impact as your left side clears. Tour players also tend to clear their core back away from ball where amateurs tend to have their core sucked toward the ball by the force of swing and desire to stand up early. Work more on maintaining posture through impact with your lead hip actually moving away from the ball and drive your hands forward at impact past their starting point which also tends to shorten the arm/club unit.

  44. I am a hacker with a pretty good short game, just turned 60 and playing about 10 years. I have had lessons but they never seemed to make much of a difference as I never knew what I was supposed to be trying to do, thus little chance of actually doing it. It has been all about luck!, I never know what would turn up on any day, I could shoot anywhere from 85 to 125!!
    I found you site and for the very first time, I now have a clear idea of what I should be trying to achieve, insted of wearing my self out with twenty atttempts at swing changes per round until I find something that works.
    The videos and text are great and the Q&As really complete the picture.

    Fantastic contribution and great site. Love your big weapon!

      • Thanks for checking out my articles and videos. Definitely keep the flat wrist for chips. Sand shots and pitches can actually benefit from getting the face a little more open during the backswing, thus cupping just a little can help. It’s not mandatory to cup these shots if you want to keep everything consistent, but flat wrist for power and consistency, cupped wrist for high, soft shots is often a good way to go.

  45. I have a very specific question for you. By the way your instruction has helped me dramatically. At address once the club has been lowered in front of you, can you describe the feeling in your left wrist. Is there a preferred feeling? I know some golfers on tour setup with a cupped left wrist. I would describe the three options as cupped, barely cupped or just a soft left wrist so that the tendon doesn’t have any tension, and then a bowed wrist. Currently I try to get into the second option at setup. Thanks so much.

    • Excellent question … this is the kind of detail people usually overlook but often need. You will see players in all 3 positions but rarely will a bowed wrsit at address work very well. Fully cupped or medium/barely cupped works depending on how “strong” that left hand grip is. When the heel pad of the hand sits properly across the topside of the handle, you will almost always see cupping unless the player has a huge forward press or a tendency to play the ball way back in the stance. I think you are right on the money with the middle-ground position, slightly cupped with mild or no forward press. The cupped wrist at address will then often move into a flat wrist in backswing and remain flat or even get slightly bowed by the time it makes impact.

  46. Great videos. I am a college golfer with a 1 handicap and I have had a rough time hitting the ball consistently. A buddy of mine told me that my wrist was hinged at the top, and that it should be straight, or flat. I went to the range and struggled immensly in trying to get the left wrist flat. I have a strong grip, a closed clubface and hinged wrist at the top. When I used to hit the ball solid, my swing was short, with the club pointed at the sky, except I cannot get myself back to that short backswing(I am not sure why). I may be wrong, but I feel like if I develop a flat wrist at the top that my clubface will become even more closed. I hit a mid to high draw when I am swinging well. Any tips are appreciated. Thanks.

    • Hi Jacob. You do have a little bit of a dilemma on your hands. A strong grip will lead to a cupped/hinged wrist and a longer swing – not necessarily a bad thing unless you have a quick tempo. If you suspect you play better with a shorter swing, the flat wrist will reduce the amount of hinge you get and will make the club stop shorter in backswing. However, you should adopt a weaker left hand grip to do this and avoid being so closed at the top; then work on impact position with a flat to bowed wrist to really trap the ball and keep the trajectory down.

  47. Herman:

    Gotta say that this site is very informative and the ‘fixes’ are clear and concise, which is so important to we neurotic golfers. This would be a simple game if we didn’t think about it some times. I have been a middle single digit handicap for years but have developed a tendency to straighten my right leg with the driver and, because I hit from inside out with all my clubs, that straightened leg is making me pull farther inside and then stand up through the downswing so that I’m pulling off my drives. It’s making me crazy! Is there a drill that will force my right leg to stay bent and get me coming down and shifting my weight to the left side more in balance? Crazier still, I’m only doing with my driver. Thanks for the great site.

    • Tim, usually that leg straightening coincides with an upper body tilt targetward and a little hip sway to the right for a right-handed golfer. If you think this is the case, start with the setup. For the driver especially we want the upper body tilted to the right with left arm high on chest and right side tucked down and inward. Then allow a slight forward press of the hips targetward. You may have heard the term “reverse K” … this is the position with hips forward right shoulder down. Now your right hip will be a little lower than the left and much easier to get into a more level pivot around the right knee without it locking and straightening up so much. As you pivot, feel like your rear-end is poking out toward target and you’ll avoid the hip slide to the right which causes the hip to rise and straighten. The new move might feel like a reverse pivot but trust it. Good luck. – Herman

  48. Hey, great vids

    Can you help. I am 2 handicap golfer who has been struggling with my club being laid off at the top of the swing. I am trying to feel that the club is coming inside the line, with the club head outside my hands on the back swing. Though i am starting to have an in to out swing again the club is still very much laid off to where i no longer can play with a fade as i have to sacrifice strike quality and distance. Playing for a draw is fine with the strike but i loose some control.

    Can you offer some advice.


    • Hey Nick, I always want to make sure we all have the correct definitions when we start these conversations. So for a right-handed golfer, laid-off at top of backswing has the shaft and clubhead pointed left of target toward 3rd base. It sounds too simple to work, but the most expedient thing to do is work toward your opposite problem. In other words, try to get across the line. Don’t work on a perfect move; exaggerate past perfect to across the line to understand the true feeling of changing it. My advice would be to imagine the butt of club pointed behind you at top of swing and of course the clubhead aimed toward 1st base.

  49. Hi Herman,
    Great article. I realized two days ago that I was severely cupping my left wrist at the top – I’m not sure how I was hitting anything straight like that! As I researched this looking for fixes, I found your site.

    Last night I was at the range and was working hard to get to a flat wrist at the top. My trajectory, distance, and compression of the ball all improved.

    I found that I was more easily able to get to a flat wrist with the shorter clubs, but as I progressed through the set, I was finding it harder to not get slightly cupped. Any tips for working to get to a flat wrist from 3 -> driver? Is this just an issue of reps?

    Are there any training devices out there for helping someone break a LONG TIME habit of cupping the left wrist?

    Thanks in advance!

  50. Herman,

    I am a scratch player, however have always struggled with a natural tendency to start the swing with my wrist, fanning the club open, bringing the club to the inside, a little flat and having a bowed wrist at the top of my swing. This obviously results in a lot of low shots, with either a draw or hook. I am kind of a fidgety player and move a lot at address to get comfortable, and then start my swing with my wrist/arms and fan the club open instead of a one piece takeaway keeping the club face square to the ball longer on my backswing. When I try to keep the club face square to the ball longer I feel like i’m very closed at the top. Do you have any tips for starting my swing with a one piece takeaway instead of with my wrists/arms resulting in my wrist being bowed at the top? It is a natural habit I seem to always come back to and instinctively and I need to break this habit!! I would much rather hit a high fade than a low draw any day! Great videos! Thanks for your help!


    • Sean, thanks for commenting and following my work. I’m going to assume when you take it back, you bend your left wrist sort of sideways which bows the wrist early and sends the club inside and shut. First thing I would do is work on first foot of takeaway by pushing with left hand and keeping it cupped until past right thigh. The face will appear closed and the club head will stay outside the hands. Once past right thigh I want you to imagine you need to read what time it is on your watch face assuming you are a right-handed golfer wearing a watch on left arm. In other words you make a one-piece start past right thigh with cupped wrist, then let your left forearm twist upward so you can see the watch face. You should arrive at top of backswing with left wrist flat or slightly cupped with face more open than before. Hope this helps. Let me know. – Herman

  51. Herman love your videos,My problem is at the top of my back swing i am rolling my wrist over,i am right handed so my left wrist pointes straight up in the air and i am coming through impact the same way,club face wide open.

    It just started all the sudden and i am not wanting to play much because of it,what can i do?

  52. Herman,

    A question about clubs, i’m looking to buy some new clubs or used. I don’t have alot of money to spend. Since i’m about 5’4 maybe 5’5 on a good day…Do i need to get clubs fitted or can i get away with standard off the shelf?

    • Ken, at your height you may actually need slightly shorter clubs. If you comfortably can hit the sweet spot with repeatability, then I would not worry. I find that 5’7″ – 5’11” seems to be ideal for standard gear, but arm length plays just as big a role as height. If you find you hit too many heels and shanks, I would consider shorter by a half to quarter inch. Long clubs run the risk of causing your swing plane to be very flat and round which can have the tendency to be very shallow and sweeping thru impact as well as tending to catch the ball on too much of an in to out path causing the heel hits. Since I’m not able to see what you do, you’ll have to make those judgments yourself.

      • Herman,

        I usually hit the sweet spot so i guess i can probably get away with standard. I might some ccloe type clubs and see how they go.
        Thanks again

  53. HI Herman,

    Like i said my drives have been amazing with your exercises, Flat wrist, bring club straight down also keeping trunk over right foot on first part of Downswing. But now my shorts irons P,9,8 are all popping up. I’ve been losing so many strokes, even my pitch shots which are my strong suit are now feel weak with no power,My PW used to go like 110, now i keep popping up like 80 or 90 yds. Like i said i’m killing my drives further then i ever have with your advice> I should be shooting low 80’s with these drived
    s but because of my short iron popups and weak pitches now still shooting mid to upper 80’s. I need a suggestion to get back to my correct distance.

    • You may be holding your chest closed a fraction too long and/or failing to shift targetward enough. You will have a lot of lag at the start of downswing but then will lose all of it as wrists unhinge just before the ball and start recocking back upward. This works ok on a drive since you will be hitting upward on the tee but not so good on a short iron. You need to extend the “flat spot” in your downswing by letting the hips shift and then clear. The idea is to get your belt buckle ahead of the ball and thus your hands ahead of the ball to trap those iron shots and deloft them for more distance. My release video shows how to practice the forward swing for extension past impact. Don’t necessarily work so much on rolling the hands over, but do go for extension forward so you can strike with the shaft leaning ahead of the ball at impact.

      • Thanks Herman,

        Thats always been my problem i think, i hit it far, my 7 iron about 170 yds and i’m only 5’4. I always hit very high shots and lose alot of distance. I tried the bowing drill this morning, its very hard to do, I find on half swings when i bow i hit alot of glancing blows that roll to the right. When i think about bowing and rolling wrist then i hit the ball very hard, but again i they hook way to much. I will keep working on what you suggest and maybe in the near future i’ll do a video lesson.
        Thanks for your help!

        • The wrist bowing is tough, and a lot of guys do shank the ball working on the short swings with it. When you try to bow the wrist in such a short, slow swing the hands often move out away from body and cause you to catch the ball right on the neck. Don’t give up on it, but try to get those hands tracking on a straighter path close to your body. Also the better you bow the wrist, the less you need to worry about trying to make it roll over.

          • Thanks for the quick reply, i feel like with your exercises and techniques i have a real shot at shooting in the 70’s. Yesterday i shot 88, but must have had 5 short irons into greens that i popped up.
            Thanks again

  54. I’ve got two questions Herman – 1) For whatever reason I cannot get my wrist into the flat position at the top unless I rotate my left hand to the left at take away. When I tried that, I thought for sure I’d hook everything, but for the most part I hit the ball pretty well. Is it reasonable to expect that move to result in a consistent swing? 2) I live in the Cincinnati area and am looking for somebody that really understands this concept. By chance would you be able to recommend someone?

    • The hand rotation you mention is just fine and will keep you from fanning the club open or cupping. It may only seem strange for a little while and then become habit. Probably is not as weird as you think. Sorry, I have no contacts in the Cincinnati area.Thanks for following my blog and commenting. – Herman

  55. Herman: Enjoy your videos. Would you do a blog/video on swing plane of the pitching wedge versus the swing plane of the driver? Thank you.

  56. Hey Herman,

    I have always struggled with a bowed left wrist and have done everything I can to fix it. My shots are sometimes off the heel and the divots face right. I am a 1 handicap due to my decent short game and feel like if I could hit the ball a little more consistent from tee to green, I could take my game to the next level. If you have any comments or suggestions I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks

    • With a 1 hdcp, I’m reluctant to say much without being able to see what you do … too easy to do more harm than good. Generally your shot pattern would benefit from a steeper downswing plane with a more leftward exit after impact. This would eliminate heel shits and rightward divots but might cause you to pull the ball if bowed wrist is closing the face.

  57. First time I have seen your site. Way to much confusion on golf swing on the web. I have actually have hurt the ribs and elbows. I have recovered however I have developed topping the ball with the driver. Can you help ?

    • I’m sure we can but probably need to see your swing to give best advice. See the online lessons page for the links. In the meantime train for extension in the arms thru impact and evaluate your ability to remain in your original setup posture thru impact. One or both of those problems must be getting you in trouble. – Herman

  58. I have been playing golf for about 25 years now and always seem to hit toed shots. I recently discovered that by choking down an inch on the grip I have a flat left wrist at the top, and hit the sweet spot. However, when I don’t choke down the club gets too upright and my wrist is bowed at the top. I’ve tried different size grips with no success. I have a 10 hcp.

    Thanks in advance

    • Joe, I might suggest choking down for a while if you make a better swing and then slowly move up 1/4″ per week to see if you can regain proper form at full length in a month. Let us know how you do. – Herman

  59. Herman, I added 10 strokes to my handicap following a left(right handed) knee replacement. I began swinging like Charles Barkley flipping my wrists unconsciously at the top of the back swing,putting club face almost square at the top and having the front of the club facing the ball at impact. It has become so bad I have stopped playing. It began as only a problem with the longer clubs but now effects the whole bag.I can take a good practice swing and even clip the heads off weeds in practice. Put a ball in front of me and the flipping takes over. HELP!!!!

    • Craig, I’m not sure how much i can help without seeing what you are doing. At any rate the knee replacement often leaves guys flat-footed protecting the knee in downswing while the arms just swat at the ball with a lot of casting. If the face is that closed, you’ve got to address your grip and wrist hinge to get it prepped for the downswing. Then it’s all about shift, lag and release. Good luck. – Herman

  60. Great tips and insight. You really explain the swing in very simple but effective ways. Just found your site and wil keep coming back

  61. Herman,

    Big fan and loyal youtube subscriber here.

    I’m having trouble keeping a flat left wrist at the top of the swing mostly due to the position of the left thumb. In my setup position, the thumb is flat on the grip at twelve o’clock position. But as my wrist hinges, I have to either let the tip of my thumb slide slightly forward or the joint of my thumb bend a little in order to keep the wrist flat. One way to describe the feeling on the left thumb is, it feels like it’s “bunching” up while cocking my wrist.

    I’m wondering what I’m doing wrong because I haven’t seen or heard anyone talking about this problem. Thanks in advance, coach Hermanator!


    • Eric, thanks for following my work. I actually think you’re ok. That bunching up sensation is probably fine. You are just feeling the pressure at the top before changing direction – the thumb is definitely arched/curved. My only warning would be that you may be swinging really fast going up in the backswing and the club hits the thumb with too much sudden force and almost bounces off. Just be sure that backswing is a gradual buildup as the wrists set – no sudden flashy hinge that will cause your hands to “bounce” or loosen up. Good luck. – Herman

  62. Herman, towards the end of every round I close the face of my driver and 3-wood resulting in an ugly top spin hook. I get tired and for some reason I over-grip resulting in a closed face. I am going to try and focus on my wrist but do you have any other suggestions? Thanks

    • Wish I had a magic answer but hard to know for sure without seeing your swing. You could be regripping or just dead shut at top of swing. But you are likely casting and dropping the clubhead too far inside on downswing which leads to violent overeaction near impact where club flips over. This motion usually looks just like a big topspin forehand looping swing in tennis where the racquet drops behind the player then swings outward from the inside and rolls over. Hope you get it straightened out. – Herman

      • This might be one of my problem as well. But I’m getting confused, how can you be casting and dropping the clubhead too far inside at the same time? Thanks for all the good tips.

        • Hey Mike,
          I think the problem lies in how people tend to define casting. It is usually associated with coming over the top. However, casting actually only refers to uncocking the wrists too early … literally like fishing and throwing the clubhead. But this throwing can be done on plane, over the top or under the plane. Admittedly most casters are over the top … probably 80%. But we still see plenty of players cast on plane or cast with flat swings that are underneath the plane. This group usually plays a little better than the over-the-top crowd. I actually have single-digit handicappers that are still technically casting more than they like, but because they are on plane and have decent timing, they play ok.

  63. Herman,

    I have been working diligently on incorporating this into my swing. When I get to the of my backswing my wrist is cupped slightly, not to the degree you show in your picture, however it is still cupped. The strange thing is that my clubface actually looks like it’s in the right position (not point up at the sky and not pointing directly at the back of my head, but somewhere in between the two. So it’s as if my wrist and clubface are at two different angles. If I get up to the top and then weaken my grip while im still in my backswing position I can get the club and wrist to be parallel with one another. The only thing is that I have to weaken my grip to a large degree and the heel pad of my palm is no longer on top of the club. I know it’s alot to take in, but I would greatly appreciate any advice.

    • Hey Ben, thanks for following my blog and videos and leaving your comments. It may shock you to hear me say this following a “flat wrist” article, but you may be better off slightly cupped. Here’s why. The whole idea here is to try and get the leading edge of the clubface to match up inline with your forearm at the top of the swing. It does not have to be perfectly inline with the back of your hand. It just turns out for most people if the grip is perfectly neutral, and the wrist is flat, it provides a firmer position at the top with no bouncy shaft wobble and a good square face. In your case, it already sounds like the face was square and there is no reason to make so many changes just to fit this particular swing model. Focus on a square face at the top, a sound swing plane with a good angle of descent (lag) and a good release, and you should hit great shots. Good luck. – Herman

  64. Hello,
    I got the dusty clubs out this past weekend. Went to the driving range, and I am hitting the ball with a lot of loft and most of the time slicing. Are there any drills or tips that would help me fix that problem?


    • The flat wrist should help, but assuming you are right-handed, you might prefer a little stronger left hand grip at first by moving the hand more to the right on the handle. Then I would practice swing one-handed with left hand only very slowly using waist-high swings to ‘wake up” your left forearm. The idea is to train the left forearm to rotate rapidly so the face closes and literally points the toe of the club to the target just past impact. If you can do this one-handed and imagine turning the toe of the club into the ball, then step up with two hands and try a shot. You may be surprised you can hook it. Good luck. – Herman

  65. Whether one thinks a flat wrist at the top is good or not, what cannot be argued is the importance of knowing and controlling where the wrist is at the top (and at impact, of course). Since no one taught me anything about the position of the wrist at the top, I’m sure mine was all over the place – sometimes flat, sometimes bowed, sometimes cupped. This is one of the reasons I’m so inconsistent in my ball striking, I’m convinced. So, thank you, Herman, for showing us the importance of knowing and controlling the position of the wrist at the top. It is one more step toward a consistent golf swing and consistency is what I lack the most. I do believe I’ve been Hermanized, once again!

    • Hey Tom, thanks for the feedback. Hopefully others will read your comment, because you are exactly right about that wrist position. You can play successfully flat, cupped or bowed if you understand which one you have and can consistently do it. Most golfers will benefit from a flat position, but it’s not mandatory as long as they can manage to deliver a square clubface at impact. Stay in touch. – Herman

  66. Pingback: Right Wrist Action for the Perfect Golf Swing – Herman Williams Golf

  67. It’s funny how a lot of golf instruction leaves this magic part of the golf swing out. If you’re not already doing this in your swing give it a try you will most likely see more improvement in your ball striking just from this tip than any other tip you’ve ever came upon. You can also do this move in the transition to the down swing if you have a hard time trying to get a flat left wrist on the back swing but it takes more timing just bow your left wrist just a little as you make your transition not the best way to get the wrist flat but you will see a how getting that wrist flat makes things so much easier . Great write up Herman best I’ve seen on how to get that left wrist flat.

  68. hi
    hope you can help me. i’m left handed. At the top of my backswing my hands start to roll over. i try to fight them on the way down but this often causes low pulls and hooks. my aim and grip is pretty ok( neutral grip). ant thoughts or advice would be appreciated

    • I’m not sure exactly what you mean about rolling over at top of backswing. Is your right wrist flat, cupped or bowed at the top? Assuming the wrist is flat or even slightly cupped you should be in a good position to start down. Keep your chest facing away from target momentarily and drive both hands down toward left thigh as though you wanted to stab the handle into your left leg. This should create enough “lag” “in the slot” to avoid pull hooking the ball. Hope this helps. If you can get some good video, you might consider one of my online lessons. – Herman

      • Hi Herman
        Above you say “Keep your chest facing away from target momentarily and drive both hands down toward left thigh as though you wanted to stab the handle into your left leg” as jcollins is a leftie, should a right handed player be trying to stab the grip into the right leg?
        Your videos are just the best. I am seeing a huge improvement in ball striking, distance and direction and a new sensation for me.. birdies!

    • thanks very much for your prompt reply. The feeling I get is that I cant stop my hands flipping over in my downswing and even a good shot by me starts slightly right of target. With every swing I fight my hands and struggle to stop them flipping over. My right hand wrist position is cupped at the top of my backswing (only checked it now). Would this contribue to my overactive hands in my downswing. I will get some video of my swing shortly and I will do an online lesson with you. Thanks for everything.

      • OK. Sounds like a tough case. Make sure the “V” of your left hand grip is straight up the center of the handle at setup. Maybe pinch a golf tee in there to check.

        Generally a neutral grip with a cupped wrist will create a slightly open clubface at the top. Low pulls or hooks would be unusual from that condition at top of backswing. Low pulls & hooks are normally a sign of over-the-top from the outside with a closed face at impact.

        Without being able to see your swing, try to keep that right wrist cupped all the way to waist high on the downswing. You should be able to see all the knuckles on the back of your right hand when your hand reaches your left thigh. See if this reduces the pull and/or hook.

  69. Good stuff here. I like the way you explain things and am happy to have found this site. I hope you can help me improve.

  70. I am going to try this the next time I am at the range ( I am there almost every day) I think one of my problems is that i try to hold the lag as much as humanly possible and I go from hitting beautiful right to left draws to haveing the ball start to the right and then come to the left way too much. I start playing and adjusting then start blocking and hooking. It is very frustrating . I beleieve I may be trying to hold the lag so much that I wind up bowing my left wrist too much. Every one in a while my right hand comes completly off the clucb and I have to hang on dearly with my left hand so my club doesnt go down range.

    • Thanks for comment. Your blocking and hooking sounds like you may have the clubhead too far behind you on the downswing literally swinging too much from “in to out.” Swinging to the right (inside out) with a


      face will give you that push to the right followed by big hooking curvature to the left. Almost too hard to diagnose in email but check your grip for “neutral” position then check to be sure face is not closed in backswing, then check downswing path. If you never hit any pull fades, it’s likely you have the problem I’m describing and you should find a way to open the face in the backswing and swing left thru the ball until things are neutralized and shots stop push-hooking. Good luck and keep us posted on your results. – Herman

  71. Excellent explanation. As a physician (and golfer), I admire your clarity and brevity.

    Anatomically speaking, radial deviation can also be called “abduction” (Latin “Ab-” meaning “away from”) and ulnar deviation can be called “adduction” (Latin “Ad-” meaning “toward’).

  72. Here’s something I’ve never figured out: at address the left hand/wrist is not flat (if you see the two knuckles most books recommend). So, when my left hand comes in flat at impact that has always resulted in a closed clubface for me. How is it possible not to close the clubface?

    • Great question and I commend you for the close observation. You are right … we start out cupped at address and return to flat but generally when the hands are farther forward than where they started the face will not be closed. Try this to check it out. Start at address and simply press the club handle forward without turning your left hand downward you will notice the wrist gets flat and the face should be square or even a little open.

      • Thanks, much. It’s quite possible that I am starting with my hands pressed too far forward. I’ll see what I can do on the range with your comment in mind.

  73. I have a slightly strong grip and slightly cupped wrist at top of backswing however my clubface is square at top, is this ok? I usually hit high draw but recently have been hitting fades

  74. Very helpful video, thank you. I’ve been playing for about 7 years with a 22 handicap. I have a strong grip and a cupped wrist at the top of my swing. This seems to work fine with my irons, however, not with my driver. With my driver, I will tend to hook the ball because of my strong grip. To fix the hook, I have to weaken my strong grip & maintain a cupped wrist at top, which has caused me to hit it straighter. So now I’m stuck with two different grips for my irons and my driver. Is this ok as far as consistency? I do want to be a single digit handicap some day.

    • Thanks for commenting. My initial response would be to use the same grip for both clubs. But if we are going to be practical about it, you need to do what gives you consistent repeatable results. If you can keep up with the differences, it might be ok to use the two different grips.

      However, if you want to keep the iron grip for the driver, consider other ways to try to stop the hook – namely shifting and clearing your hips and legs faster/sooner to “outrun” the clubface before it closes. An example would be someone like Zach Johnson on Tour – very strong grip and just turns left thru the ball and hangs on. You are probably more static with your body and a little “flippy” with your hands if the grip from your irons hooks it with the driver. Good luck. – Herman

  75. great reading herman

    i have a decent enough swing(8 hcap) and my divots are mostly allways to the target and the correct size…..but the ball goes slightly right ….does this sound like cupped wrist at the top….my grip is neutral

    • Thanks for commenting. Cupped wrist is possible especially if your shots seem higher than average. You could work on the flat wrist at the top or just try to “bow” your left wrist prior to impact to square up the face a little sooner and slightly deloft your shots. My article and video about Camilo Villegas have some of that info as well as the video about how to stop blocking the ball. You should be able to find them by typing the terms in the “Search Box” on top right side of website or looking in right hand sidebar at article titles. Good luck and check back in to let us all know how you did. – Herman

  76. Just discovered you. Great stuff Herman.

    Believe it or not I’m struggling with the grip. I can’t get a comfortable feel between the grip and my fingers following your instruction of resting the heel pad of the hand on top. Can you show exactly where the grip is in relation to the fingers by showing a phot of grip in the hand half opened? Do you lay the grip in the creas at the bottom of all 4 fingers where it meets the hand? When I do that the meety part of my hand just below the fingers folds uncomfortably on the club. It feels more comfortable to lay the grip right across the meat at the bottom of the fingers then wrap the fingers.

    • Until I get a chance for a photo or additional video, make sure the handle of club starts at the base of the pinky finger and exits the middle joint of forefinger. It does not sit straight across the first crease of all 4 fingers. Unlike the way we hold a baseball bat, you are trying to create an angle along the fingers so the club will naturally hang down toward the ground without having to artificially arch your wrists to get it down there. You will notice this keeps the palm up away from the handle somewhat. Then you can create the short thumb position with the thumb retracted up the club. Good luck and thanks for following and commenting. – Herman

  77. I have just discovered your videos while looking for a cure to my pulled shots. The pump drill you discuss in the over the top video makes a lot of sense and just practicing that in my backyard without even hitting balls I can see the difference in the path of the club. A lot of my shots feel very solidly struck but they start out left with a nice trajectory and draw even more left. Im anxiously waiting for the next time I go hit balls to see if the bump and pump solves my problem. Do you have any other advice that could help? Thanks your videos are easy to understand and straightforward great job!

    • Glad you found us. With pull hooks your primary concerns are path and clubface. The pump drill and a good bump to target with hips should help you avoid swinging across the ball … you only need to worry about clubface after that. Shifting aggressively targetward with hips and clearing will help you “out run” the clubface so it’s not closed at impact. Check your grip and make sure it’s not too strong; make sure you aren’t doing anything unusual in backswing to bow your left wrist and shut the face. Good luck – keep us posted on your results. – Herman

  78. I am able to get the flat left wrist down pat (after lots of practice) but I am having some trouble understanding the position of the clubhead at the top – square, open or closed. With a flat left wrist my club face is facing the sky, almost parallel to the ground. Is that a correct position? If not, is it my grip? I play a slightly strong grip – two knuckles showing on left at address. Thanks.

    • Face to the sky is closed & indicates grip may be too strong for the flat wrist to work perfectly with the rest of your swing. Graeme McDowell is playing well right now at Players Champ with a closed face. But to play like him you must drop the arms inside and turn your core thru the shot aggressively keeping your hands out in front of clubhead or ball will hook. This can be a simple way to play since hands are very quiet in downswing and face is squared up early – just be sure all parts of your style fit together. If not, weaken the grip to get square face with flat wrist (leading edge of face inline with left forearm at top.) Then you can make conventional downswing and release. There are many ways to make the swing work, just be sure all your style attributes work together. Good luck. – Herman

  79. It seems in addition to the flat left wrist a proper pivot is essential to getting into a good impact. It seems tour players have great lower body sequencing that allows them to get into great impact. They move laterally quite a bit coming down (you mention this in another video) and also maintain the “tush”line quite well because thier hips are working open rather than shooting out toward the ball. Ive struggled with keeping my hips from shooting out too much toward the ball which causes me to lift up. Great videos..I’d like to see one on pivot motion/head movement(backswing and downswing) and how this sets up a good impact.

    • Duly noted. Those are astute observations on your part and totally accurate. I’ve got some stuff in the works along those lines, but I’m maxed out with private golf lessons this time of year. I’ll notify you guys when next videos are ready. Thanks for commenting.

  80. There are a lot of great players who do not have the flat left wrist (ernie els, geoff olgilvy, louis oohutizen etc). their wrist appear more “cupped” to me. is this a necessity in your opinion or simply ideal?

    • Not a necessity. You are exactly right. The stronger the grip, (e.g. Ogilvy) the more cupped you can be and play successfully. If grip is not very strong, cupped usually leads to open clubface, and most amateurs cannot square it back up effectively.

  81. The best advice I have had, easily explains the wrist movements, most of us do not know, the best for me was set the left arm on the pec area of left chest, made all the difference in the world. Have been practicing for a few days with these new found gems and can see a difference already, waiting to see if I can take to tourmnament golf at club. Thanks Herman for the free lessons.

  82. Herman,

    Again thanks for the great videos. I never realized just how dirty your grips could get until you mentioned it to me. It really made the difference to clean throughout last year (I got the chance to play every week) and then get a new set this year.

    Keep on helping us get better and play smarter.


  83. Great videos. I am working on the flat wrist. Also have a nasty scoop I am trying desparately to eliminate. I will be working on the basics as identified in your 3 part video series.

    • Good luck. The flat wrist is a good first step toward avoiding the scoop. As you start down from the top, visualize the back of your left hand turning down toward the ground as the clubhead falls slightly behind your right hip. (The “over the top” video covers some of this) Then just be sure to “release” with extension and you should be on your way to better shots. Keep me posted on your results. – Herman