Never Fail to Extend the Arms
Most golfers battle similar problems.They constantly top the ball or slice it to the right with the long clubs or pull it to the left with the short irons with very little distance. The excuses for these problems are usually the same.
Students will tell me such things as “they have alignment problems” or “they played baseball so they cannot play golf” or, my favorite, “they just can’t keep their head down”. You may have guessed that I am about to tell you that none of the above are relevant.
The most common issues faced by all golfers from professionals to beginners is failure to extend the arms. This does not mean at address, it means in the back swing and in the forward swing.
Imagine a hockey player taking a slap shot, a quarterback throwing a long pass, or a baeball player hitting a homerun. What do you think they have in common? The arms are fully extended to their target away from their body. The momentum of the arms extending propels the body forward causing the weight to shift. Most golfers do not extend their arms forward in the golf swing. They pull the club into the body causing the club to swing inside of the target line. Folks, this is the most common flaw in golf.
When the arms pull in towards the body it creates a train wreck. Your spine straightens which lifts your head – so you don’t look up. Your body cannot move forward because the inward pull of the arms is forcing your weight back and you lose your balance, or your lead leg may even have to step out. I never swung a baseball bat like that!
When a longer club is being used the arms pulling in will cause the clubhead not to close causing a slice and on a shorter club like a 9-iron it will have time to close creating a pull. Distance without extension is limiting your supply of power.
One of my favorite drills to combat this is my chair drill. I am going to place a chair to the right of my intended target line with the lef nearest me resting on the tanget line. I will now take my stance back far enough that I am going to have to reach a little to get my clubhead to the chair. Now taking a half swing in slow motion – we don’t want to damage the chair or our club – we are going to swing the club under the chair between the legs pointing the toe of the club towrds the target. If you are having a hard time with this, the toe of your club is not towards the target.
While holding this position take a look at what’s going on.Notice your arms are fully extended and your weight has moved to your front foot. In fact, the first few times you so this you may feel like you are going to fall forward because shifting your weight is a new experience for you. Also, your spine angle has remained constant for the simple fact that swinging your arms away from your body keeps your spine in position.
This new position will feel foreign to you, and that is okay because, quite frankly, it is new to you. You are now swinging the club to the right of your intended target which slings the club towards the target creating the proper path. Realize that by using your old swing would have resulted in missing the chair altogether, pulling the arms into the body swinging to the left of the chair.
To get a better understanding of how to implement this motion into your swing come see me while you are here. My clients return year after year, and ladies, the next time your husband tells your your looking up or to keep your head down, I’ll let you take it from there. Have a great vacation!