You might have heard of the swing flaw known as the chicken wing. It refers to the bend in the lead arm (left for right-handers) as the club moves through the hitting zone. This bend causes the elbow to jut, giving the arm the look of a bar-food staple. Unfortunately, it often leads to fat or thin shots, especially when the ball is on the turf. It also results in a loss of power and makes it hard to square the face at impact.
To correct this, think of your lead arm being attached to your chest as you swing down. Keep it in close until just past impact [above]. Then you can let the arm separate from the body. A good visual is throwing a Frisbee. The throwing arm stays in close until you release the Frisbee. Then the arm fully extends.
“Don’t let your elbow lead the way.”
You can practise this connection by grabbing a club with your left arm only. Swing it back halfway and then make a full through-swing, feeling the lead arm attached to your chest until just past the hitting area. Save the chicken wings for watching football on TV next winter.
More on better ball-striking how to feel extended
To get a feel for good extension of your arms as the club strikes the ball, press your clubhead into a golf-cart tyre and mimic impact [left]. Hold the club there for a few seconds, sensing your left biceps and chest muscles squeezing together.
David Leadbetter is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional and he spoke with Ron Kaspriske.