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 few notes from today’s round…

Heavy rain and mist, for about half the round I couldn’t see more than about 50 yards in front of me, so not great conditions. Started well, had a crappy spell for a few holes and then played the back 9 quite nicely.

Things to remember/ work on:

  • I need to get much more consistent with my set up.
  • Stance width – I know it needs to be more narrow than it has been (inside shoulder width, in line with hips).
  • Ball position – in line with left heel for driver, in line with left ear for everything else (including short irons, but my stance will be even narrower so only just ahead of middle).
  • Head stays on centre of gravity (sternum) until ball has gone (with every club).
  • Grip down slightly on 5 iron, driver, 3 wood and hybrid for a bit more control.
  • Hit my 2 hybrid nicely when I remembered to keep my head still until after the ball had gone.
  • Wedges – need to feel more like arms and body move at same speed. Starting to manage my distances better by thinking about clock face (50 yards is about 8pm to 4pm and so on).
  • Chipping – within 30 yards, use 8 iron to bump a little chip (club more upright, feet almost together, weight slightly forward). No more than 7 to 5 swing. If I have to get over an obstacle, use 60 degree, weak grip, 9 to 12 swing.
  • Putted quite well by focusing on lining up squarely and again keeping my head still until after ball had been struck. Also left thumb straight down middle of shaft to stop any rotation of club.
  • Driving was pretty steady again. Kept it in play, acceptable distance.

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Narrow stance… Again.

Narrowed my stance again today and my ball striking immediately improved. I hit some of the most flush iron shots I’ve ever hit; ball flying off the face and nice divots. I never get divots usually.

When I say narrow, I mean noticeably narrow – well within shoulder width. It almost feels too narrow. Ball position is middle of my stance and I need to focus on keeping my head steady – it’s virtually impossible not to have a descending blow with this set up ¬†and there isn’t any time to flip!

That’s it, no other swing thoughts.

Narrow Your Stance at Address

As an aside, I was driving the ball quite well today. Not going to win any long drive competitions but was playing for a gentle fade and finding the fairway more often than not.

long-driving-in-golf

Notes from the range

Currently working on grooving an inside-out swing path and it’s working nicely, has definitely improved my ball striking. Ball flight still seemed to be high and it felt flippy though, so I’m also focusing on not letting the club-head pass my hands.

The combination of inside-out path and holding on to the angle seems to sort out the rest of my swing; better sequencing etc. Direction was a bit erratic but contact was generally pure with a more penetrating ball flight.

So, practice plan for the next few weeks is simply 1/2 to 3/4 swings making sure I have an inside-out path and delay release as long as possible. Working up to full swing and through the bag.

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My two plane golf swing

Latest lesson in my golf education; understanding the widely held belief that there are two main swings, one-plane and two-plane.

Very simply, one-plane means that the arms and shoulders swing on the same plane, two-plane means that the arms and shoulders swing on two different planes.

Left is one-plane, right is two-plane:

swing-planes

I have been reading a book called ‘The Plane Truth…’ by Jim Hardy and it’s been a real eye-opener because (a) it’s made me realise that there is more than just one ‘textbook’ way to swing a club and (b) I can’t try and copy every great swing I see and not every swing tip will be applicable to my natural swing tendency. The point is, you have to work what YOUR swing is (or you want it to be) and build your movements and practice around that. You get into trouble when you mix one and two plane principles; i.e. you set up for a one-plane swing but actually swing on two-plane.

I know I am a natural two-plane swinger, which is a shame because it is regarded as more complicated, difficult to repeat and dependent on timing and rhythm! I just can’t get comfortable with the one-swing movements so I will have to embrace what I’ve got and at least now I know what I should (and shouldn’t) be working.

Here are some of the key characteristics of a two-plane swing, and why I think it is my swing type:

Grip is neutral to weak, 1-2 knuckles of left hand visible maximum – I have worked to strengthen my grip recently, because it was neutral to weak before but I’ll ease up on that now.

Stance is narrow (inside shoulder width) – I commented in a previous post about how I struck the ball better with a narrower stance! Discovered totally by accident, but I now know is because I am a two-plane swinger and this is a key characteristic of one. Not as much weight shift, so doesn’t need to be wide.

Ball position – no real change here to what I was doing but I might need to stand slightly closer to the ball. Hands directly under chin at address.

Posture – I’ve probably had too much tilt and knee flex. Going to adopt a slightly more upright posture.

Weight distribution – this is an interesting one; should have 60% of weight on right side at address. All the common advice is weight centred or favouring left.

Backswing – shoulders stay quite level and you turn away from the ball whilst simultaneously lifing the arms. They have to move at same speed. This is why the two-plane swing can get difficult, timing is very important.

It’s OK to move slightly to the right as you move weight in the backswing, it’s beneficial because it creates a bit of much needed width. If your weight is too centred or on the left at top of backswing the swing is too narrow.

Both arms need to stay as straight as possible in the takeaway – again it adds a bit of width.

It’s even OK to be across the line slightly at the top! I’ve spent hours trying to sort this out, but Hardy considers it acceptable in a two-plane swing.

Donwnswing – shoulders must stay passive. So difficult for me, I find it so hard to stop using my shoulders first! The arms must move down first, not out – the swing shape is actually a kind of V; back over right shoulder, down to impact, back over left.

Weight does shift to left side on downswing but it is very subtle, maybe 60% on front foot at impact. Not 80-100% as typically suggested.

Shoulders are square at impact, don’t let your spine angle change and don’t let the right shoulder dip.

A couple of good videos on the subject: