Match elbow and hip for solid contact
By T.J. TOMASI
The quality of your impact position is determined by the relationship between two body parts: your trail elbow and hip. The trail elbow determines the path of the clubhead to the ball, so if your elbow matches up evenly with your hip, as in the first photo below, your hands can get back in front of your body in time for impact.
However, if your elbow is trapped behind your hip, as the second golfer’s is below, you’ll have an awful time squaring the face correctly.
Here are two cures for a hip/elbow package that is out of sync:
1. A long elbow swing: If your elbow must travel a long distance from the top of your backswing to impact, then your hips need to wait a bit as they make their turn so your elbow can catch up. You can keep the long backswing, but you need to slow down your hip turn.
2. A short elbow swing: It’s just the opposite if your trail elbow doesn’t swing long enough at the end of the backswing. Since the elbow has a short journey to impact, it runs the risk of arriving too early, well ahead of the hip. In this case, you can lengthen your backswing or, if you like your short swing, simply speed up your hip turn. Either way, you’re back in match.
Slow hips and fast elbows are mismatched unless you like to pull the ball way to the left. The fast hips/slow elbow duo isn’t any better because your clubhead will be late for impact, sending the ball to the right of the target.
To swing your best, you need to coordinate your elbows and hips so they match, slow with slow, or fast with fast.