Is a golfer’s pressure shift the product of their technique or is their technique the product of their pressure shift? It’s a common chicken vs egg question in golf instruction as it relates to force and pressure.  The reality is that either can be true. Addressing how a golfer interacts with the ground can create a more favorable environment to deliver the club or technical changes can affect how a golfer pushes against the ground.  Here’s an example of the latter.

Ben Mason posted a tweet earlier this month about how he was able to influence a golfer’s pressure shift by adjusting wrist flexion.  We asked him to elaborate on what he saw in the data and how it produced a change in his pressure so he fired up his V1 and put this together for us.

As Ben points out in the video, his client had 60° of extension (cupping) in his lead wrist at the top of the backswing.  Reducing the amount of extension to ~30° caused him to transfer more pressure to his lead heel at impact…but why?

For insight into this, it might be helpful to consider two golfers who are in the opposite position of Ben’s client at the top of the backswing.  The most prominent examples of wrist flexion in golf probably belongs to Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm.  Look at how bowed (flexed) their lead wrists are at the top of the backswing. 

By bowing their lead wrist, DJ and Rahm are relying on their body – not their wrists – to square the clubface at impact.  If you listen to either discuss their swing, a swing thought for both is simply turning their body aggressively and aiming left.  

What does this have to do with pressure?  Glad you asked. 

Look at Rahm and DJ just after impact.  What do you notice about their lead foot?  Notice how the toes are coming off the ground?  They have pushed aggressively through their lead forefoot and posted into their lead heel.  If they were standing on BodiTrak, there would be no pressure in the toe.

Now back to Ben’s client.  Reducing the extension of the lead wrist at the top of the backswing by 30° caused him to move pressure from his toe to his heel at impact (from 0% heel pressure in the before swing to 37% heel pressure in the after swing).  The pressure from lead toe to lead heel on the downswing is a move that is consistent with some of the most effective ball-strikers in golf. So how can this be influenced by wrist angles?

There are a number of factors that can cause this, but perhaps reducing the rate of wrist flexion by 50% caused the golfer to subconsciously rely on his body to square the club.  

As Ben Mason says, the body often reacts to the club face.

“A golfers body movement will generally react to the club face orientation in the early downswing in a bid to get the club face to point at their intended target at impact and start the ball on their intended line.” – Ben Mason

This is another example of why we like to say that “every move a golfer makes is reflected in how they interact with the ground.”