One element of the golf swing that is essential to playing great golf shots is the movement of the body and arms at the same pace. One thing that I frequently notice when coaching or watching people practice is how much tension they carry in their arms at address and then through the swing. This tension makes it almost impossible to keep your arms and body moving at the same pace.
There are a number of problems with having tension in your arms; your takeaway will be stiff and jerky, the club will feel hard and heavy at impact which will impact the quality of strike and your follow-through will be short and uncomfortable.
In order to play a great golf shot, you want your arms to be relaxed enough to match the movements of your body when swinging the golf club – both on the backswing and the follow through.
If you remove the tension from your arms, you will notice your takeaway will be much smoother, especially as your body begins to turn. This allows you to make a more natural movement. This will create more consistency and reliability in your golf swing.
By maintaining this same level of pressure, without tensing, as you start your downswing and swing through the ball you will make a much sweeter ball strike.
So how do you do it?
Start by taking your normal setup and then check your arm tension. You want to feel as though your arms are hanging relaxed from your shoulders and posture.
From here, focus on your target and not the golf ball. If you get wrapped up in the ball, your mind will switch to ‘hitting mode’, which will put the tension back in your arms. Once you are locked in on the target, start making some soft waggles whilst trying to maintain the relaxed feeling in your arms.
When you feel ready to make your swing, switch your focus to having a good finish position that faces your target.
Make your swing and hold the finish position. Take the time to assess how your arms feel in this finish position and how they felt through the swing.
The key to improving the tension in your arms is having the awareness of when they are tightening and working to relax them on your next swing.
During your next round or practice session take the time to think about how much tension you have in your arms. Try to keep them relaxed and you will realise that you don’t have to be so hard on yourself while swinging the club.
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About the Author (Author Profile)Darren Chapman is a AAA Member of the Australian PGA, and teaches at The Ridge Golf Course and Driving Range in Barden Ridge, NSW. www.theridgegolf.com.au/ or (02) 9541 4960
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