How to Keep Your Left Arm Straight in the Backswing

The secret to why you can't keep your left arm straight at the top of the golf backswing.

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Bob
If I’m having trouble keeping my left arm straight, could some of the issue be that I am long legged? I know that my legs are longer than my arms are longer. Do I need to also bend more at the waist to equalize? Bob H
February 12, 2021
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Bob. Shouldn't have anything to do with your legs. You may need to hinge forward more because of your height. But, more than likely the lead arm is pushing across the chest and the trail arm adds too much flexion.
February 12, 2021
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Gerry
When we talk about rotate, elevate and flexion during the backswing. Does part of the elevate happen during the takeaway or does elevate only happen after takeaway?
October 20, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gerry. Slight elevation will have to happen in the takeaway to keep the club in front of the chest/body. Take a look at the 4 Square Drill.
October 20, 2020
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Eric
I thought I’d mention this since it was something I had to discover. I actually wrapped an ace bandage around my right elbow so it can’t go less than 90 degrees. It forces you to keep your right arm straight (right handed golfers) and then perfect Flexion. However it doesn’t work with (a) poor posture (rounding shoulders immobilizes the spine and rotation), or poor alignment (feet, knees, hips and shoulders all parallel). Great video!!!!!!
August 17, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Eric. Thanks for the tip and compliments of the video.
August 18, 2020
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Ian
Hi Craig-relevant to the comment below , shoulder turn is a bit less than 90Deg. I know there is a video that shows that everyone can do it but I can't find it.
March 15, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Ian. I believe it may be in this video. Body Rotation in Golf Backswing - Chair Drill.
March 15, 2020
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Ian
Hi Craig-Thanks for great video review. In addition to not rotating the left arm a comparison to Chuck dead drill shows that I was not properly transferring weight in the backswing and was holding back the hip rotation . Backswing is still not as long as Chuck but is much better . Will practice this for a day or two and then add the club and send next video . ? are you now located in Florida or Colorado?
March 8, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Ian. Great. I was worried to add too much knowing you were dealing with some physical limitations. I stay mainly in Florida and Georgia. Florida for most of this month.
March 9, 2020
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Ian
Hi Craig- Knock - knee right leg is hereditary. Damage is related to rugby injury when I was 17 years old compounded by several further episodes when it was badly twisted and not treated ( stupid me). Now undergoing physio and it is improving . The only effect on the golf swing at present is I can't put much twisting force on it in backswing and it is painful in the follow through, after the ball is struck. So the only effect on the one arm swing is the twisting. Having said that I can only get the left arm a little above parallel with the club upside down but it gets better with the club right way round and even better again with right arm added. Hope all that helps with future video assessments. Hope to send next video within several days. Cheers-
March 13, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Ian. Thanks for the insight. Take a look at Proper Muscle Activation to help with getting the lead arm up. It sounds like you use a little of the weight of the club. But, try not to be so reliant on the club to make you finish the swing.
March 13, 2020
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Ian
Hi Craig-With my left arm straight , weight transferred , a full turn of shoulders and hips, and rollover of the left shoulder the best I can achieve is for the left arm to be slightly above parallel to the ground . Although back is still a bit tender I have been able to do full body rotation . Can't imagine being able to get left arm high enough to simply place the right hand in the support position ( as Chuck demonstrates ). A little bit of help is needed from momentum and the right arm . Have watched the muscle activation video , which is excellent , and Chuck's latest video on stance/left arm . Do you have any other thoughts or should I add the club and send a video?
March 15, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Ian. I think a video would help confirm, or deny. Also, take a look at the Winter Golf Training Program - Backswing Video. Insight on the rotation and momentum to help reach the top.
March 15, 2020
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Bruce
Thanks for this video - I hadn’t linked the rotation of my hands with extra height - really powerful. A question please after full rotation of hips and shoulders, should I feel that I’m lifting my arms up? I found hitting my chin with my left bicep seems to help with consistency - is that a good movement? Thanks
December 10, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Bruce. Hitting the chin with the left bicep may be a little bit too high, or disconnected. I would need to see the position to verify. The arms will elevate as you rotate to a full backswing however. Take a look at the 5 Minutes to the Perfect Backswing and 5 Minutes to the Perfect Backswing Pitfalls to help confirm your position.
December 10, 2019
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William
The best instruction I have ever seen on the subject.
December 4, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Thank You William.
December 4, 2019
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Dave
I did the drill and my left arm bends like I broke it. I must be a freak of nature. Maybe a bowling ball is a better idea.
December 4, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Dave. You can't bend you left arm if the trail arm doesn't fold. Anatomical impossibility. Check to make sure the trail arm is less than 90 degrees of flexion. You can upload a picture, or submit a swing review as well if you would like me to have a look at the position.
December 4, 2019
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Paul
Hi, im guilty of lifting my hands half way through the backswing. Is it correct that it is the chest and the weight shift back to the left that causes the arms to reach the top of the backswing. I ask because my arms never seem to stop at the top and i overswing. Hope this makes sence. Thanks.
March 18, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Paul. The arms will create the vertical motion in the swing as the body rotates horizontally. Yes, weight shift and rotation will create momentum to help you reach the proper positions. But, there will be a little elevation and flexion to create vertical motion. The vast majority of people tens to over do it though. Big Body Turn. Small Arm Swing.
March 18, 2019
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Richard
When I do the add the lead arm drill the lead arm is supposed to naturally go to the correct position if we allow it to swing freely.That position is much lower (less elevation) than when I preset my arms prior to using the obliques to turn my to top.IN one of the videos I remember Chuck saying something about being able to see something with the right eye in order to determine proper elevation.Would someone please clear me up on this.
March 11, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Richard. If you take a look at the 5 Minutes to the Perfect Backswing Pitfalls Video. You will hear me talk about the right eye. More than likely, you have a little too much tension. Also, without the trail arm for a little support. You may not reach optimal height which is okay. Just make sure it is still in front of the body. Take a look at Proper Muscle Activation for the tension issue. And, Winter Golf Training Program - Backswing Video for help getting it higher.
March 11, 2019
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Robert
I am naturaly left handed. I play golf righthanded. Therefore it seems easier for me when I have completed the staight arm backswing, to feel as though my left arm is still more in control than the right on the downswing. I appreciate that it is the hips starting the down action but would I be right in thinking that using my right hand a little more than the left is right? I seem to finish well and have a release which is something completely new. I don't want to ingrain this if it will damage my overall swing. I havent hit a ball yet with this action. Robert .
January 27, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Robert. The key is that your trail arm doesn't over take the lead arm. You must stay in lead arm control. Both arms have a job to do. The trail side will help with power as long as it isn't the center of the show.
January 27, 2019
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Steven
I can keep my left arm straight but I feel like I have to have tension in the left elbow to do it. Is that tension good or should I relax in and allow a little bend?
January 19, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Steven. The lead arm needs to stay straight, but if you are having a lock it out/add excessive tension. Having a soft lead elbow will be fine. The goal is to shy away from flexion.
January 19, 2019
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Paul
For my left arm to be straight at the top my right arm is folded at about 45 degrees and it feels like half a backswing to me should that be the case
January 5, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Paul. The trail arm shouldn't bend more than 90 degrees. But, the feeling for you staying at 45 may be the correct one to keep from excessive flexion.
January 6, 2019
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Paul
Assuming I am doing everything correctly Can it be said that my backswing ends when my left arm starts to bend
January 5, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Paul. I wouldn't use the lead arm bend as the measuring stick because if you have excessive flexion of the trail arm early. The lead arm will tend to bend much sooner.
January 6, 2019
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Ron
I'm 6'1" and weigh 220 lbs and in pretty good shape but not what I would describe as flexible, especially after having 2 partial discectomies at the L4 and 5. Before watching this video I was of the opinion that I could never turn my shoulders 90 degrees and be in a good position to hit a golf ball. Like so many times since I started the course, I was wrong. What a difference keeping your trail arm straight as long as possible has made. I'm turning 90 degrees and definitely feel more loaded at the top and my arms are more out in front of me at the top. Thanks for this great video.
November 27, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Ron. Fantastic. Love hearing the good news. We are in the same boat with the L4 and L5. Full shoulder turn isn't a myth when the trail arm behaves.
November 27, 2018
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Mark
It would appear in this video as though the right arm folds earlier in the swing. In numerous videos you advocate keeping the right arm straight as long as possible. Which is correct?
August 23, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Mark. It is nearly impossible to keep the trail arm straight to the top. Most players add too much trail arm flexion early so we advocate trying to keep it straight as long as possible. The trail arm will have some flexion even without you trying. The goal is to not let it fold more than 90 degrees. Take a look at the 3 Functions of the Right Arm Video.
August 24, 2018
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Michael
I really like the Mantra for the backswing: "Big body turn; tiny little arm swing" Is there a similar Mantra for the downswing?
July 7, 2018
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Howard (Certified RST Instructor)
Good morning Michael. A downswing mantra would have to revolve around sequencing. However, you don't really have enough time to think about much during the downswing because of the speed at which things are happening. Drilling good habits and the right movement patterns is key.
July 7, 2018
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michael
Great video. My question is, as a left hander, should I feel like my left armis predominant in the through swing i.e. as if I am trying to throw a baseball underhanded as fast as I can. Second, when I watch pro's on TV is appears they are coming UNDER the plane and not flat in the down swing. I may not be expressing my self well. Is the trail arm the more dominant arm in the down and through swing.
July 1, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Michael. Left hander playing from the right side of the ball? Most pros actually try to zero out their path versus coming under plane. You should still feel the lead arm dominate the downswing.
July 1, 2018
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michael
Craig, not sure I understand - I reread my question and there is no reference of being left-handed playing from the right side. What is your point ? And what is "zero out" -
July 1, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Michael. You said. "as a left hander should you feel like your left hand is dominant?" Sometimes we have left handed players that play from the right handed side of the ball. I'm assuming you mean you are left handed and play from the left side of the ball now. My error in how I read your notes. If you are left handed playing from the lefty position. Your right arm should be the dominant factor. Zero out is meaning the plane/path is spot on. Not missing under the plane, or over the top. Making sure you trace the plane line exactly into the strike.
July 1, 2018
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michael
I won't take any more of your time - My message was "left arm" not left hand - as in driving the left arm through the ball instead of the lead arm - right - being more predominant. My point about the left arm and throwing is a reference to the idea that the chipping motion is like tossing a ball underhanded. I do not play from the right side and did not indicate so
July 1, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Michael. You're not taking my time. It was my error in reading the notes. You should feel more predominant in your lead arm (right). The trail arm (left) will help you add speed similar to the throwing the ball motion. But, the Push vs Pull aspect must be maintained. You need to be pulling in the downswing and that will be controlled by the lead arm. The lead arm shouldn't be over taken by the trail in the downswing. Or, you will have a tendency to flip/scoop at impact causing a lack of consistent strike.
July 1, 2018
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Lyndon
All I can say is in 5-6 years I been playing...I never heard to train the left arm. To train the left side. I’m a right hand golfer. I’m starting to swing a little bit and I must say...I’m a right handed golfer but feel like I’m trying to play left handed. Lol. A few balls I hit well with proper weight transfer felt like I was swinging through the ball. It felt great but the awkwardness hasn’t gone away yet. Lol just some 80 yard shots with my 9 iron using the 9-3 drill. So glad I signed up with RS. I’ve learned more in the couple of weeks than I have the entire 5-6 years. My handicap is 12 so I look forwar to it dropping
April 22, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Lyndon. Great! Appreciate the positive post. Training the lead hand does take time. Be patient. Paying it forward for future success.
April 23, 2018
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Anders
I am working on keeping my arm straight in the backswing. I am struggling doing it with just the lead arm, but when i add the trail arm its much easier. Is that normal?
March 26, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Anders. Without a doubt much easier with the trail arm addition. If you have a soft elbow, or slight bend doing lead arm only that is fine.
March 26, 2018
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Yuefeng
Hello, want to clarify if the left arm could be bent because of the two arms are a bit too loose so the momentum of the clubhead going back renders the left arm bent? Will that cause the downswing out of sync with the arms a bit stuck behind? Reasons being if the arms are too relaxed, it could take more time for the power to be transmitted to the arms and re-establish the body/arm connection to move as one piece? Thanks!
February 14, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Yuefeng. You want to be relaxed, but active/engaged. If you get too loosey goosey the momentum may carry you too far. Therefore, causing you to get out of sync coming down.
February 14, 2018
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Paul
Q- my problem is that i worry about the getting the 90 degree fold in my right elbow. IF I ROTATE MY CHEST IN A BIG BODY TURN AND KEEP MY LEFT ARM STRAIGHT. WILL MY RIGHT ARM FOLD TO A. SUFFICIENT ANGLE AT THE TOP......THIS IS IMPORTANT FOR THE THE TRANSITION AND LAG. PAUL B
October 6, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Paul. The vast majority of players will fold the trail arm no matter what. With a big body turn and lead arm straight you will fold the arm enough. Take a look at the Winter Golf Training Program - Backswing Video for a good drill with both components.
October 6, 2017
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Paul
Thanks! Just played 9 holes and on the 9th, my drive went 240 (longest in my life). I stuck my wedge and two-putted. My finish is ugly, i can’t seem to have my left side, or shoulder finish the swing. Paul.
October 7, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Paul. The better you perform the release the easier it will be for you to feel the momentum carry you through. Great job with the drive.
October 7, 2017
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Paul
Craig—is the driver release the same for irons, basically a left wrist release, as in 5 minutes to the perfect release?
October 7, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Paul. One swing for all shots. The only difference in driver is setup.
October 7, 2017
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Paul
i feel encouraged. Thanks.
October 7, 2017
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Earl
left arm stays straight through out back swing
August 28, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Earl. Yes.
October 6, 2017
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Yuefeng
I wonder how this relates to the concept of soft/relaxed arms. In my review it was noted my left arm started to bend a little bit just before I complete the backswing. I tend to think that's a result of my arm being too soft and the momentum of clubhead going back make the left elbow bent. I further reckon if I could tighten my left arm (especially forearm) just a bit more, enough to lock the elbow, while keeping my wrist soft, the momentum of the clubhead traveling back will now further increase my wrist angle instead, which is a much more desired feature. Am I right in the above analysis? Thanks.
August 16, 2017
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hi Yuefeng, the lead arm will bend if you have too much trail arm flexion. I wouldn't recommend adding tension to the left arm to help keep it straight. That can make it difficult for wrist and forearms to rotate properly in the backswing. Work on taking out some trail arm flexion and you should be able to keep it straighter in the backswing.
August 23, 2017
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David
I have strained the muscle or tendon on the outside of the left upper arm by taking the arm too deep and flat i think. Any exercises to help would be good and drills to stop it happening again would be appreciated.
August 5, 2017
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hi David, If you developed a strain of this nature...then you are just not moving from the correct body parts to load up the backswing. Take a look at 3 functions of the right arm and 5 mins to a perfect backswing to see how to use the arms in the backswing to avoid this sort of thing. REF - rotation elevation and flexion. This will keep stress off the shoulder 100% of the time.
August 6, 2017
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bradford
Is that the Pro Power Move.
August 1, 2017
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
100% absolutely. In that video, he talks about stalling the body and creating the snap with supple wrists which doesn't require more arm strength.
August 1, 2017
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bradford
what other left arm drills video do you have to strengthen this arm. I need to get this arm stronger than my right arm that wants to take over.
August 1, 2017
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hi Bradford, strengthening the left arm is not the solution for keep the right arm from taking over. You need to work more on moving from the correct body parts in the backswing and then properly sequence your downswing. This shouldn't require any sort of additional strength. However, you can also check out video #4 in the the new video series for more left arm only drills.
August 1, 2017
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Hector
in theory I know we should keep the left arm straight in the backswing, what about the downswing? is the same ? what we should feel in the downswing, that the elbow never bends? when you do the downcocking/ how we do that without bending the left elbow.? what we should feel in the hand? shoulder etc any advice
June 30, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Hector. Yes, the ideal goal would be the lead arm straight. When down cocking you want the wrist angle to increase and not the elbow bend. The wrist should be soft. But, enough pressure in the last 3 fingers to maintain control.
July 1, 2017
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Matt
Can you clarify, do we have to rotate the left arm from the shoulder socket then or not? The video says not to move your arms, but then to rotate the left arm. I feel like rotating would not be a bad thing right? It should shallow out the backswing? What happens if we rotate while lifting the arms up and rotating? Will that keep the arms in front of our body as a result?
May 25, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Matt. The lead arm needs to rotate from the shoulder socket. Some players when allowing for proper shift and rotation feeling the momentum coupled with the weight of the club allow it to happen. Other players are so poorly trained or too tense they do not allow what would naturally occur if they truly gave into the body swing and the design of the club. Weight shift and core pull will shallow the downswing. The move described above will help you be on the optimal plane coming down to achieve that. If you pull back (rotate shoulder), allow the trail arm to fold properly as the lead arm reacts to the fold rotating from the socket the arms will stay in front.
May 25, 2017
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Matt
Excellent. Yes, i feel like I'm one of those player that needs to think about the lead arm rotation as I have a tendency to get rigid and tense, especially when producing weight shift. I feel that is probably common for those that are used to not weight shifting, right? I do not want to reverse pivot any longer
May 25, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Matt. Yes, it is very common for players that lack weight shift and/or reverse pivot. Another good visual would be the Winter Golf Training Program - Backswing Video (for less mechanical approach).
May 25, 2017
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Brandon
What's the best way to check the top of my backswing to match feel vs real? Is having a stationary video recorder the best option and go back and forth recording every few swings and making adjustments? Or would you advise a mirror?
April 12, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Brandon. Mirror, fixed position camera, etc. Changing the top can be daunting because the feel doesn't often match the real. And, momentum can be very hard to keep in check. Always film practice swings to make sure the practice swings are perfect. Then, start applying to a ball at a slower pace. Ramping up the speed as time goes by.
April 12, 2017
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David
I have become so used to swinging my arms around my body rather than rotating, my left arm wants to go behind me rather than stay in front. I am trying not too push with my left side! Any advice?
March 23, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello David. I would work on the 3 Functions of the Right Arm. Don't allow you lead arm to push the trail arm behind you or vice versa. Use the 5 Minutes to the Perfect Backswing Pitfalls Video to practice the hands staying more in front while drilling and not to the side. Finally, use the 4 Square Drill as a guide once you have learned the better positions as a fail safe to remain in front.
March 23, 2017
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Peter
As someone who has struggled with a bent left arm at the top, I love this video. Not turning my body enough, not rotating my left arm enough, and/or folding my right arm too much are certainly 3 backswing faults that I have been guilty of in the past. This is why Chuck's video resonates with me. To his analysis, I would only add a 4th backswing fault that can also cause a bent left arm at the top: rotating my shoulders back on a plane that is too parallel to the ground. In this case, my left shoulder hits my chin, instead of moving under it. This then inhibits the shoulder turn that Chuck talks about, but for a different reason than not simply turning enough with the core muscles or moving the arms too much. In the event of this unwanted shoulder-chin collision, the momentum of the club head causes the arms keep going back even though the shoulder turn has been slowed, thus leading to an inevitable bending of the left arm near the top of the backswing. For me, it has helped to focus on swinging my shoulders back and through on a somewhat steeper plane, which has the added benefit of keeping me more in my address posture throughout the swing. Does this analysis sounds more or less correct to you? Thanks for any reply, and thanks again, Chuck, for yet another great video.
March 13, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Peter. Thanks for the compliments of the video. Yes, you need to rotate around the hinged forward spine and not level out the shoulder plane causing the chin collision. You could still keep the lead arm straight in that case (by not allowing more than 90 degrees of fold). But, if you allowed momentum to takeover too much. I could see the inevitable issue.
March 13, 2017
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Troy
I'm working on keeping my left arm straight to get rid of a bow at the top of my backswing. The trouble I'm having is, if I work to keep it straight, I'm not as relaxed. And if I stay relaxed, the arm will bow at the top from centrifugal force. How do I find that happy medium of keeping my arm straight but also stay relaxed enough to get a good club release?
March 11, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Troy. Sadly there isn't a quick trick or tip. Takes a lot of practice. Sounds like it may be a slight grip issue. Take a look at the Golf Grip Tips Video. Also, remember the trail arm will help support in the normal swing. Take a look at the Using the Wrist Effectively and Efficiently Video to understand the trail wrist position which will aid in not getting the lead too bowed.
March 11, 2017
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Phil
I'm having a little trouble combining the concept of moving the scapula only a couple of inches and taking a full shoulder turn Seems to me if you start the backswing with the scapula you are moving the arms first?????
March 8, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Phil. You are moving the scapula (pull of the trail shoulder) to move the arms and then the hands. You can move your arms without having to create proper shoulder rotation. Take a look at the Role of the Right Arm Video.
March 8, 2017
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Curt
Amendment: I actually can when swing the club. It's just in the drill where I'm holding my right thumb that I can't. Never mind.
February 27, 2017
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Curt
To keep my left arm from bending, I can only fold my right arm about 45 degrees. If I go anywhere close to 90 degrees, my left arm begins bending. Do I just have short arms? Sounds like a joke, but I cent think of a different explanation.
February 27, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Curt. I see your amendment above. No worries.
February 27, 2017
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carl
Thanks for the insight. I was wondering if the trail arm also rotates from the shoulder socket - matching the rotation of the lead arm - after impact on the follow through?
February 23, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Carl. It will rotate from the socket. But, it will be much closer to the finish than during the release.
February 23, 2017
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Billy
Because of my build i am unable to get the club to parallel with my left arm straight. Is this a major problem?
February 21, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Billy, Ideally, you don't want the club reaching parallel to the ground at the top of the backswing. No problem at all.
February 21, 2017
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Luther
As a Senior the turn is getting harder to achieve, even with the pulling concept of the right side back. I know this is a Core strengthening issue. Does RST have any videos or links to exercises that would help us Seniors. Steve
February 20, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Steve. Take a look at the RSA Core Drill to help with getting better rotation. Also, there are some stretches and core strengthening in the Fitness Section. https://rotaryswing.com/videos/full-swing-basics/rotary-swing-5-step-golf-swing-system/core-rotation-left-arm-club-rsa
February 21, 2017
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eudreon
I've been struggling a bit with feeling disconnected, now I'm back on track with this video.
February 20, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Great Eudreon. Thanks for the post.
February 20, 2017
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Robert
Great video...gonna use this technique at ny next practice session. Thanks Rob
February 19, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Rob. Thanks. Get to work on keeping a better lead arm position.
February 19, 2017
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Mike
Absolute epiphany. Been "chest blocked" for years. No other thought except big body turn, small arm swing. Triumph of the uncluttered mind.
February 19, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Mike. Fantastic. Glad you enjoyed the video.
February 19, 2017
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michael
When I try to keep the left arm straight it feels tense as do my shoulders, any suggestions?
February 19, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Michael. Take a look at the RSA Core Video. It will help take away some tension using the core and momentum. This should alleviate some of the tension in keeping the lead arm straight. https://rotaryswing.com/videos/full-swing-basics/rotary-swing-5-step-golf-swing-system/core-rotation-left-arm-club-rsa
February 19, 2017
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Eddie
Wow what a concept. Very powerful very simple awesome stuff. My swing is improving everyday. I have golf players that are also instructors telling me my swing is looking better and better. My scores are getting better. Thanks I really am beginning to love the game of golf.
February 19, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Thanks Eddie. Appreciate the post. Keep up the good work.
February 19, 2017
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Robert
The "light bulb" epiphany insight I took from this video, a movement that I had missed even when I attended a clinic, is the rotation of the left arm from the shoulder joint. I have struggled with the "extention-elevation-flexion", but now it seems nearly effortless adding the rotation from the shoulder. Time to review other backswing and left arm video drills with this new insight. Thanks
February 19, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Robert. Great. Happy to hear you learned something new.
February 19, 2017
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Robert
Hey Craig, just to clarify. when the left arm rotates in the backswing we’re rotating the whole left arm, as one piece, from the shoulder correct? We are _not_ rotating from the elbow via the left forearm?
February 20, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Rob. Yes. The forearm doesn't independently rotate itself solely from the elbow up.
February 20, 2017
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Kyle
I for years have been that golfer that has pushed my left arm back to start the swing. I have worked hard for a year on REF and using the core for the swing. I still have the problem of my left wrist and hand rotating inward as my body rotates. Would focusing on keeping my right arm straight be a positive corrective move to solve my problem?
February 18, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Kyle. Focusing on keeping the trail arm straighter could help with solving the issue.
February 19, 2017
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Kyle
Thanks
February 19, 2017
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Peter
Absolutely perfect timing for this ephiphany video, as we are about to leave northern winter for Arizona. I've seen your backswing videos, but the particular emphasis you've placed on straight left arm has scraped some cobwebs off my eyes. No doubt in my mind that despite all you've said up to now in your series, I obviously still MUST have been moving my arms horizontally as well as vertically in my backswing. Thank you.
February 17, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Peter. Great. I'm glad you took some new insight from the video.
February 17, 2017
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Warren
I think I'm missing something on the release and the position of my shoulders How open are the shoulders at impact? And how open are the hips at impact? Thanks
February 17, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Warren. The shoulders should be square at impact with the hips roughly 35-45 degrees open.
February 17, 2017
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Slightly
Wow! What an exemplary summary of the roles of the (not so!) moving parts! I get it. "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication ' (Leonardo da Vinci) With the torso rotating do both knees stay facing forward (flexed) please? Anup
February 17, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Anup. Take a look at Laser Beam Knee Drills for Stability for full explanation.
February 17, 2017
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Matt
great video, perfectly timed for me too. thanks Chuck!
February 16, 2017
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frank
quick response! parallel to ground frank
February 16, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Thanks Frank. I answered below.
February 16, 2017
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frank
but, is it fair to say that my top of back swing may not be as vertical as yours? That is - club parallel at top. thanks Frank
February 16, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Frank. Elevation may be variable in the golf swing (vertical movement of the arms). Parallel to the plane or parallel to the ground at the top? The swing plane when using the proper trail arm fold and lead arm rotation should be pretty similar.
February 16, 2017
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frank
parallel to ground frank
February 16, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Frank. Ideally, you don't want the club parallel to the ground at the top of the backswing. Other than the driver because of length and momentum. Parallel to the ground would be over swinging, the arms losing proper connection, or the trail arm adding too much flexion.
February 16, 2017
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Charles
Chuck, do you support the thought that swinging the club head is like swing a string a string with a rock tied to the end? Thanks, Charlie
February 16, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Charles. You may use that analogy. Similar to an Orange Whip or Washer/Nunchuck in (Throw the Club Head at the Golf Ball) video.
February 16, 2017
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Kyle
I have been thinking about this lately, so perfect timing on me seeing this video. My question is, I feel like my left arm has to bend in order to keep my head from rotating so far back that I can barely see the ball out of the corner of my left eye. I understand the point that flexibility has nothing to do with keeping the left arm straight, but what about being able to rotate your torso, underneath your head, without the head rotating along with it? Is that where T-spine flexibility comes into play?
February 16, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Kyle. Yes, a little bit of Thoracic Spine and Cervical Spine Flexibility. You may allow for a little head rotation. You can even see Chuck's rotate some in his videos because his neck is fused in the C1 C2 area. Also, there is a little lead shoulder protraction. I would work on the exercises in the RSA Core Video. I will provide a link below. https://rotaryswing.com/videos/full-swing-basics/rotary-swing-5-step-golf-swing-system/core-rotation-left-arm-club-rsa
February 16, 2017
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Bruce
Great video. On point.
February 16, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Thanks Bruce.
February 16, 2017
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Thomas
Agree with this whole-hardily. Have been trying to do this for a year and a half. Old habits are hard to break. Can easily do the drills. Hard to do in one continuous backswing movement---especially when there is a ball to hit. My right forearm is usually not vertical at the top as shown in this video (DTL view). My right forearm is slanted where the right elbow is pointed behind me. Doing the drill in the video is easy when you are holding the arms in front of your chest with no other motion going on. When the inside of your elbow is pointed up the forearm has no choice but to fold vertical. Any advice on how to translate from the static drill to the swing?
February 12, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Tom. It takes a whole lot of practicing. Focusing on the (3 Functions of the Right Arm) and (Winter Golf Training Program - Backswing) to get comfortable with the positions. Once, you know the new positions forgetting about the club and ball solely feeling the body movements to get you there. Keeping in mind the inside moves the out versus worrying about club head positions will get you over the hump. If you put the body into position, the club has no other choice.
February 13, 2017

Why can't I keep my left arm straight at the top of the backswing? I'm just not flexible enough, right? NO!

I wish I had a dollar for everytime some poor golfer was told by some "expert" that he's just not flexible enough to make a proper golf swing. As I've proven 100% of the time with all my students, EVERYONE has enough flexibility to make a full shoulder turn and EVERYONE has enough flexibility to keep their left arm straight at the top of the backswing in golf.

RotarySwing.com's approach to the golf swing is all about teaching you HOW and WHERE to move from and how to sequence these movements correctly. If you do the movements the way they are prescribed, you can build a tour pro quality golf swing that is as powerful and consistent as it looks. So, stop buying into the idea that you're not flexible or fit enough to swing like a pro. The reality is that you're not moving correctly - it's as simple as that.

When you watch this golf instruction video, don't just WATCH. Get up and do the movements that I'm demonstrating here. It doesn't do you any good to just watch this videos, you have to DO the movements. Expecting to learn the golf swing by just watching me is like expecting to lose 20 pounds at the gym by watching someone else workout!

Do the arm movement that I demonstrate and then watch the whole sequence in the video 5 Minutes to the Perfect Golf Backswing. As you'll see, you'll have no trouble getting your arms into the perfect position at the top while doing the drill - which should tell you something!!! Why then can you not keep your left arm straight when hitting a golf ball??? Hmmmmm.....

Learn to move correctly, add power, width AND consistency to your golf swing and lower your scores today!

Hi guys, Chuck Quinton here. You know by now that I love crushing golf myths. Anytime somebody says something out there on TV or in a golf magazine and just says, "This is the way it is," but they don't back it up with any real facts or science and it's just their opinion, well, I generally have issue with that. One of those things, that I see all the time and I hear from students writing in, asking questions on the forum or sending in emails is, "I'm just not flexible enough" or, "I'm not strong enough" or, "I'm just too old to keep my left arm straight at the top of the backswing." It's not true. Everybody can keep their left arm straight at the top of the backswing, no matter your age, no matter your fitness level, no matter your flexibility. I'm going to prove it to you.

                First, I want you to understand the two key reasons why keeping this left arm straight is so important in the first place. The first reason is, understanding where club head speed comes from. Now of course, I've done a video on exactly that, The Three Primary Sources of Club Head Speed, which is on the site. One of those things I talked about in there is width or the radius from the rotating center to the club head. For every half inch that you increase the radius of your swing arc, it increases club head speed by about two miles an hour. That's huge. Two miles an hour, think about that. This is really easy for you to understand because every time you pick up a longer club, you pick up about two miles an hour club head speed. From your seven iron to your six iron, it's going to go about two miles an hour faster and they're only a half inch difference in the clubs.

                When you make a really narrow, collapsed swing by folding this left arm early, you're shortening dramatically the radius of your swing and you're costing yourself free club head speed. You don't have to swing any harder to use width to your advantage to increase your club head speed. You simply just have to make a wider arc. That's a no brainer. You absolutely want width in your golf swing. You want your hands to be traveling in a circle, an arc, as far away from your body as humanly possible. That's one of the huge reasons that you want to keep this arm straight as much as humanly possible.

                The second reason is variability. By now, if you've studied Rotary Swing you know that I hate variables. I want everything to be black and white, hard facts, white or black, hard science, right or wrong. I don't like variables and I certainly don't like increasing variables in my swing. By folding this left arm, that's exactly what you're doing. If you go to the top of your swing and you let this left arm bend, well now, at some point coming into impact it's going to get back to straight. When you do that and how you do that, is just increasing a tremendous number of variables into the swing that are completely unnecessary.

                By keeping this left arm straight, you're making your golf swing much simpler. You're not worrying about timing the release of this arm, and how much force you put into it, and how hard you push it down, and how much you do all this extra stuff with this left arm. Make your golf swing simple. That's what the Rotary Swing is all about. It's about making the simplest, smallest movements humanly possible while still having maximum power in your golf swing. We use physics and science to our advantage, rather than just a bunch of opinions. When you want to keep this left ... The reason you want to keep this left arm straight, to recap, width in the swing and reducing variabilities. Extra club head speed, fewer variables, equals more consistency and greater distance. Those are huge.

                Now, how do we keep that left arm straight? More importantly, what's causing you to not keep that left arm straight? That's really want I want to talk about first. One of the things I preach in my golf clinics is something I always tell people to write on the bill of the cap, and that is, "Big body turn, tiny little arm swing." That's the mantra for your backswing. If you think about turning your body rather than swinging your arms, you're going to have a head start on keeping that left arm straight. Now, what do I mean exactly? Well, most people when they take the club back, all they do is is they just start pushing this left arm across their chest, tightening the left shoulder girdle, reducing their turn, reducing the width of their golf swing, et cetera and not loading these big muscles in your body, which of course, is what we want to do.

                We need to recruit maximum muscle fibers to generate club head speed. If you just push your arm across your chest, you're only tightening up the muscles in your arm. You're only stretching this left shoulder girdle. What that also does, is by the time you get to the top, your arm doesn't have anywhere else to go because it's running into your chest. What does it got to do in order for you to finish your turn or to get the club up to the top? Your left arm has got to bend. Instead of taking your arms and swinging them across your chest, think about turning your chest to move your arms. In fact, I like to tell people, "If that club head's moving, it's solely because you're body's turning not because you're doing anything at all with your arms or hands." If you think about rotating your chest instead of moving the golf club, well guess what? The golf club is going to move and ironically, it's going to move exactly where you want it to.

                That's the beauty of Rotary Swing. When you start focusing on these big core body movements, the club starts going exactly where you want it to instead of you trying to move it there with your arms and hands, which is what everybody does. Stop swinging your arms and that'll keep your left arm from bending almost immediately. Focus on turning your shoulders, stick your arms out. Boom, left arm's dead straight. Why wouldn't it be?

                The second thing that causes people to fold their left arm is taking this right arm and starting to bend it early. Trying to load up this right arm to try and get a false sense of power. This is a huge limiting factor on how much club head speed you can create if you just focus on loading up this right arm going back. You want to keep this right arm, in fact, I call it the governor of width in the clinics, as straight as long as humanly possible. Now, in order to move that golf club, what have I had to do? Well, I've had to recruit all of these muscles in my core and torso in order for the golf club to move halfway back. Now I'm going to keep turning, keep turning, keep turning. Now look, my left arm's dead straight. Why wouldn't it be?

                Now I'm going to show you a little trick. I covered this in the video, 5 Minutes to the Perfect Backswing, but I'm going to do a quick recap of it here. If you take your arms, sit them straight out in front of your chest, elevate them to the base of your elbows, about the base of your pec. You can have a little lower, a little higher. I'm going to move it a little bit lower. Now, fold your right arm until your left arm swings across to where it's over your shoulder. Guess what? That's about exactly where you want it to be at the top of your backswing. Now, notice that my left arm is still perfectly straight. Your left arm, if you get up and do this with me, should still be perfectly straight. If it's not straight, you've either folded your right arm too much, and this is what I see all the time. They have too much flexion in this right elbow and that forces your left arm to bend. Well guess what? Your right arm doesn't need to bend that much. You're thinking about creating width in the swing, which is free club head speed. Keep your right arm wide, and you don't need to fold it that much, and your left arm will stay perfectly straight.

                Another fault that I see all the time is not letting this left arm rotate at the shoulder socket in order to let this left elbow point out, because now I feel really tight. Now, I feel like my left arm needs to bend. Your left arm needs to rotate, while you're doing this drill, in order to set the club on plane at the top. As you let this left arm rotate, now it makes it much more relaxed and my left arm can stay straight. Now look at my arm, holding it out here in front of my body. Why would this left arm ever bend? Just move it up here across your body, let it rotate in front of your shoulder, bring your right arm up there to support it. Now guess what? As soon as I go to the top of my backswing, none of this should ever change.

                How do we do that? Well again, the 5 Minutes to Perfect Backswing, I get in my posture, give it a little axis tilt. My arms are exactly where I just had them and I rotate to the top. Why would my left arm bend? My left arm is perfectly straight at the top. Why would it change? The only reason it's going to change is if you start moving it. Don't move your arms. You set your arms in the perfect position, get in your posture, and then rotate your body to move your arms and club to the top. Don't use your arms. Your arms have already been set in position. Then, as you keep doing this golf swing drill, you slowly go down to address and you pump them back up. Voila, your left arm is staying straight. Your left arm is bending, is because you're moving your arms too much. Remember my mantra for your golf backswing, "Big body turn, tiny little arm swing," and your arm will stay straight at the top.

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