A proper wrist position is one of the most important fundamentals in golf. The three main wrist positions during the golf swing are flat, bowed, and cupped. Out of these, a flat wrist position is considered ideal for most golfers. However, many players struggle with a bowed left wrist during their swing. If you slice the ball often or have an inconsistent swing, a bowed wrist could be the culprit.
While a slightly bowed wrist at impact can help generate power, too much bowing leads to closed clubfaces and hooked shots. Fortunately, there are several effective ways to fix a bowed wrist, leading to more solid ball-striking. In this article, we’ll cover how to identify a bowed wrist, when it can be beneficial, and tips to improve your wrist mechanics.
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Identifying a Bowed Wrist
A bowed wrist occurs when the wrist flexes during the swing, causing the clubface to close. This is often referred to as a “lead wrist bow” since it primarily affects the top hand for right-handed golfers. The main way to identify a bowed wrist is by examining swing videos or pictures, especially at the top of the backswing.
Here are a few key indicators of a bowed wrist:
Clubface points left of the target line at the top of the backswing
Lead wrist appears flexed with concave shape when viewed from above
Lead forearm rotates clockwise more than usual, closing the face
Grip end of the club points left of the target at the top
You can also identify a bowed wrist by paying attention to ball flight. Consistent hooks and big draws likely mean you have excessive bowing and clubface closure. If you struggle to hit the ball straight or have to manipulate the face to curve it less, a bowed wrist may be the root cause.
Is a Bowed Wrist Always Bad?
While a flat left wrist is considered ideal in golf instruction, a slightly bowed lead wrist can actually benefit many players. Some bowing allows storing power into the downswing through wrist flexion. It also helps shallow out the club, promoting compressive strikes.
Many top tour players have a slightly bowed lead wrist at impact, including:
Dustin Johnson – Known for his power, DJ bows his lead wrist to load power into his transition.
Jon Rahm – One of the best ball-strikers on tour, Rahm allows lead wrist to bow for shallower strikes.
Brooks Koepka – Keopka bows his wrist moderately to compress the ball without losing control of the face.
For players struggling with contact and power, allowing some bow can improve strike quality. However, too much bowing will overwhelm the corrective motions needed to square the face for solid impact.
Correcting a Severely Bowed Wrist
If your bowed wrist is leading to excessive hooks and inconsistent ball-striking, it likely needs to be fixed. Here are some of the top ways to improve a bowed lead wrist:
Check Your Grip
A weak left hand grip often causes the lead wrist to bow excessively during the swing. Try strengthening your grip by rotating the lead hand clockwise on the club. Your left thumb should move from the right side of the grip to the center or even left edge.
Strengthening the grip limits how much the wrist can hinge/bow during the swing. But don’t overdo it, as a very strong grip comes with its own issues.
Drill Focusing on “Logo to Logo”
Set up to a shot and focus on keeping the glove logo on your lead hand pointed at the clubhead logo all the way to impact. This helps maintain a flat lead wrist for correct face control. Exaggerate keeping the logos matched early in practice.
You can place an alignment stick under your glove hand during the drill as well. If the glove logo points at the ground, you’ll know the wrist is bowing excessively.
Use Training Aids
Specialized training aids can provide feedback on wrist mechanics during practice. The Golf Hanger device helps keep the lead wrist flat, while the Zepp and HackMotion sensors show bowed wrist data.
These tools guide your wrist motion into a properly flat position through repetition. Some also give biofeedback by vibrating when the wrist bows too much.
Bow Wrist Less on Downswing
Those with bowed wrists often continue bowing them during the downswing. Feel like your lead wrist moves upward or “re-cocks” slightly after starting down. This shallows the club, while a downward bowed wrist adds loft.
Monitor wrist motion with video. If the wrist appears flat at the top but bowed at impact, you need to shallow more from the top.
Focus on Proper Wrist Mechanics
Having identified and worked on your specific bowed wrist causes, ingraining proper wrist mechanics should be an ongoing focus in practice. Here are some key elements to work on:
Control clubface – Don’t just accept a closed face caused by bowing. Learn to square the face.
Consistent slight bow – Find an optimal impact bow for your swing. Don’t eliminate all bowing.
Flatten wrist going back – A flat wrist at the top prevents having to re-flatten from a bowed position.
Shallow into impact – Compress down and out to prevent Adding loft with a downward bowed wrist.
Monitor your progress fixing a bowed wrist position by filming swings and looking at launch monitor data like clubface angle and shot shape. Keep wrist mechanics a major focus until you see consistent ball-striking improvement.
A bowed wrist is a common golf swing fault that closes the clubface during the swing. This leads to hooked and drawn shots instead of solid strikes. While some bowing can help certain players, too much bowing harms consistency.
Use video analysis and shot outcomes to identify if a bowed wrist is hurting your ball-striking. Then make grip changes, use training aids, and focus on drills to improve your wrist mechanics. With proper practice, you can eliminate excess wrist bow for better contact and aim. Mastering wrist positions in the golf swing is challenging but pays major dividends for all skill levels.
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