What Is A Bowed Left Wrist In Golf?

Want to learn more about the bowed left wrist in golf? Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach Alex Elliott is on hand to help...

What Is A Bowed Left Wrist In Golf?
(Image credit: Future)

You might be wondering, what is a bowed left wrist in golf? This is something coaches will often discuss with players during golf lessons, and it can be the cause of your most destructive shot.

In this video and article, Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach Alex Elliott explains exactly what to look out for and, if it's a problem, how to fix it...

Alex Elliott Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach
Alex Elliott

Alex has created an engaging social media platform on YouTube and Instagram, helping golfers across the world with all manner of swing faults. Alex became a PGA professional following three years as a caddie on the European Tour, and is an expert on the golf swing.

What is a bowed left wrist in golf?

A bowed left wrist in golf refers to how your hands are working during the swing, particularly at the top of the backswing. If you use the logo on your golf glove as a guide, the ideal position would have it pointing over the back of your head at the top of the backswing. Golfers who have a bowed left wrist tend to have their logo pointing directly at the sky, which closes the clubface and is often the reason why they struggle with hooking the golf ball.

It is important to note that a bowed left wrist isn't always a bad thing. A couple of the games top players have a bowed left wrist - Jon Rahm and Dustin Johnson. Both are able to rotate their bodies through the downswing with an athletic movement which delivers the club square to target through impact.

Dustin Johnson at the top of the backswing with a bowed left wrist

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you are struggling with a slice, then trying to feel some additional bowing in your left wrist at the top (as a practice drill) can help to improve your ball flight and give you an improved sense for how to control the clubface. This is worth a try if you're looking to fix your slice.

How do you fix a bowed wrist in golf?

However, if you struggle with a hook, this bowed wrist could be the culprit. In practice, place a tee peg into your glove as I’m doing here and then take your normal neutral golf grip. At the top of the backswing, the tee peg highlights how your hands are working. Try to keep a straight left arm and hold your position at the top. If you notice your left wrist is bowed, move your hands into a more neutral position where the tee is pointing over the back of your head.

Alex Elliott bowed left wrist drill with tee peg

(Image credit: Future)

You can video your swing and the tee peg will clearly show how your hands are working at the top. This adjustment might feel quite extreme, and a little unnatural at first, but it will neutralise the angle of your clubface at the top. If you have been hitting a lot of hooks, it should help straighten up your ball flight.

Alex Elliott
Top 50 Coach

Location: Mottram Hall 

Alex spent a great deal of time learning the game from fellow northwest golfer, Andrew Murray, who was a European Tour regular from 1979 to 1995. He spent three years on the European Tour caddying for Andrew’s son, Tom, before taking his PGA qualifications. His passion for the game and personality in front of the camera has helped him to create a thriving social media platform on Instagram and YouTube, where he offers a whole host of tips and advice to help viewers shoot lower scores.

Most significant influences on your teaching:

Mike Bender's book, 'Build The Swing Of A Lifetime', which I read during my PGA qualifications. He uses so many different tools to help students deliver the club better when hitting the golf ball. Andrew Murray, too. He helped form the way I interact with golfers and simplified what can be a complex game for a club golfer.

Advice for practice: 

I like to get students to work in sets of five golf balls – three drills shots to two course shots. The drill shots have no consequence, but with the two course shots, I ask the student to create a green or fairway and go through a full routine.

Greatest success story:

One of my students hadn’t played golf for ten years - he'd lost his love for the game. After watching my online Instagram and YouTube content, he came for several golf lessons and has now joined a local golf club. Knowing I've helped get someone back into golf... you can't beat that.