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Soft Trail Arm Challenge


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Golfers do two things wrong with their trail arms in the backswing:

  • They keep the trail arm too straight for too long.
  • They bend the trail arm too quickly and "pick the club up" too abruptly.

Neither is great. The first leads to a collapse of the trail arm, often letting it bend beyond not only 90°, but beyond 100 or 110°. The latter often results in a diminished shoulder turn or pivot.

We see from a lot of the game's best that they turn their torsos about 75-80° by the time they get to A3. They do this while maintaining width, which means the trail arm generally has to start bending early, but bend at a fairly steady rate throughout the backswing. When golfers screw up in one of the two ways above, it's a rate issue: they bend too much too soon, or too little too late.

So I devised this challenge, because I'd like to challenge everyone to do this. It's not the type of thing I'm going to award a badge for, it's just something I think can help you understand how different feels can be for this type of thing. It's something I think can help you make a good full TURN while maintaining a bit more WIDTH in your swing.

Observe:

garcia_woods.jpgmcilroy_rahm.jpgspieth_thomas.jpgvandamme_kim.jpg

Note that Tour players, who often bend their trail arm less than 90° (i.e. and who often start with a 5° bend or so), are about halfway bent here, while also being about 75-90% hinged with their wrists. Why? It turns out that hinging the wrists - because your hands are separated on the club slightly - will bend the trail elbow a bit.

Of course, these numbers are not always true… but then again, I don't know if I'd really teach the swing on the left. Or the one on the right, though it worked a bit for him (maybe Freddie under-achieved, though?).

wie_couples.jpg

So, this in mind, here's the "challenge" I have for you.

  • Record a swing (doesn't have to be hitting a ball) from FO.
  • During the swing:
    • Feel a soft trail arm. No tension, really, except your normal grip pressure.
    • Feel as though you're using your torso/chest and not making but allowing the trail elbow to bend.
    • DO hinge the club up with your wrists, but keep the hands as WIDE away from you as they can be.
    • Coast to a stop after you've reached A3 (i.e. coast from A3 to A4 and then swing down).
  • Put the video here on TST in HD and post a screenshot in the post of your A4 (top of the backswing) as well.

In other words, make a WIDE backswing without actively trying to bend the trail elbow, but letting it happen with the wrist hinge and the momentum of the clubhead. Keep your hands far away from you. W-I-D-E. Hinge the club as seen above, but feel that the backswing is driven mostly through your chest and torso.

That's it.

I'll join in when I get the chance to record something. Probably tomorrow.


Oh, here's what you can earn by completing this challenge: a "like" from every other member who sees your post. That's right, let's get some of those heart badges going. I'll like every post with a video and a screenshot/picture, and everyone else, you have to "like" them, too.

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3 minutes ago, iacas said:

Good. Now next time at some speed, without the pause. 🙂 Like given.

Thanks and will do. Have been pausing to ensure I get full stretch to get hands away from me as much as possible. 

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1 hour ago, GolfLug said:

Thanks and will do. Have been pausing to ensure I get full stretch to get hands away from me as much as possible. 

You’re failing at the like rule. 🙂

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On 12/23/2020 at 4:51 PM, iacas said:

I'm calling it a challenge because I'd like to challenge everyone to do this, but it's not the type of thing I'm going to award a badge for, it's just something I think can help you understand how different feels can be for this type of thing.

We see from a lot of the game's best that they turn their torsos about 75-80% by the time they get to A3, and one of the ways to "shut down" your torso turning rates is to bend your trail elbow a lot or too soon. For example:

garcia_woods.jpgmcilroy_rahm.jpgspieth_thomas.jpgvandamme_kim.jpg

Of course, it's not always true… but then again, I don't know if I'd really teach the swing on the left anyway. Or the one on the right, though it worked a bit for him (maybe Freddie under-achieved, though?).

wie_couples.jpg

So, anyway, here's the "challenge" I have for you.

  • Record a swing (doesn't have to be hitting a ball) from FO.
  • During the swing:
    • Feel a soft trail arm. No tension, really, except your normal grip pressure.
    • Feel as though you're using your torso/chest and actively not bending the trail elbow.
    • You can hinge the club up, but keep the hands as WIDE apart from you as they can be.
    • Coast to a stop after you've reached A3 (i.e. coast from A3 to A4 and then swing down).
  • Put the video here on TST in HD and post a screenshot in the post of your A4 (top of the backswing) as well.

In other words, make a WIDE backswing without actively trying to bend the trail elbow. Feel as though you keep it "straight" - but let it be soft, not tense, because it's going to bend some. Keep the hands and the shaft far away from you. W-I-D-E. You can hinge the club up as seen above, but mostly use your torso to power the backswing.

That's it.

I'll join in when I get the chance to record something. Probably tomorrow.


Oh, here's what you can earn by completing this challenge: a "like" from every other member who sees your post. That's right, let's get some of those heart badges going. I'll like every post with a video and a screenshot/picture, and everyone else, you have to "like" them, too.

You lost me at “no badge”...  :-D

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2 hours ago, iacas said:

Yeah, Matt, you maybe could have started coasting a little earlier, maybe.

Yeah, it’s a good drill for me.  Anything I can do to practice the arms from over-swinging.    

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  • iacas changed the title to Soft Trail Arm Challenge

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