POWER in your arms
BY T.J. TOMASI
Your target arm (left for right-handers) is the radius of your swing, and it controls the position of your clubface. At address, the target arm rests on top of the chest, and your goal during the swing is to maintain this arm-to-chest connection.
Your arms swing upward during the backswing and down from the top of your swing. Think of it as a surrender to gravity that drops your arms into the proper position to initiate the return to the ball. This is why it’s called the “downswing” and not the “around swing.”
During your downswing, keep your arms in close to your body to produce maximum clubhead speed. Too many golfers let their arms and hands drift away from their body, a very inefficient and powerless way to hit a golf ball.
Let the trail arm straighten as the front arm pulls away from your back shoulder. The presence of a gradual forearm rotation squares the face of the club at impact. Just after impact both arms are straight until they fold at the elbows at the end of the swing.
Below is a list of six benchmarks for arm positions throughout the swing. I recommend that you follow these movements in a mirror, repeating them time and again in slow and stop action.
Position 1 — Address:
The front arm is straight and in line with the club shaft while the trail arm is slightly bent to create a triangle formed by the forearms and an imaginary line connecting the two elbows.
Position 2 — Halfway point of backswing:
Here the front arm is straight, bisecting the chest, and the club shaft is pointed at the target line. The trail arm is folded at the elbow.
Position 3 — At the top:
The arms form a triangle with the hands at the high point of the triangle, which sits over the back shoulder. At the top of your backswing, your target arm should be bowed but not bent, straight but not stiff.
Position 4 — Halfway down:
From the top, the triangle drops straight down, and once again the shaft points at the target line.
Position 5 — At impact:
While this position varies depending on the release pattern, the triangle of address is reformed at impact as a part of the release package.
Position 6 — At pre-finish:
Both arms are straight with the lead arm under the trail arm, the opposite of the configuration at Position 2. This signals the presence of forearm rotation, the key element in squaring the face at impact.