Cupped Wrist: Fixing a Common Amateur Golf Mistake
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A cupped wrist might be the reason you’re slicing the ball, losing distance, and hitting it all over the golf course. Before trying to fix the issue that might cause some inconsistencies in your golf swing, start by understanding the different wrist positions.
In the golf swing there are three common wrist positions – a bowed, neutral/flat, or cupped wrists. Each position has a big impact on the clubface control, distance, and accuracy.
Today, we’ll review them and provide solutions to fixing one of the most common amateur golf mistakes.
Cupped Lead Wrist (Wrist Cupping 101)
First off, what is a cupped wrist in golf? What are the different wrist angles?
A bowed wrist is a lot more common among the best of the best ball strikers. If you pause a golf swing of players like Dustin Johnson or Jon Rahm, you’ll notice the club is slightly closed at the top of the swing. This helps produce a draw, make better contact, and compress the golf ball.
As Brooks Koepka mentioned in Golf Digest, “A bowed left wrist is considered a power position, but it makes me a lot more accurate, too, by minimizing the need for clubface rotation to hit the ball on target.”
A flat lead wrist (a flat left wrist for right-handed golfers) is a more neutral position where the clubface matches the left wrist angle at the top of the swing. This is a preferred move that coaches try to teach, as it gets the club in a neutral angle. It’s not as likely to hit a big miss like a hook or slice if you can manage to get here at the top of the backswing.
Finally, a cupped wrist is most common among amateur golfers. This is when the club face is open at the top of the swing and not an ideal position as it leads to inconsistent contact and oftentimes a slice.
But why do so many golfers suffer from a cupped wrist? What are the downsides to having the wrist in this position?
The Impact of a Cupped Wrist Position
Before getting into the solutions to fix this issue, here are three reasons it’s important to correct this move for better wrist positions.
- Open Clubface: One of the biggest issues with a cupped left wrist is the tendency to have an open clubface at impact. This can result in slices, pushes, and an overall lack of control over the ball’s direction.
- Loss of Distance: A cupped left wrist can contribute to a loss of power in the golf swing, which no one wants with the upcoming golf rollback rule in 2030. Fixing the wrists can lead to more power and ultimately, a lot shorter shots into greens.
- Inconsistent ball striking: A cupped left wrist can lead to inconsistencies in ball-striking, which make scoring low very difficult.
Needless to say, fixing this issue should be a top priority so you’re not across the line at the top of the swing. And it can help fix a steep, over the top downswing.
Fixing a Cupped Left Wrist For a More Consistent Golf Swing
So, how do you fix a cupped left wrist? Try these methods…
Left Arm Only Swings
According to RotarySwing on YouTube, the biggest cause of a cupped wrist is players trying to use their right side too much. To fix this issue, take practice swings with your left arm, only to feel a flat wrist at the top of your swing.
After doing this 15-20x, add your right hand to the grip at the top of the swing. It should feel like a waiter carrying a platter of food with your hand pointing toward the sky.
Reverse Motorcycle Drill
Athletic Motion Golf has another great drill to help you fix this issue. Feel like you’re revving a motorcycle the opposite way on the backswing. By the time the club is parallel to the ground, it will help you flatten out your wrist and get into a much better position. Watch the full video below to start practicing this move today.
Try Various Wrist Trainers
There are tons of gadgets and training aids to fix nearly every issue in the golf swing. But there seems to be even more wrist trainers than any other issue, which is good if you have a cupped wrist. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a golf lesson, check out these top devices that can do wonders for your game.
Impact Bag Swing Trainer
Impact Bag Golf Swing Trainer
- Perfect the most important part of any golf swing, the point of impact.
- As you become more familiar with a square club face and solid contact, your score will naturally start to drop.
- Used by professional golf teachers around the world and pros on the tour
- Repeatedly strike the Impact Bag to improve muscle memory and perfect your swing
One of the oldest and most successful training aids in golf is an impact bag. This is a small bag filled with something (usually old clothes or towels) to help you square the face and make solid contact.
Impact bags are excellent tools for correcting a cupped left wrist by providing immediate feedback on hand positioning at impact. By striking the impact bag with a square left wrist, you can develop muscle memory for the correct position and promote a more consistent impact. It also helps feel proper forward shaft lean, which is another consistent trait among great ball strikers.
SKLZ Wrist Hinge Trainer
SKLZ Wrist Hinge Golf Swing Trainer for Correcting Wrist Position
- Premium full swing training aid that helps set the correct hinge position at the top of the backswing
- Promotes setting the wrist early for proper clubface alignment and consistent on-plane swings
- Innovative swing lock mechanism for easy setup, adjustments, and club changes
- Rubber grip provides comfort during range sessions and helps grab arm securely for immediate feedback and consistency
If you’ve been playing golf for a while chances are you’ve seen a wrist hinge trainer like this one from SKLZ on the driving range. It’s a popular and low-cost device that helps you understand proper wrist hinge to get the club on plane and deliver a more consistent strike.
The portable training aid fits against your arm and attaches to the club and guides you to the proper wrist hinge. It works for right or left-handers, when hitting balls or taking practice swings, and doesn’t require anything else.
WhyGolf Arm Alarm & Wrist Alarm
WHYGOLF ArmAlarm + WristAlarm
- ArmAlarm is the only training aid in the world providing auditory feedback on one of the most critical aspects of the golf swing...arm structure.
- Trusted by Pro's who teach golf fundamentals every day. Use the ArmAlarm year round as an outdoor or indoor golf swing training aid that will help you consistantly improve your swing.
I first discovered this device at the PGA Show and have been very impressed. It comes with two devices – one to help with arm structure and the other to help with wrist movements.
The Arm Alarm ensures your arms are staying connected to avoid the chicken wing or flying elbow. If you make one of these mistakes, the device will beep and provide feedback on what part of the swing it’s happening.
The Wrist Alarm will help you understand if you flip or scoop the golf ball. You wear these devices on your wrist and can hit balls for a lot more effective practice sessions.
FAQs About Wrists Positions
If you want to learn even more about how the wrists move and work in the golf swing, check out the top questions and answers below.
Can you play golf with a cupped wrist? Is a cupped wrist bad?
Yes, you can, and a lot of amateur golfers do. However, most coaches would agree this position is only making golf harder as it leads to a loss of power, slicing the ball, and less consistency with ball striking. A slight amount of cupping is okay as players like Will Zalatoris and even Rory McIlroy play from this position, but most amateurs overdo it.
This is why it’s a good idea to improve your wrist position for a flat wrist and maybe even a bowed left wrist. This will usually take some time at the range, lessons with an instructor, or a wrist trainer to get comfortable with this move.
What is the opposite of a cupped wrist in golf?
The opposite of a cupped wrist in golf is a bowed wrist. A bowed wrist makes it easier to get into proper impact with forward shaft lean to compress the ball properly. Some of the best examples of players with a bowed wrist include Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, and Colin Morikawa.
Did Hogan cup his left wrist?
Yes, Ben Hogan did cup his left wrist. A lot of golfers like Colin Morikawa or Victor Hovland bow their wrist and a lot of players keep bowing on the downswing.
According to the same Golf Digest mentioned earlier, “This, Miller explains, was Hogan’s secret. He had a weak grip and cupped left wrist at the top of his swing, and as he swung through, Miller said his flexing of his lead wrist prevented him from rolling the clubface closed too quickly.”
Does a cupped wrist cause a hook?
No, a cupped wrist leads to a slice – one of the most common shots in golf. Most amateur golfers have a wrist that is too cupped, not too bowed. A bowed wrist leads to the clubface getting closed at impact, which leads to a draw and sometimes a hook.
Should I golf if my wrist hurts?
It’s not a good idea and would advise you to take time off to properly heal your wrist. Since golf requires you to hit down into the ground on most shots, this makes a wrist injury even worse. Make sure to use ice/heat, stretch, and physical therapy to heal your wrist before playing golf.
The cupped left wrist is a common challenge faced by many golfers, so if you’re in this spot now, just know you’re not alone. Understanding proper wrist position for both the lead and trail wrist can do wonders to your game.
When you have a consistent setup – with a neutral or strong grip – and understand the wrists, you’re on your way to more consistency. By incorporating the best training aids when hitting golf
balls and dedicating time to develop the correct muscle memory, you can make significant improvement in fixing a cupped left wrist.
Remember, improving your golf swing is a constant journey.
It’s a continuous process of learning, refining, and mastering the intricacies of the proper sequence. Embrace the challenge, stay committed to getting better every time you practice, and watch as your golf game transforms with the correction of the cupped left wrist.
Do you struggle with a cupped wrist?
Let us know in the comments below.