Golf – The Chicken Wing

What is a Chicken Wing anyway? What happens? Why is it wrong?

First of all, The Chicken Wing can occur on the backswing and/or the downswing.

The Elbows work kind of like “Supports” under the shaft. At the top of the backswing, the back arm is folded under to support the club shaft. Then on the downswing, once the body is finished rotating, the front arm is folded underneath supporting the shaft again. All this happens naturally if the arms and hands are passive during the swing.

Now a Chicken Wing look on the backswing will have the back elbow actually pulling the arms and club behind the golfer. Instead of being underneath the shaft, it has been lifted up as much as 90 degrees (from being underneath) and is now in line with the shaft. This is not a repeatable or productive position.

Now the inverse of this is the Chicken Wing on the downswing, that usually occurs at impact and just after. Again you have the elbow (this time the front elbow) actually pulling the arms and club across the body. This Chicken Wing look after impact usually means your body rotation stopped and the hands and arms took over. The way the front elbow should work on the downswing is, the front elbow will point back at the front hip at impact and later on in the swing folds underneath to support the shaft at the finish.

This is what the arms and elbows should look like during the swing… At the top of the backswing, the front arm is straight with the back elbow bent (*about 90 degrees) underneath… then on the forward swing after the body is completely rotated, the back arm is straight with the front arm bent and elbow underneath.

The Big Key: THE ELBOWS ALWAYS STAY CLOSE TOGETHER DURING THE ENTIRE SWING. If they come apart it is usually because you are pulling and trying to use them. Keep the arms passive and let the shoulders and body turn move them.

*Really great players help maintain their radius and extension during the swing by not allowing the elbows to bend in towards the arm less than 90 degrees). This keeps the width of the swing arc constant for a more reliable swing.