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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Swinging with Your Chest

Since I took Michael Breed to task a couple of days ago, it's only fair to emphasize something he said that should help just about everybody.

On Monday night's Golf Fix Breed talked about "swinging with your chest." He talks about it periodically, and it's a single image he uses to illustrate several principles I talk about often on this blog.

The basic concept is that your arms stay in roughly the same position relative to your chest throughout your swing that they have at address. Some teachers call this "maintaining the triangle."

One of the things I mention frequently is connection, which simply means the upper part of your arms continue to rest lightly against the side of your chest throughout your backswing and downswing. Note that it's your upper arms, not your elbows. Your trailing arm may come off briefly at the top of your backswing. If it doesn't, your swing may end up being much too flat (that is, like swinging a baseball bat). It doesn't stay off very long though.

A connected swing is the basic idea behind swinging with your chest. Whichever term you choose, doing it makes your swing much easier to repeat because your body helps your arms repeat the same path each time.

Since your upper arms stay lightly against the sides of your chest when you swing with your chest, it helps you make the one-piece takeaway that I talk about until you're all sick of it. :-) Swinging with your chest forces you to coil your upper body and turn your shoulders early in your backswing... and that always makes good things happen!

It also helps keep your lead elbow pointed down at the ground throughout your swing. This helps avoid both leaving the clubface open at impact (which causes a slice) and "chicken-winging" on your finish.

And swinging with your chest also helps you "keep your hands in front of you," which helps you stay on plane better because you don't lean backward on your downswing, which in turn helps you avoid a "reverse pivot." (That's when your weight doesn't move to your lead foot on the downswing.)

While I tend to focus on each of these things separately since players may do some and not others, the "swing with your shoulders" image can be a good one for helping you minimize the number of swing thoughts you have during your swing. So if it helps you, then you can thank Breeder for it. ;-)


  1. Hi Mike,

    I find the Towel Takeaway Drill very good to feel the connection during the takeaway.


  2. A lot of people like that drill, Baptiste. It's a good way to feel connection throughout the entire swing, not just the takeaway.

    My only problem with it is that your lead arm stays connected all the way through the swing but your trailing arm moves away from your chest a little at the top of your backswing, so sometimes you drop the towel! ;-)

    But it's a good drill that doesn't cost anything. And if you can hit balls without dropping the towel, you've stayed connected all the way through.