Keep the Right Arm Straight to Turn

One of the most common faults that destroys a powerful turn in the golf swing is how the right arm works in the backswing. In this video, I go over how the right arm works properly in the backswing and how it impacts the rotation of the torso.

  • Golfers who don't make a full turn often fold the right arm early
  • Keep the right arm straight as long as possible - it acts as a piston to move the right shoulder blade farther back
  • Use a video camera to check your form - you may feel that your arm does not fold at all even though it has
  • Your hands should feel very far away from you at the top of the swing

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Kyaw Thet
Hi Craig, No matter high hands or low hands, this video is still applicable right? High hands or low hands are related only to elevation, not flexion, is that correct? Sorry to ask you a lot of questions.
December 18, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Kyaw. Yes. High hands/low refer more to elevation. No worries bud.
December 18, 2020
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Thom
it appears that the drill to keep the right arm straight for as long as possible in the backswing somewhat contadicts the drills in 5 minutes to a perfect back swing. Elevation then flexion of the right arm then rotation shows the right arm in flexion almost from the get go. I'm confused on this one??
November 3, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Thom. The vast majority of players fold the arm too early. It will have some flexion in the real swing. However, I've bet players to keep the trail arm perfectly straight and never lost. This is a way to learn how to maintain the width with rotation.
November 4, 2020
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Kevin
Hi Craig - I was working on my backswing more today to associate a feeling with hitting the right spots at the top. The more I focus on right arm width at the top and feeling like I’m turning with a medicine ball it has helped my overswing and left arm position. The problem is the right elbow plane is still deep and not in front of my chest at the top. I’m trying to root cause if that I’d more due to a left arm push or the right arm losing connection from the upper right pec. When I make left arm only swings and use the connect it looks perfect so I’m assuming it’s more of a push issue but wanted to get your thoughts
July 5, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Kevin. Could be a combo of both. If it looks perfect with connect and left arm only though it may not solely be left arm push. Do a left arm only and then add your right arm at the top after stopping (compare and contrast). You may find you are just flying the elbow.
July 6, 2020
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Kevin
Thanks Craig....I can easily make left arm only swings and add the right arm in for support and reconfirmed that last night. Also, in theory if the left arm is in the right position (which in the picture above it looks pretty good) I assume it didn't push across. A left arm that pushed across would be lower I would think? I used to have a much lower left arm that intersected at or below my right shoulder...just looked at an old swing and it was much uglier.
July 7, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Kevin. Typically, if the left arm pushed across it would be a little lower and hands deeper.
July 7, 2020
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Kevin
I worked on this for a long time tonight on video with some experiments and had an “a-ha” moment. I started adding flexion what feels like “early” in the backswing to me. I think the right arm looks much better and doesn’t let me swing the arms into the depth dimension. The flexion acts as a brake from my right elbow flying.
July 7, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Kevin. Much improved trail arm position.
July 7, 2020
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Bernie
By keeping the right are straight, it pulls the right elbow and arm from the right side of the body. How is that consistent with "staying connected," keeping the upper arms connected to your body as you swing (as the Arm Connection training aid encourages)?
April 13, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Bernard. The trail arm will aid flexion at some point in the backswing. This is an exaggeration to keep you rotating. 99% of players will not keep the arm completely straight while performing the drill. We do want the arms to stay in front and the trail arm maintain some connection as discussed in the 3 Functions of the Right Arm Video.
April 13, 2020
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John
This really helps keep the lead arm straight - in fact the only thing for me that keeps the lead arm straight without thinking too much about it it. I have a question... how soon should the wrists hinge? I find for me it has to be pretty early .. like just before 9pm .. or else I struggle to reach the top without overturning. Is hinging just before 9pm ( or somewhere between 8 and 9) about right?
November 13, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello John. The wrist will be gradually set throughout the backswing. Take a look at Wrist Cock vs Wrist Hinge and Using the Wrists in the Golf Swing. Yes, there will be a slight amount of setting before you reach the 9 O'Clock position.
November 13, 2019
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Walter
I am trying to correct a flying right elbow and am being told I need to fold my trail arm sooner in my takeaway. I assume, based on this video, you would disagree with this advice. How do you suggest I make the correction?
October 3, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Walter. Adding flexion sooner it definitely a no-no! Take a look at 2. Overview: Fix Overswing/Across-the-Line Swing Video and Stop Overswinging Video.
October 4, 2019
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Dan
Is there a specific action here? Or is it rather the lack of an action? What I mean is are we actively straightening the right arm/pushing the hands away? Or simply trying to not bend the arm? I’m discovering that I likely don’t have enough elevation early enough and my hands get deep, even without bending the right arm. Should I be seeking more of a sensation of pushing the hands away or simply elevating sooner? Also, how does this concept of not flexing the right arm work in regards to REF (which asks for flexion of the right arm?)
July 12, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Dan. Simply trying not to bend the arm. You don't want to start pushing and protracting the trail shoulder to force extension. Elevate sooner and feel like the trail arm stays straight. You will need a little flexion in the swing from the trail arm. But, everyone even when trying to keep it perfectly straight will still have a slight bend.
July 12, 2019
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Dan
So is the backswing more of a turn to the end of the takeaway and then a lift to the top? Or is it more of a smooth, steady, gradual lift almost immediately off the ball? Because I don't believe I bend my right arm, currently, but I think I turn too much in the takeaway, I end up just slightly deep, and then I don't lift near enough in Move 2, which causes momentum of the clubhead at that point to bend the right arm because I'm *really* deep then. In doing some drilling over the past couple of days, I find that I end up in the correct spot if I start elevating almost immediately. But I don't want to continue doing that if it isn't correct.
July 12, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Dan. There is a slight amount of elevation in the takeaway. After you begin rotating the arms will need to start working up to stay in front of the chest and not work too much into the depth dimension. Some players will tend to feel that their arms start going straight up right after beginning the swing.
July 12, 2019
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Michael
This is almost if not impossible if one has bursitis in the right shoulder.
April 23, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Michael. I feel your pain. I have anchors all up and down my trail shoulder from a major injury. You rotate as far as you can without causing pain/injury. If you have constant problems with the trail shoulder. I would focus on Proper Muscle Activation Video and My Golf Backswing Secrets Video. From those you will see how the core and weight will help you achieve good rotation while being able to keep the shoulders relatively soft and relaxed which should help you.
April 23, 2019
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Jeff
Trying to keep right arm straighter deeper into the backswing does help me turn/rotate/load more, but also seems to add tension in the right upper arm and shoulder (up in the rectangle). Thoughts on keeping right arm straighter longer into backswing without adding tension in upper body (keeping tension down in the box)?
January 27, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Jeff. Take a look at Proper Muscle Activation Video. There isn't much in the initial to stay relaxed other than focusing on your core. Tension will start to get better the more you practice.
January 27, 2019
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Mikko-Pekka
I do turn pretty well but I struggle with overswing. I am just wondering would this drill or swing thought help with that? At least it seems that arms would be unable to swing any further when shoulders have stopped rotating.
September 25, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Mikko. Yes, this will help with overswing if the arms stay more in conjunction with your turn and with very little trail elbow flexion.
September 25, 2018
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Mikko-Pekka
Thank you Craig! I want to be 100% sure that I am trying to shorten my swing correctly. I see a lot of players that swing too far with their arms. As there seems to be only two videos dealing with overswing issue should this video be included in overswing section in site? Just a suggestion to make the site better. I found that when I am trying to keep my right arm straight it shortens my swing dramatically. The two videos (Stop Overswinging and Load the Right Glute) did not have same effect.
September 25, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Mikko. Yes, this could easily be included in the Overswing Section. Thanks for the heads up.
September 25, 2018
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Mikko-Pekka
Aha! An old discussion here I see. Would you recommend this feeling to help my excessive flexion or should I just try to keep my right arm straighter and do 5min. to perfect backswing drills?
June 19, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Mikko. I think both would be fine. But, in your practice swing. You don't have excessive overswing right now. When we start blending the move this one will come more into play.
June 19, 2019
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Mikko-Pekka
Ok, thanks Craig. I gonna stick with 5 min. as I feel relaxed when doing that and IMO I don't have the issues the above video addressess.
June 19, 2019
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Paul
Wow. A new favorite video. This video teaching confirmed my trial and error at the range. Many thanks. Makes total sense.
February 5, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Paul. Great. Happy you enjoyed.
February 6, 2018
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Curt
I was sent a video swing review, but I couldn't view it because I don't have the minimum flash player requirements. I have the current version of Adobe Flash Player. I cannot find a contact number to get support.
September 26, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Curt. Yes, I completed your review earlier. At the very bottom of this page you will see a "Help" Link. From there you can contact customer support.
September 26, 2017
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gordon
I am confused by tips involving the use of a towel or glove under the right and left armpits to train the take away and backswing. Although I am pretty sure I have seen something on this in one or more lessons on RTS my search using glove, towel and armpit keywords turned up blank. Can you show me where to go to find this info, I am particularly interested in hearing the RTS view on this swing aid. Thanks in advance, Gordon.
January 4, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gordon. We don't have any towel or glove/pit drills. We usually shy away from this because it tends to cause a more rounded swing with lack of elevation.
January 4, 2017
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gordon
Thanks for the clarification Craig. That drill does seem to be something of a two-edged sword. It can be misunderstood. That was my confusion. Regards, Gordon.
January 4, 2017
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Gisella
HI, Looking at your video I realised that keeping the right arm near to the body is a terrible mistake beacuse don't let the shoulders turn around the spine in the backswing. I also have the sensation that affects also my downswing because it blocks my body in the downswing: I can't make a proper weigth shift and it makes difficult engaging the left glute and pulling with the left side of my spine and I finish with chicken wing.
December 20, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gisella. The Upper Pectoral and Upper Bicep will maintain connection, but you are correct. You don't want to glue the arm or elbow to the side of the body in the backswing.
December 20, 2016
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Loran
Then, the shoulders rotate fully, then the right arm folds at the last moment, correct? The right shoulder moves back 90 degrees, then the right arm folds? Is this why I feel like my arms are getting too far behind my back?
November 28, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Loran. Typically, the trail arm will start to fold before the shoulders are fully wound. However, players that really struggle folding the trail arm early. May feel that it is much later towards the completion of the turn.
November 28, 2016
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Leslie John
Chuck; I get your point about the right arm being the agent of making a full turn, however at the age of 83 I just cannot do what you are asking, so what is the important key; keeping my right arm straight just as long as the left will meet it without undue strain...or turn more deep by allowing an earlier fold of the R arm? Les
November 4, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Leslie john. You don't want to allow for too much flexion early of the trail arm. However, it will provide vertical motion for the swing. If you can keep it in the takeaway. Just make sure you allow it not to bend more than 90 degrees from there. Also, try the Winter Golf Training Program - Backswing Video. It might be easier for you.
November 5, 2016
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T David
I am continuing to work on my takeaway with the straight right arm. Is there a specific point that we can say where the right arm starts to fold? Or, is this a matter of each person is different and... just resist the sensation to let it fold for as long as possible?
October 18, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Dave. The folding of the trail arm is responsible for some of the vertical motion in the swing. Basically, if you have a really hard time folding it too early. Try to keep it straight. If you master not folding it early. It will roughly begin after belt height.
October 18, 2016
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Peter
Very Nice!!!! I am, as you well know, an old f--t, with neuropathic balance problems, and a spine that has long since lost its joint spaces. Seven a.m. tee times are a thing of the past. It's ten-thirty, and I'm just now able to get a seventy degree shoulder turn. But your suggestion that a straight right arm serves as piston to push the shoulders further is so cool!!! I'd add a cautionary word that might be worth mentioning to us old guys. Nearly fifty years ov leaning over patients' beds (or sitting at a desk) has convinced my muscles that I must reach for the ball by drooping my shoulders. Not only does that limit my turn, but it negates a critically important bony fulcrum. The back is rounded at the top, and the shoulders are out of their normal anatomic position. Result? MAJOR loss of distance and consistency. Likely you see this all the time. But putting stuff into words, which are transferrable to mirror-observation & muscle memory changes, is predicated on recognizing when it ain't right! I can't feel the corrective un-and re-training that's needed for real improvement unless I'm made aware of the fact that what feels natur*Ial is STOOPID! pk
September 11, 2016
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Thanks for the great note as always PK! Hope things are going awesome for you.
September 12, 2016
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Michael
Chris, Thanks for review. I will be joining your unlimited swing group. I just need 2 weeks before I can action. Hope that's OK. Kind regards. Michael.
September 8, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Michael. I'm sure it will be fine. Good luck working with Chris on your swing!
September 9, 2016
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Gareth
Is keeping the right arm straight only a feel for full swing or short game also?
September 2, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gareth. There aren't many shots that folding the trail arm early would be a good thing. You still will want to shy away from early trail arm flexion.
September 4, 2016
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Joseph
Hello I've noticed through some video reviews and working on not bending that right arm too soon, I have a tendency to dip my left shoulder in towards the ball any thoughts to work on this?
August 31, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Joseph. The shoulders need to rotate around the spine properly. Make sure you aren't pushing the lead shoulder down and you are pulling with the trail shoulder (Body Rotation in Golf Backswing Video). There will be some tilt, but not excessive.
August 31, 2016
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Joshua
Hello I definitely have too much right arm folding and the club is getting way too deep. But on my last swing review I was to work on getting the club much higher bUT that was done primarily with right elbow flexion? Does the elbow flexion just need to occur much later?
July 28, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Joshua. You need trail arm flexion to create vertical motion, but you also need elevation. You might be adding the fold too soon. Take a look at the Pool Noodle Video to see or help you with the blend.
July 28, 2016
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John
Been no mention of keeping a straight left arm as part of the process. I understand that keeping the right straight and keeping it from flying at the top and maintaining contact with the right oblique. Right now I'm slightly over swinging because of a small bend in the left at the top. I'm thinking keeping a straight left arm will cure this and promote better lag action in the downswing.
June 18, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello John. If the trail arm doesn't bend more than 90 degrees the lead arm will stay straight. You can have a soft lead arm, but you don't want it bending too much.
June 19, 2016
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Les
After you complete the weight shift to the right, isn't the next step using the left arm? Won't trying to keep the right arm extremely straight force more tension into my right arm/shoulder? So should a person focus on their right arm or left arm during the backswing?
June 5, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Les. Both arms have a job to do in the swing. You should focus on the trail side when taking the club back, but not inhibit what the lead arm needs to do. This drill is for players that really fold the trail arm too soon and have to exaggerate at first to calm it down. Ideally, you don't want to lock the trail arm and allow it to fold properly once takeaway is completed (3 Functions of the Right Arm).
June 5, 2016
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Les
So we should try to keep it extended through the takeaway and as we add our shoulder elevation we start letting the right arm fold naturally. Is that correct?
June 5, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Les. Yes. Straight in the takeaway. As you start adding elevation allow for the club to work up with proper folding of the trail arm. Some players already do too much folding. Therefore, need the above drill to help them get over the hump.
June 6, 2016
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Bob
Hi, I find it difficult to achieve a straight up (perpendicular) right forearm position at the top of the back swing. my forearm is more inline with my spine angle. Is this acceptable or is it due to an incorrect shoulder turn.
March 28, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Bob. Sounds like you lack a little external humeral rotation. Take a look at the 3 Functions of the Right Arm and the Fix the Flying Elbow.
March 28, 2016
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bryan
Please let me know if this makes sense. I am pretty sure I have the opposite problem here as I have never thought about folding the right arm. When I look at my swing from face on I have the position that Chuck shows of the very slight right arm bend. I recently got measured and have 124 degrees of shoulder rotation but also 66 degrees of hip rotation. Too much all around. My right arm tends to fly away from my body because I over rotate and just keep the right arm basically straight the whole time. It can't stay in front of my body when I rotate this much. After I saw my number I knew I needed to turn it down. Since I never fold my right arm consciously, at first I have been trying to link my arms more with my rotation where I simply rotate as much as possible without moving my hips and without thinking of lifting my arms. It feels like I am somewhere between a half and three quarter shot but the top looks good. My hands are a little higher than what tiger woods' look like at the top when I do this and right on plane. When I allow the right arm to fold, I get into a higher position that feels much more powerful.
March 14, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Bryan. The thinking is correct. Allow for rotation to move the arms and restrict from over rotation of the hips. However, you need to make sure the arms take care of the vertical motion. Understanding Shoulder Elevation, 4 Square Drill and 3 Functions of the Right Arm. As long as you don't allow the arm swing to get into the depth dimension you need to allow for right arm fold to help you stay in front and reach the proper position at the top.
March 14, 2016
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David
Hi Craig, This video seems to contradicts the two and a half inches shoulder turn Chuck talks about in the take away video ? Regards David
November 22, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello David. You still want to perform the 2 inch shoulder blade glide to complete the takeaway. This video/drill is to help players that really struggle folding the trail arm. Some players have to over exaggerate the feeling of keeping the trail arm straight to stop excessive flexion early. It is very hard for any player to actually keep the entire arm straight to the top.
November 23, 2015
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Ron
I am now doing good with keeping the right arm straight and keeping the elbow down on full swings. How does this apply to chipping and pitching around the green. I have an excellent short game but tend to fold the right elbow fairly quickly on the backswing when hitting chips or pitch shots around the green.
November 1, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Ron. You will still use the shoulder glide. But, the emphasis on chipping and pitching is for accuracy, not max power/width. The wrist will tend to set quicker and you don't need to worry about creating such a wide arc.
November 2, 2015
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Ron
When trying to get width by keeping the right arm straight my right elbow lifts up away from the torso. I can do one or the other but not both. Keeping the elbow pointing towards my hip at address helps but I still struggling with keeping the right elbow down while getting good width. Any ideas?
October 29, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Ron. At some point the trail arm has to fold. If you don't allow it too the arms will start to lift to the top. Take a look at the Right Elbow Pit Video and combine with the 3 Functions of the Right Arm.
October 29, 2015
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Ron
Craig, thanks for the quick response. The videos helped clarify what I was doing wrong. I noticed after about an 80° shoulder rotation I was lifting my arms to get additional stretch which in turn caused my right elbow to lift and separate from the ideal position.
October 30, 2015
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Ray
This move ruined my entire summer. I'm still suffering from "tennis" elbow due to poor rotation of the right forearm. Hogan stated very clearly that the elbow should always point to the ground making this move nearly impossible. Please clarify.
July 28, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Ray. This drill is designed for the player that constantly over folds the trail arm without awareness. In an effort, to show the difference between feel and real. No matter how much someone thinks they aren't folding the arm. It typically will still bend. I agree that the elbow needs to stay pointed down in the backswing and that there is trail forearm rotation. In the 3 Functions of the Right Arm in the Advanced Backswing Section. When Chris guides you through the trail arm procedures. You will notice after elevation. When flexion and external humeral rotation are added the trail forearm will have some added forearm rotation. I apologize about the Tennis Elbow. We continue to strive and make sure 100% of our information is solely based on bio-mechanics and how the body should effectively and safely move the club.
July 28, 2015
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James
pls explain the interaction of keeping the right arm straight going back and set the plane by folding the right arm. When is "straight right arm" done and "right arm setting the plane" begin?
July 8, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello James. This drill is designed for the player that overly adds flexion going back. It is really difficult to actually maintain it all the way straight. Therefore, the feeling of the right arm staying straight still leads to some natural bending. The right arm will start to fold after the takeaway while adding elevation. REF (Rotation - Elevation - Flexion)
July 8, 2015
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Kyle
I can keep my right arm straight in the takeaway, but when I see tour players swing, they also keep their left arm completely straight all the way through the backswing. How important is that? I can't seem to do it. My left arm bends at the elbow at some point about 3/4 of the way through the backswing. I assume that it is a muscle flexibility issue - but I am not sure which muscle is tight that would cause me not to be able to keep my left arm straight. Any thoughts on the subject? Any particular stretches or strengthening exercise I need to do?
June 22, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Kyle. If you are folding your trail arm more than 90 degrees it would be really hard for the lead arm to bend. And/or if you aren't allowing for any wrist set. Make sure the trail arm bends less than 90 degrees and you have a little wrist set. No problem with a soft left arm just not overly bent. Take a look at the Using the Wrist Effectively and Efficiently in the Introduction Advanced Section and the 3 Functions of the Right Arm in the Advanced Backswing. Blend the 2 together.
June 22, 2015
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JD
Hey guys. I'm working hard 5 minutes to the perfect backswing, and the right arm drill. After working on this video and feeling like I'm keeping the right arm straight, my takeaway is looking really on plane (elbow plane), but from there to the top, it is still getting under the plane, and then laid off at the top. It seems like the shaft needs to be more vertical, but I'm trying not to bend the right arm, or hinge the wrists too early. How do I get the club up on plane while feeling like the right arm stays straight (as Chuck recommends), and the wrists don't hinge too early? Thanks.
June 16, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Jd. You need gradual wrist set, but not a max set straight off the ball. Allow for gradual wrist set and check your lead arm rotation. The lead arm should only have a lot of rotation when the trail arm starts to fold. Make sure you aren't adding too much manual rotation. Take a look at the Checkpoints Video in this Section. Watch how the lead arm only rotates as a function of folding the trail arm. Also, the Using the Wrist Efficiently Video in the Advanced Introduction Section to help with wrist set.
June 16, 2015
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Sean
Should we try to keep the right arm straight even when hitting half to 3/4 quarter shots? I find that it is easier for me to focus on keeping the right arm straight when making a full swing but it feels difficult to maintain a straight right arm when making an abbreviated swing on shorter shots.
June 3, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Sean. When hitting half shots the right arm shouldn't have to bend, but 3/4 you will need a little flexion to give you some vertical motion.
June 3, 2015
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Ron
Best Video I've seen. I put 10 mph on my swing speed in three days and I'm hitting a lot straighter too. Thanks.
May 21, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Ron. Awesome! Keep it up.
May 21, 2015
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Nguyen
Hi In the backswing do we need to deliberately further external rotate the right arm to the maximum possible level, or the initial external rotate of right arm at setup is enough and we just need to keep that level of external rotation during the entire swing?
April 21, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Nguyen. You don't want to force the issue and stress the scapula. But, there will be added external humeral rotation that isn't there in the setup.
April 21, 2015
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John
My problem is not that I don't do a full turn. At the top of my backswing, my trailing shoulder is definitely getting behind my head. However, I also stand up (or lift my head) at the top of the back swing which changes my spine angle. I have a very difficult time not doing this. It's as if my left shoulder is pushing my head further to the right and up. My takeaway does involve quite a bit of early flexion and I take the club very much inside, very early on. In my latest swing review, the instructor mentioned that this drill would help me with standing up and taking the club too far inside. What I'm trying to better understand is Chuck sais early flexion causes a lack of a full turn. But I feel I'm turning too much...
February 10, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello John. The lead shoulder will protract a little to help with a full shoulder turn. Check a few things for me. That you aren't elevating beyond the base of the pectorals. 5 Minutes to the Perfect Backswing and Checkpoints Video in the Backswing Section. Also, that you don't lose your knee anchor. Maintaining Knee Anchor Video in the Backswing Section. Too much elevation and loss of knee flexion can lead to standing up.
February 17, 2015
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Dan
Good video. It def makes sense to me to keep the right arm straight for as long as possible and I def feel the piston effect. That being said when should the wrist cock begin in combination with the straight right arm? Thx
January 22, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Dan, It happens gradually from the end of the takeaway all the way into the transition into the downswing. R.J.
January 22, 2015
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Darren
I have been doing right arm elevation flexion preset drill which aim struggling with using a club creating flying elbow is this video more appropriate as tried both they seem contradictory to each other??? Confused.
January 3, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Darren. Some players start to add flexion immediately off the ball and rarely feel what it is like to have the trail arm straight in the swing. This is for the player that can't seem to feel the arm fold too early and need to understand the "piston effect" on the trail shoulder to the top. You do need flexion at the top of the backswing. It's nearly impossible to achieve a completed swing with the trail arm never folding. With your flying trail arm issue. Stay focused with attaining no more elevation than base of the pec, flexion not beyond 90 degrees, and a touch of external humeral rotation (3 Functions of the Right Arm - Advanced Backswing Section.)
January 3, 2015
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Jim
What has been hard for me to break is moving my body with my leg shift from left to right where my right leg straightens and the was giving me the false impression I had actually turned at my waist. Does that make sense? With practicing the drills, I am getting better at controlling this, but I am wondering if you might have any hints for me to help me stop making too much of a leg body turn.
December 21, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Jim. Use the Golf Body Rotation Video in the Advanced Backswing Section to learn separation between the upper and lower half. Also, the Weight Shift Video Part 2 will help teach you the proper pivot into the right glute.
December 21, 2014
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Jim
So when I do this, keep my right are straight, I feel like a lot of torch but it seems tight at the top, should I feel this because its new or am i perhaps doing this wrong.
December 15, 2014
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Jim, You should feel a good stretch in your obliques and loading in your glutes. Aside from that, if you have any tension, it could be from trying to do a new movement. If you are getting tension other than the obliques and glutes, maybe even a little in the lats, take a step back, shake it off and try to relax your muscles as much as possible. There is a great video on the site that discusses proper muscle activation. Check that one out to learn more. Good luck on your improvement and we will always be here to assist you! R.J.
December 15, 2014
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Adam
In my backswing when I try to keep both arms as straight as possible, at some point I have to say "Okay, now the right arm can bend." How do you suggest training this---and how do you do it in an actual swing? Also, when I do this fairly slow but all the way to the top, at the top of the swing my right elbow is at about a 120 degree angle.
November 20, 2014
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Adam, Your right elbow should never flex more than 90 degrees. If it does, it shuts down your ability to rotate the shoulders and allows a flying elbow. The right arm begins to fold upwards when the the arms elevate to the bottom of the pectoral muscle. R.J.
November 20, 2014
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Adam
Correction: My right arm bends 30-50 degrees to make my elbow angle 130-150 degrees. It never even comes close to 90 degrees----although that might be because the clubshaft is a bit short of parallel to the ground. I can see how if the swing continued, the elbow might reach 90 degrees. I have a problem with feeling how to move from the takeaway to the backswing. It seems like it is "keep pulling with the right shoulder blade (or turning with a straight right arm), then give some shoulder elevation and at the very end allow your right arm to bend."
November 22, 2014
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Yeah, once you complete your takeaway, the arms start coming straight up at that point and the body rotates a little bit to finish off the 90 degrees of shoulder turn. Then you fold the right elbow straight up, which pulls the left arm across the body. R.J.
November 22, 2014
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Edmund
My back swing/rotation has been criticised as having a ''flying" right elbow and that my upper arm should not be fully separated from the torso at the end of the back movement. The only way I can do that whilst keeping the left arm in is to force a much greater upper body rotation with a result of loss of torque between trunk and hips and reduced control. I have a 56 inch chest and short arms, so I cannot keep both arms straight across the chest. Is there really anything wrong with a flying right elbow?
November 12, 2014
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Edmund, I am certain that there is something else that's keeping your body from rotating properly other than having your hands in the correct position at the top. It's also altogether possible that your flying elbow is caused by too much right arm flexion at the top of your swing. I had an issue with this myself. It took me awhile to realize it on video. Straighten your arm out in front of you and try to "fly your elbow". It can't be done. But if you flex your arm up as much as possible and try to "fly your elbow", it's extremely simple. Check out and practice these videos for me and you should be able to produce the swing properly when it comes to your elbow. http://www.rotaryswing.com/videos/full-swing-advanced/setup/right-elbow-pit http://www.rotaryswing.com/videos/full-swing-basics/backswing/5-minutes-to-the-perfect-backswing http://www.rotaryswing.com/videos/full-swing-advanced/backswing/keep-the-right-arm-straight-to-turn Check out your face on view in video, if your right elbow is showing on the left side of your body, peeking out below your left arm, then your arm is folded too much, and that is causing you issues. R.J.
November 12, 2014
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TOM
I'm in my late 60's. Due to my lack of flexibility, using the right shoulder blade glide movement with shoulder elevation allows me to keep my left arm straighter. At what point in the takeaway should flexion of my right arm occur due to my lack of a younger person flexibility? Your videos have provided excellent instructions. I'm hitting the ball longer with more consistency overall
November 11, 2014
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Tom, Once your arms are elevated to the height of the sternum or the bottom of the pectoral muscle, then your right arm can flex up to the top of the backswing. Take a look at this video and it may help you prioritize your swing going forward http://www.rotaryswing.com/videos/full-swing-advanced/introduction/how-to-maintain-club-head-speed-as-you-get-older R.J.
November 12, 2014
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Catherine
One teacher I went to lately did tell me I needed to get my right arm higher and away from my body. Whenever I tried practicing it though, I shanked the balls. This was especially true for the irons.
October 3, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Catherine. Without seeing your swig it would be tough to diagnose. You might be lifting them too much and getting them out of sync with your turn. Feel free to upload a swing to our online review system. We would be happy to take a look.
October 3, 2014
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Troy
At the half way back position when the wrists start to cock and form the letter L, my right elbow tends to be visable and showing underneath the left arm. I've watched a number of other videos on the site and noticed you can never see anyone else's right elbow underneath the left during the backswing. Do I need to work on keeping the right arm straighter to the turn or another drill? Thanks
September 24, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Troy. It could be a right arm straight issue. However, check and make sure you aren't over rotating the arms going back and dumping the right arm/club behind you.
September 25, 2014
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claudio
I find impossible to keep my left arm straigth at the top. I have tried all the drills but it looks there is something wrong with my sequence. I think my problems is a combination of lack of flexibility and improper sequence for cocking the wrist, taking the arms to the top and turning my torso. Is there a drill to help to sequence the movements and avoid collapsing the arms at the top? Thanks.
September 21, 2014
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james (Certified RST Instructor)
Hi Claudio, Make sure you work through the 5 minutes to the perfect backswing which will help you to learn the proper elevation and flexion in the backswing.. If you are cocking the wrists make sure you are only setting the wrists at the completion of the takeaway to get the club to parallel, we don't need any more wrist cocking motion than this.. too much will cause your left arm to breakdown.
September 21, 2014
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Charlie
Hi - I have a hard time reconciling this video with the Right Arm Drill video. This video says the feeling for the right arm is that it never folds; the other video says the feeling should be the right arm folded and tucked into chest with the lats engaged. Which is it? Thanks. Charlie.
September 7, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Charlie. Most players over do the fold in the right arm. It is nearly impossible to keep your right arm completely straight to the top of the backswing. The feeling of never folding helps players keep the shoulder blade engaged and use proper rotation to the top, instead of only arm swing. There will be roughly about 80 to 90 degrees of flexion in the right arm. To understand more about the right arm. Take a look at the 3 Functions of the Right Arm in this Section.
September 7, 2014
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Gabriel
Am thinking of the backswing in the following order now: turn/right shoukder glide, then as turn is almost completed,right arm starts elevation and eventually some elbow hinging. I find that order easier to assimilate although am sure pieces start happening at the same time. My question: in my practice drill w/o the club, my lead shoulder is now slightly below the chin (possibly because of keeping right arm straight). Is that ok? Perhaps in the real swing, the momentum will bring it further up
August 25, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gabriel. There will be some tilt in the shoulders and the top. If the lead shoulder is working down too much make sure you aren't losing your axis tilt. Take a look at the RST Necktie Drill in the Advanced Backswing Section. Make sure you are maintaining axis tilt and rotating versus tilting.
August 25, 2014
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Mike
Where does right arm flexion "fit in" on this drill/swing? When I try this, my left wrist is really cupped.
August 22, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Mike. The right arm folds late in the swing. It's nearly impossible to not fold towards the top, even as hard as you try to keep straight. If your left is really cupped. You aren't allowing the face to naturally rotate. Take a look at the Using the Wrist Efficiently Video in the Advanced Introduction Section.
August 22, 2014
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Brendan
Hi, Ive really struggled with bending the right arm on my takeaway. Im working on keeping the right arm straight and seeing some results. In the video Chuck talks about the straight right arm acting like a piston in causing the shoulders to turn sufficiently. My question is if I pretty much solely concentrated on keeping the right arm straight as my swing key for the takeaway - would my hands remain in a the correct neutral position in front of my sternum?
August 7, 2014
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Patrick (Certified RST Instructor)
Hi Brendan, Yes. Follow this drill without at club: 1. Get into your golf posture 2. Place hands 1" inch apart, palms facing each other 3. Practice the take away (keeping right arm straight and right elbow "pit" facing up) 4. When your hands reach just about pocket height, check for the following: - shoulders have turned 45 deg - the hands are even with each other and there is still a 1" gap between them - right arm is straight - hands are in front of sternum. Note: The hands will not be PERFECTLY in front of the sternum. Rather, they will be just to the right of the sternum from your vantage point, a little closer to being in line with the right pectoral muscle.
August 7, 2014
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Troy
Hello, What does it mean when your head moves closer to the ball on the golf swing takeaway / backswing? I have tried a number of things and nothing seems to work. The head moves about 4 inches closer to the ball every time and then move back away from the ball during the downswing to compensate. Is there a drill / fix I can use? Thanks Troy
July 17, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Troy. Sorry to hear you are still struggling with the head movement. The only way the head can move forward is a shifting of balance to the front and pushing from the left. Keep the weight in the glutes. Make sure you pull vs push. Take a look at the Pull vs Push Video in the Introduction Section. You will see the head move when done incorrectly. Make sure you aren't shoulder tilting versus shoulder turning. Use the Bucket Drill in the Takeaway Section to keep that right shoulder down. Not too steep. Have you uploaded a swing for review? We would be happy to take a look!
July 17, 2014
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Troy
Thanks Craig, I'll look back over those videos. Yes I have uploaded my swing for review. Aaron didn't feel it was that much of an issue but I feel it is holding me back as my balance is not stable throughout my golf swing. Cheers
July 17, 2014
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lee
Prior to RST, When i tried to "get width" i would feel like i pulled myself out of my stance (too much movement and weight shift) -which i probably did as i did not know about - setting into the glut and shoulder blade glide to power the turn. i knew that i was suppose to keep the left arm straight but that was impossible considering the flaws i had in take-a-way and back swing. After months of watching and re-watching videos and having frequent 1/2 -3/4 swing sessions, i am seeing very positive results. I still have a long way to go, as creating proper muscle memory is a challenging process. i have opted to focus on my swing even when i play, i juggle several of 6 key swing thoughts with every shot. i look forward to the day that i can just see the target and hit the shot, but for now I'm in my head on every shot. When i started with RST my handicap was a 4 and it crept to a 8- would have went higher but i have a solid around the green game, now my handicap is a 3 while enduring a prolonged putting slump. During a round i make 4-6 of my "A" swings and that number is slowly increasing. Distance control is inconsistent as my "A" swing is usually 1/2-3/4 clubs long,but that is fine with me. i still have a long way to go- as there are areas of my swing that need a lot of improvement. I love the process and feel very fortunate to have found my way to RST.
May 29, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Lee, nice to hear you are enjoying the process. Understanding that it takes time to learn the new motor patterns is a key. You will get there! keep up the good work. We appreciate that you chose us to help you with your game!
May 29, 2014
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michael
Steve, can you please tell me which video Chuck refers to when he talks about the right elbow pit at the start of this video.
May 21, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Check out the Right Elbow Pit Video in the Full Swing Program Advanced Setup Section.
May 21, 2014
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michael
Role of the right arm - takeaway. Creating a swing plane. Keep the right arm straight to turn. Slightly confused as to when my right arm should fold . Many thanks, Mike.
May 19, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
The right arm will flex after the takeaway is complete and you move into the backswing. This video is designed for those that start the club back with the hands and the arms which shuts down the rotation.
May 20, 2014
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Stevie
So simple but so effective. The right elbow pit is so important but rarely discussed. Thankyou for changing my swing
May 18, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Thanks Steve. We are glad the focus on the right elbow pit is helping your swing!
May 18, 2014
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karl
So, Chris, I am a little confused, similar to Greg...I still cannot figure out just exactly when the right arm should start hinging and should it, at the top of the seing, be connected to the peck as per the right arm drill video or not..
April 24, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Karl, sorry for your confusion on this. Right arm flexion will ALWAYS happen directly after a fully completed takeaway. The top of the bicep (very top) does need to be touching the very top of the chest at the top of the swing. This video is a addressing a very common swing fault for our student base and that being the right arm collapsing (breaking) very quickly in the takeaway, which is generally caused by pushing the club back with the lead arm, and now you are creating momentum in the club head, signaling the arms to become the primary power source which generally keeps the student from completing a turn. This is a drill to correct a fault and give players the correct feeling of staying wide while rotating and is not an actual RST fundamental.
April 25, 2014
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greg
Asking this question again. Please reply. Thanks! Chuck: Aaron Mannes recommended I Work on this drill to keep my arms extended in the backswing. When I do this, though, I don't turn. What I'm trying now is to push outward on my left arm with the #1 Pressure point (Palm of right hand against left thumb, & simultaneously use the right shoulder glide. Am I on the right track? Can I use the right shoulder glide to start my swing on all shots, including chips, bunker shots, & Pitch shots? Thanks!
April 22, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Yes that is absolutely how all swings should start. The glide is creating rotation in the shoulders which is moving the arms. The arms should remain passive and have a slight amount of elevation. There are some slight variations to the movements in specialty shots with the wrists and arms and if there is a change for a particular shot, then we outline it in the video.
April 22, 2014
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greg
Chuck: Aaron Mannes recommended I Work on this drill to keep my arms extended in the backswing. When I do this, though, I don't turn. What I'm trying now is to push outward on my left arm with the #1 Pressure point (Palm of right hand against left thumb, & simultaneously use the right shoulder glide. Am I on the right track? Can I use the right shoulder glide to start my swing on all shots, including chips, bunker shots, & Pitch shots? Thanks!
April 22, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Greg, sorry for the delay in response. I answered your question above. We are doing our best to answer the questions in the most timely of manners and sometimes response may take a short bit based on current instructional situations. Please bare with us as I am currently the only one to have access to the comments until we have some notification stuff sorted out on our end.
April 22, 2014
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greg
Thanks for the update & info, Chris! You're "Awesome"!
April 23, 2014
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Howard
In the right arm drill you state the the right bicep is positioned against the right peck to set the club on plain and keep turn to complete the back swing.I"n the keep the right arm straight" video you present the concept of keeping the right arm straight, if you do this it disconnects the right arm from the peck ? Which is it?
April 16, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Howard, this drill is geared for those players that break the right arm early on which in turn creates momentum in the club head and promotes the arms to do most of the work which also shuts down the rotation of the shoulders.
April 21, 2014

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