Role of right arm in golf swing

Found this great article on keeping the right am straight for as long as possible in the backswing. Of the many benefits of this feeling, I think it will help me achieve two of the things I have been working on recently (1) staying connected and (2) shortening my swing.

Other good articles relating to right arm in backswing:

Make a Better Golf Backswing by using the Right Arm Correctly

Right Arm Width: The Anti-Collapse

By Dan Carraher (iteachgolf), GolfWRX Featured Writer

One of the largest problems most golfers face is the hands and arms not moving in sync with their pivots. This causes all kinds of issues with both how they will pivot and the ball flight that will result.

I see far more golfers whose arms move too slow than too fast. When this happens, multiple issues arise. I will discuss these first, and then will discuss a drill and some ideas designed to address these issues.

When the arms swing too slowly, two general things will happen: The arms will end up too far behind the pivot (common with better players) or the arms won’t work down or forward fast enough and will be carried too far out by the pivot. These moves create two different results, but the root cause is the same. As a compensation, many golfers will either pull their arms across their bodies in an effort to get their arms back in front (the case of arms being too far behind the pivot), wiping across the ball and steepening the angle of attack. The other common compensation when the arms don’t work down and forward soon enough is to dump all their leverage in an attempt to reach the ball and get their path more in-to-out. If this sounds like you, I have something I want you to try.

This is a drill to train you to keep your arms more in sync with your pivot and working faster, which has the other benefit of helping you hit the ball farther. I want you to make some swings with both arms straight from side-to-side about hip-high to hip-high. The key part of this is I want you to set/c0ck the club fully, but do it without bending your arms. The majority of golfers over-bend their trailing arm in the backswing and the leading arm in the follow-through. This drill will force the club to stay in front of you and teach you to separate cocking the lead wrist and folding the arms. The sensation while doing the drill will be that it is very army, but if both arms stay straight while doing it, the club will stay in front of you and you will pivot back and through.

You can’t swing the club with your arms straight without turning — it’s not possible. The turn will happen subconsciously. The goal here is to swing the arms while keeping them straight and set the club from hip-high to hip-high as fast as possible. This drill is done without a ball, and meant to be done with speed once you feel comfortable with the motion.

Once you feel comfortable doing it without a ball, I want you to go hit balls while maintaining the same feel while keeping your arms below chest-high. If you were to film these swings, I expect the trailing arm to fold slightly in the backswing and the lead arm to fold slightly on the through swing.

The wrists will c0ck the club slower and later than it feels (it will be very gradual). I also expect the swing to be longer than you feel like it is and the ball will go farther than you expect it. The body will pivot back and through, but it will be doing so as a reaction to the arms swinging while extended. The faster the arms swing, the faster you will/can pivot and the farther the ball will go.

This will create a shorter, more efficient and more in-sync swing allowing for consistency and hopefully lower scores.

Left arm connection critical for golf swing

You must keep your arms and body connected so they move in a synchronised unit.

If your arms separate from the body, you are totally dependent and hand/eye co-ordination and timing and that is inconsistent from one day to the next.

If you keep your arms and body connected, there are less moving parts so your swing becomes more repeatable. Your also using the bigger muscles in your body so you get more power with less effort.

‘Maintaining this connection, almost magically, synchs up your body turn with your arm swing while keeping you on-plane with your clubface square during your backswing. Maintaining this connection on the way down keeps you on-plane with the clubface square and lets you synch up your body turn with your arm swing to help you produce your maximum power through impact.’

Golf Tips: Stay Connected

The best swing thought is that your left arm is ‘glued’ to your chest in the left arm pit area. A well known training drill is to put a glove, tee or towel in your left armpit to practice it. You’ll see some pros putting it in the right armpit too, and some even do drills with a towel in each arm pit. Personally, I find that if I focus on connection in both armpits it makes me too rigid and doesn’t work.

I’ve found that focusing on my left side to stop my right side dominating the swing has been a good strategy for me and this left armpit approach obviously achieves that whilst at the same time tightening up my swing. Played 10 holes today and my iron play was much better.

‘Left side connection was invented by Sam Byrd and later popularized by Jimmy Ballard. Byrd was a sensational golfer (25 tour wins) who also played pro baseball at one time. He was known as ‘Babe Ruth’s legs’ as he often would serve as a pinch runner for Ruth. during his time spent with Ruth, he began to learn Ruth’s trick for hitting the ball with power by putting a handkerchief under his lead arm.’

3Jack Golf Blog – Left Side Connection

The Key Move – Mindful Golfer

Jimmy Ballard even use to talk about a ‘shorter left arm’ or ‘half a left arm’ meaning that the upper part of the left arm was attached to the body. I now realise that most of my swing problems have been attributable to the fact that I was getting far too armsy and disconnected, getting out of sync and hitting fat/ thin shots etc.

The annoying thing is I’ve been aware of this before but like most swing fixes I didn’t stick with it long enough to really see the benefits. I’m definitely not going to forget about it’s importance again.


Random things that seem to be working…a bit.

Lots of experimentation and tweaking at the range and on the course.

A few ideas…

  • Setting up with the club-head a couple of inches behind the ball at address. Stumbled on it by accident and weirdly it really seemed to improve my ball striking. No other thoughts, just set up and go. This is quite a popular method for driver (not irons), I think it works because it stops your shoulders from opening up (and making you go OTT) and keeps your centre of gravity in the right place. I’m going to keep working at it because early indications are it works and it’s very easy to do.
  • Focusing on earlier wrist hinge – wrist hinge (right wrist bending back) , not set (up). Makes my swing very compact and keeps club on plane. One of those moves that worked really well at the range but very inconsistent on the course. I’ll keep it in the locker but more interested in the one above for the time being.
  • Narrow stance – covered in another post but can be a quick fix mid-round if you are hitting a lot of fat shots.
  • Shortening the swing – as above, just helps tighten the swing up if you are getting long and sloppy. Think about swinging the left arm to a clock face position e.g. 10pm for a full swing.

9 holes today in reasonable condition, just a practice round. Driving was a bit wayward, irons better but still too inconsistent, short game was major highlight and putting pretty good considering I never practice it too.

My 25/30 yard and 50 yard wedge play was good. I got creative around the green with a PW and 8 iron and hit some lovely shots and I can pop a high soft one up with my 60 degree wedge too but it is harder.

Need to get a proper round under my belt soon to see if my scores are improving.


Shortening your golf swing

I was focusing mainly on my wedges today at the range, dialling in my distance control using an imaginary clock-face as my reference. It was going well, and got me thinking that I should be doing the same thing with my full swing, as I’m sure I have a tendency to get very long and sloppy resulting in poor shots.

So I tried it with a few irons (5, 6, 7) and the results were promising – certainly no loss of distance and it felt a lot more controlled and compact with a better transition. Need to practice it more but focusing on the left arm going no further back than 9pm (parallel) seems to help (it probably goes a bit further in reality, 10 or 10.30pm, with momentum in a full swing but still prevents overswing and gets everything starting back down at the same time.

Shorter backswing works!

Almost every golfer has a backswing that is too long…

Shortened backswing




Dialling in wedge distances

This is what I am really going to work on this winter – dialling in my wedge distances, no more trying to guess or using ‘feel’ on the course.

I am using the clock-face approach; imagine I am swinging on a clock-face and my left arm is the hour hand. 9pm would equate to my left arm being parallel in my backswing. As I rarely go past left arm parallel even on a full swing, I am only going to work on three positions; 7pm, 8pm and 9pm.

A wedge swing should be symmetrical too, as in if I go to 9pm back, I will go to 3pm on the through-swing.

I will re-visit this page regularly to update my distances in the table below:

Club 7pm  8pm  9pm
LW  20 yards 50 yards  65 yards
SW 30 yards 50 yards 75 yards
PW 50 yards