Connect with us

Published

on

We get questions about the left arm (or right arm for you lefties) during the swing… should it stay straight or should it bend? Many times our amateur clients have been told they “collapse” at the top, so they try the opposite of collapsing, which is keeping that left arm ram-rod straight. Well… neither is going to help your swing.

Let’s take a look at how the pros do it.

Your Reaction?
  • 64
  • LEGIT12
  • WOW6
  • LOL3
  • IDHT3
  • FLOP3
  • OB1
  • SHANK59

Athletic Motion Golf is a collaboration of four of golf's brightest and most talented instructors who came together with the sole purpose of supplying golfers the very best information and strategies to lower their scores. At AMG, we're bringing fact-based instruction that's backed by research and proven at the highest levels on the PGA Tour straight to golfers through our website. Our resources will help you "clear the fog" in your game and understand the essentials of playing great golf.

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Anthony

    Dec 9, 2017 at 5:58 am

    This is BS. It completely depends on the golfer and how it affects delivery etc!

  2. Someone

    Dec 8, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    I think there is a very huge difference at 2:30 at the top of the swing. part of the reason the am has more elbow bend is because you can clearly see how much wrist hinge is in the left hand. The pro is only holding and maintaining the angle on the way up where as the am is taking it inside and tight; you can also tell that the am is taking it basin them based on how much the right arm is bending and folding BEHIND him, whereas the pro still has it rather outside his body.

    If i had to guess, with the lack of hinge at the top that maybe the pro was jason day…It is similar to jb holmes at the top where he is just holding the angle rather than making it smaller, but i wouldn’t say it’s holmes simply because holmes doesn’t take the club back as far. But just my guess…

    Anyhow, i think the wrist hinge plays a huge role in whether or not the left arm can remain “straight” throughout the swing. it seems obvious that keeping it straight is not true since there is obviously some bending going on here. perhaps the “keep the left arm straight” was a lesson from old teaching days where they knew they couldn’t keep their arm straight but by consciously trying to do so, it would get their left arm in a better position through the entire swing. They didn’t have the same equipment we have these days, so it makes sense how t could be a possible explanation for the “left arm straight” guidance.

  3. Bob Jones

    Dec 8, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    Let your left arm hang straight down. That is its natural shape. Now keep that shape when you address the ball and throughout your swing. No need to make it ramrod straight like Ben Hogan made his. It’s YOUR left arm, do what’s natural with it for you.

  4. Tom54

    Dec 8, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    Funny how your amateur you chose to depict says he is making it a point to keep his left arm straight throughout his swing. Maybe that’s why it’s hyper extended before impact. Trying to keep it straight tightens the shoulder. Maybe that’s why his impact looks so different. I didn’t see as much of a chicken wing as described. I think some bending is natural as long as it’s not too severe. Nice to see the subtle differences though in your video

  5. JTG

    Dec 8, 2017 at 11:27 am

    So now that we know we need to keep the left arm straighter…. how do we make that happen? IS there a follow up that shows exercises or drills to help? Or is that just a point of information?

    • AMG

      Dec 8, 2017 at 5:02 pm

      We have an entire series of drills planned to release throughout the winter.

  6. Chris

    Dec 7, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Lee Westwood?

  7. Patricknorm

    Dec 7, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    I’m a left handed golfer with a permanently bent right arm from a football injury.. When I was a teenager I was tackled hard on Astro turf ( football) on my right elbow. This elbow is bent about 20 degrees. Clearly this affects my distance because my lever is a shorter. My compensation as per my instructor is that I’m about 75% accurate for fairways and greens. I play to a 7.9 factor ( index).
    My bent elbow isn’t as severe as Calvin Peete’s was but, it’s close. I’ve looked into surgery but each surgeon I’ve talked with said it’s not that bad. However, there are times when the bent elbow hurts a lot.
    If you saw my swing on video it doesn’t look that bad but I know I’m compensating , regardless. I would guess, based on tournament play, I’m giving up 15-25 yards off the tee . I think if I were 20 years old I’d be a mirror of the amateur in the video ( without bent elbow).
    Excellent video by the way. I know there has always been discussion about Jordan Spieth’s slightly bent left elbow.

    • AMG

      Dec 7, 2017 at 4:55 pm

      It sounds like the other parts of your game are pretty solid to post those scores which is great!

      Two pros come to mind that we’ve measured that have a pretty good bit of flex/bend in that lead arm in the downswing. Would not consider that element by itself in any way a swing flaw. Jordan would be a great example.

  8. Andrew Cooper

    Dec 7, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Thanks for sharing this info. Could you elaborate on the 3.6 hyper-extension in the pro’s set up?

    • AMG

      Dec 7, 2017 at 4:50 pm

      It’s not uncommon to see their left arms fairly straight but with more bend in the right arm, and almost the opposite trend with ams. We’re working on a right arm video that will go into more detail about that. Did that address what you were asking about?

      • Andrew Cooper

        Dec 7, 2017 at 6:36 pm

        Thanks, I appreciate the reply. Yes I would’ve thought fairly straight, but just surprised that it would be hyper-extended, which I take as meaning bent beyond normal range of motion. Anyhow, enjoying your videos, some great info.

  9. jim

    Dec 6, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    Shall we assume that the pro and good amateur are anatomically identical? If not then the comparison is flawed.
    As for the ‘chicken wing’ followthru …. Jamie Sadlowski anybody?!!

  10. Branson Reynolds

    Dec 6, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    The video has an okay idea, but a 1:1 sample size is crazy. It’d be a lot more useful to have at least 10 of each.

    • AMG

      Dec 6, 2017 at 11:55 pm

      The data sample size was actually much larger than 10 of each. We chose the pro and the am in the video because they represented each sample size. The video would have to be much longer to show each and every golfer’s collected data. This is not a comparison of 1 pro to 1 am, but a representation of each group using these two golfers.

    • AMG

      Dec 7, 2017 at 11:22 am

      Is Jamie Sadlowski anatomically identical to the am or any other golfer? Can you see why we don’t just apply that criteria to looking at golf swings. None of our pros are anatomically identical, but all the ones we have data on do not hyper extended their left arm… neither does Jamie Sadlowski 😉

      • jim

        Dec 7, 2017 at 4:54 pm

        Thanks for your response to my query above. Before you can launch a comparative study between pro and amateur golfers on their lead arm biomechanics, you should first anatomically study their lead arm structure.
        You can’t just take a group of pros and amateurs, examine their swing mechanics and then conclude their lead arm mechanics are different. You must determine why it’s happening.

  11. PineStreetGolf

    Dec 6, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    This is actually a pretty good video that WRX kinda ruined by giving it a clickbait title.

    The most important difference between pros and ams is the ability to throw weight and center of gravity down the target line without losing balance or spine angle. This video is a good one, though, especially for the short game.

    If they had titled it “A helpful tip, especially close to the hole, to get cleaner contact” it would have been great. Its not the difference between pros and ams.

  12. Bob Jacobs

    Dec 6, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    Might just be me, but at least from the pics, I couldn’t see a discernible difference between pros and ams. Was also very confusing for me to hear about X degrees of bend in an elbow because my elbows dont bend!!

  13. JEC

    Dec 6, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Why do instructors keep trying to compare what Pros and Ams do in the golf swing? This is why most golf instruction doesn’t help make the weekend golfer any better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Instruction

A Guide (Secret) to Better Putting

Published

on

Putting is a part of the game where we can all do small things to get better. You don’t have to practice 40 hours a week or have a stroke that gets a perfect score on a SAM PuttLab. The universal answer is to simplify the approach as much as possible.

While being a world class putter is an art form, being competent at putting is probably the least physically daunting task in golf — aside from maybe driving the cart. Putting generally provides the most stress and frustration, however, as our results are almost never aligned with our exceptions, which drives us to create unnecessary roadblocks to success.

That being the case, let’s narrow this down to as few variables as possible and get ourselves holing more putts. First off, you need to have proper expectations. If you look at the PGA Tour averages for made putts, you will find that the rates of success overall are far lower than what we see on on TV on Sunday afternoon. That’s because we are seeing the best players in the world, who in a moment in time, are holing putts at a clip the average plus-handicap club champion couldn’t dream of during a near death experience on his way to walking into the light.

If you have ever seen golf balls rolled on a stimpmeter ramp (the device used to measure green speed), you have probably seen something shocking. Golf balls rolling perfectly — the perfect speed, on a perfect green, on a perfectly straight putt — sometimes miss on both sides of the hole on consecutive efforts.

This is a very important point. The farther you get from the hole, the less control you have over making the putt. That’s why actually making putts outside a few feet should not be your priority. Hitting the best putt possible is your only priority. Then be resigned that the putt will either go in or it won’t. This might seem defeatist, but it’s not; its just a perception change. If you judge yourself on whether the ball goes in or not, you are setting yourself up for failure. If you judge yourself on whether or not you hit a good putt, you will be more successful… and you’re going to make more putts.

This sounds like something you’d hear at a Tony Robbins positive thinking seminar, but it has proven successful for every one of my clients who has embraced it. So what’s the secret to hitting the best putt possible each time?

Simplify the process.

  1.  Read the green to the best of your ability.
  2.  Pick a line and do your best to set up to it.
  3.  Do your best to hit the putt solid and at the right speed.

Reading the green is something that gets better with experience and practice. Some will be better than others, so this is an intangible thing that countless books are written about. My advice is simple; DON’T OVER THINK IT. Look at the terrain and get a general sense of where low point is in relation to the hole.

The reason why perfect green reading and perfect alignment are overrated is because there is no one line to the hole. The hole is over 4-inches wide and putts break differently with changes in speed and solidness of contact. I saw a video at the Scotty Cameron Putting Studio many years ago of dozens of PGA Tour players. There was a worm’s-eye camera on a 4-5 foot putt that was basically straight on the artificial grass. Few were aimed at the middle of the hole and many weren’t even aimed at the hole at all… but I didn’t see one miss.

So have a look at the terrain and be decent at lining up in the general direction that will give a chance for a well struck putt to go in or finish close enough for a tap in. Simple. After rambling on for several paragraphs, we get to the heart of how you can improve your putting. Narrow it down to doing your best to hit a solid putt at the right speed.

The “Right Speed”

I ask people after they addressed a putt how much attention they pay to line and speed. Any answer but 100 percent speed is wrong. You’ve already read the putt and lined up. Why is line any longer a variable? Plus, have you ever missed the line on a 20-foot putt by 5 feet? Maybe once in your life on a crazy green, but you sure as heck have left it 5-feet short and long on several occasions.

Imagine I handed you a basketball and said shoot it in the basket. Or what if I told you to toss a crumpled piece of paper into the trash? Having the requisite coordination is an acquired skill, but you wouldn’t grind over innocuous details when it came to the feel of making the object go the right distance. You’d react to the object in your hand and the target for the right speed/distance.

Putting is no different, save one variable. There’s the sense and feel of how the the green interacts with the ball, and that’s a direct result of how solidly you hit the putt. If you use X amount of force and it goes 18 feet one effort and 23 feet the next, how are you ever going to acquire speed control? That is the mark of almost every poor lag putter. They don’t hit putts consistently solid, so they never acquire the skill of distance control.

Since speed is a learned reaction to the terrain/target and consistency is a direct result of how consistently solid you strike the ball, that is what we’re left with.

Learn to Hit Putts More Solid

The road to better putting is as simple as hitting your putts more solid. Put most/all of your effort into what it takes to hit more putts solid. Now for each individual, it’s less about doing what’s right. Instead, it’s about avoiding movements and alignments that make it difficult to hit the ball solid. It would take an encyclopedia to cover all of the issues that fall into this category, so I will list the most common that will cover more than 90 percent of golfers.

The most common one I see — and it is nearly universal in people who are plagued by poor lag putting — is excess hip rotation. Sometimes there’s even an actual weight shift. Think of it this way; take a backstroke and stop. Rotate your hips 20 degrees without moving anything else. The putter and the arc is now pointed left of your intended line. You have to shove it with your arms and hands not to pull it. Good luck hitting it solid while doing all of that.

I had a golf school in Baltimore and told this story. Ten of the 15 people there assured me they didn’t do that. After 8 people had putted, we were 8-for-8. No. 9 said, “There is no ******* way I am going to move my hips after watching this.”

The entire group laughed after his putt told him he was wrong. The last 6 did everything they could to avoid the fault. We went 15 for 15. Many people are unaware that this issue is so dire. If you add the people that are unaware they have this issue, we are near 100 percent of golfers. I have gotten emails from 8-10 of them telling me how much their putting improved after all they did was focus on minimizing hip rotation and just hitting the ball solid.

This issue is not just the bane of average golfers; I’ve had several mini-tour players with putting issues improve with this. We are all aware Fred Couples would have won many more majors if not for a career-long battle with his putter. Watch the next time he misses a 6-foot putt to the left. As you will see, it’s not just a problem for a high-handicappers.

The best way to judge and practice avoiding this, it putting with an alignment stick in you belt loops.  If your hips rotate too much, the stick will definitely let you know.

Other issues include the well know chest/sternum coming up too soon in an effort to see the ball go in the hole, as well as:

  • Not aligning the putter shaft properly with the lead arm
  • Grip pressure issues (too much and too little)
  • Too much tension in neck and shoulders
  • Poor rhythm
  • Long back stroke

I could go on and on and on. The main point; find out why you aren’t hitting putts solid and do whatever it takes to do so, even if it’s something crazy like a super wide-open stance (with my tongue firmly implanted in my cheek). See the Jack Nicklaus picture at the top of the story.

Your Reaction?
  • 151
  • LEGIT16
  • WOW1
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK7

Continue Reading

Instruction

WATCH: How to Improve Your Golf Club Release

Published

on

Many golfers release the club way too early. The low point of the swing moves back and they hit the ground behind the ball or pick the ball clean off the top of the surface. They then dream of “lag” and the “late hit” trying to achieve this by thinking of holding on the the wrist angle too long.

In this video, I share a drill that it will improve the way you release the club.

Your Reaction?
  • 12
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK3

Continue Reading

Instruction

Alistair Davies: My 3 Best Swing Tips

Published

on

In this video, I share with you my three best swing tips. Watch the video to get on the path to lower scores straight away.

Your Reaction?
  • 61
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW1
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP3
  • OB0
  • SHANK5

Continue Reading

Trending