Jake was a competitive golfer for over a decade dating back to the days of being the Captain of his high school golf team. He has played more than 200 courses across 32 different states in the US. Now semi-retired, Jake continues to golf 3-4 days a week with a current 2 handicap, gives golf lessons to his friends and family, and provides a wealth of knowledge to Golf Circuit from his competitive playing days. Jake combines practical expertise with technical knowledge to create golfing strategies and training techniques for both beginners and scratch golfers.
Everyone who steps out onto a golf course wants to improve their golf swing. The key to doing this is having control over your right arm. This is where many people fail at golf.
Controlling your right arm will make you a more accurate and consistent golfer.
Your Right Arm and Your Swing Position
Knowing what to do with your right arm and making sure you have the proper stance before you swing is one of the keys to perfecting your golf swing.
I have been playing golf ever since I was a child, and every year it becomes more and more obvious to me that the details of my golf stance are the most important part of my swing.
In fact, Derek Morrison, the Director of Golf at the Sugar Mills Country Club, talks about how critical your stance is to properly hit a golf ball.
As an extension of your arm, you need to think about what you are doing with your hands.
If you are not gripping the golf club properly, you are setting yourself up for trouble.
Assuming that you are right-handed, you should first keep a natural grip with your left hand on the club.
Then collapse your right hand over your left hand.
This sets you up to properly move your body and arms during the swing to feel comfortable and natural. The Southern California PGA talks about the importance of perfecting your grip in relation to your swing in the video above.
Your left arm will be fully extended when you get into your golf stance. Your right arm will be almost fully extended, but not quite.
You should have a bend in your right arm at the elbow to easily swing the club back behind you.
You should also make sure that you are holding the club right. In addition to having a neutral grip on the club, you should rotate your arms so that your forearms are facing up. This can be explained further in the anti-roll method for golf.
Doing this ensures that you can open your chest up properly. You also avoid having a hunched back that restricts your natural movement.
It is also important to pay attention to what your elbows are doing when you set up to swing. This is just as important as how you are holding your forearms.
Golfers generally recommend keeping your elbows tucked in as close to your body as you can when you are getting into your stance.
Your left elbow will naturally slide across your body during your backswing. However, you should keep your right elbow tucked into your body throughout the entire swing.
Keeping your right elbow in this position is one of the keys to executing the rest of the swinging motion. Your elbow should be pointed straight down at the ground the entire time. Keeping your right elbow tucked into your body gives you maximum control over your golf club.
You need to keep your right arm relaxed throughout swinging the club and striking the ball. If you do not do this, it will mess with your tempo and negatively affect the accuracy of your swing. This is especially true of your right arm.
Your Right Arm During Your Backswing
What you do with your right arm during your backswing is critical to your accuracy.
You should keep your arms connected throughout your backswing and avoid folding the right arm too early.
If you let your right arm fold too soon, the club will look to the inside, and it will mess up the accuracy of your swing. Often this will result in you chipping the ball over the top in what is called a “slice.”
Your right arm will start moving once your club is around waist height. You should let your arms fold naturally following the course of your body turning, and you should not let your arm move too far away from your body.
At this point, you will bend and tuck your arm. You need to keep it tucked because it will create a flared elbow effect that will ruin your swing if you do not.
Another way to think about it is that you should imagine balancing a pizza box in your right hand over your shoulder when you are at the top of your backswing.
This will help ensure that you are in the proper position.
Your Right Arm During Your Downswing
Now that we have covered what you should be doing during your backswing, we need to discuss what to do during the downswing. Many amateur golfers struggle during the downswing because they do not understand what they should be doing.
You should be moving your arm so that the elbow shifts closer to your body, not the other way around. If your elbow is swinging away from you, you are doing it wrong.
Many amateur golfers start their downswing by moving their upper body when they should be moving their lower body instead.
The experts at Golfing Eagle talk about the importance of using your body instead of your arms to generate power in the swing. Your arms are simply there to guide the movement of the golf club.
When amateur golfers try to generate power with their arms, they rely on brute strength to get the distance. However, they get diminishing returns because they are not harnessing their body’s natural momentum.
Hitting the Ball
Your arms should be connected and form a triangle with the golf ball.
You should also avoid straightening your arm before you strike the ball. This might be the most important part of the entire process.
Your right arm should be hanging right in front of your hip.
If you do not do this, you will lose a lot of power in your stroke, and you will not be able to strike the ball with nearly as much impact. This is one of the main differences between professional and amateur golfers.
Amateur golfers are much more likely to fully extend their right arm when they strike the ball.
In contrast, professional golfers can maintain the side bend in their arms. David Leadbetter of Golf Digest says that this is one of the biggest mistakes that amateur golfers make.
Consistently practicing keeping your right arm slightly bent through your swing is one of the fastest ways to lower your handicap.
Your arms should also stay connected as you follow through with your swing.
As you complete your downswing, you should be creating a triangle between the ball, your elbows, and the head of the golf club.
This triangle should close and eventually collapse as you strike the ball and follow through on your downswing.
Exercises to Improve Your Right Arm In Golf Swing
There are a lot of exercises that you can use to improve your right arm motion in your golf swing.
These are some of the exercises that helped me the most, but you can find countless more here at 100GolfDrills.com.
Throwing Balls at Balls
The first drill is to place a golf ball center in your stance on the tee, as if you were going to strike it with your club.
Instead, you should put another ball in your right hand and make a simulated backswing and downswing with your right arm.
Instead of hitting the ball with a club, you throw the ball in your hand as you complete the downswing.
Throw the ball in your hand at the ball on the tee, trying to knock it off of the tee. This will help you improve your right arm motion.
Just Your Arms
Another drill that you can do is set the ball up on the tee as normal. You hold the club as if you were going to take a normal swing. Then you do your normal backswing and downswing, except you do not move your body during the swing.
This will help reinforce proper arm motion and helps you understand the importance of your torso in generating power.
A third drill that you can do is one arm swing with just your right arm. To do this, set up a ball on a tee like normal. Then train your right arm on the proper swinging motions by striking the ball while only holding the club with your right hand.
You can start out by using this exercise to do chip shots, then work your way up to half swings and then full swings.
Practice this with one hundred percent concentration, and you will dramatically improve at the fundamentals of incorporating your right arm into your golf swing.
Some people are visual learners. In the video above, professional golfer Chris Ryan demonstrates how you should execute your swing and how to incorporate your right arm.
This will give you a visual image to align with what we have already discussed.
Frequently Asked Questions
You probably have many questions if you are getting into golfing and learning how to properly use your right arm to make the most out of your swing.
These are the answers to some of the most common questions beginner golfers have about their swing.
Should The Right Arm Dominate My Golf Swing?
Yes, your right arm is dominant over your left arm when swinging your golf club. Your left arm is there to provide stability, but it is your right arm that guides the movement and speed of your club during the swing.
That said, your left hand will be dominant over your right hand. Because your right hand is collapsed over your left hand, your left hand will have a more secure grip on the club.
Put simply, the left arm is there for stabilization, while the right arm in your golf swing guides movement.
Should I Tuck My Right Arm in During My Swing?
Your right and left arms play different roles in the golf swing, and you should be keeping your right arm tucked into your body during your golf swing.
You should keep your right arm and elbow close to your body during your backswing, and you should tuck it in even further during your downswing.
This lets you strike the ball with more force because it enables you to fully rotate your body.
Many golfers do not do this, which is why they do not generate as much power as they can.
If they would tuck their right arm in properly, they would be able to strike the ball much farther with much greater ease than they currently do.
How Should I Hold My Arms While Swinging?
First of all, you should make sure that you keep your arms connected together at the elbow.
You can keep your arms synchronized with your torso by putting towels under your armpits. My dad taught me to do this when I was learning to play golf.
Do this and take a couple of practice swings. If the towels drop down out of your armpits, you know that you need to squeeze your arms tighter into your body to swing properly.
I Want to Hit the Ball More Consistently. How Do I Do This?
Improving your stance and what you do with your right arm is the most important thing you can do to improve your consistency in your golf swing.
Consistency, of course, is the key to improving your overall score.
Everybody wants to improve their golf game, but many people do not know.
They waste hours smacking balls on the driving range without improving because they do not realize that golfers just need to change how they use their right arm in their golf swing.