Hello golfers and welcome to another week of Josh’s Tips & Tricks. I hope you have all had a chance to get out and enjoy this glorious weather. If you haven’t been out on a golf course in shorts yet, you should be able to over the coming weeks because the sunshine looks set to stay for a while.
This week were going to look at how you could potentially add more distance and more control to all parts of your game by creating width in your swing. A wider arc with the hands and clubhead could really help you with consistency all the way through the bag.
The way that the arms and hands control the golf club during the swing is evidently crucial however I see big and common mistakes every day. These mistakes can be easily understood and with some practice easily applied. The wider we can get the arms and the hands from the body during the backswing and follow through, the more potential there is for creating force and also a more consistent strike. As soon as the hands and clubhead start getting narrow and close to the body, the higher the chance of leaked energy and bad ball striking.
When I am walking up and down the driving range I hear all kinds of funny coaching tips from family and friends. One of the most common is; “keep your arm straight”. Now there is some validity in this but I never like using the term “straight” for your left arm because that sounds like it has to be forced and this can create tension which can cause more harm than good. I like the term “structure” because it seems less aggressive.
The structure of the left arm, especially the left elbow during the golf swing is one of the most important principles for ball striking. I see lots of people lose the structure in (bend) the left arm in the backswing and through impact. If the left arm bends into the backswing, it’s likely that the arm will then reextend early in the downswing causing a ground first contact. Holding the structure through impact and extending the club towards the target is just as crucial. I see lots of people hit the ball with their left wrist and left elbow breaking down and pulling around the body causing tops and thins without maximum power.
The structure in the left wrist is just as important and can cause directional issues as well as striking issues. When the left wrist gets in a weak position at the top of the backswing the club shaft can get very close to the right shoulder and can look like an “overswing”. Doing this will open the clubface and often spin the ball to the right. To get a more neutral left wrist at the top of the swing practice swinging with a ruler under your glove and up your forearm. This will help you feel if you change your left wrist angle during your swing.
So how do you control the width of the hands and clubhead during the swing?
I use the term “L to L” a lot in lessons and have explained it plenty of time before on here. Its a great way to see in a mirror how you can control your golf swing. Get to left arm parallel with the floor in the backswing and make sure the wrists have set the club into an “L”. Then recreate this post impact by turning your body to face the target. When you can do this you create an “L” into the backswing and simply turn your back to face the target, maintaining the width of the hand and arms. Fully unwind the body and feel a more powerful and connected golf swing.
Take a look a the video attached to see some examples of the errors I see when coaching. Then have a look at the difference in the “L to L” swing and see if you can recreate it.
Creating a wider arc and pitching using this system will help you control distance and ball striking. With irons you should get more consistent ball striking and potentially more distance. This is because the swing is creating more force with the clubhead. With a driver you can practice giving it a whack as hard as you can by creating the widest arc possible. Physics says that the wider you can get that club, the further you can potentially hit it.
This is obviously different for each individual as some of us are more blessed than others with long arms and legs which can be a great advantage in the golf swing.
If you have any queries regarding width and hand position in the golf swing you know where I am.
Happy golfing and see you soon.