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.


A feeling of being trapped, nowhere to go


And this is what I mean when I refer to the fault of getting ‘ahead of the ball’ ( left). The tendency to activate the upper body too early in the downswing (to lurch forward with the right shoulder) creates the situation where the arms become trapped, the downswing is too narrow and the club-head actually slows down at precisely the time it should be accelerating towards impact. The problem here is that the swing has become congested, which makes it virtually impossible to extend the arms and enjoy any sensation of speed through impact – hence the bent left arm you see in the through-swing, known as the chicken-wing’, which typifies this cramped and powerless type of action.

A good impact position is clearly the result of a series of related good moves that precede it. Having established a good set-up position, with the ball opposite the inside of the left heel, weight 60:40 in favour of the right side, and the upper spine angled gently away from the target, I have been able to get fully behind the ball in the backswing – loaded up and coiled with power. The secret to then delivering that power effectively lies in the sequence from the top, the lower body supporting the change in momentum as I reverse the gears and begin to unwind from the ground up – but without driving excessively toward the target.

That’s key. The lower body stabilises the transition and the arms simply drop the club into a good hitting position. With my focus on keeping my head behind the ball (and my eyes are fixed on the back of the ball until the moment it’s hit) I then have the freedom to accelerate the arms, hands and club-head through to the target, and enjoy a sensation of ‘collecting’ the ball through impact. You don’t ever want to feel that you hit ‘at’ the ball; free-wheel the club-head and simply let the ball get in the way as you rotate and swing to a finish.

Keeping the head behind the ball

“During the downswing, there is a significant amount of force being applied in the forward direction.

To maintain balance and posture, it is necessary to keep the head still and behind the ball at impact.

“Chin it; chin it,” I tell my students. I am attempting to have my student’s chin point at a spot several inches behind the ball until well after contact with the ball.

In this way, I am insuring that the student holds his/her head still and behind the ball during the downswing. A Picard student can usually be identified by the excellent head position during the downswing.

“Chinning it” becomes a way of life for most students.

It is my belief that the head rises slightly during the downswing to apply maximum power at impact.

The head moving slightly up and back results in excellent posture at impact.”

HG Picard

Keep chin behind ball at impact


Swing Thought of the Day

You have to control the timing of your transition by starting your downswing before the backswing finishes.

What you absolutely have to make sure of is that your arms do not carry on moving behind you after your body stops turning. You lose power and end up in a bad position and trapped. You’ve over-swung.

The only way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to initiate the move down whilst you are still moving back. Two really important things happen when you do this:

  • You increase the centrifugal force which helps you build lag.
  • Because a lot of effort is required change the direction of the club (rather than just letting it bounce off you because it can’t go any further) you engage your lower body and pull more with your left side. Your sequencing is much better, you create much more club head speed and the ball goes much further.

There’s one other really important ingredient; you must have ‘loose’ arms and wrists. Too much tension will make it more difficult to transition smoothly.

You need to know when it’s the right time to start your downswing and what I am working on currently is using my left shoulder as my downswing ‘trigger’. So, as soon as my left shoulder gets under my chin – and my left arm is roughly at 9pm – I start my downswing by pulling with my left side.