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Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Look at Charl's Hands

While Charles Howell III missed the cut at the Northern Trust Open, my other pick -- Charl Schwartzel -- isn't letting me down. He's only 3 strokes off the lead after 2 rounds.

I've looked at Charl's swing in detail before, but I thought I'd point out a little something that some of you may never have considered. This video is a Nike Golf video with Charl's own commentary.

If you look at the video around the :48 second mark, you'll see Charl's hands at the top of his backswing. That's our focus in this post.

Charl cups his wrists at the top. He says he really believes in this position, although many players do the opposite. (I assume he's referring to the cupped wrist position used by players like Dustin Johnson, and not the flat position recommended by many instructors.)

While I really like Charl's swing, most of you probably shouldn't be using this cupped position. Why? Because Charl says it helps eliminate the left side of the fairway.

In other words, it prevents him from hooking the ball.

If you struggle to hit a draw, this wrist position is going to make it much more difficult for you. I'm pointing this out because most weekend players, if they aren't using the flat wrist position, naturally tend to cup their wrists... and naturally hit a slice.

The flat wrist position -- that is, at the top of the swing you could hold a ruler against the back of your lead forearm and it would also lay against the back of your lead hand -- is a neutral position that makes it easier to hit the ball straight. The cupped wrist position a la DJ -- that is, the back of your hand would bend away from the ruler -- encourages a hook, especially if you have a tendency to stop moving your lower body before you finish your followthrough.

So if you're struggling with a slice, you might want to check for cupped wrists at the top of your backswing. It works for Charl Schwartzel, but it might not be the best choice for you.

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