I have learned over the years that many golfers have difficulty making solid contact with the ball because their arms are over active during their golf swing. Another way of stating this is to say that their trunk is underutilized. When a golfer’s arms become dominant during the swing and disconnect from trunk or torso, it can have a detrimental effect on club head speed, swing path, and swing plane. A flaw in any one of these areas, never mind all three, will produce inconsistent ball striking, erratic ball flight, and frustrating scores. I have helped golfers enjoy success in overcoming this problem by teaching them the importance of connection.
If during the initial video analysis, we discover that the arms are disconnecting from the body, we immediately have a discussion about the importance of staying connected. To make golfers aware of the feeling, I focus their attention onto the triangle created by their shoulders and arms at address. Assuming that the golfer is in decent posture, he or she should feel their upper arms lightly resting on their upper chest. Their elbows should point at their hip socket. When we move golfers into this position most golfers feel like their elbows are closer together and there is less space between their arms. From this new set up position the golfer is now ready to produce a more connected, more powerful, and more easily to repeat golf swing.
Once the golfer feels comfortable with their new address position, we start to work through the short game. We start by executing a few chip shots followed by several longer pitch shots. The goal is to increase distance and club speed while maintaining the relationship between the triangle created by the arms and shoulders and the rotational center of the swing, the chest. In order to accomplish this goal, the golfer will need to allow their trunk or torso to play a larger role in the back swing and forward swing by rotating. We work our way through the bag and continue this process until we can maintain connection with the driver.
As golfers become more reliant on the bigger muscles of the trunk and torso and less dependent on the arms, they will begin to swing on a more consistent plane and path. Their swing speed will increase for additional length. Their swings will be more compact and appear to require less effort. Their ball flight will become more predictable and more enjoyable to watch. Their birdie opportunities will increase and their handicap will come down.
If you are having difficulty finding the fairways and greens, you should set up an appointment with your PGA Professional to make sure that you are staying connected throughout your swing.
Matt Stephens is Director of Golf at Blackstone National Golf Club
in Sutton, MA.
(508) 865-2111 or firstname.lastname@example.org