Tom Tucker teaches all aspects of the golf game at The Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility in Batavia. Tom may be found online at

For the sake of simplicity, all advice on swings and drills is provided from
a right handed perspective; lefties …. well, you know what to do 🙂

Most of us know that the left arm should stay long in the backswing – notice that
I didn’t say straight – but for many the role of the right arm is neglected or ignored.

The right arm can be a key power source for most golfers when used correctly, and
it can rob you of power when used incorrectly.

Here’s what the right arm should do from setup to finish.

On the takeaway, the right elbow begins to fold subtly after about one foot
of movement as the body side rotates away from the ball.

For traditional two plane swing styles, both arms stay in front of the chest for the
entire backswing.

For other swing styles like a Rotary, One Plane, or Stack and Tilt, the left arm
moves closer to the chest and stays there in the backswing.

The top portion of the inside of the right arm stays connected as the club goes back,
up, and around – however it may move laterally away from the rib cage as long as
the right elbow does not move behind the body.

At the top, the upper right arm and forearm should form a 90 degree angle, or close to it.


For most swing styles, the right elbow floating behind the body in the backswing
is an absolute swing killer.  This is also referred to as a flying elbow.

A good drill to avoid or correct this elbow position is to set up without a club, then simply
rotate into your backswing and raise your right hand as if you were in a classroom asking
a question.

Make sure your right elbow stays pointing down as you do this and it will be in a good
position at the top of your swing.

Then do the same movement with a club in your hand.

Keep alternating between doing this drill with and without a club, and you’ll burn the correct
movement and feel into your brain.


The right elbow should stay close to the body and flexed into the downswing, and still
be very slightly flexed at impact. Then the right arm should get to full extension just
past impact. Even though the right arm is unhinging rapidly in the downswing, it
should not be completely extended at impact,  that should happen just past impact
for all of your standard swings.

The right arm should then stay straight well past impact, extending forward from
the body, with both elbows bending as the swing slows to the finish.

If you are not seeing or feeling your right arm behaving this way in your swing,
correct it over the winter with the simple drill mentioned in the middle of this article
and your ball flight and power will improve dramatically.

Practicing this with a short training club indoors is great for winter training, which
I’ll address in an upcoming newsletter.

Enjoy your golf,



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