What Is A Bowed Left Wrist In Golf?

Top 50 Coach, Alex Elliott, answers the question, what is a bowed left wrist in golf and offers a simple drill to fix the problem

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

It is something coaches will often say to players but what does it mean to have a bowed left wrist in golf? In this video and article, I’ll explain exactly what to look out for and, if it is the cause of your most destructive shot, I’ll offer a great drill to fix it.

A bowed left wrist in golf refers to how your hands are working during the swing, particularly at the top of the backswing. Using the logo on your glove as a guide, in the ideal position it would be pointing over the back of your head at the top. Those golfers who have a bowed left wrist will have their logo pointing straight up at the sky. This closes the clubface and can be the reason why some players struggle with hooking the ball.

It is important to say here that a bowed left wrist isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Two of the game’s best players have a bowed left wrist at the top of the backswing - Jon Rahm and Dustin Johnson. Both men are able to rotate their bodies through the downswing in such an athletic way that they deliver the club square to the target through impact. In fact, both Rahm and Johnson tend to favour hitting a fade and they are very consistent with it too!

Johnson bowed left wrist

(Image credit: Getty Images)

What’s more, 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 improve your ball flight and give you a helpful sense for how to control the clubface. This is worth a try if you're looking to fix your slice.

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 your wrists are bowed, move your hands into a more neutral position - where the tee is pointing over the back of your head instead of straight up at the sky.

Bowed left wrist tee peg drill

(Image credit: Future)

You can video your swing and the tee peg will show clearly how your hands are working at the top. This adjustment might feel quite extreme 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.

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.