March 5 2013
Michael Thompson showed how a cupped left wrist can help from tight lies. (Ehrmann/Getty Images)
By Travis Fulton, Director of Instruction, PGA TOUR Academy
On a tough Sunday afternoon at The Honda Classic, Michael Thompson used his stellar short game to win his first PGA TOUR event. Thompson is starting to make a name for himself as someone who knows how to play the most difficult courses.
To have a great short game, you must be able to manage those tight lies around the greens. One of the things that worked to Thompson’s advantage on those tight Bermuda lies this week is that he naturally cups his left wrist at address.
With a slightly cupped left wrist, the clubshaft has minimal forward lean, which promotes some bounce on the clubhead and moves the swings low point closer to the ball, allowing for a shallower divot.
One of the most common errors with greenside shots from the fairway is the leading edge gets stuck in the ground. At the TOUR Academies, so many times we see the club shaft excessively forward with the ball too far back in the stance when faced with these same tight scary lies.
This setup will flatten or slightly bow the lead wrist, which exposes the leading edge and moves the swing's low point more past the ball. This combination at slower speeds inevitably leads to some sticky impact positions. Furthermore, this dynamic will often result in the ball coming off very hot, leading to eventual deceleration with the body.
With Thompson’s setup the clubface has more loft and bounce in play. This setup leads to a much shallower divot, promoting a more favorable launch angle and acceleration through the ball.
Travis Fulton is the Director of Instruction at the TOUR Academies at TPC Sawgrass and the World Golf Village. For more information on the TOUR Academy, click here.