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mikeparker

Left arm straight.

28 posts in this topic

Is this really crucial to a golf swing because i don't have my left arm straight... it's not really even close to being either.

I can lock my left arm out through the swing of course and it doesn't feel right and i seem to loose distance because i cant even come close to how far back i can when i don't lock my arm out. Will having my left arm straight help me in the long run.

Thanks,

Mike

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No, lots of good players don't keep it 100% straight. If you can achieve a flat left wrist at impact you're good.

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Is this really crucial to a golf swing because i don't have my left arm straight... it's not really even close to being either.

I can lock my left arm out through the swing of course and it doesn't feel right and i seem to loose distance because i cant even come close to how far back i can when i don't lock my arm out. Will having my left arm straight help me in the long run.

Thanks,

Mike

You may be focusing on the wrong arm (I am assuming you are RH).

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It's possible to have a good swing without it, but I have the flexibility to do it and get the club back as far as I need. It's something I ingrained early on and don't ever plan to change because of the stability it gives me. In fact, when I swing with a bent arm, it's a sign of the club being too long or heavy to swing in a controlled manner. I can get a lot of clubhead speed like this because it makes it a little easier to rotate insanely fast, but I have zero control.

If I had to teach someone to golf from square 1, I'd definitely get them started with a straight left arm unless they couldn't physically do it. If someone already bent it a little and could hit the ball okay I probably would look for other things to work on.

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Someone like Jordan Spieth can get away with a bent left arm but I'd say that by and large most pros and better players keep that am straight.
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Is this really crucial to a golf swing because i don't have my left arm straight... it's not really even close to being either.

I can lock my left arm out through the swing of course and it doesn't feel right and i seem to loose distance because i cant even come close to how far back i can when i don't lock my arm out. Will having my left arm straight help me in the long run.

Thanks,

Mike


Does it have to be 100% straight, no.  It can be beneficial to keep that radius more consistent though.  The concerning part for me in your post is when you said the word, "lock".  It's not that the arm is so tense that it won't bend, that sounds like injury waiting to happen.  Also, it sounds to me like you are referring to the back swing, is that correct?  If so, just because the club shaft isn't going to parallel or past parallel doesn't mean you aren't getting an adequate back swing to provide sufficient power.  Probably needs to be more pressure from the right hand into your left thumb through out the back swing (as demonstrated in the video above).  Post a picture or video if you have one.

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Something I learned long ago that may be helpful is to think about keeping your hands as far away from your head as possible which can help you keep a straighter left arm without introducing tension because your focus is on your hands instead of your arm. Take @sk golf 's advice before mine though because he is a world class teacher and I'm a hack. Just trying to be helpful ;-)
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As long as it isn't to overly bent, or that you are not bending it at the top of the backswing to gain extra distance then you should be fine. Like most golfers there is a wide variance in the degree of which the arm is bent.

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I like slight flex in my left elbow. The only time I think " straight" is for a punch shot and I like to imagine a straight line from the base of my left thumb to top of my left shoulder I like to flex my left elbow a lot like Ernie Els does in his preshot routine
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I'm very-not-an-expert, but if your left elbow is *significantly* bent on the backswing, that's probably a symptom, not a problem. So I'm not sure it's something you should focus on. Correcting the larger swing issue(s) may naturally straighten out your left arm. I had a total baseball swing with a major left elbow bend. The fix for me was "steady head" drills, not focusing on the elbow. When my head's still, a baseball swing feels unnatural, and to feel max backswing extension I actually stretch out my left arm (I don't "lock" it, but it is straight). One longer-run thought: it feels natural to have a flat left wrist at the top of my backswing when my left arm is straight, and it feels natural to have a flat left wrist at impact when I have it at the top of my backswing. That old baseball swing, flat left wrist at impact was nearly impossible. Anyway, I'm not qualified to diagnose anyone's swing flaws, probably not even my own. But if any of this resonates, skip the straight elbow drills and work on steady head drills. Swinging with your feet together is a good one. Now I just need to get more consistent.....
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If you do not overswing, then it should not be a problem keeping your left arm straight.

If your backswing stops the moment your shoulders stop turning then the left arm should be naturally straight.

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Is there any reason, other than a fundamental lack of flexibility, why the left arm should bend appreciably prior to impact?

I know I have never consciously pursued a bent left arm at the top of my backswing. I have also found it takes a ridiculous effort to keep it straight and hit shots with any sort of speed.

In my own case, I can see a longterm commitment to stretching having a greater effect than any longterm commitment to trying to change this part of my technique.

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I have also found it takes a ridiculous effort to keep it straight and hit shots with any sort of speed.

Just to clarify, you are referring to your own case, and not in general, correct? Many players including myself have no trouble creating speed and keep a straight left arm, but good core strength and proper grip, alignment and sequencing all make it easier.

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Just to clarify, you are referring to your own case, and not in general, correct? Many players including myself have no trouble creating speed and keep a straight left arm, but good core strength and proper grip, alignment and sequencing all make it easier.

Absolutely speaking from personal experience in terms of how much of an effort I need to make to keep my left arm straight through the top of backswing and transition. Obviously there are good player counter-examples - or at least players who I don't expect are having to fight to maintain the extension of their left elbow. Of the factors you mention though - I don't see my grip or alignment causing the problem. Core strength? I'm not sure I see the relevance - would you mind elaborating? I find it hard to see past lack of flexibility as the fundamental issue - I'd imagine mobility or freedom of movement is more influential on sequencing, rather than the other way round. But again, if you see things differently, I'd like to hear about it.

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You need a My Swing thread.-Simple as that. Nobody can really give you any answers without seeing. I let people bend their left elbow if they can do it and still hit the ball solidly.-Youre probably compensating for a smaller turn or somethin.
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Of the factors you mention though - I don't see my grip or alignment causing the problem. Core strength? I'm not sure I see the relevance - would you mind elaborating?

I find it hard to see past lack of flexibility as the fundamental issue - I'd imagine mobility or freedom of movement is more influential on sequencing, rather than the other way round. But again, if you see things differently, I'd like to hear about it.

The way I see it, bending the lead arm makes the club feel a bit lighter when it comes time to rotate the shoulders on the downswing. I either have to use my muscles and stay stable or my weight could be moved backwards away from the target as a result of moving the club quickly (You have to overcome the inertia of the club, and if you don't move it on plane you have to keep overcoming it which takes more effort). This can lead to a loss of the steady head or weight forward, which are very key in a proper swing. There are other compensations that might arise, such as making a steep swing to use gravity more, keeping the club closer to my body (which can be accomplished by bending the left arm as well), or casting the club.

Sort of like choking up, bending the arm requires less torque to be generated by the body and legs to get the club moving on the downswing. With the straight arm, I can't rotate quite as fast while keeping the club along for the ride as I would with no club, but if I build up speed using my hip and shoulder rotation and don't allow the club to throw me off balance by overswinging, I can use the left arm as a longer lever when it's straight (with the RH supporting) and keep my body and hands and arc more stable. If I'm using a club that's too heavy or long, for example, I may feel the need to break in the left arm because my core and legs have trouble rotating with the proper speed. Bending the arm would shorten the lever and make the club feel light but I would be compensating like crazy depending on the amount of bend. In the same way, someone with a poor core strength, range of motion or flexibility could find my clubs or even their own too heavy to swing at my speed.

As for the grip and alignment, if they're not right then you have to compensate because the club may feel heavy or off balance during the swing.

Again, I'm not necessarily saying you need to keep the arm totally straight either, but it's something to be aware of at least. I have had time to deal with many of the aforementioned compensations myself. I hope that clarified the point a bit, but believe me a My Swing thread is a good idea. I got a few useful crib notes from mine and I've been meaning to grab some new video. It can help you find one or two small tweaks you might not consider, mine certainly helped my consistency and helped me improve on my own.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mikeparker

Is this really crucial to a golf swing because i don't have my left arm straight... it's not really even close to being either.

I can lock my left arm out through the swing of course and it doesn't feel right and i seem to loose distance because i cant even come close to how far back i can when i don't lock my arm out. Will having my left arm straight help me in the long run.

Thanks,

Mike

You may be focusing on the wrong arm (I am assuming you are RH).

Interesting.

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I'm very-not-an-expert, but if your left elbow is *significantly* bent on the backswing, that's probably a symptom, not a problem. So I'm not sure it's something you should focus on.

You need a My Swing thread.-Simple as that.

Nobody can really give you any answers without seeing.

I let people bend their left elbow if they can do it and still hit the ball solidly.-Youre probably compensating for a smaller turn or somethin.

Agree very much with these two statements.  Most of the bent left arms I see are fixed when you clean up the pivot.  Even with a bent left arm a player can still achieve decent impact alignments.

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