Today we are going to discuss number 3 on the list: You should keep your left arm straight though out the golf swing, or you don’t have to keep your left arm straight through out the golf swing. I am still going through things on raising the left heel, but I am just about done, and that will be the subject of next week’s post. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, thank God the feet aren’t bigger and we only have two of them because there are more opinions on what to do with them than any other part of the golf swing, with the possible exception of the head. The left arm is not as near complicated, but is interesting none the less.
There was one instructor that did an experiment to see if allowing the left arm to bend at the top of the swing would affect the distance of the driver. There were some interesting things about this so called experiment. First he hit 3 balls each way. Yes 3 balls. Don’t put yourself out. Although he may start a trend. SAT tests can have just 3 questions, or new drugs can be tried on just 3 people and then be approved. How about hitting 50 balls or even a hundred and coming to some kind of conclusion. Better yet have about 50 to 100 golfers of various skill levels swing the two ways, about 50 shots each and see what happens. Even more interesting was that on his second straight left arm swing, his left arm is slightly bent at the top. Finally he was a little distressed that he lost about 10 yards in distance when he swung with the left arm bent. Since the experiment was pretty worthless I don’t understand his concern. His conclusion despite “his results” was that the left arm did not have to be straight to hit the ball consistently.
So what about this left arm thing. If you keep your left arm straight through out the swing, it is going to do only one thing for your golf swing. At the top of the swing it is going to stretch out the left side of your body and back muscles. Here is the little experiment to do. Take your address position and make sure your left arm has a distinct bend of at least 20 to 30 degrees. Now make your backswing and maintain that bend to the top. Now straighten that left arm and you are going to feel a distinct stretch down the left side of your body and back. Now if that is the feeling you want to have at the top of the swing then you better keep your left arm straight. Any instructor that says it’s ok to bend the left arm at the top, and Bob Toski is one of them, knows that with the acceleration of the downswing the left arm is going to straighten automatically. The advocates of the straight left arm say that it will keep you from over swinging, maintain your swing arc and make you a more consistent ball striker, all false. All its going to do is give your left side a distinctive stretch. If you think that is important in the golf swing and many people do, then you better keep it straight. If you don’t and many people feet that way too, then bend away just like sipping the beer in golf cart.