Follow these 2 straightforward steps to find out your natural swing path

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Everyone has their own unique swing.

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GOLF Hall of Fame Teacher Mike Adams has been a pioneering voice in instruction for four decades. One of his most helpful lessons is rooted in an oft-asked question: How does arm length affect swing plane?

Based on years of research, Adams found that golfers whose forearms are shorter than their upper arms need to swing more around their body, getting the club shaft to a “flatter” position at the top of the backswing. Players with longer forearms should elevate the club in a more upright position. What’s your natural swing? Take the following test.


Hinge your right arm at the elbow, with your thumb in a hitchhiker’s position.


Look at your thumb relative to the top of your right shoulder. If it’s even or below your delt (1), you’re a candidate for a flatter backswing. If it’s hovering above (2), start experimenting with a steeper swing.

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Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Director of Game Improvement Content at GOLF Magazine and In his role he oversees all the brand’s service journalism spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University and in 2017 was named News Media Alliance’s “Rising Star.” His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.