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Golf Equipment Buyer's Guide  
Harvey Penick tips: The Wrist Cock
 

Harvey's Quick Tip: When you swing back to waist-high – the shaft parallel to the ground – the toe of the club must be pointed straight to the sky.

 
With a good grip and tension-free arms, the wrists will naturally cock as the arms continue to swing to the top of the backswing.
With a good grip and tension-free arms, the wrists will naturally cock as the arms continue to swing to the top of the backswing.

One common problem and misconception about the backswing is the wrist cock. Many golfers consciously try to cock their wrists, but this can actually lead to a number of problems, most resulting in weak, off-line shots. This is especially true for seniors and women who attempt to cock their wrists at the top of their backswing in an effort to get more distance. The result is that they overswing and lose all of the snap in their swing.

Harvey did not like the term “wrist cock” because he said that many students become so entranced with getting their wrist cocked that they forget the rest of the swing. “When you swing back to waist high — the shaft parallel to the ground — the toe of the club must be pointed straight up to the sky,” he wrote in the Little Red Book. “If it is, your wrist will be cocked and you don't need to think about it. Go ahead and make your turn.”

When you swing back to waist height, the shaft should be parallel to the ground with the toe of the clubhead pointing straight to the sky. If it is, your wrist will be cocked. Note that the wrists are not cocked at this point in the swing.
When you swing back to waist height, the shaft should be parallel to the ground with the toe of the clubhead pointing straight to the sky. If it is, your wrist will be cocked. Note that the wrists are not cocked at this point in the swing.

And, of course, Harvey was right. With a good grip and tension-free arms, the wrists will naturally cock as the arms continue to swing to the top of the backswing. That really is all there is to it.

The wrists are merely a hinge and, when left alone, will do their job without your help. Instead, players should spend their time working on their setup and making sure the clubhead is in the toe-up position when the shaft is parallel to the ground in their backswing. Do this, and you'll never worry about the wrist cock again.

A drill commonly used in the Harvey Penick Golf Academy is called toe-up to toe-up. It allows players to use a 7-iron, 8-iron, 9-iron or any wedge to develop a square blade at the moment of impact.

This drill aids golfers in developing the correct blend of arm swing and weight shift needed to make solid contact with the ball. Moreover, it helps golfers of all levels improve their hand-eye coordination.

This tip can be found on Page 65 of Harvey Penick's Little Red Book.

The Swing

The wrists are merely a hinge and, when left alone, will do their job without your help. Instead, players should spend their time working on their setup and making sure the clubhead is in the toe-up position when the shaft is parallel to the ground in their backswing. Do this, and you'll never worry about the wrist cock again.