…or right elbow for a left handed golfer.
We have always been told, “keep the left arm straight,” and as usual, it is taught and done to an unhealthy extreme.
There are four states the left elbow can be in the back swing:
States 2 and 3 are just fine and let me describe each.
1-Just as it sounds. A forced straight elbow into a locked position, creating tension and most likely cutting off the shoulder turn and release. If you pay attention, you will see a large percentage of people on the range doing this.
2-A nice relaxed straight left arm that is not a result of trying to keep the left arm straight because the shoulder turn is dictating the back swing.
3-A slightly bent left elbow that many golfers find as a better alternative to a locked left arm. Don’t let anyone tell you that a soft left elbow is a bad thing. As long as the bend does not increase during the swing.
4-I find a bent left elbow preferable to a locked one, but this is a difficult place to play from as it is a hard place to be consistent from. It is often the result of lifting with the arms and/or taking a back swing that is too long for the flexibility of the golfer.
As is almost every case in golf instruction, the cliche is the symptom and not the problem…and trying to fix the symptom actually causes even bigger problems.
Telling someone to keep their left arm straight is like telling your wife not to nag you about taking out the trash. Why not just take out the trash and avoid the problem all together?