“The Golf Hall of Fame is full of players with unusual looking swings. Some of the prettiest swings you’ve ever seen in your life are made on the far end of the public driving range by guys who couldn’t break an egg with a baseball bat.” – Peter Jacobsen
By Ian Hardie
‘Keeping the left arm straight’ while playing golf
Is one of the five ‘golden rules’ that most golfers are told by other golfers
Which I generally refer to as ‘public information’
In fact I believe that I would struggle to find a golfer
Who has not been told to do it at some point in a golf game
This helpful information is normally offered with the intention
Of helping the golfer to ‘hit the ball straight’
Unfortunately what most golfers do is take that information too literally
They end up effectively locking the left arm solid at address
Which more often than not means that
The result they get is not a straight shot at all
They end up either missing the ball completely or topping it along the ground
And there is a simple explanation as to why this happens
I cover what it is in one of the chapters of the book ‘I could play golf when I first started’
As the character Pete Norman had been experiencing exactly that problem
Here’s a little bit of it;
Think about it this way Pete, when you set up at address, you set your body so that the club is resting on the ground, right?
“Yes, what do you mean?”
Well, one of the main ideas in the golf action that we talked about earlier is that you are trying to maintain the same height all the way through the action.
“I have noticed that you do that when you do your good swings.”
Thanks Pete, so if for some reason I didn’t let the club do its job and straighten my left arm just prior to me hitting the ball……
“You would hit the top of the ball or miss it!”
Absolutely, so it is more of a case of letting your left arm do its thing so that it can straighten naturally when you hit the ball
Rather than straightening it and trying to control its movements all of the way which mostly results in the opposite which is – hitting the top or missing it
Take your stance and straighten your left arm as much as you can and make it as tense as possible.
Now make some slow actions.
You will notice that by the finish of your back action your arm is under maximum tension, then when you action down towards the ball and especially when you get near where the ball would be, the tension reduces and it feels as if your arm wants to bend.
“I can feel that, it is really hard to maintain the straightness of it all the way and it certainly feels like it will bend just before I would hit the ball.”
Yes Pete and that is just moving it slowly, so what do think would happen if you did the same thing at the speed that you hit your #1 wood with?
“I would probably hit the top of the ball!”
Think about this then, on the course when you start slicing badly, what do you get told to do?
“Keep my left arm straight to stop the slice”
What is the result of the next shot normally?
“I top it!”
So what are you going to do with your left arm now?
Nothing, I am just going to let it get on with its job!
Does that help explain why when you try to follow the advice of ‘Keeping the left arm straight’
You start topping the ball?
To get rid of that and a bunch of other problems from your golf game
Once you read it and implement the simple, easy to do ideas that are in it
I expect you will start to