Golf is a game of adjustments
By T.J. TOMASI
One of the things that good players learn to do is adjust their forearms depending on the kind of shot they need to play.
In the left-hand photo below, Tiger Woods is smashing an iron out of deep rough, and he understands from experience that he must counter the grass grabbing the neck of the club. It turns the face over so much that the ball flies low and to the left, never reaching the target.
Tiger anticipates this problem and holds the face open by not allowing his forearms to rotate. Note how he flies his left elbow in a chicken wing pattern designed to keep the face open.
You have to be pretty strong to do this out of deep rough, and this is where he cashes in on all the time he spends in the gym, building up his once-skinny frame. It pays off in strength through the ball.
Out of a much better lie, golf professional Dick Bierkan (in the right-hand photo) doesn’t have to hold his forearms from rotating. Since the grass is short, he can go ahead and release the club normally. Note how his forearms are much closer together with his right forearm on top of his left. Tiger, on the other hand, has kept his left forearm well above his right.
This drill will help you control your forearms:
Find a patch of deep grass and place a tee in it to simulate the golf ball. Make sure the tee is pointing in the direction of the target.
Now make a swing and allow your forearms to roll over through impact. You’ll notice that the tee squirts to the left with very little height.
Now hold your forearms as Tiger is doing in the photo and watch the tee as it pops up nice and high. Next, substitute a real ball and do the same thing.
Since the tee doesn’t go very far, starting with it instead of a ball allows you to see close-up the difference in height between holding your forearms and rotating them.
In order to play your best golf, you must match your forearm rotation to the demands of the shot. When you want to keep the face open, keep your lead forearm higher. When you want to release the clubface, allow your trail forearm to be higher after the ball is on its way.