Setup position for free arm swing
By Kim Jeong-kyoo
The golf swing needs to be based on a free movement of the hands and arms. Your arms swing freely from shoulders when you walk on the fairway. For a natural golf swing the same should happen. You are gripping the club with the hands, which are the only parts of the body that are connected to the club. For a fluid, dynamic golf swing you need to let the hands and arms move smoothly and gracefully without being impeded by the shoulders.
Though a growing trend emphasizes body movements, golf swing needs to be based on a free arm swing independent of the body, particularly shoulders. The arms are attached to the shoulders and it's not right to contend that the body has nothing to do with the arm swing. However, a sound golf swing is based on a free arm swing.
A golf swing that relies mainly on body motion is just unnatural. You hit the ball with the hands and arms, the body assisting in the creation of solid, powerful shots.
In a good golf swing body moves in response to motions of the hands and arms and is not a creator of movement. It only reacts to swinging of the arms and hands, playing the passive role of assisting the arms and hands in swinging a club in a free unrestricted fashion.
To get a proper feel for this, move your arms hip-high back and forth as if you were making a partial swing. Your body does not move much when you do this. It only responds or reacts to the movement initiated by the arms. This is a vital concept of a good golf swing; to develop a reliable swing that repeats time after time even under pressure you need to resolutely stick to this fundamental.
In a good golf swing the hands and arms take the clubhead away from the ball, then the shoulders respond to the takeaway movement by turning so the hands and arms can reach the correct top-of-the-backswing position.
The arm swing is greatly affected by the pre-swing preparations including grip, ball position, alignment and posture. After all, the ultimate purpose of the setup is to arrange the body so that it encourages the hands and arms to swing on the correct path and plane with no constraint or hindrance.
Check out your address positions in front of a life-size mirror as frequently as possible. For a sound, powerful swing everything needs to be in position. Here are a couple of key components of a good setup position that encourages a fluid arm swing.
Your first priority is to bend the upper body forward from the waist lest your backbone should be hunched, curved or crooked. It's essential to keep the back as straight as possible. A good way to get a feel for this is to imagine yourself bowing to someone.
Then, flex your knees slightly like a broad jumper ready to leap.
Of equal importance is to be sure that the upper parts of the arms are not pressed too tightly against the sides of the chest. The arms need to be hanging freely from the shoulders, clear of the body so that they can swing freely, independent of the shoulders.
Apart from the theory that you must keep your arms resting firmly pressed on the sides of the chest for a synchronized movements of all parts of the body, you'd better keep the arms from sticking to the sides of the torso for a freer arm swing. Keeping the arms staying too much pressed against the sides of the chest breeds too restricted a backswing.
Crucially, for a totally unrestricted arm swing, you need to stick out the rear end behind the heel line. That creates sufficient room required for the arms and hands to swing through without an impediment. This is particularly true of players who set up in a bent posture.
A word of emphasis about the relationship between free arms swing and body angles: for a free arm swing it's essential to retain the body angles created at address throughout the swing, particularly the forward tilt of the upper body and the knee flex. Allowing the body angles to alter during the swing makes it impossible for your body to remain in position and maintain its height throughout the swing. That, in turn, prevents your arms from swinging freely and properly, with the result being a fat or thin shot.