Golf Swing Elbows – The Chicken Wing (more help)

In a nutshell, a “Chicken Wing” is one of your elbows bending outwards, behind you. This can happen in either backswing or downswing. It disrupts many things. In my opinion, you could partially blame some form of the Chicken Wing, for almost every miss hit. It is that prevalent. Almost no golfers (Pros alike) use their elbows correctly by my discoveries.

Why Do golfers User Their Elbows?
Golfers use their elbows because they are getting ready to throw the club head at the ball with just the arms and hands. They subconsciously hinge every possible lever, and lift the arms, to try to create as much potential possible to throw the club head. None of these movements are consistent or repeatable.

I do not want to go into all the different miss hits caused by this problem. Let’s just get to what will make your swing more athletic, control your chicken wing, and improve your shot making.

Read the next paragraph slowly, then simulate with a club up against a door jamb.

If you look at a powerful, solid golf shot, at impact, the hips are slightly turned (not cleared)… the arms and wrists form a solid Triangle. The front wrist is flat and the back wrist bent in. The wrists are firm and holding this shape (being pulled by the body turn, not releasing). Also, the shaft is in line with the front arm, and the elbow pointing back at the front hip, with the back arm slightly bent in towards the front arm, and its elbow too pointing back at the back hip. At this moment, the body is pulling all this around to the left. This is the position we want to be in at impact.

If we are not in this position, what happened during the swing? Some thing(s) broke down, disconnected and disrupted everything. So who are the “Disrupters”? The “Disrupters” are the Elbows and Hands. We need to control the disrupters, how do we do that?

How to Take Control of the Distupters:
1. Setup shaft in line with the front arm, elbows pointing back at the hips, pinching a little. Maintain that pinching during the entire swing. They only separate at the very end of the swing.
2. Once the shaft is in line at setup, lock your wrists and keep them fixed in the setup shape, the entire swing. Let your shoulders turn around your spine on the backswing and your body unwind your arms/club for the downswing.
3. You should have a feeling of Squeezing your grip a little and Squeezing your elbows a little at the same time, the entire swing. This defeats them. Gives them something to do that is productive and allows the Large Muscles to take over.

Start with short swings/shots to feel this work. Make sure the club face stays square. Many of you will want to use the hands and roll it open (no hands).

Path of Least Resistance – Golf Backswing

I ask my students to use their shoulders to control the backswing. This means the shoulders will move the arms and club to the top of the backswing. My students ask me, where should my arms go? up what plane? to the inside? I tell them the “Path of least resistance.” I know that sounds non committal, but that is what happens. If the arms were setup properly (shaft in line with the front arm, elbows close together pointing back at the hips), traveling up the path of least resistance will be very easy. Again, the shoulders control the backswing…the arms and hands must not help or lift.

We first need the spine to be natural and athletic. We do not want to have the top of the spine tilted right or left. If the spine tilts to one side, the shoulders get bound and can’t turn freely. The shoulders themselves, need to be level and natural. The spine will also tilt forward a bit, as our rear end counter balances to get into an “Athletic Position”. This is not a lean out, our weight is always straight down to gravity. Our goal is for the shoulders to rotate (at 90°) to the spine.

Now on the takeaway, when the shoulders turn 90° around the spine, the arms/club are moved on the path of least resistance. It does not matter where they go as long as the shoulders maintain control. If we are successful, we can then use the body to control the downswing. As the body unwinds, the body mass will unwind the shoulders/arms/club. Since on the backswing, everything traveled up the path of least resistance, everything will return back down that path, for a solid shot (if not disrupted by the hands or elbows taking over or changing).

Changing Your Golf Swing

Changing your golf swing is like changing the path you take to a particular room in your house. Your current golf swing has a routine that starts in room 1, goes to room 2, then 3 and finally in room 4 you take your swing. When you follow this routine or path, you are in your comfort zone and have the best chance for consistency.

Now, if you take a different route, through different rooms, your mind will be apprehensive, and you’ll not be sure of yourself, until you trust the new path, it becomes familiar and replaces the old path. This takes time and many repetitions sticking with the new routine. This is very doable as long as you stay focused and have discipline.

The golf swing I teach is simple, athletic and repeatable. What is different with my method is the setup, which prepares you for your new swing. If you don’t follow the setup, or add to the setup or leave something out, you’ll struggle. My method does not have many setup pieces once learned and will give you confidence that you are ready to take your golf swing.

One last thing. If you want to make changes in your swing, you must start from a new room and take a new path, and you will become successful. (Hint) if you lose focus and start in your old room 1, you’ll just get your old golf swing or a hybrid of old and new (not good).

Constant Elbows Pressure & The Fixed Triangle

Constant Elbows Pressure
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I mention constant grip pressure or passive hands a lot. It is crucial if we want the Large Muscles to dominate, that the grip pressure remains constant so the hands do not take over. It is also equally important for the elbows to maintain constant elbows pressure towards each other.

As I work with my students and we address different issues with their golf swings, I find that many of these problems can be eliminated if their elbows start close together (pointing back at the hips) and remain towards each other during the swing.

Now, the front arm stays straight on the backswing and the back arm still bends a little, and the opposite happens on the downswing. A little bending is not what I am talking about. It is about keeping the elbows close together. It is almost too simple. By keeping constant elbows pressure during the entire swing, the shoulders can control the backswing, and the body rotation can control the downswing through to the finish.

The Fixed Triangle
Okay, so let’s tie-it-all-together. Ideally we want to maintain “both”, constant elbows pressure and constant grip pressure for the entire swing. I’ve thought of a way to do both with one thought. We combine the two thoughts into one “Triangle“.

If you imagine the elbows staying towards each other “fixed” as two points on a triangle, and your constant grip pressure as the 3rd point completing the triangle. Now all we do is maintain this “Fixed Triangle” during the swing and we will get both jobs done. There is something about keeping this triangle in tact during the swing, that keeps both the hands and elbows connected and busy, letting the shoulders control of the backswing and the body turn control the downswing. All we have to do is maintain The Fixed Triangle back and through.

This concept is fresh and new, but I’ve seen great results so far. I would love feedback good or bad. You must have the shaft in line with the front arm at setup (which is how we want it to return as we turn through impact). Please start with short shots, then lengthen the backswing a litte, but only with more shoulder turn (no lifting). You can turn as fast or slow through impact as you’d like for great results. I’ll make a video soon.