This is the first blog of many to come, by Terry Shaffer, PGA Professional Instructor with 44 years of teaching experience. Many more are to come and will touch on the intricacies of the golf swing, short game, course management, and recommendations on different golf venues and how beautiful they are. It will also from time to time have commentary on the PGA Tour, rules of golf, golf equipment, speed of play to many other facets involved with this beautiful game we all enjoy so much. Remember, this comes from years of play, hard work, teaching many successful golfers, and includes coaching Division I College golf at two different universities.
Please just enjoy the blogs. They are meant to inspire thought about anything associated with this game. This is also associated with the website, www.purecontact.golf and my new you-tube channel Pure Contact Golf.
THE LEFT WRIST IN THE GOLF SWING
So much has been written about the concept of “Supination” in the golf swing. It is a term of medical origins that was made popular in golf by the late, great, Ben Hogan. Today it is rarely used in golf instruction yet is more prevalent in many modern players such as Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm and others such as Brooks Kepka and a fine young golfer of mine that is just beginning his career as a tour player, Marcus Byrd.
What is Supination?
This has to do with the way the left wrist, in the opinion of many, should behave during the golf swing. I, myself, when I was a young teenage golfer, was taught by a tremendous professional, Tom Lupinacci to tuck my left wrist downward in the beginning of the take-away in the golf swing. This put my left wrist in the supinated position of the golf swing. I feel that Tom was one of the best professionals to have come through the PGA and was way ahead of his time. He taught me this in 1972, a long time ago.
Having asked many medical professionals exactly what it means, and currently listed on page 85 of Ben Hogan’s book, Five Golf Lessons to the Modern Fundamentals of the Golf Swing, the best definition I have come across is that we human beings are one of the few species on earth that could extend an arm, look at the back of the hand and then twist the hand around so that we could look at the palm. In this process, whichever hand it is, the wrist rotates and flexes into a bowed position. Therefore, supination is the rotation of the wrist, and in the process, the wrist curves into a bowed position.
Some experts believe that the supination of Mr. Hogan’s left wrist at impact was the secret Mr. Hogan alluded to that he credited for his becoming such a great golfer. I do not agree with this assessment as Mr. Hogan supinated when he was a terrible hooker of the golf ball. His secret led him away from a hook to a fade which made him one of the greatest of all time. I believe Byron Nelson had it right when Mr. Hogan went from having a strong grip to a neutral grip. We’ll never know for sure.
How does this apply to the golf swing and how can it help you with your golf?
In my teaching, I truly believe that the left wrist controls where the clubface is at impact, and I teach my students how to learn to use this wrist during the swing. This is in essence, is, what many great players do. From Jack Nicklaus to Ben Hogan, to Arnold Palmer, to the great players of today, the left wrist positions through impact are very similar. Having referred to Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, and my student Marcus Byrd, these are players who by tucking the left wrist early in the backswing are pre-setting the supinated left wrist position, (bowed left wrist). They just hold it through impact as they go through the ball. Again, Tom Lupinacci was way ahead of his time. He learned and taught this long ago.
The left wrist, when it supinates, closes the clubface. The opposite, a cupped left wrist, opens the clubface to the right and contributes to a slice. I teach my students that when the right hand hits hard in the golf swing, it opens the clubface too quickly resulting in a slice. Often, they are amazed how far they can hit the ball with ease, when the left wrist is in the supinated position at impact. Marcus Byrd does this extremely well. I taught him this long before the appearances of Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka or Jon Rahm on the PGA Tour. I learned this from Tom Lupinacci.
I would encourage everyone to take the time to learn this very important concept in the golf swing. Try supinating your left wrist. We can teach you how.
Referring to Marcus Byrd, we at Pure Contact Golf are so very proud of all his accomplishments! Marcus is the 2023 Charlie Sifford Exemption Award Winner as selected by Tiger Woods. This exempted Marcus into the Genesis Invitational PGA Tour Event at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles Country Club.
Terry Shaffer, PGA Professional