In golf, the role of the trail arm in the golf swing

In the game of golf, the trail arm plays a crucial role in executing a powerful and accurate golf swing. The trail arm is the arm on the same side as the golfer's trailing leg (right arm for right-handed golfers and left arm for left-handed golfers). Understanding its role and optimizing its function can greatly improve a golfer's performance on the course.

Proper setup and alignment

  • One of the most important aspects of a successful golf swing is the initial setup. The trail arm should be in a relaxed and comfortable position, with the elbow slightly bent and in front of the body.
  • Proper alignment of the trail arm with the target line is crucial for accuracy. The arm should be aligned parallel to the target line, allowing for a smooth and on-plane swing.


  • As the golfer begins the backswing, the trail arm plays a crucial role in setting the club into the proper position.
  • The arm should remain relatively straight and provide support to maintain a wide swing arc. This wide arc helps generate power and maximize clubhead speed.
  • During the backswing, the trail arm should stay connected to the body, allowing for a coordinated rotation of the shoulders and hips.

Transition and downswing

  • As the backswing transitions into the downswing, the trail arm starts to have an even greater impact on the swing.
  • The arm should maintain its connection with the body and lead the movement of the club.
  • Proper sequencing of the downswing is essential, and the trail arm helps facilitate this by creating lag and generating power.
  • During the downswing, the trail arm should remain extended and act as a lever, transferring energy from the body into the clubhead.

Impact and follow-through

  • At impact, the trail arm should be fully extended, providing stability and control to achieve a solid strike on the ball.
  • The arm's position helps maintain the proper wrist hinge, ensuring a crisp ball contact and maximum distance.
  • Following the impact, the trail arm continues its motion, extending fully towards the target during the follow-through.
  • This extension allows for a complete release of energy and helps maintain balance and stability throughout the swing.

Key considerations for trail arm position

  • Golfers should ensure that the trail arm is relaxed throughout the swing, avoiding tension that can impede the fluidity of the motion.
  • Keeping the arm connected to the body and allowing it to take its natural path will help promote a consistent swing plane.
  • Practicing drills and exercises that specifically target the trail arm can help improve its strength, flexibility, and overall function.
  • Finally, golfers should remember that the trail arm is just one component of a well-coordinated golf swing. Proper weight transfer, hip rotation, and overall body alignment also play vital roles in achieving a successful and efficient swing.

In conclusion, the trail arm serves as a pivotal force in the golf swing, contributing to power, accuracy, and consistency. Understanding its role and ensuring its optimal function can significantly enhance a golfer's overall performance on the course.