Golfers who like to go into technical matters concerning the golf swing start off talking about wrist cock. That’s fairly easy to understand. The left wrist (for a right-handed golfer) bends to the right, in the direction of the thumb, and the right wrist hinges backward in the direction of the forearm. That’s all there is to wrist cock. Then they hear about pronation and supination, and the plot thickens.
These terms are easy to understand, too. Hold you arm straight out in front of you with your thumb up. Now rotate your arm so the palm faces down. You just pronated your hand. Go back to thumb up and turn your arm so the palm faces the sky. You’ve just supinated your hand (first syllable rhymes with “soup”).
Getting this into the golf swing is trickier, but necessary if you want to change from being someone who just hits the ball around the course, to being a real golfer.
Ben Hogan, in his book, Five Lessons, talked about supinating the left hand at impact. This is seen when the left wrist is bowed out, and not arced inward. A supinated left wrist keeps the club accelerating, keeps the clubface traveling directly at the ball, and ensures a clean hit. All the good things that can happen at impact are encouraged.
The trouble is, this is fairly difficult for amateurs to learn how to do. It involves leading the club into the ball with the left hand, and most amateurs want to hit the ball with their right hand. Learning to switch this tendency around takes practice time and skill missing for most recreational golfers. Fortunately, there is a way.
If the left hand supinates, the right hand pronates. It has to, and it is fairly easy to lean how to pronate the right hand, which, in reverse, leads to the left hand being supinated. That way is to hit wedges — lots of wedges. Hundreds of wedges.
When you hit that wedge, say it’s a 75-yard shot with your gap wedge, concentrate on your right palm staying down as if it were hitting down on top of the ball. Johnny Miller calls this covering the ball. That’s a wonderful image. The goal is for the right palm to actually be facing a bit downward, but what happens for most of us is that the palm stays facing forward, toward the target. That’s good enough.
The result will be that the left wrist at least stays straight, which is perfectly fine and within the capability of most recreational golfers. Getting the left wrist to bow out is a bonus, but if you can’t get to that point, don’t worry.
Here’s your challenge. Go to the range and get a bucket of 100 balls. Warm up with ten of them, maybe hitting a 7-iron, and then hit 80 pitches of varying lengths. Work on nothing in your pitches but pronating your right wrist (left wrist, for left-handed golfers). Then pick up your 7-iron again and hit a few shots with your new habit.
I guarantee you will feel like a new and improved golfer.