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).

7 thoughts on “Golf Swing Elbows – The Chicken Wing (more help)”

  1. This reminds me of jimmy ballards method where the center never stops moving in the swing.I like what you are saying,am I wrong on thinking its like jimmys teaching?thank you

    1. I had not heard that, but yes that is a great way to think about it. On the downswing, the center (body, core), is committed and moves continuously to the finish. This move can be fast or slow and can accelerate (preferable), but NEVER decelerate or stop, or body parts disconnect. The athletic flow is the unwinding from ground up to a complete finish. You see this in almost every sport that unwinds to throws things. This continuous unwinding movement (if not disrupted), is what make us consistent with centered hits, line and distance.

    1. Hi Dale
      Yes! very similar and one of the main reasons he is so accurate. Now, we’re talking only about the backswing on Steve Stricker. Steve’s downswing is not like my method in that he does stop his body rotation and release the club head like traditional instruction. Don’t want to confuse others that Steve Stricker is an example of my method… just his backswing is similar.

    1. Yes that is tough, but what’s up with my method and the 2 different concepts is, that for many years, I taught to use the Large Muscles to carry the arms/club to the top and that passive hands would allow the hands to hinge naturally. Then on the downswing, the hands would unhinge naturally and hopefully into a straight line with the front arm for a solid shot. Hinging really causes flipping through impact. It is hard to hinge, then release into a straight line with the front arm through impact. I have since found, if the hands are setup correctly at setup (shaft in line with the front arm and wrists set or fixed), that the golf swing becomes even easier and more reliable. With my method, there is no benefit to hinge the golf club on the backswing, because we use the body rotation to trap and move the ball through impact. It is much more beneficial to maintain fixed wrists and square club face and use the shoulders to move the arms/club to the top of the swing and back down.

      *Hinging is used more for a traditional golf swing that has the body stop rotating midway and then hit at the ball with the hands. Hinging only creates problems.

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