What the World Match Play Final Showed Us

There is something in the swings of PGA tour players that is slowly starting to trend in a very obvious way. It has also started to gain a lot of attention in teaching circles all over the world. And now, after seeing Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm playing the world match play final, and be arguably the two hottest players in the world right now, I thought I would weigh in on my thoughts about it. And most importantly how it works and how it may help the average golfer.

What I am talking about is the very obvious wrist position that both Dustin and Rahm share, what is commonly known as a bowed left or lead wrist.

I see this position becoming more and more popular with young players, as what I see as a result of professional golfers becoming greater athletes. And also, as a result of the speed they are playing with, that it has become a requirement almost out of instinct, to control such speed.

I could name a lot of other players who use the wrist angles I’m talking about, but instead I’ll get right to it. What players like Dustin and Rahm are doing, is setting the club face and wrists up in a position that very closely reflects the impact position they want. As we all know, impact is very different to the set up, especially when you add a lot of club head speed.

And so, a lot of the ideas almost golfers have about the backswing and what is technically ‘square’ are usually based off where the player was at set up, so not as useful as we first thought.

The clubface in Dustin’s and Rahm’s backswings has become square to the path they hope to create.

We have typically seen great players make great transitions to flatten out that lead wrist and apply force with their trailing hand, supporting this with body rotation. But now, we are seeing players set their backswing up so as there is almost no other option but to create a great impact. By this I mean, a very open and lower body driven position that sees the club face stay a lot more stable through the impact area.

Now before you go running off and flattening your left or lead wrist there are a few things to remember.

Firstly, you are taking on some added responsibility to make a great transition, if you choose to set you backswing up like Dustin or Rahm. As there is no free ride to great ball striking here, but the possibilities could really surprise you.

And in knowing that, you must make sure you make a very nice and deep turn going back. As you cannot unwind what you do not first wind up, and we are talking about opening up through impact, so the deep turn is a must. Both Dustin and Rahm do it.

Next, you must remember to turn or swing the club back into this position we are talking about. As it is very important to turn the club back and around your body, so as when we unwind the club strikes the ball from an inside path. You’ll see both Dustin and Rahm have the club on or just outside their hands in their backswing when it reaches almost halfway back, allowing for a shallow inside strike in transition. Careful not to just start lifting your wrists up, I’ve seen it happen.

And finally, (in right handed terms) we apply force with our right hand and our left is a guide. So we are looking to take the wrist angle out of the left and into the right. Focusing on only bowing the left can lead to a shallow shaft in the takeaway and also see the right arm get behind the body to soon. Its all about the trailing wrist.

A good wrist set in the right hand very much helps with width, that will keep the length of your backswing within your own personal physical realms (like Jon Rahm) and that will aid your turn and help to create the response in to impact you’re looking for.

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