When to Hinge Wrists in Golf Swing

The golf swing is a complex sequence of movements that requires intricate timing and coordination. One crucial aspect of the swing is the hinging of the wrists, which allows for a proper release of the clubhead and an increase in swing speed . Understanding when to hinge your wrists can significantly improve your ball striking and overall consistency. This guide will walk you through the importance of wrist hinge in the golf swing and explain when you should hinge your wrists for optimal performance.

  1. Understanding Wrist Hinge

Wrist hinge, also known as “cocking” the wrists, refers to the angle created between the club shaft and the golfer’s forearms during the swing. When hinged correctly, the wrists enable a fluid transition from backswing to downswing, which helps generate power and control. The timing of the wrist hinge can significantly impact the accuracy and distance of your shots.

  1. Backswing

The wrist hinge begins during the backswing. As you take the club back, the wrists should hinge gradually in a natural motion. The hinge should reach its peak when the club is parallel to the ground and pointing towards the target. At this point, your lead wrist should be flat, while your trail wrist should be fully hinged. This creates a 90-degree angle between your lead arm and the club shaft, commonly referred to as the “L” position.

  1. Transition

The transition between the backswing and downswing is a critical point in the golf swing. The wrists should maintain their hinge as you begin to shift your weight towards the front foot. This allows the clubhead to remain on the correct path and maintain lag in the downswing. Maintaining the wrist hinge during the transition is essential for generating maximum clubhead speed and ensuring solid contact with the ball.

  1. Downswing

As you move into the downswing, your wrists should begin to unhinge or “release” gradually. This release is crucial to generating power and controlling the clubface. The unhinging should start when your hands reach hip-height, and the club shaft is parallel to the ground. The release should be a smooth and natural motion, continuing until impact.

  1. Impact and Follow-Through

At impact, your wrists should be square to the target line, allowing for a solid and square strike on the ball. The wrist hinge should continue to release through impact, with the lead wrist remaining flat and the trail wrist bending slightly. After impact, both wrists will continue to rotate, reaching a fully released position in the follow-through.


The Basics of Hinging Wrists in Golf Swing

Hinge MomentClub PositionGrip PressureWrist AngleResult
TakeawayParallelLightNeutralSmooth Transition
Halfway Back9 o’clockModerateSlight HingeOn-plane Swing
Top of Backswing12 o’clockModerateFull HingeMaximum Potential
Downswing Initiation10:30ModerateFull HingeRetaining Power
Impact6 o’clockFirmUnhingedSolid Contact
Follow Through4:30ModerateUnhingedFull Extension
Finish3 o’clockLightNeutralBalanced Finish

Hinging Wrists in Different Golf Shots

Shot TypeHinge MomentClub PositionWrist AngleResult
Full SwingTop of Backswing12 o’clockFull HingeMaximum Distance & Consistency
Pitch ShotHalfway Back9 o’clockSlight HingeControl & Spin
Chip ShotTakeawayParallelNeutralSimple & Effective
Bunker ShotHalfway Back9 o’clockFull HingeLoft & Spin
Flop ShotTop of Backswing12 o’clockFull HingeHigh Trajectory & Soft Landing

Hinging Wrists for Various Club Types

Club TypeHinge MomentClub PositionWrist AngleResult
DriverTop of Backswing12 o’clockFull HingeMaximize Distance
Fairway WoodsTop of Backswing12 o’clockFull HingeDistance & Control
HybridsTop of Backswing12 o’clockFull HingeVersatility
IronsTop of Backswing12 o’clockFull HingePrecision & Height

Common Mistakes in Hinging Wrists

MistakeHinge MomentClub PositionWrist AngleResult
Over-hingingTop of Backswing12 o’clockExcessiveInconsistency
Under-hingingTop of Backswing12 o’clockInsufficientLoss of Distance
Early ReleaseDownswing10:30UnhingedLoss of Power
Late ReleaseDownswing6 o’clockFull HingeFat/Thin Shots
Death GripAll PhasesAll PositionsVariesTension & Inaccuracy



The timing of your wrist hinge is a crucial component of a successful golf swing. By understanding when to hinge your wrists during the backswing, transition, downswing, and follow-through, you can improve your overall swing mechanics and unlock increased power, accuracy, and consistency. To perfect your wrist hinge timing, practice with a focus on maintaining the proper “L” position during the backswing, maintaining the hinge during the transition, and releasing the hinge smoothly through the downswing and follow-through.


  • Ray Barnes

    Ray Barnes, our Senior Staff Writer and a Golf Analyst with a PhD in Sports Analytics, is a beacon of insight in the golfing world. With a deep understanding of the sport's nuances, statistical analysis, and a talent for demystifying complexities, he provides in-depth analysis and captivating narratives that engage golf enthusiasts worldwide.

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