Anatomy 101 – The Wrists in the Golf Swing

By: Charles W. Boatright

The Proper Golf Swing Sequence

The anatomy of the golfer’s wrist is probably one of the most important areas for golf instructors and golfers to understand and use in the game of golf. Presetting the wrists in the golf swing capitalizes on the body’s natural ability to develop a proper golf swing with power, speed, and control. Ben Hogan specifically mentioned one of the two strongest muscles in the golfer’s wrist, the Thenar and Hypothenar. I refer to as Thenars in my book, The ESPY Golf Swing Coach. These two muscles in the wrists have direct contact with the handle of the club.

Wrists in the Golf Swing

Preset and Sync Figure: The wrists set into the proper preset position and onto the correct swing plane. Eighty (80) percent of the golf swing is completed.

So it would be reasonable to understand the importance of these two muscles in the wrists, beyond just gripping the club. Why not take full advantage of these muscles to provide a turbocharged component in a golfer’s swing? There are several professional golfers who focus on presetting the wrists. Among these are PGA and LPGA professionals such as Ken Duke, Marco Dawson, Angela Stanford, Ben Hogan, and P.J. Boatwright. P.J. Boatwright was a distant cousin of mine, and served as the director of the USGA.

Presetting the wrists and syncing the elbows

Anatomy of the wrist, making the distinction between the wrist and lower forearm.

NOTE: The wrist is not where the golfer would wear either their wristwatch or GPS yardage watch. This is the lower forearm. The wrist are where the pads of the palms are located, the Thenar and Hypothenar. This is a key distinction to make in one’s golf game. Don’t try to use the lower forearms to preset the golf swing. Instead use the wrist.

Golf Swing Mechanics

The three key muscles (Thenar, Supinator and Brachio-Radialis) used to initiate the critical muscle memory and fine-motor skills in golf.

Presetting the Wrists in the Golf Swing

To preset the wrists in the golf swing, it is important to identify how the wrists and lower forearms function together. A doctor who played golf with me and my grandfather Homer E.Q. Boatright did a golf swing analysis on the wrists, forearms, and elbows. His results isolated the importance of the synchronizing the lower forearms and wrists with the elbows in the golf swing. Dr. Choate’s golf swing analysis indicated that there were two key components. One was the proper golf swing sequence, and second was how to preset the wrists and synchronizing the lower forearms with the elbows.

Presetting the wrists in the golf swing for the right-hander is performed with the left Thenar to link the lower forearm, called wristbands with the right elbow, these are the two of the critical muscle memories to develop in the golf swing. Both fine-tune our motor skills we use every day, pronation using the left Thenar muscle synchronizes the Brachio-Radialis (Bray-key-oh-ray-Dee-Al-is) in what I call the (CAM-OVER) maneuver. Supination with the Supinator muscle is what I call the (CAM) maneuver. These three muscles are key in how to swing and set the golf club with confidence and consistency. Please refer to the diagram of the location of the Thenar, Brachio-Radialis, and Supinator muscles.

The Thenar are easy to locate, they are pads at the base of each thumb. The Brachio-Radialis and Supinator are little more inconspicuous. The Brachio-Radialis muscle runs from the nodule at the base of the hand called the Radial Styloid Process to the Humerus bone just above the elbows. The Supinator muscle is probably the most difficult to see, but if you set the other two muscles correctly you can feel tension in this muscle. If you set these key muscles correctly, you just preset and synced your golf swing. This places the wrists, hands, forearms, and elbow in the Preset and Sync Figure above.

Developing the Correct Muscle Memory

The Brachio-Radialis muscle is unique muscle because unlike most muscles, it can move in two directions to set and release the golf club. The Brachio-Radialis muscle can flex or bend the forearm up at the elbow. The Brachio-Radialis is a linkage muscle to help initiate the golfer’s muscle memory. The Brachio-Radialis muscle is significant as noted in Dr. Choate’s analysis, it helps pronate the Thenar muscle and links in with the Supinator muscle. It runs from the humerus bone at the elbow which is key, along the lateral forearm to the nodular just above the thumb, called the Radial Styloid Process. This nodular is also located right above the Thenar in each wristband.

Flexor Capri Ulnaris muscle

Key Muscle in setting up the golf swing.

The Brachio-Radialis muscle is a key muscle in synchronizing and executing my golf swing. The Thenar in the left wrist and Supinator muscles at the right elbow are the key muscles to develop the golfer’s muscle memory. The Thenar muscle CAMS-OVER and Supinator muscle CAMS that develops the golfer’s feel, or muscle memory. I like to feel a little tension in these three muscles being set along with the left Radial Styloid Process, or nodular. I treat the nodular and my right elbow similar to a cam lobe on a camshaft. The sprocket, or gear, at the end of the camshaft in the figure above represents my right elbow. Presetting my left wrist allow my right elbow to sync up with my shoulders. I like to use boxing gloves to help me feel and setup my golf swing during my training sessions.

Golf Swing Technique

How to use the the E-T on the EVERLAST boxing glove wristband to preset the wrists

This is where the golfer needs to switch out the golf glove for a different type of glove, a boxing glove that I mentioned above. The boxing glove wristbands are a great technique for the golfer to properly preset the wrists to synchronize and linkup their golf swing. This allows the golfer to use the elbows and shoulders as sprockets, or gears, for turbocharged power in the takeaway and speed in the downswing.

Changing Gloves to Improve Your Golf Swing

I use the boxing gloves both as a physical fitness workout and mental focus workout. I use a boxing bag workout as part of my home gym workout for a full body workout. I particularly selected the EVERLAST® boxing gloves because of two letters on the wristbands-E and T. The boxing gloves can be positioned as if the gloves are on the handle of the club, as noted in the photograph to the left. The letter (T) is over the left Radial Styloid Process bone, and the letter (E) is over the right Radial Styloid Process bone help preset my golf swing sequence. These two letters allow the golfer to properly set the golf club with two simple maneuvers, by pronating (with the left Thenar to CAM-OVER) and supinating (with the right Supinator to CAM).

When the golfer is looking down at their wrists in the lock position during their practice swing indicated below, the golfer wants to visualize their wrists and hands in following position:

Charlie Rymer, That wrist thing!

The wrists placed into the Lock Position. This is what Charlie Rymer referred to as “That wrist thing” that David Duval performed.

 

I refer to these maneuvers in by Book, The ESPY Golf Swing Coach, as CAM and CAM-OVER elements that complete 80 percent of the golf swing. This allows me to place the handle of the golf swing onto the proper swing plane. These maneuvers and the boxing gloves are discussed in detail in Section 1.13 of my book. Knowing what part of the wristband on each forearm to use a critical piece of the golf swing puzzle.

The best decision a golfer can make is to switch out the golf glove and bag for a different type of glove and bag during their training sessions to improve their health and golf game. The boxing gloves are the single best training aid a golfer can use to develop the muscle memory and motor skills in his/her golf game.

The ESPY Golf Swing Book

Please select to purchase your copy of The ESPY Golf Swing Book

 

 

My book can also be purchased at Edwin Watts Golf Store in Jackson, Mississippi. Phone No. 601-956-8784
820 East County Line Road, Ridgeland, MS 39157

 

Please include an exercise routine in your weekly schedule.

 

Also, learning The ESPY Golf Swing Coach process is an excellent way to develop Rhythm without experiencing the Blues: