How To Use Your Arms In The Golf Swing

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How To Use Your Arms In The Golf Swing

Learning how to use your arms in the golf swing is crucial to hitting solid shots that go a maximum distance. I have been struggling (and working) with this for a while now, as I have a lot of independent (wasted) arm motion in my golf swing.

“The dog waggling the tail”

If you think of the above statement, you can directly apply it to how your arms move in your golf swing. The body should control the arms, not the arms control the body. When you apply the pivot of your body into your swing, you will be amazed at how consistent and powerful you hit the golf ball.

Golf Swing Takeaway

Look at the top of the page. This is Hunter Mahan. Here’s is where I mess up (but am getting better). When you start your takeaway, the ONLY thing you should be thinking about is your shoulder rotation back.

Look at the picture of Hunter Mahan I took from a youtube video. Hunter has one of the best swings in golf, so it’s a good one to model.

Look at the yellow triangle I drew between his shoulders, arms and hands, and look at how there is no independent movement of any these.

Your shoulders (upper body) pivot back rotationally to start your backswing. They do NOT move to the side, nor do you pick the club up with your hands (premature wrist cock), or an early bending of the right elbow (which is what I do).

Golf Backswing

Connected Arms Golf Swing

As you continue back, your focus should still be on rotating your shoulders, and letting your arms naturally react to them. If you do this, you will have a connected golf swing, that is in sync with your body pivot.

I want you to look at Hunter’s right elbow for a second. It has not started to bend even this far into his backswing. He has not picked up the club with his hands or arms.

Look how wide his swing is, which produces a ton of power. And also notice the separation between his arms. Look at all that space in there!

A common fault for amateurs (I do it), is we bend the right elbow too soon, which picks the club up, creating a vertical swing, that gets steep and off plane. So again, you are only thinking of continuing to rotate your shoulders at this point, no independent hands or arm movement.

Top Of Golf Swing

Hunter Mahan Top Of His Golf Swing

Hunter is swinging a short iron, maybe even a wedge, but look how far his shoulders have rotated, but more importantly look where his arms and the club are! If you ever think you need to swing to parallel, you don’t.

Again, with a longer club like driver, it would get to parallel, but the body and arm positions (and shoulder rotation) would look about the same. The left arm might be a bit higher at the top.

If you could see his right elbow it still is not bent that much, which makes it very easy to just rotate down into impact without having to time a release of his elbow. It’s not even close to 90 degrees bent.

So you can see that the arms are going along for a ride all the way to the top, driven by the pivot of his upper body, over a very stable lower body.

The slight bending of the right elbow as he gets near a full turn is what gets the club to that perfect position at the top. He has not lifted it with his arms away from his body.

Golf Downswing Arm Motion

Hunter's Connected Arms Post Impact

Because the arms have been in sync throughout the backswing, all Hunter (or you) have to do is just rotate body down into impact and BANG…you’ve just crushed the ball. Again, there is no thought of arms hitting the ball.

When you stay connected in your golf swing, you are in perfect sync to rotate the heck out of your upper body. You’ll be on plane coming down, with a lot of lag.

Look at the through swing of Hunter Mahan (picture to right). It’s a mirror image of his early backswing (takeaway).

He has a perfect triangle between shoulders, arms, hands and club (connected arms). You can see he is still directing his swing with his pivot of upper body motion, not independent arms or hands.

If you can just think of swinging the triangle back and through, even with just partial shots to see how connected and solid it feels.

Here’s A Quick Way To Learn And “Feel” A Connected Arm/Body Golf Swing

I am a huge advocate of golf specific training to improve swing consistency and power. I’ve been using with a lot of success, the Connected Golf Swing Trainer, as I wear it when I hit balls to really feel my arms staying connected to my body as I swing the club and make contact with the ball.

You can click on the picture below to find out more!

Connected Golf Swing Trainer

+Mike Pedersen