The Right Arm in Golf | The Role of the Right Arm in the Golf Takeaway
Online Golf Instruction By: Chuck Quinton, Master Instructor • FULL BIO •
In the last lesson we talked about the shoulder blade glide moving in toward center, toward your spine.
We explained how, if you keep everything connected, the shoulder blade glide gets everything moving correctly on plane and path without you having to control anything in the golf takeaway.
It's a very simple way to take the club back.
Now we're going to talk about the right arm in golf and how it causes one of the most common faults in that takeaway.
By far, the most common fault we see is the right arm starting to fold too early.
There are a lot of reasons for this, and we'll talk about some of them, but what we really want to do is focus on how to do it correctly.
Once you've set up to the ball and you start to take the club back, you need to understand that your hands are going to be about in the center of your chest. We call this "center line."
Think of your body in terms of two halves, upper and lower, and two sides, left and right. Like we do in the 4 Square Drill.
The center line is formed by your sternum in the front, or your spine in the back.
Try It Without the Club
Set the club aside for a minute. Get into setup position and hold your hands about two inches apart, on your center line, as shown in the first photo.
As you move through the takeaway, your hands should stay in the center of your chest.
If you let your left arm push across your body, you will start to see a big gap forming between your fingers.
Your left hand will fall short of your right because you've swung your left arm too far across your body.
Of course, once you're holding a golf club again the only way your hands are going to actually separate is if you either slide your right hand down the grip, which you're not going to do, or fold your right arm early.
If you find that you're folding the right arm in golf too early, it's highly likely that you're pushing your left arm across your chest, crossing the center line too early.
Pick the Club Back Up
Pick the club back up and set up so the club is at the center of your chest. Now just glide your right shoulder blade back.
When you look down the line at the conclusion of the golf takeaway, you should see that the club is still pretty much aligned with the center of your chest.
It may start to go back just a little bit, but that's OK.
That's what you want.
Of course, if you move your arms instead of doing the shoulder blade glide, you can move the club around plenty without turning.
The photo at left shows a takeaway with no turn at all.
If you just fold your right arm and cock your wrist, you can bring the club back easily enough, but you won't be loading into your big muscles, preparing for an effective golf swing.
Your goal is to use your big muscles, not just fling the club around with your arms.
It's very important that the right arm stay straight. You should feel that the upper bicep of your right arm remains connected to your upper chest the whole time. Don't let it swing out away from you and drift away.
Focus on Your Body, Not the Club
When you bend the right arm in golf too early, the club can start to get inside. You're going to stop turning because by the time you get to the top you're going to feel fully loaded even though you haven't turned your shoulders at all.
Obviously, if you want to turn your back to the target, you need to turn your back, not just move the club a certain way, so focus on that.
Focus on moving your body, not on moving the club.
Remember the first takeaway lesson; you need to move your body in the opposite direction as the club.
Make sure to practice keeping that right arm straight as long as you can in the backswing.
In fact, it should stay straight all the way up into Move 2, folding very late in the swing.
That's going to help you maintain width and keep the club from swinging around all over the place. The longer you can keep a straight right arm in golf, the better your golf takeaway is going to get.
Checkpoints for Practice
- Folding the right arm too soon is common fault at takeaway
- The most common cause of folding too soon is pushing from the left
- Folding too soon can keep you from rotating, taking your big muscles out of the golf swing
- Focus on turning your body correctly, not on where you're trying to place the club
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