This is the 3rd part in the golf wrist action discussion. Here is a question for you: when do the wrists break, when should they break?
This is an important point, and I did not make up my mind about it until I had made a close study of it in the swings of Lady Amory (Miss Wethered), Harry Vardon, Bobby Jones, and Henry Cotton. My conclusion is that the wrists should break as late as possible.
To break the wrists as late as possible on the back swing, we must carry our hands back quite a long way - indeed as far as 'possible, before we break. "It feels like an eternity!" a student once remarked to me. Well it does if you have always done the opposite: that is broken your wrists as the initial movement of the carry back.
Now you feel your wrists will never break as you go up - and as a matter of fact that is a true feeling, because they actually only break when you are beginning to feel you are on the way down.
Now let me describe an important little local movement hidden in this part of the swing-the reverse. The reverse is the part of the swing in which the club head is thrown over and pulled down.
It requires a special name because it has a special feel, a feel curiously detached from that of the rest of the swing.
We have our main feel of control and power down in our nether regions, but at the moment of reverse we are conscious of something happening up above, which is not in accordance with what we are doing down below.
What happens at the reverse is that the club head-having so far to go-takes longer to get to the end of its journey back than does the body, the turn of which is soon exhausted. So before the club head has arrived, the body has begun to come back.
As to check the return body movement, or to check the completion of the club head's travel, would create an undesirable pause in the flow, we let them go on, and the club finds itself behind the body movement both in time and in position. This is as it should be.
When we are told to allow our wrists free play at the summit of the swing, it is so that we shall not break up-by introducing muscular hand force - the flow of movement which we have intentionally set up in the reverse region.
The feel in this region is that the club head is still going back when our force center begins to pull forward.
The wrists do not break at a given point; their break is a retarded action set up to delay the club head and yet to keep the movement smooth.
The swing is a continuous flow of movement, and we destroy its continuous character if we divide it arbitrarily into two parts -"up swing" and "down swing."
There is no up swing and no down swing; there is the swing complete.
For the first three feet back from the ball we are "all together," but after that the club head - owing to the longer path it must take-loses ground, which it only catches up at the moment of impact with the ball. It will catch up then, even if you try to prevent it, and the further it has lagged behind, the faster it must travel to catch up.
So far in this chapter we have been concerned in analyzing the local feels which occur in the course of the swing, but this is only because, like the musician, the golfer has to de-compose a piece before he can play it.
But the feel at golf is a transitory one, and soon these transitory local feels blend into the feel of the swing as a whole.
The fluency of the swing becomes greater as the swing gathers speed, and when the ball is swept from the tee, the flick of the wrists (hateful expression) has become a violent sweep-violent because of it's force, a sweep because of its fluency.
We are told and have evidence in the "flickers" that the wrists open as we come into contact with the ball, but this opening is not something that the wrists do, but something which they cannot help happening. And the art lies not in making the wrists open but in postponing their opening as late as possible.
As the club head arrives in the region of the ball, our body (because of its comparatively short degree of action) has already got back into its "opposing" position, with left heel back on the turf, left side straight and firm, and right hip twisted into the left one-the whole giving a sense of secure brace to the whole body.
By this time the arms are already half-way down, but the wrists are still pulled back. But now owing to the forward pull of the hips and the gathering momentum of the club head, something must happen-and what happens is that we can no longer keep the club head from flying past the ball.
We have done everything possible to delay the club head and to inhibit wrist movement, but finally the club head gets out of control (this is literally true) and flashes through the ball as if mad with rage!
Now this is as it should be. We purposely set up a state that would leave the club head free and unchecked in this region of the swing, and we must see to it that we do not interfere in any way with its ferocious passage through the ball.
There will almost inevitably be some tendency to rigidity due to local necessities in this region (as in the initial take-up), but we must not feel the slightest check or guide attempting to control the club head. Let its furious assault die away into a perfect follow through.
Do not hold or check or guide the club head but keep the left side firm and rigid and play on around it. That is the only way of keeping the fury of the club head on the right path.
You have unleashed a storm, and all you can do is to control the center from which came its force and from which it will die away. Feel centered and balanced.