Keeping left arm straight

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Keeping left arm straight
I've just bought Ben Hogans 'The modern fundamentals of golf'. In it he says your left arm should stay straight throughout the backswing. However, i find this completely impossible! Half way through the back swing my arm starts to bend and no matter how much i try to straighten it, it is impossible. Is it really imperative to have a straight left arm at the top of the backswing?

very few tour players have a straight left arm at the top of the bakswing, Ernie els is famous for it though.

My pro gave me a tip to help with this as I have a horendous overswing. Get a large coke bottle and cut the ends off it. then slide it up over your elbow, this will help stop yuo from bending your arm and let you feel where your arm should stop. If you watch any pro you will not see his left arm bend. the reason that they can get the club back so far is there shoulder turn.

It's not imperative in that it doesn't have to be dead parallel straight, the left arm will bend a little as a natural consequence of the (heavy) clubhead swinging in an arc (yes, even the pro's). Bend it too much though and you lose that arc and a lot the power it contains, you will also have difficulty returning the clubhead back where it came from because at some opint in the downswing you have to get your left arm straight as it was at address.If you set out thinking about, or trying to force, "straight", you will likely tense up, which restricts your movement.My swing thought? Keep my hands as far away from my ears as possible.

What Hogan really meant was : Bending the left arm is a lazy man's way of reaching to the top. Instead of bending the left elbow, reaching the top should be mostly from big shoulder turns.

Focus on keeping the left arm dead straight will just build tension into the swing,its on a par with 'keep the head still' for causing swing problems.

I focus on keeping the left arm straight - it's one of the best improvements I've made in terms of consistent ball-striking (helps to bring the club-head back through the starting position on the swing). You can't help but want to bend a little - it seems so restrictive to the back swing (especially if you are as unfit and stiff in the back as me).But if I find my ball-striking going off during a round, I can always trace the problem to bending the arm too much, or trying to hit the skin off the ball.If keeping the arm striaght looses you too much distance/power, take more club. I am convinced - for amateurs like me it is a major benefit to consitency in ball striking

Left arm should be extended not straight

Andrew,sometimes when focusing on the left arm,thinking you are getting it straighter,what you could be doing is actually getting the wrist set bang on.Just a thought. (I'm with Nick on this one)

It is not imperatite to have a straight left arm. Just Look at John Daly. However, it does appear to be the case for most people. If you can't do it, you need to find a way to counteract the effect of a straight arm.Also, you have to be clear at what point of the swing should the left arm be straight? Having a straight left arm at the half-way back stage seems logical to me, to get the club on plane, after that some continue to keep it straight, others allow a little bend.

It seems we are discussing semantics,someones straight might be someone elses extended.I certainly 'nip' the arms in,this gives a better connection to the body and helps you swing with the bigger muscles,instead of swinging with the arms and leaving the body behind.You have to gaurd against tension in the swing though,imho this can be more destructive that a slight kink in the arm.I suppose mine is moreorless straight,but its not a concious thought,more a consequence of a full turn and keeping my biceps connected to my body.

Thanks for the help guys!I've been practicing since yesterday and have figured out how to keep my arm straight on a full back swing. Looking back now i don't know how i couldn't do it in the first place as it seems so easy now! I have yet to put it in practice by trying to hit a ball though!I have another question if you's don't mind.At address i marked the spot where the heel rests on the ground. When i perform a swing i find the club follows through around 2 inches in front of the spot where i marked. This obviously explains why i keep heeling, missing and topping the ball. How would i stop this happening?

Would it be just a simple case of placing the ball 2 inches further away than normal :-P

A straight left arm appears to be a function of Tricep and shoulder strength and flexibility. For an average person who doesn't play golf everyday or wok on that specific aspect of their physicality it is not normal.

You could try addressing the ball with club held off the ground (not resting on it). I.e. you will lift the club head up (and out by an inch and "hover" it behind the ball before making the backswing. This helps to simulate the plane that the club will follow on the swing.I don't like this and so line the ball up with the toe of the club head on my woods & driver. Got this from watching Paul McGinley setting up his drives during the matchplay at Wentworth; he sets up with the driver head on the ground and the ball lined up right out on the tip of the head.

Thanks Andrew. I'll try that this afternoon.

"A straight left arm appears to be a function of Tricep and shoulder strength and flexibility. For an average person who doesn't play golf everyday or wok on that specific aspect of their physicality it is not normal"Pick up a golf club in your left hand and point it at something in front of you. Left arm straight? Thought so. If you can do that you can keep it straight/extended throughout the golf swing.

Longest driving last year (and probably ever) was when I extended the left arm at address. This gave me a feeling of power.I would like to say that the comment about extended arm is a good one - as a thought when taking your address - but it pretty much means straight.To concentrate on keeping the arm straight might lead to 'overdoing it' but if you can swing 3/4 and keep a light grip on the club, it will probably help. For most of us, when it feels like a 3/4 swing it is pretty much a fully swing anyway.Like me trying to pull with the left arm last week - leading to a very heavy first tee shot (no doubt moving everything downwards)- I think that forcing the left arm straight and swinging too far will also encourage this vertical movement.I am nearly there though I feel...on Sunday I am going to try leading with the left again but simply allowing it to drop at the beginning of the downswing and maintaining my height and shoulder turn for as long as I can.Anyone got any swing thought or 'feels' for the left arm dominated downswing?

"Pick up a golf club in your left hand and point it at something in front of you. Left arm straight? Thought so. If you can do that you can keep it straight/extended throughout the golf swing."Pick up the same club in your left had with aproper grip. Point it out in front of you with your straight arm. Now rotate your hand to where it would be at the top of the backswing. Still easy,Now move your arm across your body, how far can you get it whilst keeping your arm straight.Thats my point

Move your shoulders as you would in a golf swing, see where your left arm goes, and whether it stays straight or not.That's the relevant point.

Acrross the chest like thishttp://www.golf-tuition-online.com/vbportal/photopost/data/529/11wood4.jpgI would say 80% of the people on here cannot maintain that straight an arm in that position.

"Pick up the same club in your left had with aproper grip. Point it out in front of you with your straight arm. Now rotate your hand to where it would be at the top of the backswing. Still easy,Now move your arm across your body, how far can you get it whilst keeping your arm straight."Which part of your post describes the shoulder turn clearly evident in the photo?

this is my last post becasue I am getting wound up.I am talking about the relationship between the arm and the chest. In that picture you can quite clearly see that relationship. It is the same as the one I described whilst not turning the shoulders.The one in the pic is in fact harder as you have gravity to overcome.

"A straight left arm appears to be a function of Tricep and shoulder strength and flexibility. For an average person who doesn't play golf everyday or wok on that specific aspect of their physicality it is not normal"And where in this post do you describe the relationship between arm and chest?Posting a picture with full shoulder turn to support a described movement with no shoulder turn ... yes ...

Actually I just tried your little exercise without a shoulder turn. It's a piece of p!ss, got the clubhead pointing about 15/20

Oops, should also add I did it without rotating my wrist through 90