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Sunday, July 8, 2018

Cindy Miller on a Relaxed Lead Arm (Video)

This older video from LPGA instructor Cindy Miller kind of goes along with yesterday's post about topping... but it approaches the problem of poor ball contact from the "other side" of the swing -- the upper body, rather than the lower body.

Cindy is attacking the myth that you need to keep your lead arm straight during your swing. Now, we're not talking about bending your lead elbow at a 90° angle at the top of your backswing. (Although some players do learn to play well that way. If you do, you know it.) Rather, we're talking about trying to keep your lead arm dead straight throughout your swing.

I've mentioned this "ramrod striaght" myth many times when talking about the one-piece takeaway. You don't want your lead arm stiff -- it should be relaxed and will flex slightly as you swing to the top of your swing, then return to its address position as you make your downswing. This is a natural movement for your arm -- you do it all the time when you make any kind of sweeping motion with your arm. You want to just let it happen when you swing the club as well.

In this video Cindy mentions two problems that keeping your lead arm stiff will cause. First, it can cause you to "stand up" during your backswing, just as Andrew Reynolds mentioned yesterday in that post. Stiff arms cause you to lift up and straighten up -- but this time, you overcorrect on your way down and stick the clubhead in the ground. Can you say fat shot?

The second thing this move does is cause you to open the clubface on the way back, then you leave it open on the way down. That's because a stiff lead arm won't drop back down into your normal address position, which means your arms don't rotate back to their address position where the face was square.

Ironically, you can do this upper body lifting and yesterday's lower body "push up" at the same time. What happens? Depending on which one you exaggerate, you might hit the ball fat or thin, without any apparent logic. And if you do hit the ball, the combination will likely create an over-the-top swing with an open clubface, creating that nasty banana ball we all hate.

So hopefully this week's series of posts will help you understand how excess movement in your swing -- created by trying to reach for a bigger turn than is natural for your flexibility -- can create poor contact and unwanted ball flights. So many of these problems, both with your upper body and your lower body, are caused by unnecessary tension in your arms and legs.

Maybe I'll try to post some relaxation drills next week. Learning to relax isn't hard, but a little encouragement can't hurt!