Right Arm & Elbow In Golf Swing – Explained For You

There is no correct or incorrect swing in golf, but certain fundamentals are required to play consistent golf. While many beginners or even seasoned golfers thrive on hitting the ball as far as possible all day, consistency and accuracy will win 99% of any matches.

Take a look at Bryson DeChambeau as an example. He has revolutionized the modern game of late, by driving the ball phenomenal distances and attacking the green from the tee on many par 4s. But, let his timing be slightly off-key, and he will spray it all over the place.

The greatest golfer of all time Jack Nicklaus used to “fly” the right elbow during his swing. Jim Furyk does it his way with a big loop in the swing!

How important is the Right Arm and Elbow in the Swing?

The beauty of golf instruction is that the same fundamentals can be taught or discussed in many ways. Keeping it simple and without getting too technical, brings quick understanding and results. Positioning the right arm and elbow during the backswing will allow for an easy transition to deliver a consistent strike on the ball.

The Flying Right Elbow

Ideally, the right elbow should point at 90-degrees to the ground at the top of the backswing. This allows the right elbow to drop into the correct slot on the downswing and sets the swing plane coming into the ball. For some beginners, this does not feel natural, and they will tend to allow the right elbow to “float” parallel to the ground or “chicken wing” the elbow.

The left and right elbow should stay close and connected to each other, without separation. When they separate, the downswing plane will tend to move away from the body and cause all kinds of problems.

Dropping the Right Arm and Elbow into the Slot

Top golfers today change the swing plane from the backswing to the downswing. This is the term “dropping it into the slot”. It is all part of the swing sequence which relates to the transition from the backswing to the downswing. As we know, the transition is the most difficult move in the swing, and get this sequence right, and your ball striking will improve 100%.

How to Get this Important move Right

There are many theories on how to get this move right, but let’s keep it simple. The hips and weight transfer initiate the transition from backswing to downswing. The right elbow should drop or be pulled down towards the right hip when moving into the downswing. It should move towards the front of the hip, to avoid getting “stuck” behind the right hip. ( This was one of Tiger Woods main problems with the driver)

Anywhere but in front of the hip, will restrict the arms coming through to complete the swing and result in “blocked” or pushed shots! The only other way to recover from this position is to manipulate or flip the hands through impact. Hooks, slices, and topped shots will result.

Right Arm Position

A simple thought for the right arm position is it should stay below the left arm throughout the swing. Starting at address, it is positioned close to and below the left arm. The right arm will rotate through impact to close the face and then end up on top of the left arm on the follow-through. This is the only time it will be on top!

Maintain Both Arms in Front of the Chest

Another thought in the swing is to ensure that the arms remain in front of the chest during the swing. The shoulder turn brings them to a position behind the head.

Pitching a Baseball

If any of these thought processes don’t make any sense, take a ball and set up like a baseball pitcher and throw it. This is a great drill for how the right arm works and releases to give speed to the throw. It does exactly the same in the golf swing.  Remember how throwing a stone across the water and making it “skip” a few times felt? Use the same action with the right arm in the downswing release. The elbow gets close and in front of the hip, to deliver power.

Delivering the Club from the Inside through Impact

About 90% of golfers hit a fade or a slice naturally. The main reason is the delivery path of the club through impact. The arms and elbows are disconnected and don’t work in unison. Positioning the right elbow and arm in the correct position at the top of the backswing, and keeping them in front of the right hip on the downswing produces an inside-out swing path through impact.

This is how draw-bias spin is imparted on a golf ball. Ball striking improvement will be noticeable immediately, and that extra distance will come naturally.

A Quick Summary

  • Keep the left and right arm and elbows connected from setup throughout the swing
  • The Right arm should always be below the left arm until after contact
  • Maintain the arms in front of the chest
  • The left Elbow should be at 90-degrees to the ground at the top of the backswing
  • Pull the right elbow down in front of the right hip on the downswing into the slot
  • Release the right arm like pitching a baseball

Final Thoughts

Golf can become a very technical game with all different types of instruction when many of the moves required in the swing are natural movements. Like throwing a stone or a ball. The transition and right arm position are critical in producing power. Try these moves and drills on the practice range beginning with half-shots to ingrain the feeling.

The pureness of the strike and extra distance will amaze you!

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Nick is the founder of GolfSpan and an avid golfer. He's not quite a pro but has over 15 years of experience playing and coaching golfers worldwide. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience when it comes to choosing the right golf gear and finding the right setup for your game.

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