Right Wrist in the Takeaway

The role of right wrist in the takeaway is often misunderstood and has been the source of much confusion and bad golf swings. In fact, perhaps 90% of the students I see in the first lesson incorrectly use their right wrist during this crucial first phase of the golf swing. Because most golfers are right handed, the right hand tends to dominate the takeaway and put the club in a position where it moves behind the body to early. This gets the club deep and out of sync with the rotating torso and usually creates a very deep position at the top of the swing. In this video, I talk about the specific role of the right wrist and how it gets the club moving back correctly and simply.

  • Hinging the right wrist during takeaway causes the club face to close, which steepens the swing plane
  • Keep your right wrist neutral during the takeaway
  • Somebody standing behind you at takeaway should be able to read your watch

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Richard
Hi Craig Thanks for your answer,but you may have not understood the question,I was ask about the direction the shaft is pointing,which would be 90 degrees from the target line at address and parallel to target at the end of the takeaway.I am having difficulty understanding how to accomplish if the shaft only moves with my body and my body only moves approx. 945 degrees.
July 22, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Richard. Elevation. If you didn't add elevation I think I see where you are going with your point. Take a look at the 4 Square Drill and Belly Button Drill. If the arms didn't elevate then you would see that look/imagery you are talking about.
July 23, 2020
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Richard
How can the club move from address to the end of the takeaway (90 degrees) and the body not turn that far by the end of the takeaway when one only moves when the other does?
July 22, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Richard. Wider radius. The club will travel further than your body rotation. The takeaway will be a combination of weight shift, 45 degree shoulder turn, and slight elevation/forearm/wrist set. Take a look at the 5 Minutes to the Perfect Takeaway and Pencil Tee Drill.
July 22, 2020
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Sean
I tried initiating my backswing with a flat right wrist (as if I had a ruler down my right wrist) and what a difference it made. I found this move prevented me from bringing the club inside the line. What training drills would you recommend for me to instill this into my swing?
May 7, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Sean. 5 Minutes to Master Rotation, Belly Button Drill and Shake Hands Drill.
May 7, 2020
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Ronan
Hey Guys, I'm able to perform a nice takeaway by itself. Though, when i want to hit a ball, i mix takeaway and going to the top a the same time which mess up my backswing Do you have a video that would deal with going to the top and explaining precisely what you need to do after the takeaway ? Are you supose to perform the takeaway and then go to the top in two separated moves ?
November 29, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Ronan. It should be a blended move. I would take a look at the 5 Minutes to the Perfect Backswing and Winter Golf Training Program - Backswing Video. One will explain the mechanics. The other will help simplify/blend the move with gradual trail arm addition.
November 29, 2019
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Harold
I find myself getting here. Flat and played off....followed my a big overswing I can see a club head out the corner of my left eye. I have done all the lower body drills, etc.. I am woking on cocking my wrist up (while using my body to rotate). Any thoughts?
August 7, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Harold. Check your trail arm position. If your trail arm stays in front and with 90 degrees of flexion (or less) it will be impossible to overswing. Take a look at the 3 Functions of the Right Arm and Stop Overswinging Video.
August 7, 2019
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David
I struggle with an early wrist cock in the backswing which believe was improperly taught and ingrained. Is there a specific drill you can recommend to get rid of the early wrist cock?
July 1, 2019
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Mikko-Pekka
Hello David. My understanding. I think you are overusing your arms. I would work on step 2 drill and 5 min. to perfect backswing video. Wrists will cock naturally and gradually troughout the backswing. Keep them soft and suple. Focus on moving your body correctly first. Hope that helps.
July 1, 2019
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Paul
Hi, I think I have been trying to swing the club without wrist hinge, instead I am trying to over rotate and lift my arms instead. Can you list a collection of videos that covers this whole movement including the realease. My understanding is the release is the uncocking\unhinging of the wrists. Also im guessing the grip plays a huge role in doing this correctly. Thanks.
June 18, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Paul. Take a look at Wrist Cock vs. Wrist Hinge, Using the Wrists in the Golf Swing, Left Hand Release Drill and Fix Your Release. Yes, the release is rotation of the forearms and as you rotate the wrist will uncock/unhinge. Also, too weak/strong of a grip will change the dynamics.
June 18, 2019
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Ronan
Hi, I had a swing review with Aaron on my takeaway. How can i ask him a question on the feedback he gave me ? E-mail address? Thxs, Ronan
January 27, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Ronan. The best way to reach your instructor is to leave a comment on the board "for him" under the video you are working on.
January 27, 2019
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Dennis
Hey Craig and RST folks! Loving your program and making big strides over the offseason. Just working on reps and engraining these concepts now for the next month. I have to say that each video Chuck makes a statement that really hits home for me with the RST concepts. In this video when he talks about keep the right wrist flat and on the side of the club at takeaway it dawned on me... Of course! if the hand was turned to be on top of the club you're not only turning the club face, but loosing potential power with the and in that position. Plus having to make just one more move to get everything back into alignment at impact. Keep up the great work and correct me if I'm off track! Last of all, is there a video that talks to the position of the shoulders at each stage of the swing, i.e. right should slightly down at address, etc. I'd like to have that for reference to be sure I'm doing reps properly. Thanks!
March 9, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Dennis. Glad you are loving the program. How to Fix Reverse Pivot really helps with Face On shoulder position at setup and Golf Backswing Shoulder Plane Drill will help from Down the Line.
March 9, 2018
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Gerald
Great tip. I can do this, and I agree it allows the club to go back on plane very well. My question is, what happens to the wrist at the top of the backswing, and into the start of the downswing. The wrist has to change positions during this transition and downswing to get into a position where the back of the left wrist is bowed outward at impact, and the right wrist is bowed backward away from the target at impact. So, what is the proper sequence for the wrist during this sequence? Is there any slow-motion explanation of this on the website?
March 8, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gerald. Take a look at Using Your Wrists in the Golf Swing Video. The lead wrist is always flattening. Cupped at setup to flat at the top and gradually increasing flat to bowed at impact depending on wanted loft. The trail wrist will hinge and cock and little more in the transition as lag increases and should not fire before impact.
March 8, 2018
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Piergiorgio
hi. just a quick question regarding that crucial moment BEFORE triggering the takeaway, when the difficult shot coming and the thought of rotating without sliding too often end up "freezing" this poor golfer over the ball. so, at the light of the RTS logical principles, what would be the best way(s) to waggle the club? thanks
September 15, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Piergiorgio. We prefer not too much of a waggle, but we understand golfers get stuck sometimes. And, they need a way to kinda relieve the tension to start. I would suggest using your weight shift as a trigger to your swing. A slight movement to get some momentum going. Also, if you need too have a slight waggle make it with the understanding you aren't trying to preset you takeaway position. Only removing tension.
September 15, 2017
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user107441
What about tucking your right elbow in to your body as you rotate. Is this a good idea or a good feel to have?
April 28, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello User107441. We advocate not gluing the trail arm to the body. It will inhibit proper arm elevation.
April 28, 2017
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T David
I completely get the idea about the right wrist, but what about the left wrist. I noticed that I start to hinge the club at the A2 position using the last few fingers of the left hand. Should I try to avoid this practice?
October 18, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Dave. You gradually will lose the cupping in the lead wrist going back and there will be a little wrist set (25%) in the takeaway. You may have a little movement, but you don't want to bow it outwards towards the ball early.
October 18, 2016
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T David
great! Thanks, Craig.
October 18, 2016
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Mason
Hi I was wondering about how to get the club face into proper position at the end of the takeaway when the club is parallel to the ground. I rotate my shoulder blade only and literally do not move or rotate my arms or wrists at all. Yet at the end of the takeaway, when the club is parallel to the ground, the club face is slightly shut and the shaft is pointing slightly away from me rather than right down the target line. It feels as though restricting even the most minuscule of movements in my arms and wrists is preventing the club face to rotate. And I remember learning that the club face should always be rotating throughout the swing. It feels as though I could slightly rotate my forearms/wrists clockwise about the axes of my forearms by maybe around 15 degrees. What do you guys think?
July 23, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Mason. The forearms will rotate a little in the takeaway (Bucket Drill, Pencil Tee Drill, Forearm Rotation for Power in the Golf Swing Video). You need to allow for a little. And, you are correct the club will always be rotating (Using the Wrist Effectively and Efficiently).
July 23, 2016
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Les
Do you actually rotate your forearms some during the takeaway then? When I try and get a flat right wrist under my left wrist I have to rotate my hands and for arms in the takeaway. Is that the correct feeling? Also then how do you not roll the club inside with trying to get the right hand under the left? When I do my normal takeaway I get the club parallel and straight down my target line but my right hand is on top of my left and I understand what you guys want but don't know how to get there. Thanks
July 1, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Les. There is a little bit of forearm rotation in the takeaway albeit not overly aggressive. Use the Bucket Drill to feel the proper amount and blend. Then, the One Simple Takeaway Fix to make sure the lead wrist doesn't over rotate or bow outwards.
July 2, 2016
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John
Looking at Brandel Chamblee's new book his take away teaching specifically contradicts this. He says all great golfers (shows pictures of Hogan, Nelson, Jack, Palmer, Trevino, etc.) had their right hand on top during the takeaway resulting in a shut clubface. I think what you guys teach feels better but hard to argue with pictures of the greatest golfers of all time doing the opposite. Comments?
May 7, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello John. I could talk about this topic for days . However, to keep it to the point. I could show you Tiger Woods, Jason Day, etc.. players that are in the complete opposite position of Jack, Trevino, etc.. We try to base everything on science and from a objective stand point. Chuck does a good job talking about these points in the Truths of Instruction Part 1. I appreciate that you believe what we teach is better. The goal with the RST Swing is to 100% be able to produce a fact based motion based on what the body is exactly designed to do.
May 7, 2016
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John
Thanks for quick reply. I agree Tiger was much less closed at end of take away than the old guys and the argument can be made he is the second best golfer of all time. Not sure I would say Jason Day or the other guys on tour now have proven anything compared to the greats listed above. I will say I find it much easier and more accurate to chip from green out to about 100 yards with shut club face and right hand on top. I will keep working on it for full swing. You guys are very good but this question continues to linger with me.
May 7, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello John. No problem for the quick reply. I agree Jason isn't on that same list. But, he has a major and very long. I was speaking more of ball striking capabilities. In chipping or smaller pitch shots keeping it a little closed is easier. We believe the same thing. However, for maximum power in the full swing you need to let the face rotate. The thing is you can't just pick a chose items like Brandel is doing. (Miller, Nicklaus) all had a reverse c position coming through the swing. Should we do that? They played great with it. A lot of majors combined between them. However, they all have replacement hips because of it. Is that a good thing to copy? This is why golf instruction can be difficult. It worked for those guys. Why shouldn't I do it then.
May 7, 2016
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Lewis
I am finding it difficult to get a flat left (lead) wrist at the top of backswing if at some point in the backswing I dont hinge the right wrist. My tendency is to get to the top and have a cupped left wrist and the club crosses the line and kind of "bounces" at the top. However if i cup my right wrist backwards at some point it flattens out my left wrist and seem to get to a more stable position at the top. Club shorter and pointing a bit left instead of across the line. I think i end up in a good position because it looks the same as your videos but i want to make sure i get in that position properly and based on this video im doing it wrong by hinging the right wrist. Where in the swing does the right wrist hinge back so the left wrist will be flat at the top? Or does the left wrist control this? Sry for long comment. Tks for all the great info!
February 16, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Lewis. The trail wrist will have some hinge as you start to add flexion with the trail arm. You want to shy away from it too early in the takeaway. But, as the trail arm folds it will have a little hinge. This will help with the flat lead wrist at the top. Take a look at the 3 Functions of the Right Arm and the Using the Wrist Effectively and Efficiently Video.
February 16, 2016
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Lewis
Thanks Craig. Perfect! Im still struggling with throwing or pulling down the right hand from the top as opposed to starting downswing with lower body weight shift and letting arms stay passive. Years of bad habits - hard to break!
February 16, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Lewis. Un-learning the old is definitely an arduous process, but well worth it in the long run.
February 16, 2016
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Djamil
Hi, I would like to understand why at the top of the backswing left wrist need to be flat, When i try to keep my left wrist flat i feel it s harder to cock and create lag because i feel my wrist blocked. I feel more confortable and power When it's hinged. What do u think? Do you have a drill to work on it?
January 22, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Djamil. Take a look at the Using the Wrist Effectively and Efficiently Video and the Winter Backswing Video. The lead wrist needs to be flat at the top to effectively square the face into impact and have good face awareness. When you cup the lead wrist it makes the journey to a flat lead wrist very difficult to impact. You will tend to hold the wrist and use rotation of the body to square the face.
January 22, 2016
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Loran
No wrist hing in the takeaway but there is a deliberate cocking of the wrists at the end of the takeaway? About parallel to the pants pocket?
September 23, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Loan. Very little trail wrist hinge and a little wrist set/cock to complete the takeaway. Parallel to the base of the trail pocket.
September 24, 2015
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Jeffrey
I'm having a little difficulty understanding the wrists in the backswing. For a long time I set up with my hands forward which flattened my left wrist. I maintained that position to the top. If my left wrist is cupped at set up how do I get it flat at the top? It feels like my club face stays open. I've also been taught the right wrist should be in the 'waiter position'. Is this not correct?
July 1, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Jeffrey. Take a look at Using the Wrist Efficiently and Effectively in the Introduction Advanced Section. All answers will be there.
July 1, 2015
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Lee
This is great information. I, like many others, had always immediately hinged my right wrist, following old guidance. This video fit perfectly with the 4 square video (in the adv. backswing section), as I first tried to video myself trying to keep from taking the club into the 3rd quadrant. I just couldn't get it, until I compared my swing to Chuck Q. in the self analysis area. When I saw my right wrist behaving so differently than Chuck's, I changed my wrists to "passive" and there I was. It also seemed to directly fit with "keeping the right arm straight" to make the shoulders rotate. With the hinging right wrist, it was very difficult to keep the right arm straight, so required more thought to be sure my shoulders rotated. I'm sure glad all of you guys (Chuck and the other instructors) are here and you have such excellent information.
May 4, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Lee, all of the instructors here are happy to assist the members. That's why we got into this business. To help people play great golf. I'm glad that you're improving and I'm looking forward to seeing your progress. R.J.
May 5, 2015
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Dean
Craig, I valued your last swing review and especially your analysis of this swing improvement. I've always been rotating the right foreman during the takeaway not realizing that was not effective in keeping the right wrist from slighting closing the club face. As you point out this leads to creating a more vertical arm position at the top, slightly closed face and less than optimal position coming into impact preventing a full release. I'm excited to begin working on this.
April 2, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Dean. Great. A lot of the "lift" and "vertical" to your backswing positioning is because of the right wrist action off the ball. Unleash Your Thumbnail for Power in this section will also be a good video for you to take a look at. There is rotation, but you have to watch for the excessive wrist hinge.
April 2, 2015
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Gregory
Does the neutral right writst contradict Ben Hogan's instruction on bending the right wrist back? Just curious. I struggle with rolling my wrists in the takeaway and not hinging my wrists . Any insights would be helpful. Thanks! Love your site and the swing reviews. Greg
March 26, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gregory. Yes, is contradicts Hogan a little. The wrist don't nee to excessively hinge off the ball. Only a little bit or rotation and set. Take a look at the One Simple Takeaway Fix if you struggle with roll in the Advanced Takeaway Section. Thank you for the positive comments on our site!
March 27, 2015
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Dennis
Good stuff! By the way,where was this vid filmed? Beautiful background.
August 20, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
This video was filmed at The Country Club of Castle Pines in Colorado when Chuck was an instructor there.
August 20, 2014
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ralph
You said that the right hand MAY be maybe slightly underneath the left hand at half way back. Ideally you want to read a "wrist watch" I understand that. My question is, however.......Is SLIGHTLY underneath somewhat better than slightly on top of left hand? Thanks, you guys do a good job.
August 6, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Ralph. Slightly underneath. If the hand gets on top. It will tend to shut the face and require more manipulation than necessary. Take a look at the Unleash Your Thumbnail for Power Video in the Advanced Takeaway Section.
August 6, 2014
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Troy
Should the right arm stay on top of the left during the golf swing takeaway? This is what is appears to happen from what I have seen of Chuck's takeaway and other good players. With my takeaway you can see the right elbow appearing underneath the left during the takeaway, just doesn't look right. Is there a swing thought or feeling I should be working on to fix this?
July 28, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
You are probably rolling too much off the ball with the hands and arms. Take a look at the Bucket Drill in the Takeaway Section. Keep the bucket level and the hands and arms neutral off the ball.
July 28, 2014
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George
I have been diagnosed as having too much right wrist flexion in the takeaway, which leads to getting the clubhead well behind me and out of sync with my body. After watching this video and trying a few practice takeaways, is the feeling I'm looking for is to not actively move/engage my wrists? Almost like a dead-hand feeling? When I do this, I think I am creating that supple and tension-free wrist feeling that is talked about in other videos, leading me to believe that some of my flexion/extension issues stems from tensions in the wrist, rather than an active setting or flexing of the wrist
June 27, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
The wrist will stay very passive. There is approximately 25% of our wrist set in the takeaway. Nevertheless, taking out the roll and hinge is the correct feeling. You don't want the hands "dead". In control, but not snatching it back. Good grip pressure. Supple wrist. Take a look at the Bucket Drill in the Takeaway Section. It will show you the proper rotation in the arms and help quiet down the hands.
June 28, 2014
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Fin
I have been working with the Move 1 - The Takeaway video and tired to not do anything with my wrists, as recommended. But now I've run into some problems / questions: a) I sometimes get caught in the grass behind the ball because my club head is not lifted right away by any wirst hinge - is that normal? b) I do not understand how there ought to be no wrist action at all - even in the instructional video, I think there is a little movement that gets the shaft parallel to the ground. Plus, comparing the angle between wrist / shaft in set-up and shaft-parallel to the ground, isn't there a difference? c) How can you build lag of you kept the wrist / shaft completely the same without hinging your wirst? Thanks in advantage
June 21, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Fin. For question A) Yes, it is normal to get caught in the rough a little with minimal wrist set. Shot depending sometimes you have to add a little more wrist set and elevation with the club to not get caught. B) There is roughly 25% of our wrist set in the takeaway. Its more gradual though. Not a quick jerk of the ball or late snap. Take a Look at the 5 Mins to the Perfect Takeaway Video roughly 22,23 minutes into it Chuck will discuss. C) The wrist will cock on the backswing. It's not a forced set. The amount of wrist cock on the backswing has a little determinant on lag. Think Sergio. Little wrist back (a little more now than he used too), massive lag down. Take a look at the Wide Narrow Wide Video in the Advanced Introduction Section.
June 21, 2014
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Jesse
[I am left-handed]- For a long time I had a cupped right wrist in the backswing, rather than a flat wrist at the end of the backswing, but was told that it should be flat at the end of the backswing. Based on this video, where Chuck mentions that there is some cocking of the right [my left] wrist, is it this action which causes the left [my right] wrist to flatten at the end of the backswing? Or is it ok to have it cupped rather than flat, as long as it is in the proper position at impact? Thanks.
June 4, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Preferably a flat left (right) wrist at the top of the backswing. Proper impact is the ideal goal. However, having a cupped left (right) wrist at the top will require more manipulation on the downswing to return the club face back to square and flatten the left (right) wrist for trajectory. The whole goal is to manipulate less in the golf swing. If you are cupping at the top it might be due to a stronger grip or not enough left (right forearm rotation). Yours is most likely flat at the top because of the forearm rotation.
June 5, 2014
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kevin
Worked at the range yesterday on keeping the right hand flat and not hinging during the takeaway. At first it felt like I was rolling my wrist which appears to open the clubface. It is almost impossible to take the club back inside if the wrist is in a neutral poistion. I did not have not make any compensations on the downswing. The club stays on plane thorughout the swing.
April 30, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Kevin that is great to hear. Keep working at it.
April 30, 2014
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Troy
Do we need to feel as though the club is outside of the hands on the takeaway? Or do we need to feel like the hands moves away from the body? Or should the focus be solely on keeping the right wrist neutral and the takeaway will take care of itself? I'm someone that takes the club too far back on the inside. Thanks
April 24, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Troy, you do want the feeling that the club stays outside the hands during the takeaway. At the completion of the takeaway there will be a small amount of set/cocking (radial deviation). It needs to be a passive set and just enough to support the clubhead and move directly in line with the hands. You dont want to feel as though the hands are moving further away from the body. They will elevate slightly through the takeaway and be at about pocket height by the completion.
April 24, 2014
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julian
Important words "between hinge and cock". Is this hingeing what keeps the hands ahead at impact? This appears contrary to the "hammer idea" of some golf teachers. If the wrist is "hinged" it cannot hammer in the cocking orientation. Is this correct? Anyway, the concept of the watch on the right hand is clear enough, I will try that but would like to know if my idea about hands ahead at impact is correct. If not, what should I do?
April 18, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
We have a series of videos set to be released very soon that talks about the wrists through the entire swing. Stay tuned so that you can get some solid clarification. The function of the wrists through the move are changing dynamically and from the takeaway to the impact zone they are changing functions drastically.
April 19, 2014
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Jason
Definitely looking forward to these videos because in this video it looks as though his right wrist is almost bowed at the end of the takeaway. I'm struggling with being laid off at the top and it seems that my right hand almost rolls under the club as I complete the takeaway and move into the backswing. In the model videos Chuck has much more pronounced angle between his right hand and right forearm than he demonstrates in this video so I'm thinking this video really isn't ideal for someone who is laid off.
May 15, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Is your grip at the address position just as we have outlined it in the how to grip video? The right wrist at the completion of the takeaway will have a bit of what we call "set" in it. that is just a minor amount of cocking/hinging to support the club. If you were to grab a hammer and try to hit a nail, the wrist would set, probably more pronounced but that is the best way to think of it.
May 16, 2014

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