Achieving left wrist supination in the golf swing (Drill)

Hogan - left wrist actionBen Hogan was right that the best swings in the game have this supination action at impact.  It allows the club to come into the ball square.

But many players do not fully understand how to achieve this supination.  Here is how you can begin to get this feeling in your swing.

One of the most important things I have discovered about this supination is that it is NOT achieved by the wrists or the small muscles in the hands.  The wrists are too weak to force this position and too weak to overcome the huge forces that the swing is generating.  The way to achieve this supination is to use the large muscles of the body properly in the golf swing.

That sounds a bit strange, doesn’t it?  Here is an image of the left wrist supinating, but you can’t force it to happen.  You allow it to happen by doing the right things in the swing.

Drills for supination

1. Left hand only half swings (do not hit the ground or a golf ball with this drill)

Start with you normal stance, but only your left hand on the club.  Take the club back only until the shaft is parallel to the ground with the toe pointing straight up.  On the way back you should feel your left forearm rotating.  If you are wearing a watch, the watch should almost face the sky or ceiling when the toe of the club is pointing up.  Your shoulders should rotate too and their rotation should stop when the shaft reaches parallel.

Initiate the downswing by rotating your hips to the left.  You should feel a small delay in the arms.  Take the club through until it is also parallel with the ground.  The toe should be up and have rotated somewhat to the left.  While you are doing these short swings, take a look at the position of your left hand, it should match the drawing.  If it is not matching, don’t force it match by using your wrists.  That doesn’t work.  You need to feel large muscles actually driving the rotation of the club face.

It will take some practice but this drill will help you to feel the club releasing and rotating through impact.  As you do this drill, you will improve your left hand arm action and it will help you hit the ball longer and straighter.

46 thoughts on “Achieving left wrist supination in the golf swing (Drill)”

  1. For those confused as to what you mean by the “large muscles” of the body, the pronators and supinators of your forearms are the key muscles to control the fine elements of this action.

    A common mistake in this action is that hands dont pass through the ball early enough through the club head. This causes the club not to deloft as expected, making the short go high, and not as far. This is cured by focusing on starting the downswing with the hips, and not over forcing the rotation of the wrists. Or put the ball a half ball back in your stance.

    Another important issue is not to let your wrists flex, extend, radial deviate or ulnar deviate during the impact portion of the ball. i.e the only action in your wrists when the club head is one foot behind the ball, to one foot infront after impact is supination with the left, and pronation with the right. All other axis are fixed.

  2. im sorry to say this but your idea that supination happens as a result of turning your hips back to the left is complete tosh. i can create supination at impact properly.i have studied hogan for 35 years and believe me,the onlly thing that turning your hips to the left does is create more leverage and more power which is great if the clubface is square to the swing line, but as many millions of golfers will tell you your method will result in a slice in most cases.sorry no ofence meant. peter(hogan fanatic)

  3. @persimonpete:

    Hi Pete,

    I appreciate your feedback and I do agree with you.

    You are right that supination is not only created by the turn of the hips to the left. That alone would be silly. What I’m saying in the post though (written back in February) still makes sense to me which is that you don’t use the small muscles to force the supination. It will happen if everything else is working in sync. In other words as the hips turn left and get out of the way, it allows a full release. I can also achieve the supination without fully turning my hips left but the motion feels cramped and constrained and robbed of its power and feels like it requires more manipulation of the hands to make it happen. Fully turning the hips left allows me to achieve the supination without forcing the hands into the action. In other words it feels more natural.

  4. Thanks for your reply. For me and again please dont be offended,your article and many many that i have read over the years are an issue. Understanding and interpreting the written word is a minefield .And im afraid this goes right back to Mr Hogans 5 fudermentals where he said that he (and HE being the operative word) started the down swing by turning his hips back to the left. I have know problems with that at all,you can see that when you watch him swing . However when you read his book it is easy to believe that once you have initiated the downswing by turning the hips back to the left,that everything will fall into place.Sadley that Is not the case.The picture you show from hogans book where the palm goes from facing down through supination at impact and then to palm facing up after impact is NOT a natural progressive movement far from it. Infact it is a very unatural movement, The natural movement is for the hand is to pronate and collapse just after impact leaving the golfer with an inconsistant strike,ball flight tradjectory and direction,the reason for this is that it is totally reliant on timing. Time it right you get a half reasonable shot ,get it wrong the ball can go any where as all bad golfers know.
    Now in that picture sequence Mr Hogan SHOWS and TELLS us what happens to his hands through impact,what he does NOT tell us, is HOW he achieves it.If there is a SECRET it lies there in because as natural as it looks it is manufactured and once mastered the reward is the consistancy we all crave .The good news is ,that with the correct instruction,hard work and dedication it can be learnt.When you have learnt it you then begin to understand its implications and how it turned Mr Hogans fortunes around.

  5. Like Zen, I returned to golf about three years ago, playing with my Dad’s 1963 Hogan’s. Beautiful persimmon woods, well-balanced 2-9 iron and Hogan’s sand wedge. A year ago, I bought Adams up and down the line – 460cc driver. 3/4/5 a4os hybrids and Watson’s lob wedge. All with graphite reg flex shafts. That move improved my h-cap by ten stokes to 20. I am obsessive-compulsive about achieving scratch now. 600-800 balls Sat…same on Sunday. And my obsession is now focusing on my wrists. Frankly, after first five readings of Five Fundamentals, I did not get the pronation-supination thing. About three months ago, I tried something different – I virtually completely relaxed my grip and let my wrists hinge with minimal wrist muscle movement. And I find that wrist hinge position throughout backswing, downswing and impact is govved well with two swing thoughts – on backswing, take the hands directly backward from the aim point. Keep the hands low- directly below the shoulders at address and maintain that ‘crook’ while making the backswing shoulder turn. Immediately upon starting the backswing, slowly start lagging the club. When the club is parallel to ground, the toe of the club should be pointing vertical. Continue the turn, increasing lag and maintaining pronation. At the top of the backswing, delay for a moment (I chant “Hogan”when I do this) before starting the backswing. The lag naturally increases a bit during the delay and into the start of the downswing. I find that if I concentrate too much on starting hip turn first, I end up losing my spine angle and bobbing my head. So, I concentrate on keeping my head steady while the downswing is initiated by gravity. I allow my arms, hips and shoulders to turn simulatneously and without any ‘big muscle’ initiation. The natural torsion built up in the shoulder/hip turn starts to uncurl my body. Every time I try to lead with my hips I end up overpowering my downswing – forcing either an open face slice at impact or a closed face duck hook. So, my swing though on initiation of the downswing is to let gravity and torsion do the work while focusing on minimizing wrist hinge on the down/foreswing and avoiding the tendnency to look up before impact. I do this and the pronation/supination thing happens more naturally with me. Result is less fade/draw and more consistent directional accuracy. I lose a bit of power, but I’ll trade the extra ten yards for the greater accuracy I need now in my quest for scratch.

  6. @persimonpete
    hi pete i was practicing delibrately supinating my wrist on the downswing today at the range and the positions it produces in my downswing are getting closer to hogans beautiful positions. do you think this supination also causes his dramatic flattening on the downswing? i am trying to get into that flat position on the downswing but am struggling. the hips turning and weight shift to the left as the first move is not doing it for me.

  7. Supination happens as a result of the whole package rotating towards the left. If you don’t get to your left quick enough, this is impossible. Also, without a weak grip (the correct one), it’s impossible. Last thing, if you don’t let the free ride happen BEHIND YOU, you have no a chance at achieving this position.

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  20. Great video! It makes sense to set it at the top since the swing is so quick you don’t have time to make that adjustment on the way down. Thanks so much for sharing.

  21. Why is anyone taking advice from this? To truly get good advice you need to know which hand is dominant. Then take instruction from there. Your release is different if you are a front hand dominant golfer.

    This all depends on which is your dominant hand. So tired of all these blog helpers assuming everyone is rear hand dominant.

    Watch Vijay. He’s front Dom. And he does NOT do this. At all.

    Before you all completely ruin your swing and waste valuable time, learn which is your dominant hand.

  22. Off and on for almost 60 years I’ve attempted to force my left wrist into this supinated position and never had any success. As an impressionable kid, I was fascinated by the illustration of the bowed left wrist in Hogan’s book but unfortunately, I thought supination was something I could physically create in my swing. As it turned out, I actually lost club head speed because to bow my left wrist I had to firm up my left arm – tense muscles swing slower. I finally learned how the process works and it’s so simple – start down with the legs and feet, keep the upper body relaxed and just fling the left arm through impact. The turning of the shoulders through the shot will cause the left arm to roll over IF YOU LET IT which causes the left hand to go from palm down to palm up – nothing to it.

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