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Hinging Wrists and Putting? What is This Madness??

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Probably one of the first things that I learned when putting was to create a pendulum swing in order to keep my wrists from releasing at the end of my putt. 

 

While this does work well (not only for me, but for most golfers) I decided that I'd try a different approach. Putting seemed like such an unnatural motion to me. And since putting is such a "game of feel," it only seemed right that I try a less regimented technique.

 

In a regular golf swing (iron/driver swing), the wrists unlock when swinging through the point of impact. When done correctly, it ensures that a ball is hit cleanly and correctly. I decided to see if bringing my wrists into putting would improve my accuracy and distance as well. 

 

From the get-go using my wrists seemed to cause problems- usually balls would be pulled too far left. However, my distance was dead-on, so it seemed like the idea still had some merit. Then I realized that hinging my wrists on an even plane, parallel with my shoulders and toes was the key to accuracy. My accuracy and distance judgement improve ten-fold.

 

I'm sure a lot of people might say that this violates fundamentals. I would respond by saying that the putt follows the same hinging and release pattern as a normal swing. Furthermore, it uses the fine motor skills of your wrists and forearms to finesse the ball. The traditional putting method uses your bulky, inaccurate core muscles. 

 

For examples of wrist motion improving accuracy, look at basketball. Players couldn't make shots without the final release of their wrists, because it adds a huge degree of precision to the shot. The same goes for beer pong, tennis, or baseball.

 

Like I said, golf is a "game of feel," so your mileage may vary. But if you're in a putting slump, it might be something to consider. 

post #2 of 24

We talk all the time about how the putting motion should be a little teeny weeny "float load" type of procedure, with soft wrists.

post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 

Ah, good to know I'm on to something. I know most people I've played with have been very dogmatic about keeping tensed forearms and wrists. 

post #4 of 24

Putting is the one part of the game, that is very personal, and everyone has their own type of putting stroke.

 

Different strokes, for different folks. What ever is comfortable for you.

post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 

Good point Motley, I do agree with what you're saying- to an extent. However, putting still uses the same muscles, tendons, and parts of your brain as any other swing in golf. Therefore, they all respond to certain body mechanics. We're all wired the same way, so some strategies are going to work better than others. I'm not saying that my technique is better, but simply worth trying if someone is considering a new putting style. 

post #6 of 24

I used to subscribe to the whole "stiff wrist" idea, and in the end I actually ended up coming into the ball with the putter face wide open. Now I make sure that the butt of my putter is always pointing relative to my belly button throughout the whole putter swing arc, which meant that I needed to break my wrists somewhat.

 

For a while, I putter with only my wrists, which was effective as well. Just used my wrists to take the club back and let it fall naturally.

post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Precis1on View Post

I used to subscribe to the whole "stiff wrist" idea, and in the end I actually ended up coming into the ball with the putter face wide open. Now I make sure that the butt of my putter is always pointing relative to my belly button throughout the whole putter swing arc, which meant that I needed to break my wrists somewhat.

 

For a while, I putter with only my wrists, which was effective as well. Just used my wrists to take the club back and let it fall naturally.


Yeah keeping your putter-face pointing square relative to your belly button is a good idea; this way the wrist hinge naturally with the putter-face opening and shutting as it should, not to much, not too little.

 

If we all get focused on the line and feeling the speed then reacting without delay to that vision and feel, the stroke becomes fluid and pure without thinking about it - and when this happens, putts start going in from everywhere. It's a beautiful thing!

post #8 of 24

Hello Guys,

 

    I agree that you should have your on style, although it should be probably be based on things that are know to work.  The 4hrgolfpro is exactly right. When I started playing golf, putting for me was much easier with a hinged wrist. I felt I judge my putts better, however I was never constant with it. Downhill putts would go sailing passed, maybe bad judgement. However one thing for sure there are many people that are willing to help your putting. It's up to you to listen, try it, or invent your own way that will get sinking putt. A great friend of mind I met on the golf has a great neat tool to add to the putter, he call the read-it putter that reads the putt for you all you do strike it with the right pressure and have the line. It is truly remarkable. My putts have improved 50% He has a site going up soon. I would recommend seriously checking this out. Myself and three other friend were blessed to be his testers after he did his magic method on our putters. Keep your eyes open for it readitputter.com all I can say is WOW.

 

Thanks,

  Mike
 

post #9 of 24
This is interesting because I'm more successful with using my wrists for putts 6ft or less. I was also told putting is a personal thing. I go back an forth and it all depends how I'm feeling that day
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by The4HourGolfPro View Post

Good point Motley, I do agree with what you're saying- to an extent. However, putting still uses the same muscles, tendons, and parts of your brain as any other swing in golf. Therefore, they all respond to certain body mechanics. We're all wired the same way, so some strategies are going to work better than others. I'm not saying that my technique is better, but simply worth trying if someone is considering a new putting style. 
You use the same body, but you are not trying to hit the ball 100+ yards with a club that is angled funny. We use the wrists for a number of reasons in the full swing, reasons that wouldn't apply when putting. Having soft wrist can work out, but I wouldn't put too much wrist motion in there. That it worked for you once doesn't mean it's the ideal for you either, but there is of course nothing stopping you from experimenting with it.
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Precis1on View Post

I used to subscribe to the whole "stiff wrist" idea, and in the end I actually ended up coming into the ball with the putter face wide open. Now I make sure that the butt of my putter is always pointing relative to my belly button throughout the whole putter swing arc, which meant that I needed to break my wrists somewhat.

 

For a while, I putter with only my wrists, which was effective as well. Just used my wrists to take the club back and let it fall naturally.

That would be disasterous for me. I putt with my shoulders. I have also taken to anchoring my elbows to my core and just do a ferris wheel move with my shoulders. Works for me, as long as I don't decel.

post #12 of 24
I would relate my stroke to a piston, right wrist and elbow have a slight bend in the back stroke to stay straight. Left wrist is flat through impact while the right holds a hinge, then just fallow through down the line. Very soft hands.
post #13 of 24

I was an all shoulders type.

 

To get the float-load that Erik wanted, I came home from SoCal in April and experimented. I scheduled a Sam Lab Session. I had setup issues. Those were corrected, but the float load wasn't happening for me with a shoulders only move. I felt rushed.  But in my shoulders only move, I tried to keep the upper body fairly taught and to Move the hands slightly before moving the shoulders. Perhaps that was all a mistake ... yes ... apparently.b1_ohmy.gif

 

To get float loaded with soft wrists and still using shoulders, I need the feeling of moving the belly button back and through. It's a subtle feel or move. I got in front of a mirror - the lower body wasn't moving with this move so that was good. I watched Tiger during the Players' and noticed his belly area moving. So what the heck... I found several pluses subtly moving the belly button -- it's easy to move and float load the putter. I lose any nervousness in the arms/hands. It's good ... for me ... so far.

post #14 of 24
I'm an all-shoulder, rigid arms no-wrist type of putter. Think Nicklaus but without ANY of his skill. When I was standing near the 1st tee at an invitational event at Pebble a few years ago, waiting for Stan Utley and 3 others play, I got chatting with him (no crowd at all there) and he asked me to demonstrate my action pretending to hold a putter. Nice fellow. So I did and he said, politely bit firmly, that I had it ALL WRONG!. "Much too stiff in the arms", "use more of the wrists - yes, hinge them a bit!"

Thinks: hmmmmm (deeply skeptical)

Stan then teed off and I walked behind the group on the fairways (it's a rather informal annual pro/am event, very cool) and he proceeded to sink a couple of 15-20 footers in the half dozen holes that I followed along on. His wrists are indeed soft and they visibly hinge. He also hit some very accurate approach shots - he isn't long off the tee but that guy is a target shooter. And a real gentleman. He was giving advice to two amateurs in the group and generally being witty and entertaining as play went on. I was having a great time as you can imagine tagging along behind the group (no carts of course), all gratis.

But I'm still the same all-shoulder putter and I still stink much of the time on the greens. No way am I going to add wrist hinge though - I'd only get even worse lol. Please don't tell Stan .....
Edited by Chas - 5/17/13 at 11:11pm
post #15 of 24

I think this thread shows how personal putting is. With the exeption of Tommy Gainy, there is really not that much variation in how pros hit full shots - grip, stance, impact postion, etc. In putting, though, you see all kinds of wierd stuff. Toe up, toe down, forwar press, clubhead ahead of hands (really? yep, someone on tour does this), open to closed, down the line, split grip, claw grip, left hand low...So, whatever blows your skirt up. Speaking of wirst action, this is timely cause today I asked my buddie for some guidane on left hand low, since he uses it and takes my money. I had always been scared of trying it. And this was right before our round. I made 3 one-putts on the first 3 holes, and 2 more later, and generally putted much better than normal. Left hand low totally takes all wrist out of the stroke, and for me, automaticall kept the clubface square and I didn't feel like I had to 'control' the face at impact.

post #16 of 24

Apologies for the minor diversion but dak4n6, would you say this is true to some extent of chipping as well?  Raymond Floyd likes to call a chip a "lofted putt" and I think he has a point.  Chipping is perhaps less variable than putting but more so than full shots.

 

I'm sucking at both right now, which is consistent with the theory.  a1_smile.gif

 

I'm considering left hand low myself.  My younger brother is killing me on the greens right now and something must be done about it.

post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chas View Post

Apologies for the minor diversion but dak4n6, would you say this is true to some extent of chipping as well?  Raymond Floyd likes to call a chip a "lofted putt" and I think he has a point.  Chipping is perhaps less variable than putting but more so than full shots.

 

I'm sucking at both right now, which is consistent with the theory.  a1_smile.gif

 

I'm considering left hand low myself.  My younger brother is killing me on the greens right now and something must be done about it.

I think so, to some extent. Though the chip is the next most creative (variable from one golfer to another) shot to the putt, there is a chip I call 'dead hands', where you minimize wrist hinge and just kind of slide the club under the ball and use the club's bounce (I always think Steve Stricker). Need a good lie for that though. There are other more wristier chips, such as the hinge n hold or a flop, but for the most part I try to minimize wrist involvment for chips.

 

Try it! Just go to a practice green and hit 50 putts. I have my grip as a 'baseball left hand low - no overlapping fingers or anything..

post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by dak4n6 View Post

I think this thread shows how personal putting is. With the exeption of Tommy Gainy, there is really not that much variation in how pros hit full shots - grip, stance, impact postion, etc.

 

Huh?

 

There's tremendous variation in how pros hit full shots. I'd post pictures illustrating what I mean but quite honestly I don't know that I want to take the time - I consider this plainly obvious with even the smallest amount of study. Grips vary, stances vary, impact positions vary, backswings vary, turning rates vary, shot shapes vary, etc.

 

Putting strokes probably vary least simply because there's less time/distance/space for them to have variations, you don't need to generate much power, etc.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dak4n6 View Post

Left hand low totally takes all wrist out of the stroke, and for me, automaticall kept the clubface square and I didn't feel like I had to 'control' the face at impact.

 

I'll keep saying it: a little bit of wrists is good for your putting stroke. :) If you're having trouble keeping the clubface square and "controlling" it, then you've got too much wrists, but very few good putters have "no wrist" putting strokes.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chas View Post

Apologies for the minor diversion but dak4n6, would you say this is true to some extent of chipping as well?  Raymond Floyd likes to call a chip a "lofted putt" and I think he has a point.

 

Learn to use the bounce properly. Chipping strokes - even what I call a chipping stroke or one that uses the leading edge more than the bounce - uses more wrist action than a putting stroke.

 

I said it in the other thread and I'll say it again now: the proper amount of wrist action is critical for touch, feel, creativity. You can't adequately control your touch using "rotation of your torso" or whatever you want to do with your shoulders only.

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