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Hacker James

How Important Is a Straight Left Arm?

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discussed multiple times before I imagine, but recently a suggested you tube video appeared on my channel comparing a tour player and low, single digit hc amateur. It shows a sort of skeletal view of each side by side in one comparison, and over laid in another. The differences are subtle during some parts of the swing, but markedly different in others.  

Basically, the pro keeps left arm extended pretty much throughout the swing, while the amateur actually hyper extends on the backswing, but does not keep it as long on the follow through.

I paid more attention to this and "felt" as though it produces more power and consistency as I held it longer. It also felt a little more tense, but not excessively so.   That is for *today*, tomorrow may be another story. 

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Meh. I almost never talk about it. People who bend their left arm are adding a lever, which can add power, but most add it (and thus reduce it quite a bit) when they learn to turn properly.

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2 minutes ago, iacas said:

Meh. I almost never talk about it. People who bend their left arm are adding a lever, which can add power, but most add it (and thus reduce it quite a bit) when they learn to turn properly.

That too...I discovered that when I tried to keep the abduction, I was at the same time more aware of my turn and getting my lead shoulder under the chin more. They sort of went hand in hand.

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50 minutes ago, Hacker James said:

Basically, the pro keeps left arm extended pretty much throughout the swing, while the amateur actually hyper extends on the backswing, but does not keep it as long on the follow through.

I don't think I see many amateurs hyperextend their lead elbow in the backswing. Most people tend to bend it. Hyperextension would probably lead to bending due to the short stretch cycle.

Not all pros have their lead arms extended. Lee Westwood and Jordan Spieth, for example. It can be a shallowing move I believe.

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1) A rigidly straight arm is not required. A little bend is OK, but the goal should be to have an essentially straight arm.

2) Your on course movements are never as precise as in practice.

If you pratice with a little bend in your arm, you will play with a big bend.

If you practice with your arm straight, you will play with a little bend.

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BTW, the reason most people cannot keep their arm straight is they are swinging their arms around their body.

The arms remain in front of the chest during the backswing. It is an optical illusion that the arms swing around the body.

Try this:

1) go to the top of your backswing, stop, and freeze you arms in place.

2) without unfreezing your arms, stand up straight and face your body forward.

3) with your arms still frozen in their top of the backswing position, look at the position of your arms.

4) now straighten your left arm and tuck your right elbow.

If you had to move your arms in step number 4, then your arms were out of position at the top of your backswing.

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@Lime Shark, ASI   by Jim Waldron

Calvin Pete is one who many refer to when discussing a bend in the arm. Actually, for him, it was straight, owing to his arm being fused that way, kind of like a permanent boomerang look. He kept it pretty much in the same position throughout the swing as he had no choice. So, in essence, that WAS his straight left arm. In any event, as I previously mentioned, being aware has helped me a lot in practice. I try to keep it extended, but not stiff and as @Lime Shark stated, actual bend in play is probably more than you realize.

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18 minutes ago, Lime Shark said:

The arms remain in front of the chest during the backswing. It is an optical illusion that the arms swing around the body.

I get what you're saying, but the hands actually move to the side of the chest a bit. That is to say they don't stay centered in front of the chest. Nor do they, as you're saying, move too far around the side, either.

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On 11/28/2017 at 6:55 PM, iacas said:

Meh. I almost never talk about it. People who bend their left arm are adding a lever, which can add power, but most add it (and thus reduce it quite a bit) when they learn to turn properly.

Simple and well stated. 


Here are some world class players who bend their lead arm. I'm not saying this never matters but it's interesting to see.

This isn't to say that a 30 handicap who does this like crazy is acceptable of course, but it's interesting to see to some extent in great players, I think. 

Edited by JetFan1983

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well, nobody has straight arms hanging naturally, there is a few degrees of bend even at rest. The proponents are simply saying don't "fold" your arms like over your shoulder or something, keep them relatively straight, but try to avoid excessive tension.

 

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48 minutes ago, JetFan1983 said:

Simple and well stated. 


Here are some world class players who bend their lead arm. I'm not saying this never matters but it's interesting to see.

This isn't to say that a 30 handicap who does this like crazy is acceptable of course, but it's interesting to see to some extent in great players, I think. 

And the drummer with Def Leopard plays with one arm, but I wouldn't advise aspiring drummers to learn to play that way.

There are always exceptions to the rule, but 99% of people are not exceptions--they need to follow the rule.

How many people who are having a hard time keeping their arm straight will see this and think "maybe I'm an exception to the rule" and give up keeping their arm straight, when the really just needed to practice more keeping it straight?

 

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1 minute ago, Lime Shark said:

And the drummer with Def Leopard plays with one arm, but I wouldn't advise aspiring drummers to learn to play that way.

Yea, you definitely wouldn't teach it anyone, I would think. Maybe there's a super super rare situation where you might, but probably not. 

1 minute ago, Lime Shark said:

There are always exceptions to the rule, but 99% of people are not exceptions--they need to follow the rule.

How many people who are having a hard time keeping their arm straight will see this and think "maybe I'm an exception to the rule" and give up keeping their arm straight, when the really just needed to practice more keeping it straight?

 

I thought @iacas covered it well when he stated that most people bend their lead arm because they don't know how to turn their shoulders properly. Fixing that just gets them to straighten their lead arm more, generally speaking. 

But yea, I certainly hope lurkers reading my comment wouldn't use it as an excuse to continue sucking. If anything, I'd hope they'd understand how movements are correlated in the golf swing, like how turning incorrectly leads to compensations elsewhere. 

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

I get what you're saying, but the hands actually move to the side of the chest a bit. That is to say they don't stay centered in front of the chest. Nor do they, as you're saying, move too far around the side, either.

I agree, it is a bit, a small amount, a distance measured in inches.

It is significantly less than most golfers think it is in their imagination.

I think in terms of the arms folding and unfolding, like a piece of paper folding into a shape then unfolding. I've abandoned the mental image of swinging the arms altogether.

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I dont really understand the obsession amateurs have with this. Its not really important unless you're like collapsing it 90+ degrees or something.  Besides, i think what you do with your turn and trail arm have more do do with keeping the lead arm strait than the arm itself. 

Edited by Groucho Valentine

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20 hours ago, Groucho Valentine said:

I dont really understand the obsession amateurs have with this. Its not really important unless you're like collapsing it 90+ degrees or something.  Besides, i think what you do with your turn and trail arm have more do do with keeping the lead arm strait than the arm itself. 

1) Because so many amateurs have problems keeping the arm even relatively straight.

2) It's a "canary in the coal  mine." Why can't most people not keep their arm straight? Because there is something else wrong with their swing preventing them from keeping the arm straight.

3) 90% of successful golfers have kept the arm relatively straight. Most amateurs want to emulate what most other successful golfers have done.

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Note: This thread is 899 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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