Flipping your wrists in golf is a bad habit, and it leads to inconsistency in ball flight and impact position. Not only do golfers sometimes flip their wrists in full swing and short game shots, but also on the putting green.
I’m going to show you not just how to stop flipping your wrists but why you are doing it. Interestingly the reason you are flipping your wrists is that you are a good athlete; now, we just need to get your game going in the right direction.
Why do golfers flip their wrists in golf?
Golfers flip their wrists in golf to square the club at impact. As the player is approaching the golf ball, they realize that the clubface is open because of an error in the golf swing. This realization leads to a last-minute flip at impact to square and close the face.
Of course, some players flip at the ball at impact because they think this is how a golf ball gets up in the air.
Each reason for flipping is a mistake, and I’ll show you how to get into a proper impact position without flipping.
What causes a golfer to flip the wrists?
The wrist position at the top of the backswing is the main cause for a flip at impact. A right-handed golfer gets their left wrist too far extended at the top of the backswing, and this opens the clubface.
The goal is then to lose some of that extension on the way to the golf ball so the wrist is flat or slightly flexed through impact. Most professional golfers do this with ease, but it’s a process that many amateur golfers struggle with.
At the top of your backswing, look at what your left wrist looks like. Does it have any cupping to it? See how you can get a more flat wrist position at the top of the swing. When the wrist is flat at the top, there is much less work to do as you move the club through impact.
How to get a flat lead wrist position at the top of the backswing
If you took a few slow-motion swings and realized that your wrist is cupped or extended at the top of your backswing, it could be the main reason you are flipping. Here are the steps to take to fix it.
1. Check to make sure you are not cupping the wrists at setup, sometimes your grip position or forward press can create too much extension right from the start
2. Swing back to the halfway point and check on your wrist position; if you have initiated a turn with your lower body, the club should be in a great place
3. Continue to turn to the top of the swing and get that left wrist position as flat as possible
4. Once you are in that position, you can maximize clubhead speed through the ball because the clubface is square
5. Rotate through the ball and transfer your weight to your lead side; it’s common for golfers who flip to hand back with their weight to keep rotating forward to maximize distance
What are the negatives associated with flipping wrists in golf?
Most golfers care very much about distance. If a swing fault causes a lack of distance, it can be quite motivating to get to a more powerful impact position. However, the wrist at impact will influence more than just distance; it affects accuracy, spin, and ball flight.
Inconsistent impact position
Hitting fat shots and thin shots is often a sign that the wrists at impact have been flipped. It’s very difficult to flip the golf club the same exact way and at the same point on every swing. Therefore, you can hit one great shot followed by a shot that is not timed correctly and creates a miss hit.
It’s common to hit a golf ball with the bottom of the club and top it when you are a flipper. The club raises on its own and no longer hits the back of the golf ball where it is supposed to.
Decreased ball flight
Ball flight needs to be high if you want control, spin, and a softer landing on the surface of the green. If your flip the wrist through impact, the ball flight will not be as high, and you can lose club head speed through the golf ball.
Some players think that this lower ball flight is fine because it rolls a long way, but you are losing performance even if these are straight shots.
Lack of spin
Hitting down and through a golf ball helps it get the correct spin rates. The grooves on the face of the club interact with the dimples on the golf ball to help improve spin rates and give players more control. When you flip and lose that attack angle, you also lose spin.
You will mostly see this as a major concern in the short game. If you are one of those players that are using a high spin and high lofted wedge combined with a high spin ball and you still can’t get the chip or pitch to stop on the green, chances are you are flipping. You can see the 4 types of wedges here.
Start to take one-armed swing with both the left and the right arm. With these swings, you will not be able to flip quite as much, and you can learn how to hit down and through the chip shots. This is one of the more common mistakes in golf because players have a misconception that this is how a ball gets up in the air.
Finally, if you flip your hands before impact, you are losing a ton of distance. To get a solid strike and maximize distance, you need a square clubface as you are approaching the ball. When this happens, you can swing through with lots of power and apply that square clubface at impact.
Great players use their wrists for speed, and they use them to control the angle of the clubface.
Schedule a practice session for yourself where all you work on is the dreaded flip. Try to take some practice swings where you feel like your wrist is flat or slightly bowed through impact, not flipped.
If you watch great ball strikers like Adam Scott or Rickie Fowler, it’s easy to see that they are not flipping at impact. Their golf backswing gets them into a perfect position, and then from there, they can accelerate through the ball and achieve better results.
Spend some time at the driving range, and you will begin to feel more confident in your wrist position and be able to make a consistent golf swing.