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Today's Golfer Magazine - Arms Dominating Body

This article was created by Steve Thomas and featured in Today's Golfer magazine for their June 2024 (April 11th – May 15th) edition - Issue number 451.

The article content:

TOP 50 TEACHER Steve Thomas, Head of Instruction & Fellow PGA Coach

at Three Hammers Golf Academy, Wolverhampton.



In essence, the golf swing is a blend of body rotation and arm swing. But one of the most

common swing errors sees the arms dominating the motion, leaving the body underused. The biggest issue this causes is loss of power and distance, but it can also affect the path of the swing, creating general strike inconsistency. Fortunately, a remedy is at hand…

Rotation and lift

Picture the club’s journey during the backswing. Of course, it will move upwards, but it will also move around us, from in front of our chest to behind our head. It’s the armswing/body turn blend that allows the club to follow this ideal, up-and-around path, the core providing the rotation and the arms delivering the lift. But if the arms dominate the motion, we find the following issues:

-The arms tend to collapse, narrowing the swing’s arc and radius.

-Without the rotational effect of core rotation, the club swings too steeply… ‘outside’ it’s ideal plane.

-There is very little weight shift or dynamism; it’s almost impossible to generate any speed from here. You can expect weak, choppy strikes… until you put the following drill into action.


You’ll need three alignment sticks or club shafts for this exercise. Place the first in the middle of your stance, at right angles to your target line. Place the other two either side of this central stick as shown, midway between the middle of your stance and your insteps. Now take a mid-iron and place it against your shoulders. Take up your golfing posture, shirt buttons over the central stick.


From that ‘address’ position, we are going to wake up the body by using it alone to make a backswing. So, keeping the club against both shoulders, turn your chest away from the target. Keep turning until the butt of the club points down at the rearward stick. If you’ve

not been using your torso much in the swing, this rotation will be hard work… but persevere.


It’s important your body contributes to the through swing as well as the backswing, so repeat the drill through to the finish. As before, use core rotation to bring the stick across your shoulders back down to square and then through, until the butt points down at the forward stick. Spend some time rotating back and through to these two positions. The more you do it, the easier it will start to feel.


This simple exercise is an excellent way to remind your torso of its responsibilities and loosen up the muscles that allow it to make its back/through rotation. As the feeling becomes easier, start to make a few regular swings, and monitor how the balance between arms and body is changing. You should feel the swing become wider and more powerful. If the arms are still dominating, return to the drill.

 Written by Fellow PGA Coach Steve Thomas

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