Top of the Backswing Cupped or Flat?

By | on January 24, 2014 | 26 Comments | Array


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Paul Wilson is the creator of Swing Machine Golf and founder of Ignition Golf. Paul's golf swing technique is based on the Iron Byron swing machine. YouTube Channels: Paul Wilson Golf and Ignition Golf Tips. Please Join me on Google+

26 Responses to “Top of the Backswing Cupped or Flat?”

  1. January 25, 2014


    Paul, although not related to your tip, during the slow motion portions of your tip I put a pen at the the top center of your head to watch its movement. Interestingly on the downswing your head drops several inches. I have always tried to hold my head steady on the downswing (although I know it moves some) without a similar movement. Is that slight dropping something one should strive for, and, if so, it could serve as a possible tip. It does not appear you intentionally make that move, it just seems to happen.

    I look forward each day to your tips. Best regards and perhaps I can make it to Vegas this year for some more of your excellent one on one training.


    • January 25, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      Glad you like the tips. I appreciate the feedback.

      A lot of this head dropping is due to my body angling more behind the ball in the downswing. I am also staying focused on where they ball is which is tucking my chin. I have never worked or even thought of this. I comes with working on the proper lower body action in your downswing and obviously not coming out of it when you contact the ball.

      So make sure you are following my downswing and uncoiling tips while turning your arms off. Never try to keep your head still. The head moves back going back it may move a little forward in the downswing then it moves back again and the club approaches impact. It stays there until the lead is arm is a 3/4 through then it moves forward so you can get to the balanced position over the forward leg into the follow through.

      Here you go:

      Move Head:

      Impact Head Behind Ball:

      Stop Fat Shots When Working On Moving Your Head:

      Uncoil 1:

      Uncoil 2:

  2. Avatar photo

    January 25, 2014


    Do pros use these different positions to shape shots?

  3. January 25, 2014


    I wouldnt Like to intrude on THE response Paul Will undoubtly give to Mr David Jones ,but this drop at THE beginning OF THE downswing is to be seen in all THE swings OF THE Great Champions .
    Jim Mc LEAN in his book THE COMPLETE HOGAN shows this move in Great d

  4. January 25, 2014


    Sorry,I mistakenly said THE backswing ,THE drop occurs at THE start OF THE throughswing ,OF course !

  5. January 25, 2014


    I’ll be darned if i can see differences in your wrist positions BUT what I do see is differences in the club shaft and face from the correct shots to the incorrect ones

    • January 25, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      The bones in my wrist stop it from overcupping at the top. This is a good thing but many years ago I fought a bowed wrist ala Tom Lehman at the top. Just follow the tip and work on the right grip and a slight cupping at the top.

  6. January 25, 2014


    Paul ,This is THE very best d

    • January 25, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      Glad you liked it. There is a reason you should be doing everything in the swing. Just takes some understanding and figuring out. Using the Iron Byron allows me to do his for most things. This one is just logic.

  7. January 25, 2014


    Great instructional video on a problem I may have and need to work on. In the past I have been told that my lead wrist should be slightly bowed, but when trying to do that is is very awkward and I always feel like I am slightly cupped. I can’t wait to get in front of a mirror and maybe I don’t have the cupping problem and only have what you call a slightly cupped position. I will continue to make sure I have a two knuckle grip and continue to follow your sage guidance and advice. Thank you.

    • January 25, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      You should never be purposely trying to bow this wrist. As I explained the wrist should be cupped anyway. This is relative to your grip and if you are manipulating the club as you go back. Glad you are going to work on it. Now, you should eliminate this uncomfortable feeling at the top.

  8. January 25, 2014


    Paul just wanted to say thank you! Powerless arms is finally paying off. I have dropped 10 strokes in the last 2 weeks. I have got my swing to where I don’t think about my arms at all. From the time I set up I am only thinking about touching the legs and my shots almost feel effortless win tremendous results! When I finished my round yesterday. I wanted to play again!

    • January 25, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      That’s great news. It is different. In fact, it is the opposite to what people want to do so until they get used to it they will go right back to a swing that does not work. Now that you have felt the difference stay focused on it. So days will be better than others while you are developing a great swing but as you see the feeling of powerless arms gives you so much more power with little effort.

      Don’t fall into this trap:

      Lose Your Swing:

      You Will Top It:

  9. January 26, 2014


    Thx for everything Paul
    In my mirror looking to my right I notice my hands are barely shoulder height at the top. Barely above my shoulder. I’d like to get them closer to my R ear. Any thoughts? Thx.

  10. As TimAdams stated in his reply, I also don’t see a difference in your wrist position. What I have a problem with is my hands not turning over at or slightly before impact. To me, THAT feels like I’m manipulating the club. At the top of my backswing when I check my position, my wrist is definitely cupped, but doesn’t appear to be over-cupped, but the clubface is definitely a bit open. I always use a 2 knuckle grip. If my wrist is flat, I always hit the ball straight with no movement either way. If it’s cupped, I’ll hit the ball a little left of my target. Not far left, but certainly left. I also always have a 1 piece takeaway. Lefty golfer by the way. The feeling I need to have is my thumb being directly under the shaft at the top which gives me a flat wrist. I guess this is a by-product of my wrists not rolling over before impact which I know is what you rightly promote. If my hands rolled over, I’d definitely have hook spin. I’m not saying my wrist should be flat but it’s what works for me. Either way, thanks for another great video. I wish other instructors could make their explanations as easy as yours.

    • Tim,

      I just watched the first bit of the video. When I say is it cupped or flat you can clearly see the face square then close when I show it flat. All it take is a few degrees at impact to severely effect the ball. Moving it the amount I did would have the ball going off the planet left if it was that closed.

      Your club should be squaring because your arms and wrists are loose and you allow then to full extend at the release point:

      How to Release the Golf Club:

      To get this you need to manually roll it in you have trained it to roll. At this point you do nothing and turn them back off. Watch:

      Manually Square the Clubface:

      Manually Square the Clubface (Follow Up):

      Although this may work for you if you are not a mid to low handicapper I would be working on the correct position. Up to you though. Might be tough if we cannot see it. I think we may be doing Skype Lessons shortly so we may be able to help you out.

  11. Hi Paul ….. Re cupped vs flat wrist at top of B/S: Michael Breed (Golf Channel, “Golf Fix”) advocates a wrist position that is neither flat nor cupped. It is the opposite of cupped .. he inserts a credit card in his golf glove velcro fastener to alert him when he cups his wrist. He seems to be recommending a flat or the-opposite-of-a-cupped wrist.
    For those of us who fight a slice this seems to be intuitively correct. What am I missing?
    Thanks, tom

  12. Thanks for your patient explanation. The reason i asked is that (despite trying to follow your precepts such as the roll over drill and correct grip) I still fight a slice with my driver. Once in a great while, I will get a nice controlled right-to-left baby draw, but it happens so infrequently that I assume it is an accident. I would love to have a hook, so I can do what you suggest, i.e. add body rotation to straighten it out.

    Like many of us, i would like to think that there is one nugget I can use to draw or at least straighten out my drives. I seldom “push” my drives to the right, so I have concluded that my fault is the club face, not the path. (Does that make sense?)

    Can you think of anything else that I can try? Please……….. I promise to stop watching the TV golf shows..

    • Thomas,

      The problem is you are trying to do it at top speed and you are only doing it when you go to the range. Why not do it nightly in practice swings. If so, there’s not ball so you can train yourself to do it.

      Next, slow down when you do it. When people do this at top speed they are trying to hit great shots. This is a drill. All I need you to do is get it hooking. If you can only do that at 1mph then do it at 1mph. Get used to it then go a littler faster and so on. Also, if you cannot do it with driver switch to 7 iron. Keep in mind this is a drill. It is not reality. You are hooking for hooks. Once you get it hooking you switch the though to body rotation. If you switch to body rotation and you immedately slice it, you have not hooked enough shots. So go back to hooking.

  13. Paul

    Thanks again. I will try what you suggested, starting SLOWLY tonight at home using a mirror.

    You may have hit on my problem, ie, swinging for the fences. Hopefully I can report back on my success!

    • Thomas,

      You even do it with no club while watching TV. Just make a fist and stick out your left thumb. Go back then by the time you get back to where you started your thumb should be pointing at the target. So you are rolling your lead wrist and getting used to this feeling. I would be doing it with a club too around the house.

  14. September 10, 2020


    I have discovered on my own that what works best for me is a cupped left wrist, partly due to the fact that I have arthritis in my wrist and this is the best way for me to get some wrist break on the backswing. Even if I use a one knuckle grip, I still need the cupped wrist. I felt like I was leaving the club face open, but since it worked, and I really don’t have to make any compensation in the swing (I have always been a drawer of the ball). But I am pleased to hear you say that it is “OK”! The other thing I have learned is that I need to use a long left thumb, although I suspect you would not recommend that. Again it is due to arthritis in the thumb. I have observed that many instructors say to use a flat left wrist, so kudos to you for recognizing that this is not the only way.

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