Let’s have a look at the radius of the golf swing. The radius is the width of the swing arc on the backswing and on the downswing. I was taught as a kid to take the club back low and wide and then on my downswing bring my right elbow in, so then my backswing width was much wider than my downswing. That never made any sense to me and it still does not.
How to Control the Radius of Your Swing
We want to control the radius of our swing so our hands are the same distance from the center of our chest throughout the entire swing. What guarantees that this will happen is on the backswing the right hand and the right elbow only bend to an angle of 90 degrees. If you have a 90 degree angle at your right elbow your right wrist will be the same distance from your chest on the backswing as it was on the set up. That also controls whether the left arm is “straightish.”
Correct Arm Angle in a Golf Swing
I do not like the word “dead straight” because people then try to get that arm really straight and they get themselves all tied up. But if the right arm is bent to 90 degrees then the left arm will be in a good position as well. If the right arm bends to an angle of less then 90 degrees then you see that the left arm collapses. Or the right arm, in an attempt to keep the backswing really wide, does not bend to 90 degrees then you get your arms way back and you have a very wide swing. Now the right elbow is what controls the width of your swing.
So practice just swinging with your right arm only, taking the arm back and just bending it to an angle of 90 degrees. It will also help to put your left hand just above the right elbow when you swing the arm back to 90 degrees. Now you are getting the feel of how the right arm works in the backswing. There is no value at all in taking the club back low and wide and then trying to get in narrow on the downswing.
Backswing vs. Downswing Radius
This is one of the myths that has been perpetuated throughout the years in golf, but when you look at the modern-day players most of their backswing radiuses are going to match their downswing radiuses. It is always going to be a little bit narrower on the downswing but it is much closer than it used to be. Try that.