How to Keep the Left Arm Straight
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Sean is the co-founder of My Golf Tutor, the top golf instructional blog helping weekend golfers play better golf. He played on the Irish National team that produced major champions like Rory Mcllroy, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington, and Darren Clarke before playing professionally for 5 years around the world.
Are you one of the many golfers who worry about whether or not they should try to keep their left arm straight in golf swing?
Have you read magazine articles saying that all pros keep their left arm straight, and that this is the key to hitting it longer and straighter?
Miles read something similar to this as well, and wrote to us asking:
I’m fairly new to playing golf, but I have heard that I need to keep my left arm straight and that it will help me hit better shots. Is there any truth to this – and if so – what can I do?
The answer to this question, Miles, is that it depends on the golfer.
The range of motion in your Thoracic Spine (T-spine or upper back), in almost every case, will determine how straight you can keep your left arm or how much you’ll have to bend it (for a right-handed golfer) to make a complete backswing.
For me, I do like to see golfers keep the left arm fairly straight.
I don’t want it locked, but I only want this position if the golfer’s range of motion can support it.
One of the main reasons why some people are able to keep their left arm straight is because they have great range of motion in their T-Spine.
I’ve had students come to me who’ve read an article telling them that they must keep their left arm straight.
They come for a lesson, begin making a few swings, and then ask me if they were keeping their left arm straight during their swing.
“Pic Here of Short Backswing”
What was happening was that their backswings would be so short they were unable to generate any momentum for their downswing and follow through.
Their rhythm and timing were out of sync and they could not produce an efficient swing.
If you are someone who has a tight T-Spine, don’t be afraid to allow your left elbow to bend slightly in order to complete your backswing.
JB Holmes bends his left arm…
A great example of someone who bends their left arm, but does not lack distance one bit is PGA Tour player, JB Holmes.
He lacks range of motion in his T-Spine, and the only way that he can complete his backswing is to allow his left arm to bend slightly.
As illustrated by JB Holmes – who is one of the longest hitters on tour – bending your left arm does not rob you of distance.
If you’ve been trying to keep your left arm straight and you find that you’ve lost or are losing distance, I hope this information gives you a clear picture of whether you should continue striving for that straight left arm, or whether you should consider bending it.
Do you play with someone in your weekend golf match who is always trying to get their left arm straight?
Forward them this article; they’ll see that JB Holmes can hit 300+ yard drives while bending his left arm.
What was the last tip you read in a golf magazine, and then tried to use in your golf swing?
Tell me about it in the comment section below.