You paid all that money for those clubs. Let them do some of the work in your swing! On the left side, you can see this student’s left arm starting to bend at the elbow as the club enters the impact zone. You may have heard this called ‘the chicken wing” motion through impact. He was fighting right shots that take off to the right of the target and then go farther right. When the left elbow flexes and moves away from the side of your body as in the left photo, it causes the face to open and resist squaring up through impact. With a smile, I told my student, “you’re doing it to yourself!”
The fix was to have him learn to release the club, as in let go of it — loosen the grip pressure as the club comes into impact, and this is the key, let the clubs own momentum pull his arms straight. You see, if I just had him force his arms straight, it would look great on video, but he would, through undue muscular tension, still be resisting the club’s natural desire to help square itself.
I had him feel like he was throwing the club at the ball, and try to nearly stop his left arm for an instant and then allow the club to pull his arms to the finish. The feel of this move is amazing. As he continued to hit shots, he kept laughing at how much less effort he was using, while the ball was flying much straighter and every bit as far if not farther than normal. It really is a strange game!
Many golfers thing “the release” is rolling the arms over through impact. That is not true at all. In the truest sense of the word, “release,” you want to cultivate this sense of letting go right at impact and allowing the club to effortlessly IF you let it!
Hit ‘em Great!John Dunigan is a PGA Master Professional and Director of Instruction at White Manor Country Club in Malvern, where he runs the John Dunigan Golf Academy. An expert in Junior Golf, Dunigan received the prestigious PGA Philadelphia Section Junior Golf Leader Award for 2012, and was named Philadelphia Section Teacher of the Year in 2008. He lives in Kennett Square.