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How Far Should the Right Elbow Go Behind the Right Hip During a Golf Backswing?

author image David Raudenbush
David Raudenbush has more than 20 years of experience as a literacy teacher, staff developer and literacy coach. He has written for newspapers, magazines and online publications, and served as the editor of "Golfstyles New Jersey Magazine." Raudenbush holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a master's degree in education.
How Far Should the Right Elbow Go Behind the Right Hip During a Golf Backswing?
For consistency, keep your right elbow above your right hip on your backswing. Photo Credit: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Repeatability is a prized characteristic in a golf swing. To shoot good scores, you need a reliable swing that consistently produces effective results. To develop a repeating swing, you must coordinate your arms, torso and lower body throughout your swing. For right-handed golfers, one way accomplish that is to make sure your right elbow never gets behind your right hip on the backswing.

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Elbow and Hip Positioning

At address, your right elbow should sit relatively close to your right hip, and the elbow should not move very far away as you go back. Renowned PGA teaching professional Eddie Merrins says that your right elbow should be directly above your right hip at the top of the backswing. He believes that is as deep behind your body as your arm swing should travel. The rest of your arm and club motion should be vertical, Merrins says, created by the upward hinging of your wrists and a small amount of lifting at the shoulders.

Hinging the Elbow

To establish the proper relationship between the right elbow and right hip, make practice swings with a 5-iron. Make a one piece takeaway with your arms, shoulders and hips moving back smoothly together. As the takeaway ends, you should begin to hinge the club by bending your right elbow as your hands swing up toward your right shoulder. Your hips should continue to turn, and your right elbow should be over your right hip.

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