Whether you are an avid golfer or just learning the game, the fundamentals of golf — grip, posture, stance, aim and alignment — are at the forefront in creating a repeatable, effective and efficient golf swing.
However, in learning about all of those important components, we sometimes forget the movement itself should be fluid. Once there is a proper hand-to-club connection, it’s all about freeing up your arms. Having stiff and contrived arms doesn’t allow the club to release properly and makes it more challenging to create speed. Clubhead speed is one of the key components that will help us hit the ball farther … and we all want to hit it farther!
So how do we free up our arms to release the club better? It’s important to recognize that your wrists and elbows play a huge role in consistently hitting the ball well. So it’s therefore very important to keep everything — hands, arms and elbows — soft and relaxed throughout the golf swing.
Once you have created a solid hand-to-grip connection, imagine your arms now being an extension of the golf club. Your wrists and elbows can relax. Using your arms to initiate the backswing, as you swing the club back, allow your wrists and elbows to soften and hinge.
On the backswing, you should strive to feel the club get light sooner and not feel so heavy.
Allowing the right elbow to hinge (for a right-handed player) will allow the club to open on the backswing, move more efficiently and help facilitate a more solid golf shot.
In addition, the better your arms move, the better the lower body will match up and move more dynamically, allowing you to square the clubface up well at impact.
A simple towel drill can be helpful in a number of ways, and I like to use it to help students learn to swing their arms more efficiently without having to think too hard about it.
-Tee up a golf ball or even just begin by using the tee as a target. In fact, using a tee is super smart when training, as it builds confidence and allows you to commit to what you are trying to work on with little fear.
-Next, grab your golf towel or a hand towel and place it under your armpits on top of your chest (see photo at right).
-Place your feet together, get into a good iron posture with the ball (or tee) position in the middle of your stance (belt buckle or belly button). Nose should be directly on top of ball. Now, with a higher-lofted iron, like a 7 or 8-iron, simply swing your arms back, down and through the ball without moving your legs or hips and maintaining your nose on the ball as long as possible. Oh, and don’t forget … try not to drop the towel!
This drill helps facilitate a hinge on the backswing and hinge on the follow by creating a more solid release pattern with your arms.
If you do this drill correctly, you will hit baby draws off the tee, as the job of the arms is to close the club face. The good news is as soon as you open your stance and turn all the way through to deliver the club, that will square your club face and the ball will go straighter!
Gia Liwski is an LPGA Professional with over 20 years of teaching experience and is the founder of “Golf Experiences for Her“.
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