Let’s discuss a big golf myth: Keep your left arm straight (or right arm for lefties).
It’s one of Five Old Wives Tales in Golf.
- Keep your head down
- Keep your left arm straight (front arm)
- Shift your weight/turn your shoulders
- Hit the ball
- Follow through
I don’t believe you should try to bend your elbow, but I do not want you to try to lock it either.
The mission of golf is to start the face square, sitting behind the ball (Photo 1), swing the club to the top of the backswing, and return the club back to the bottom of the arc as close as possible to where it started. If you do that, the ball will go straight.
When you swing the club to the top of the backswing, the club head will always travel farther than your hands due to its length. If your front arm is straight and you try to get the club back to the bottom of the arc, the face will be way behind your front arm. As you can see from Photo 2, the hands will get back to the ball first because your arm is pulling. If you do this, the face will be WAY behind the grip. The face is pointing WAY right. That is where the ball will go.
I suggest you allow your front arm to hang straight. Relaxed. Like a piece of cooked spaghetti. If you do this, you will allow your arms to swing the clubhead, and will feel the weight of the club head in your hands. The head of the club is like a pendant on the end of a chain. You need to allow it to swing. If you do, and keep your body still, the face will always come back to the bottom of the arc and square up. If the face is square, the ball will go straight.
Cindy Miller, LPGA, teaches at several clubs and golf centers in western New York. Visit her at www.cindymillerinc.com