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mnguy19

Swinging With the Body/Loose Arms and Wrists

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So recently I decided that I wanted to really focus in on why I was hitting the ball so short compared to all the guys at the range. I've noticed more and more that when I loosen up and relax (without trying to chop at the ball) I've been hitting it further and making better contact. I've started revamping my swing as now when I reach the top of my back swing, my main thought is loose arms and loose wrists. Once I let my wrists hinge I turn my arms off and cue my hips and lower body to start moving. When I have been able to swing with my body I've been hitting the ball further than I ever have by a mile. The problem that I've found is that it is ridiculously hard for me to keep my arms turned off because every time I crush one swinging the right way, I somehow start tensing up trying to hit the ball farther and then my good swing goes away. The nice thing about swinging the with the body is that now I understand all the talk about tempo and letting the club do the work. The problem however is getting my body to do what doesn't feel natural and get used to powering my swing from the ground up. 

I guess why I'm writing is because I was wondering what other people have done to make this transition easier. I'm sure a lot will come down to practice but I thought if anyone had any tricks or tips they've used to remind themselves to swing with the body it could be very helpful. For some reason at the range, at some point my brain stops believing that the easier, more effortless swing will won't work anymore and it becomes a struggle to loosen up and relax. Honestly, I'm not even as concerned about power, just some consistency with making good contact. Thanks guys.

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I like to keep the muscles contraction in my hand more "reactive" to CF than active . It's difficult I agree . I remind myself to start the takeaway with bigger muscles usually my trigger is the tilt the head , and sliding my club using my arms. If I really get out of synch and need to use my hand at start up I will grip only at the heel pad of my left hand and press the club down against the ground 

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7 hours ago, mnguy19 said:

So recently I decided that I wanted to really focus in on why I was hitting the ball so short compared to all the guys at the range. I've noticed more and more that when I loosen up and relax (without trying to chop at the ball) I've been hitting it further and making better contact. I've started revamping my swing as now when I reach the top of my back swing, my main thought is loose arms and loose wrists. Once I let my wrists hinge I turn my arms off and cue my hips and lower body to start moving. When I have been able to swing with my body I've been hitting the ball further than I ever have by a mile. The problem that I've found is that it is ridiculously hard for me to keep my arms turned off because every time I crush one swinging the right way, I somehow start tensing up trying to hit the ball farther and then my good swing goes away. The nice thing about swinging the with the body is that now I understand all the talk about tempo and letting the club do the work. The problem however is getting my body to do what doesn't feel natural and get used to powering my swing from the ground up. 

I guess why I'm writing is because I was wondering what other people have done to make this transition easier. I'm sure a lot will come down to practice but I thought if anyone had any tricks or tips they've used to remind themselves to swing with the body it could be very helpful. For some reason at the range, at some point my brain stops believing that the easier, more effortless swing will won't work anymore and it becomes a struggle to loosen up and relax. Honestly, I'm not even as concerned about power, just some consistency with making good contact. Thanks guys.

 

I've gone through the same issues.   I picked up all sorts of new distance (20-30 yards on my driver) by relaxing my hands and arms.   But then when I'm on the range, the better I hit it, the better I want to hit it, and then I start swinging harder, and that means my arms and hands have to tighten up to maintain control of the club, and then I hit it worse.   The reason I hit it worse is because tightening my hands and arms causes me to cast the club on the downswing and lose my lag and come over the top.    

I am finding that the key to maintaining relaxed hands and arms is at the top of the backswing, in the transition to the downswing.   At the very top, I try to feel very relaxed, don't yank on the club.   I saw Larry Nelson on TV and he said, "enjoy the transition," meaning, don't be in such a hurry to start the downswing.   So I consciously relax my hands at the top of the backswing, and then on the downswing, I sort of mentally aim my hands at a spot just in front of the ball, so I (try to) come down with a lot of lag, and I decelerate the handle in the same spot every time.  

There is no one way to hit the ball,  I see a lot of people who can hit the ball hard using power from their hands and arms.  I envy them.  My hands and arms are not strong enough to do that.   I have to turn and use centrifugal force to get club head speed.  

 

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Marty, that is exactly what happens to me. I get a little distance and suddenly I'm swing for the fences. You're thought about enjoying the transition is helpful though, I think we need little mantras like that to remember during the swing. My thought goes back to powerless arms. Sometimes I will even hold the club out in front of me and let it fall by letting my arms loosen up as a reminder that my power comes from the body, not so much my arms. 

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1 hour ago, mnguy19 said:

My thought goes back to powerless arms. Sometimes I will even hold the club out in front of me and let it fall by letting my arms loosen up as a reminder that my power comes from the body, not so much my arms.

Actually most of the power in a golf swing comes from the arms, and the best way to swing faster is to learn how to swing the arms faster.

@mnguy19 what you're describing is a feel and as we say around here, feel ain't real. It's more likely that when you feel like you're crushing it with your arms, your sequencing is off and you're reaching impact with less speed than you can generate (or you're mis-hitting it, not creating optimal launch conditions, etc.) There are a lot of reasons why you could be hitting it shorter with one swing thought vs another.

Describing a feel is perfectly fine, but there's a difference between what one feels like is happening and what is actually happening.

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That's part of what I'm describing, my arms swing faster because I'm not using the muscles in my arms to generate the speed. I let my arms/wrists stay loose so they whip faster through the ball, using my body turn as the source of my power. What I'm actually describing is not using my arm muscles to make my arms swing faster but using my body to make my arms swing faster. Is that what you're referring to? I have just never had any success trying to power my swing using my arm muscles, I'm just too tense. When I started loosening my arms and swinging with my body I started getting distance I've never seen before. 

Edited by mnguy19
Misspelled word

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3 minutes ago, mnguy19 said:

That's part of what I'm describing, my arms swing faster because I'm not using the muscles in my arms to generate the speed. I let me arms/wrists stay loose so they whip faster through the ball, using my body turn as the source of my power. What I'm actually describing is not using my arm muscles to make my arms swing faster but using my body to make my arms swing faster. Is that what you're referring to? I have just never had any success trying to power my swing using my arm muscles, I'm just too tense. When I started loosening my arms and swinging with my body I started getting distance I've never seen before. 

These are all your personal feels. There's might be something else going on in your swing, hard to tell for sure. You should start a swing thread.

Feels are pretty unique to each individual. For example, if I feel my arms stay loose and my body generates the power in the swing, I hit huge blocks and look like Jim Furyk at impact.

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24 minutes ago, mnguy19 said:

That's part of what I'm describing, my arms swing faster because I'm not using the muscles in my arms to generate the speed. I let my arms/wrists stay loose so they whip faster through the ball, using my body turn as the source of my power. What I'm actually describing is not using my arm muscles to make my arms swing faster but using my body to make my arms swing faster. Is that what you're referring to? I have just never had any success trying to power my swing using my arm muscles, I'm just too tense. When I started loosening my arms and swinging with my body I started getting distance I've never seen before. 

Arm speed is generated mostly by the core and shoulder muscles, that's why you feel like when you relax the arm muscles you can swing faster when the opposite could be true. This is one of many reasons it's so hard to make a good swing. Feel is not real. . .

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Just to clarify, are you saying that if I swung with my core and shoulders but still tried to engage my arm muscles I would hit it further yet? I always go back to the throwing motion for some reference personally.  The elbow and wrist are loose while the body creates the lag. I guess for me, I've had zero success when I "feel" like my arm muscles are the power source. Loosening up and using my core and shoulders has done wonders for me. I know we keep going back "feel ain't real" but wouldn't it be a true statement to say that the arms and wrists should be relaxed throughout the swing? I've never heard anyone suggest tensing up the arms during the swing is the secret to more distance. You just can't whip the club with tense arms, it just isn't possible. 

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26 minutes ago, mnguy19 said:

Just to clarify, are you saying that if I swung with my core and shoulders but still tried to engage my arm muscles I would hit it further yet? I always go back to the throwing motion for some reference personally.  The elbow and wrist are loose while the body creates the lag. I guess for me, I've had zero success when I "feel" like my arm muscles are the power source. Loosening up and using my core and shoulders has done wonders for me. I know we keep going back "feel ain't real" but wouldn't it be a true statement to say that the arms and wrists should be relaxed throughout the swing? I've never heard anyone suggest tensing up the arms during the swing is the secret to more distance. You just can't whip the club with tense arms, it just isn't possible. 

No, the opposite. Your arm muscles keep the arms from buckling and provide stability for your wrists which in turn provide stability and speed for the club.

It might feel like you are relaxing the arm muscles, but you are only relaxing the ones not used in making the swing. The ones used for your swing are probably very tense.

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That makes sense, that's kind of what I thought you meant. I realize that the arms don't get totally turned off but you're right, that's what it feels like. I'm definitely looking to upload a new swing video on here, my old swing wouldn't really apply anymore. 

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7 hours ago, Marty2019 said:

 

I've gone through the same issues.   I picked up all sorts of new distance (20-30 yards on my driver) by relaxing my hands and arms.   But then when I'm on the range, the better I hit it, the better I want to hit it, and then I start swinging harder, and that means my arms and hands have to tighten up to maintain control of the club, and then I hit it worse.   The reason I hit it worse is because tightening my hands and arms causes me to cast the club on the downswing and lose my lag and come over the top.    

I am finding that the key to maintaining relaxed hands and arms is at the top of the backswing, in the transition to the downswing.   At the very top, I try to feel very relaxed, don't yank on the club.   I saw Larry Nelson on TV and he said, "enjoy the transition," meaning, don't be in such a hurry to start the downswing.   So I consciously relax my hands at the top of the backswing, and then on the downswing, I sort of mentally aim my hands at a spot just in front of the ball, so I (try to) come down with a lot of lag, and I decelerate the handle in the same spot every time.  

There is no one way to hit the ball,  I see a lot of people who can hit the ball hard using power from their hands and arms.  I envy them.  My hands and arms are not strong enough to do that.   I have to turn and use centrifugal force to get club head speed.  

 

Marty

I don't like the term "relaxed".  Every time I try and hit a ball relaxed I get nothing but miss-hits and the few time when good contact is made, it is severely under-powered.  The greatest distances seem to occur when I am loose.  Specifically the wrists, right elbow, and both shoulder joints.  When I hit it far it feels like the back swing is only 50%-60% powered, then there is a half second pause (during which the club continues to rise being propelled only by angular momentum), and finally the downswing starts.

To me muscles can be relaxed or contracting and joints can be tense or loose.  A joint in tension is where opposing muscles are contracting to form a rigid joint.  The classic example is the wrist joint and learned behavior, from our childhood.  Pick up a cup of coffee and you will notice that the grip is firm while simultaneously the wrist goes into tension.

My granddaughter always had this firm grip.  When she was 2 years old she saw us watering the plants with a flower pot (the kind with a long spout).  She wanted to help.  So we bought her a toy watering pot.  We would fill it with water and give it to her.  Her grip was strong and she had no trouble holding onto it, but the wrist was loose.  So loose that all the water would spill on the floor before she could water the first plant.  Six month later and she was able to do it, and play with toy swords, etc.

This is learned behavior and to keep the wrist loose while keeping the grip firm is something every golfer struggles with.

 

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I think that if you're getting good results, keep doing what you're doing. Just because feel isn't always real, doesn't mean it isn't sometimes real. I think a bigger danger is reading someone else's description and trying to tell them what they're doing is wrong because of how you interpret that description. 

There is absolutely something to relaxing the arms a bit that will result in more distance. I'm not saying I let them flop without arm muscle control. But as @mnguy19 and @Marty2019 have described, trying to kill the ball using the arms is not a good swing - at least not for me. 

This doesn't mean I think this is the best way or only way to swing a golf club. I may never know what good swing mechanics are. But relaxing the arms and controlling the pressure of my grip is a substantial improvement over any other method I've ever used.

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6 hours ago, mnguy19 said:

That makes sense, that's kind of what I thought you meant. I realize that the arms don't get totally turned off but you're right, that's what it feels like. I'm definitely looking to upload a new swing video on here, my old swing wouldn't really apply anymore. 

Cool. Looking forward to your making even more improvements! The mantra here is feel isn't real and it really isn't. :-)

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1 hour ago, JonMA1 said:

I think that if you're getting good results, keep doing what you're doing. Just because feel isn't always real, doesn't mean it isn't sometimes real. I think a bigger danger is reading someone else's description and trying to tell them what they're doing is wrong because of how you interpret that description. 

I agree. I wouldn't be convinced to change my swing drastically at this point simply because my results doing it the way I've described have been that good. Regardless of what is actually going on vs what I feel is going on, when I relax and swing the way I've been trying, the ball goes dead straight and goes long. Sure, if a year from now it becomes inconsistent and unreliable I'll change it but as of now, whatever I'm doing seems to be getting me very real results. It sounds like it is for other people as well. 

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Ahh yes you have discovered the gravitational relation ship between the clubhead and yourself however there is more to it. Within the golf swing you have force and applied force when you take the club back to the top be it correctly or incorrectly you have achieved a form of leverage. The clubhead has mass and will falter to the ground if nothing is applied so having a looser grip and arms creates and extended leverage point to the club and when you add tensile force with your hands it multiplies this along with gravity into the ball. The reason you find it one day and lose it another is practice technique swing path etc.. When you find the magic formula it's simply you creating maximum inertia into the ball with a weighted object extended to a stick that's all :)

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12 hours ago, mnguy19 said:

I agree. I wouldn't be convinced to change my swing drastically at this point simply because my results doing it the way I've described have been that good. Regardless of what is actually going on vs what I feel is going on, when I relax and swing the way I've been trying, the ball goes dead straight and goes long. Sure, if a year from now it becomes inconsistent and unreliable I'll change it but as of now, whatever I'm doing seems to be getting me very real results. It sounds like it is for other people as well. 

Just thinking a little further on this line: 

You and I are in the same mode of thought about this, but, ruminating further, perhaps it's not the relaxing of the hands and wrists that is the fundamental cause of the improved results.   Perhaps relaxing the hands and wrists is causing us to come down with better lag and and improved swing plane, and that is what is actually causing the improved results. 

Edited by Marty2019

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17 minutes ago, Marty2019 said:

Just thinking a little further on this line: 

You and I are in the same mode of thought about this, but, ruminating further, perhaps it's not the relaxing of the hands and wrists that is the fundamental cause of the improved results.   Perhaps relaxing the hands and wrists is causing us to come down with better lag and and improved swing plane, and that is what is actually causing the improved results. 

I have no doubt on that as well. I think relaxing/loosening the arms/wrists has a chain reaction of positive outcomes in the swing. I will say though, that if I came down in the slot on a good plane and proceeded forward with tense arms my swing still wouldn't be very good or at least I wouldn't get the distance I am getting now. For me, I have noticed that allowing the core muscles to direct my arms puts them on a better swing plane and creates lag without any conscious effort on my part. My main swing thought is to relax the arms/wrists and there is a domino effect of positive outcomes because of it.  I think that when we "turn the arms off", we allow the arms to fall first instead of chopping our arms forward. As a result, we get both the lag we want and at the same time put our club on a more ideal swing plane.

This is honestly why I am so in love with my newfound swing, I don't have to think as much about minute details. For me, it feels like timing and tempo are now more in focus than before, other than re-training my brain to stop trying to swipe at the ball when I get excited about distance.

I've noticed just from reading a lot about PGA tour pros that many of them have different swing thoughts that can sound drastically different from one another. They also all have great distance and accuracy so in terms of what is actually going on in any given swing, if it works for you then do it. I intend to upload a swing on here too so that may help me get a better picture of what is actually happening. It may be helpful to understand that but until my swing stops producing great results I'm going to keep on.

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