Amen Corner: Tight Elbows Will Make for a Comfy Swing

  • Golfers can avoid the dreaded chicken wing by keeping their elbows in proper position and working together through the swing.

Special to the Valley News
Thursday, June 14, 2018

Staying connected in the golf swing is when the arms and body are in sync and move together to improve the overall timing and path of the golf club and provide better ball striking and consistency.

Last week, we discussed the benefits of keeping the upper arms connected to your chest on the backswing, which allows the path of the golf club to move inside and naturally along the proper arc.

This week, let’s talk about the connection of our arms and elbows in the golf swing. Understanding the movement of your elbows and arms in the golf swing will improve the swing plane along which the club travels as well as improve your ball striking.

At the set-up, you want to position your elbows to help you lift the club and deliver it on the ideal swing plane. Imagine wearing a sweater with patches on the elbow pads. You want the patch on the lead elbow, or elbow closest to the target, pointing more down the target line than at your hip.

The trail elbow, or arm farthest way from the target, should be rotated so the patch of the sweater is pointing more or less at your right hip. This will allow the right arm to fold properly on the backswing and preventing flying elbow at the top of your backswing, which will immediately take your club off the proper swing plane.

During your backswing, downswing and follow-through, you want to feel your arms and elbows fairly close together.

If the space between your elbows increases on the backswing you’ll find yourself with a flying right elbow again and looking like a baseball player. This will cause the club to travel on a too steep of swing plane on its way down to the ball, causing lots of shots that slice.

At impact, you’re looking for your elbows to be closely in the position you had them at set-up, with both elbows shifted slightly forward toward the target. The majority of high handicappers should pay attention to their right elbow at impact. For most players, the right elbow has not caught up to the position at impact, which causes thin, fat and overall poor golf shots.

Through impact, you want to maintain the feeling of your elbows and arms close together and the elbow patch of your lead arm pointing back at your left hip. This will signal you have properly rotated the club face thru impact.

The most common error for golfers comes as the elbow patch of the lead arm continues to point at the target well after impact. This will result in the infamous chicken wing, causing a loss of power and leaving the club face open for shots to the right.

Give your game a nudge with your elbows. And for those who wonder how much is there to write about the golf swing, it’s endless — and writing about our elbows may just proven that.

Peter Harris is the director of Golf at the Fore-U Golf Center in West Lebanon. His column appears weekly in the Recreation page during the golf season.