You might be tired of hearing it, but good golf instructors are going to keeping telling you “don’t let your wrists break down!” If you are a wristy putter you are either great, or you are terrible. There is no in between.
Years ago, back in the day of the great putters like Bobby Locke, you would see more wrist action than a wristband sees in it’s lifetime. Greens weren’t what they are today. They were slow, the grass was longer, and your really had to give it a “pop” to get it out of the grass and rolling to the cup. Nowadays, greens are faster and smoother, and a wristy stroke will lead to inconsistent speed and lots of 3-putts!
Let’s look at how the wrists function in the correct stroke. I don’t like using the word “frozen” because that suggests tension, so let’s say for example in the sequence above, the wrist angle is “unchanged”. This means that the angle that is formed in the left and right wrist is constant throughout the entire stroke.
You achieve this by establishing the correct position of the arms at set up position. You can see in the picture that both my arms are hanging down in a “straight”, not “stiff” manner. The angle in my left and right wrists are fairly similar.
Now, to maintain this angle throughout the stroke, you need to feel like the shoulders are the “chief controller” of this motion. The shoulders will move the putter back and through! The hands will only move because they are connected to your arms, and your arms are connected to your shoulders. When your shoulders stop, everything stops!
When the wrists “break” during the backswing, you are “loading” the club with energy and power. Another way to describe this would be to compare it to “hinging” your wrists on your full swing. You need to “hinge/ break” your wrists during the backswing to load the shaft in preparation for a powerful downswing. In putting, you don’t need power. You need “feel” and “touch”. If you are loaded with power on your putting back stroke, you will “throw” the power away on your through stoke. This will result in difficulty in controlling speed and lag putting.
Grip the club with your left hand only. Now rest a ball in between the inside of your wrist and the grip of the putter. Now, swing the putter without letting the ball drop, or change the pressure between your wrist, ball and putter grip. Do the same with your right hand only. If the ball drops, your wrists change angles!
The through swing
The through swing breakdown is the most common swing fault in all areas of the game. That’s right, there is a pretty good chance that if you are breaking your wrists on the through swing in one part of your game, then you might be doing it in all parts of your game. It’s like a disease that won’t stop! It might be contagious, so be careful if you go near it!
If you are plagued by this problem, treat it with the drill pictured above. And repeat until the disease is gone for ever and the biohazard unit gives you the all clear! Even then, keep doing it!
Just as we did with the backswing, grip the club with your left hand only. Now rest a ball in between the inside of your wrist and the grip of the putter. Now, swing the putter without letting the ball drop, or change the pressure between your wrist, ball and putter grip. Do the same with your right hand only. If the ball drops, your wrists change angles!
The wrap up
So once and for all, let’s cure the “wrist breakdown” disease that has claimed the golf games of millions of people! Work on this drill with both your left and right hands, and there might be hope after all!
When you do this drill it is a good idea to start by putting to random areas of the putting green where there are no cups. This will allow you to focus your attention on the feeling of the wrists as they maintain their angle. If you decide to hit some putts to a cup, do so from about three feet away.
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MIKE BURY GOLF © 2017