What Is the Proper Wrist Action for a Golf Swing?

Multi-ethnic men playing golf

Despite the fact that your wrists contribute little power to the golf swing, incorrect wrist movement during a shot can wreak havoc on drives, pitches, chips and putts. To keep control of the golf shots, you'll need to properly hinge your wrists up and down, and cock them backward and forward. Knowing when and how to hinge and cock your wrists will help you eliminate the slices and hooks that add extra strokes to your score.

Stand over your ball as you would to hit a shot. Place the ball forward or back in your stance, depending on whether you want to hit a longer or shorter shot.

Set your club behind the ball, then move your club upward, hinging your wrists toward you. Try raising the club off the ground without moving your forearms. To properly set your wrists during your set up, you'll want your wrists in a slight upward hinge that feels natural. You should not feel as if you are actively hinging your wrists. Pointing your hands too far down will create tension in your arms during your backswing, according to PGA-certified golf instructor Cody Barden.

Practice the wrist hinge by holding your club in the air, parallel to the ground, lifting the club straight up from its place behind the ball. Take a backswing from this position and a full forward swing, hitting the ball. This will be difficult to do the first few attempts, but will help you develop a feel for the wrist hinge, according to Barden.

Set your club behind the ball to practice the wrist cock for a full swing shot. Begin your backswing by breaking your wrist slightly back before moving your arms. Keep your wrists cocked during the backswing.

Swing forward, breaking, or turning, your wrists into your shot, with your wrists reaching their original, straight position at contact. Instead of the palm of your top hand facing the ground at contact, as it was while your wrists were cocked, the knuckles of your hand should be facing the ground at contact. A slice indicates that you may be leaving your wrists back too long.

Turn your wrist and forearms over, immediately after contact, to let your arms finish their acceleration and begin deceleration. The palm of your top hand should now be facing upward. Finish your swing with your right hand touching your left shoulder, if you are right-handed.

Practice your wrist cock for abbreviated swings such as pitches, chips putts by placing the club head behind the ball, starting the backswing with the wrist cock, and leaving the wrists cocked through ball contact. Experiment with the amount of wrist cock you will need for these different shots.


To achieve the correct wrist-hinge or cocked position, try to create the letter "L" between the club's shaft and your left forearm. If you're left-handed, this would be between the shaft and your right forearm.


Before your practice sessions, perform a short warm-up to help prevent injury and prepare your muscles for the task.