An uncooperative right elbow can ruin an otherwise effective golf swing. As you initiate your downswing, you need to keep the elbow from flying away from your body. The flying elbow leads to an over-the-top move that typically results in poor contact and shots being pulled to the left. There are drills that can help keep your right elbow in place.
Arms and elbows should travel only a short distance during the backswing, according to Golf Tips. It is critical to getting them in the right spot for the downswing. Hinging the right elbow properly will help get you to this position. Many golfers tend to hinge their elbow backward when the correct position is to hinge up, creating an "L." A right elbow in this position will allow you to come through the ball at the proper angle.
The Imaginary Tray
Jim McLean of "Golf Digest" uses the example of a waiter carrying an imaginary tray to illustrate right-elbow position in a one-arm drill that he recommends. The drill begins by keeping your left arm behind your back as you take your stance. Practice swinging the club back and through with the right hand until you can maintain a position at the top with the club shaft pointed at the target and arm bent in an "L" shape at the elbow to facilitate proper position into the downswing.
Tuck a Golf Glove
Golf Help suggests a shortened, elbow-to-elbow swing to address finding the correct position and movement for the right elbow. Begin by tucking a golf glove under your upper right arm. From address, swing back only as far as the club grip, reaching the height of the elbows and then down through the ball to the same point on the follow-through side. Keep the glove in place during the entire swing and you'll be training your body for proper elbow control in the downswing.
Phil Ritson of "Golf" magazine suggests a different kind of one-arm practice for the role of the right elbow. Place the back of the left hand under your right arm, between the elbow and the shoulder. Push the back of the knuckles of your left hand against the right arm as you take the club back to the top. This will not only help widen the golf swing, but it will also place the elbow in the proper position for the downswing.
- Golf Tips: Elbow Room
- Golf Digest's Ultimate Drill Book; Jim McLean
- Golf Help: Golfer's Flying Elbows
- Golf magazine: Widen Your Arc to Increase Your Driving Distance