Build Power and Control in the Left Arm

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, May 6th, 2017

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TOM WARD
TOMPWARD@SBCGLOBAL.NET

The month of May is an exciting time for golfers here in the DFW
area because in the next few weeks the PGA Tour will be in town for
their annual Texas Two Step….the AT&T Byron Nelson and the Dean &
Deluca Invitational at Colonial Country Club.
This week is a terrific exercise that can make an immediate
impact on your golf swing. Professional golfers and top amateurs I’ve
worked with over the years do this intense workout…it will help
build strength and assist in preventive care from injury.
I have a friend, who is a former professional athlete named Jose
Guzman, demonstrating the exercise. Guzman pitched in the major
leagues for the Texas Rangers and the Chicago Cubs before becoming a
broadcaster for the Rangers Spanish radio network. When I first met
Jose he was having problems coming up and out of shots losing the ball
to the right of his target. If he tried to counteract that tendency he
would get too quick and end up pullin shots left of the intended
target. Like a lot of players, he was playing Army Golf…one shot
left and then right and then left again and so on. That can be a
vicious and frustrating cycle to be in. Like a lot of golfers,
inconsistency was holding him back from achieving his goals in the
game.
Guzman is right handed and had a successful pro career hurling a
baseball 90 miles per hour striking out players, however when it came
to golf we needed to develop his left arm because this was an area
that was causing a lot of misery.
I tied an elastic band to one of the poles at the driving range
as seen in the photos. I had Jose get into his normal golf posture and
then move comfortably away from the pole holding the handle of the
elastic band with his left hand only. The farther away you move from
the pole the greater the resistance. Due to space limitations I am
only dealing with the follow-through.
For this drill you really don’t have to make a backswing and can
start from the setup position. Next, I had Jose pull the elastic band
with his left hand only towards the defined target in front of him.
Initially, golfers automatically try to muscle their movements with
the body for leverage which leads to some major mistakes instead of
pulling with their left arm only which the drill is designed for.
The top photo is the incorrect motion. When attempting to pull
the elastic band the shoulders came up and out of his posture
prematurely. Take special note of the box I’ve drawn around the left
arm. His left forearm hasn’t rotated through and the back of the left
hand is pointing upwards. This action has created a domino effect
making him rise up and out of the posture established in his setup.
I’ve drawn a line across his chest to highlight that particular point
because the left side is way too open and the left shoulder and hip
has spun out causing his head to lift up. This exercise is a tell-tale
indication of what he was doing when holding the golf club. Like
millions of golfers he was trying to guide or manipulate the swing and
by doing so hasn’t allowed the club head to release. If he was still
holding that position well past the impact area you can imagine how
the club face would have to be open and his forearm is now out of
position causing a major loss of power and control in the swing.
Translation…the club face will be open at impact and because your
body has gotten too actively involved, all that power stored up in
your backswing will be diluted as you make the downswing causing a
multitude of problems. When you guide or steer the club, all of the
power is going away from the target instead of to the target. The
beauty of this exercise is it will illuminate where mistakes are made
as there is no gray area on that fact. You can over exert yourself
pulling the elastic band with the body which leads to wasted energy or
be deliberate in your technique and allow the laws of physics to work
to your advantage.
Next, let’s examine the bottom photo which is the correct motion.
Again I’ve drawn a box around the left arm. This time you can see how
well Jose has pulled the elastic band towards his target..this time he
allowed his left arm to rotate naturally. You can clearly see great
extension well past the impact area and his left hand holding the taut
elastic band showing his knuckles facing his target line. His head is
facing downward towards the ground compared to the top photo where his
head is lifting up which means he has stabilized the swing and not
tried to manipulate the issue with brute force. I’ve drawn a line on
the chest to show that his shoulders are square instead of being open
which means he’s in great balance and staying down through the shot
and is in position to deliver a powerful blow.
When you compare the two photos the differences are quite
startling. This specific isolation exercise is designed to help the
golfer feel the pulling action of the left arm through the shot. When
you have that elastic band in your left hand the key is to slowly
rotate your forearm back towards where the ball would be and continue
on past the impact area to slightly above waist level high. Doing
three sets of pulling the elastic bands 10-12-15 each time this
exercise is quite taxing. Your arm will feel like spaghetti when done
because of maximizing the muscles in those areas to build strength
while at the same token creating a whole new dynamic motion that will
have a long lasting impact on your game.
After doing the exercise give yourself a few moments to recover
and then go and hit some golf balls. I think you’ll be surprised at
how immediate this drill can be because it addresses the central issue
of allowing the left arm to pull through and release. This action will
keep the shoulders passive in the hitting area instead of letting the
body get too active prior to impact disrupting the correct sequence.
I have a lot of golfers who practice hitting with their left arm
only and, initially, almost everyone tries to leverage the body too
much in attempt to hit the ball. Once we walk through the proper
movementsthey get the gist of the action.
Doing this drill helped Jose make tremendous strides in improving
his shot making ability as he is now able to draw or fade the ball at
will. He took control of his game and with some practice doing this
exercise you will too.
Tom can be contacted at www.teetimewithtom.com

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