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So many golfers understand that the golf swing should be completed with a straight leading arm in the backswing and through impact. They see the professionals with their straight arm swing on televised golf tournaments. They want to swing like a pro and get their scores down but about 50% of golfers can’t control their mind sufficiently to change their swing from a bent elbow swing. The mind only has a split second to sort out the swing sequence during each swing. The urge to swing with more power takes over the mind and allow the elbow to bend for more power. Of course, that’s the way they learned to swing a baseball bat for more power.

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So, one thing you’ll often hear lots about in the top of the backswing position that you’re trying to create in a golf swing is keeping your left arm straight. Now, there’s a couple of things we need to look at with this because sometimes, it is a bit cliché of an advice that you want to make sure you get the right advice with your left arm. So, front arm for the right-handed golfer, right arm and the front arm for the left-handed golfer as well.

So, as I take my address position here, the first thing is make sure your left arm is straight setup. If you’ve got a bent left arm here, it is unreasonable to expect it to straighten up in the backswing. So, a nice straight left arm when you start is important. Then, as long as you make a good shoulder rotation, the left arm effectively stays in front of the chest, lift up and it should be nice and straight at the top. The only problem with this is if I don’t rotate my shoulders and I still want to make a big back swing, I’m really going to struggle to get around, unless my left arm starts to bend. This is a very weak and a very inconsistent position at the top of the back swing.

So, to keep your left arm straight, nice big rotation of the shoulders first, then let the right arm here pull the left arm up and back into a nice strike position. You can hear in my voice there is a bit of tension in that position. Now, that tension as long as it is tension through the core and through the chest is actually quite good because that is going to generate a nice powerful spring loaded effect ready to pull back down to the golf ball.

The wrong sort of tension is grip pressure and forearm tension. If by trying to keep your left arm straight you’re strangling the golf club and you’re yanking it back too much., that isn’t going to do you any favors. That would actually reduce the power and the club head speed as the downswing happens. So, a nice big wind up of the upper body, keep the left arm out nice and straight as far as you can. If you tend to go up to the back to about two o’clock in length that would be fine. Anything further than three or four o’clock is probably going to result in this left arm breaking down, and that is no good.

Now, if you feel that while you’re making that movement, you’re unduly tight and you’re not having the flexibility, let’s go back and look at your natural flexibility that you have in your body. A really good exercise for this one is taking your left arm out in front of your chest, pulling the left arm across your chest as far as you can and then grabbing the back of your elbow and pulling that across your chest this way. That would stretch out the shoulder and the triceps of the left arm, which is actually the natural action that you’d need in the top of your backswing motion.

Don’t forget that every good golf swing that you make, pulling this left arm into a good position is actually a little stretching exercise for your arm as well. So, if you’re new to this movement, it might feel tight to start with, but after a couple of weeks of practicing this, a couple of hundred of pulls, this left arm will start to free up. So, keeping your left arm straight at the top of the backswing is good advice as long as you take it carefully and you don’t misunderstand the advice.