Limit Forearm Rotation
Any type of arm rotation introduced into your backswing will have to be corrected later in your downswing. Adding rotating arms to your swinging body can be dangerous. Inconsistent strikes and extreme curvature are guaranteed. At address, your clubface is pointing at the target. Develop a feeling that it maintains that position, rather than immediately giving that position away to begin the swing. See it like hitting a tree with an axe. Hold and swing the square clubface, with a minimum of clubface rotation. Driving, putting and short wedges will be greatly enhanced, along with the other areas of your game.
Left arm- Typically your left arm (or lead arm) is responsible for the positioning of the club at the top of the backswing. I believe that we should feel as if we are pitching a ball, laying in the palm of our hand, softly toward the ceiling. This movement is very natural when there is no club in our hand.
We learn to employ our left shoulder and whole left side into the movement of the backswing. We feel like our left side moves under our spine to elevate the club. This “whole body” participation brings about the best timing and feeling for where the club is at all points of our golf swing. We set the tone, through our backswing, for the rest of our relaxed, powerful swing action
Hold the club in only our left hand. Lay an alignment rod parallel to our stance to signify the target line. Practice raising the club up to the top and then slowly bringing the clubface back to impact. Tap the alignment rod and repeat the process. We are trying to feel the stable clubface and how it can remain in optimum position from start to finish.
The position of our right arm, at the top of our backswing, shold be very close to what we see at impact.
That said, right forearm rotation is one of the most common swing flaws in our downswing. This is a result of a position adopted, while raising the club, that is not desirable at impact.
High level golfers strike solid shots with a bent right arm that shows little or no rotation. There is no early extension of the clubhead in a striking motion toward the ball.
As is true in our backswing, we must use our whole right side moving into the followthrough. This full participation allows us to achieve our release goals and see our exit window. Ball control is about what happens just before, during and just after impact.
Grip- Placement of our hands on the club is the first area of what could be a dominoe affect throughout our golfswing.
If you have a WEAK GRIP, with your hands rotated well to the left on the club, you will likely use a lot of left forearm rotation (clockwise)to get that arm in strong enough position to raise the club. At the same time, you will be opening the face drastically and setting the stage for a big over the top move on the downswing.
With a strong grip, we could be inclined to begin the swing with a clockwise spin of the handle. The clubhead will move much farther than the handle. The clubhead will quickly be behind our hands, when viewed from down the line.
Again, this will guarantee a move to re-position the clubhead.
There are many tour pros who use strong or weak grips and have a high level of success. They know exactly how to govern the clubface and what forearm rotation will mean to the likelihood of a consistent shot pattern.
Shoulder Plane- Our shoulder plane influences our arm swing. If our shoulders rotate too level, parallel with the ground, then the club will not rise enough during the backswing. This will not allow us to feel and use gravity to lead the fall of the club to impact. When off plane, we must use our strength and hand-eye coordination to make impact.
On short pitching, it is imperative to get the shaft in position immediately.
The ball lays on the ground, so we have to tilt our shoulders so that they can match the low point of the swing with our ball position. Also, the path of the swing is created through the MAINTAINED tilt of our rotating shoulders.
Foot positioning- The way we position our feet on the ground enables our hips to fully rotate. We gain a great deal of consistency in our arm movements through our body. We must relax our arms to use gravity and create a heavy hit.
A full hip turn in the backswing will promote a natural momentum and give us the effortless power we all search for. Give your arms to your body.
Experiment with the positions of your feet and learn the difference in the way it makes your swing feel. Notice what it does to your shot pattern and curvature of the ball. Give it a full period of experimentation. Call it 100 full swings and shots. This experiment could bring light to many of your swing problems and open a door to future improvement.
Driving- I teach my players to feel a quiet handle through impact when driving. With the ball suspended in the air, I try to feel the sole of the club moving parallel with the ground and through the middle of the ball.
Our backswing sets the stage for a stable, repeatable release at impact. Straight driving will not allow an intricate flip of the club late in the downswing.
Teeing height also influences what we feel through impact. Be careful not to tee the ball too high, as we then must change our posture and manipulate the path of the clubhead to make solid contact.
We do not want to WORK the handle at impact, but instead HOLD A QUIET HANDLE THAT KEEPS THE FACE STABLE.
Short wedges- No place is it more important to limit forearm rotation than short pitching. We do not have time, in such a short swing, to re-position any club that is moved into a poor position.
Also, any effort to put a poorly swing club back on path sacrifices touch. This hinders our ability to hit landing spots, control spin and trajectory, and touch the ground softly.
Right arm swings and left arm swings show us that matching our forearm with the shaft (straight line) gives us the best chance to make consistent contact.
Whichever hand you hold the club with, understand that the shoulder above that hand/arm must move forward to keep that arm moving with a minimum of rotation.
This is true when holding the club with both hands. Move your left shoulder fully and aggressively on the backswing and your left forearm will remain quiet.
On the downswing, your right knee, hip and shoulder all work above and below our right arm so that you can create a stable support for the clubface and control your golf ball with every club in the bag.
Michael Wolf, Certified Master Teaching Professional, has been playing golf for 46 years and teaching professionally for over 34 years. He has given over 30,000 golf lessons. Author of The Driven Golfer: Building Your Method For Scratch Golf. Harvey Penick Award Winner- 2016 (Top Instructor U.S./World Golf Teachers Federation)