We often see trends in golf, and one of those trends has been for people to try and get their clubface into a shut position at the top of their swing (See DJ above right). However, if you look at Bryson DeChambeau on the left you will notice a stark contrast in the position of the clubface, yet he is having tremendous results right now. So why are so many trying to emulate a postion closer to DJ?
To be clear a shut clubface is one in which the clubface is facing the sky or close to it at the top of the backswing. Depending on the grip, this will require a certain amount of lead wrist flexion as the player hinges the club into the top of the backswing. In simple terms, the top hand has to be bowed or bent palm towards the inside if the forearm to get the clubface shut, less so if the player has a strong grip. It seems that many players believe there will be less clubface rotation required through the hitting zone if the clubface is shut at the top thus achieving what is now referred to as a low closure rate of the clubface. However, this does not necessarily mean higher levels of speed and ball control. It is much like the perception that a putting stroke that does not arc as much must make it easier to roll the ball on line but years of research does not support that perception.
The pictures above show two players in very different positions at the top of their backswing who have had tremendous ball striking success so what really determines success in golf? Perhaps as Bryson said on cameron McCormack’s podcast – “if you have good information and a good work ethic you can continue to improve.” So spend more time understanding what works for you rather than emulating certain variables in other players’ swings.