Golf Instruction: Drills to Stop Casting

by Mike Southern

    Casting, or straightening the wrists at the top of your golf swing, is a bad habit many golfers struggle with, causing them to mis-hit shots and lose power. They want to stop but do not even understand the movements that cause them to cast. If you are one of them, there are several drills that can teach you what a “cast” feels like, as well as how to stop it.

    The Basic Cast

    Grip your club in one hand, preferably your right hand if you are right-handed. Bend your elbow so your hand is at shoulder height, then cock your wrist so the club points over your shoulder and parallel to the ground. Now, without moving your arm, uncock your wrist so the club points straight up in the air. This is the most basic casting motion. Notice that your wrist does all the work.

    The Complete Cast

    In his book “Understanding the Golf Swing,” teacher Manuel de la Torre says "Casting is the use of one hand against the other. The right hand is the one that originates this type of problem in a right-handed player ..." To see how it happens with both hands, use your club and take your normal position at the top of your backswing. If you straighten your right wrist now, your left hand will act as a pivot and your right elbow will straighten out as well. This is the classic casting move--the club now points straight out, almost parallel to the ground, before it has barely started down.

    Tee Drill

    Some teachers have students stick a tee in the end of the club's grip to help stop casting. Hold the club parallel to the ground so the tee points to the target. Then make short swings, trying to duplicate this position before you hit the ball. Learning to swing the club this way delays how soon the wrists straighten and helps stop you from casting.

    Punch Drill

    Teacher Rick Smith likes to teach a similar drill, but he does not use a tee. Instead, he likes to have students hit short punch shots but not uncock their wrists completely until after the ball is gone. As with the tee drill, the idea is to stop consciously straightening the wrists and casting the club.

    The Noodle Drill

    Most teachers recommend you hold the club as lightly as possible. With the noodle drill, you carry this thought to an extreme--keep your wrists so loose that they can only cock in response to swinging the club, not consciously cock or uncock. Swing the club back to waist height, with enough speed to cock your wrists--but don’t tighten them. Instead, leave them as loose as you can; swing your arms back down and let the momentum of the swing uncock your wrists and recock them when you finish at waist height. This drill will teach you to use your arms and body to swing the club, not your wrists.

    About the Author

    North Carolina native Mike Southern has been writing since 1979. He is the author of the instructional golf book "Ruthless Putting" and edited a collection of swashbuckling novels. Southern was trained in electronics at Forsyth Technical Community College and is also an occasional woodworker.

    Photo Credits

    • fly fishing image by John Sfondilias from Fotolia.com