One of the questions I get asked the most is “What is the best position for the left wrist to be in at the top of the backswing?” This has become quite a hot topic in golf instruction because as I write this article 2 of the world’s most powerful and premier players Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm play from the “bowed” left wrist position so many students think it must be better !!!
There are 3 different types of left wrist positions at the top of the backswing
- Neutral where the left wrist and arm are in a straight line
- Bowed where the left wrist is below the line of the left arm
- Cupped where the left wrist is above the line of the left arm
Here are some examples of these 3 different positions
Neutral left wrist. Tiger’s left arm and wrist are in a perfectly straight line.
Rory’s left arm and wrist position are in a neutral position very similar to Tiger at top of backswing.
Now we come to Dustin Johnson. This is the classic bowed position where the left wrist is under the line of the left forearm
Here is Jon Rahm whose left wrist position is very similar to that of DJ, under the left arm and in the bowed position
Last but not least we come to Charl Schwartzel. As we can see from the picture his left wrist is above the line of his left arm resulting in a cupped position
Most right handed golfers are right hand dominant and to be able to hold the club securely in your left hand and wrist in the bowed position requires a lot of strength in your left forearm. As good as DJ and Rahm are I think this way of playing for the average player requires too much strength. The neutral position of Tiger and Rory has already won 18 majors and is much easier to replicate for the amateur golfer.
Next time you are hitting balls stop at the top of your backswing and take your right hand off the club so only your left hand is on the grip. Then bow your left wrist and see how heavy the club feels !!!
You need to be very strong to play correctly with a bowed left wrist.