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Right Arm Action: The Key to a Superior Strike

I’ve been teaching for over 25 years, and staring at video of myself and Ben Hogan for 30. What you are going to see in this video is the most important piece of information that I have uncovered in all that time. I think you will agree when you watch that this is original thought. You won’t see this anywhere because it isn’t anywhere else. I guess I’m getting old enough and wise enough to see things that I haven’t before. I really don’t know how else to explain why I haven’t seen this well before now. I can only say that a combination of constant study in the form of playing competitively and teaching daily has led me to a point where I can see and feel the golf swing more clearly than previously. We are at any point the sum of all that has come before us, and 40 years of my life in golf has led to this moment.
 
The “out and then down” movement that I am talking about is so obvious in both Hogan and Snead , that when I see the swings now it is almost annoying. The move to position the right arm so that it comes down in front of the right hip is historical and revolutionary at the same time. You can go back over 60 years to find Hogan and Snead in their prime, and yet the true picture of what they were doing has never been presented to the public. I think that you will find that the ideas that emerge from their swings to be an epiphany for your own swing if you can manage to incorporate it. This will not be easy. The movement is fairly complex, and it is usually completely counter to what the golfer is used to feeling, or at least trying to feel. After years of being taught to drop your hands, I present to you a radical alternative. I hope you enjoy the video.
 

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35 Responses to Right Arm Action: The Key to a Superior Strike

  1. Howard Hirsch July 20, 2011 at 9:16 am #

    having been taught all my golfing life to drop the club to the inside on the forward motion, this has been “eye opening”. its no wonder that all I could do from that position as flip my hands in order not to hit it to right field. Now I understand why my “left” rotation has always been so poor and my distance has always suffered.
    I went to the range right after viewing the segment and with little trouble have started incorporating this move into my swing.
    Thanks again for your insight and dedication.

  2. Jason Klarreich July 20, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    Great analysis…the sidearm throwing analogy has really helped me improve my swing path. You do a great job with the videos, I’m hoping to send my swing in for you to view at some point soon.

  3. f michael lutz July 21, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    I like the analysis. However, when you flatten the shaft, wouldn’t that open the clubface? Seems like squaring it up might be difficult for some.

  4. Levi Dunn July 21, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Brilliant, yet simple to understand. I think this can greatly improve the ballstriking of most golfers. Thanks Wayne.

  5. Tom Kirkendall July 22, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

    Superb analysis, Wayne. Really fascinating to watch in conjunction with pp. 69-76 of Jim Hardy’s second Plane Truth for Golfers (Master Class) book in which he analyzes how he believes that Hogan adjusted his right elbow movement on the downswing to overcome his tendency to hook wildly earlier in his career. My sense is that the move at the top to shallow the club plane is spot on and a remarkably astute insight. Looking forward to giving it a try on the range.

  6. John Gallagher July 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    Wayne, I’m getting a lot of mileage out of just doing the side-arm pitcher’s motion as a rehearsal to the actual swing. The point you make here – that the first move is “outward” with the entire right fore-arm is counterintuitive, and yet it should be obvious. I challenge anyone to make the side-arm pitching motion (a-la-Kent Tekulve) while trying to do it standing fairly straight up, with the right elbow severely tucked in close to the right hip. It doesn’t work. If you tried to throw a ball this way, you would instantly discover the ball (and your right elbow) getting stuck behind your right ribcage. You have to stick your butt out behind yourself (your 45-left move – which will NATURALLY cause you to get more bent-over) and throw that right fore-arm out in front of yourself. That way you’ll have, as you say, created plenty of space to throw as hard as you might like. I think this might be the key I’ve been looking for to stop hitting it on the toe of the club-head (and fat).

  7. Raymond Powell July 23, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    Kirkendall and Gallagher made some interesting points. I am going to have to find my Hardy book and compare. While watching your video, I was reminded of something you said in a swing analysis (maybe DJ) that the increase in angle of the torso during the forward swing compression gives the feeling of swinging straight out at the ball. This early feeling in the downswing seems to be related to what you’re talking about. I really enjoy the videos and lessons. Thanks a lot. I can’t wait to see the Bobby Jones analysis because he had that little over-the-top move (“so called” I guess we should say given what you’ve seen in Hogan, Snead, etc.) Thanks again.

  8. JimCee July 30, 2011 at 8:42 am #

    Seems to me that an under-appreciated aspect of the downswing move is how the wrist cock unhinges into impact. This should happen naturally as the shaft returns to plane, but I tend to try to “hold” the angle between arms and shaft and then approaching impact make a mess of the whole thing with what seems to be the correct uncocking action but in reality leaves the shaft behind me, causing me to flip at the ball and hook it or hit a kind of push fade.

    As with other aspects of the swing, the correct move is often counter-intuitive and very difficult to train yourself out of. Your explanation of what makes for a good golf swing has been very helpful – thank you very much.

  9. Robert Laney August 5, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

    I don’t doubt that anything you say is true concerning the motion of the club or the action of the right arm/elbow but it would seem to me that the best way to get into the positions you describe in this video is to focus on moving your body in the appropriate fashion and not get so bogged down in your arm movement. If I recall from correctly from 5 lessons Hogan also equated the golf swing to under handed tossing motion of a medicine ball which is the body movement I reference above. Also, I would argue that side arm references equate to the hinging of the right arm on the backswing and the releasing of the hinge on the downswing

  10. Brandon Nagler August 24, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    Check out Joe Durant’s swing. One of the best ball strikers on tour and i think a great illustration of Wayne’s analysis regarding the path the hands should take on the downswing.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2l1i9jyUJ9Q

  11. Jake Gilmer February 2, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    This early hands outward move looks a lot like the rehearsal swings of Tiger, Hunter Mahan, and several other pga tour players

  12. Adam J Auger May 15, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    Question for Wayne as I have had a couple on-line lessons from him. Wayne, if you remember our last lesson I was advised to practice by Rt Arm movement in the back swing to make it less pinched(down the line view), to bend my arms at address and to move more lateral (front view) on the down swing. Now my right arm folding properly after lots of mirror work over the winter and practice for the last 2 months I have got the proper back swing position with my rt arm. You indicated this would encourage the “out” and the right forearm movement (more verticle) in transition to flatten the shaft a bit and hit the shaft plane at impact… since I steepened it slightly before and had a higher approach with an in to out arc at impact. Unforuntaly, after improving my backswing rt arm movement…. my hands are still dropping straight down? In reference to the video’s above… Would you recommend me praciticing doing alot of side arm pitches(which makes me feel like I’m David Duval) or recommend practicing the transition with pinching the elbow, flattening the shaft and squeezing the arms together come down to approach, which encourages the body to move left after impact (which makes me feel like I’m doing Tiger’s new practice swing)? I’m lost with which drill to practice because they feel very different while I’m working on the same thing.

  13. John Neeson May 25, 2012 at 8:23 am #

    Wayne,
    Thanks for this and I think the ability to get the club in ‘the slot’ in transition is the #1 difference between expert golfers and the other 98%. I always knew this but had trouble doing it because of flaws in my backswing….which you helped me to address. Wish I’d met you 20 years ago. I had 10 different pros telling me to just swing shorter. But even a good position at the top doesn’t guarantee a good transition. Because coaching focusses so much on the backswing, I see dozens of new golfers at our club who have backswings like Faldo and downswings that are a danger to the public. I think transition is a purposeful move that good players learned through observation or hitting thousands of balls and there is a lot of ‘feel’ to getting it right. The odd thing is that almost no coach I ever met spoke of this. Maybe it was the real secret they didn’t want to give away. My progress since the last lesson has been exciting. I have great difficulty trying to reach ‘positions’ in the downswing but I do have reasonable feel in my hands and a sense of where the clubhead is. For hundreds of years, that is all most golfers had to work with, apart from observation and non-technical tips.
    Now here’s the interesting bit – for me at least. I find I can get into the ‘slot’ consistently, if I focus at the moment of transition, or a hair before, on shifting the clubshaft to point the clubhead some 45 degrees left of the target and actually feeling the clubhead moving further away from my back (or toe line). Amazingly, coming down from this position seems to lock all the other parts of my body into a good place, where the desired ‘positions’ are somehow automatic..or in my case at least a lot better. This may be an illusion or a transitory feel that will be gone with the wind…but my ball striking is unbelievably better, at least in practice. I cannot wait to send my next swings in…(after another month of rigorous trials), and I cannot wait to get out there tomorrow. I am like a kid again and my wife thinks I am on something. I just tell her it’s your fault Wayne.

  14. Adam J Auger July 28, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

    Hi Wayne, Further to this video are there any other types of drills to change the movement in transition of dropping and steepening to outwards and flattening or is this the best one you have? When I try your stop and go drill that you show in this video to change my movement to out and flat in transition I hit it really bad. Should I just keep on working on the stop and go drill and bare with it? Thanks,

  15. tim oyler April 23, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

    Right Arm movement needs to be a DVD. Golfers don’t have a clue on this..:) Great video

  16. Gary Hunt July 26, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

    I’ve been doing a drill based on some of the info in this video and it led to some very pleasing shots at the range yesterday. It has given me a totally different feeling and action on the downswing, which is encouraging. I’ll talk about the specifics if it keeps working. Fingers crossed!

  17. gary webb November 12, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    Wayne,
    In looking at the Hogan videos and other great ballstrikers it seems like the right palm is facing skyward throughout the downswing until shaft is parallel to the ground.. With the right elbow flexed and the right palm up the right elbow naturally leads the downswing. Could you comment? thanks.

  18. randal white November 23, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    WD..unsure as to how to communicate with you. Left post on your right arm topic.

  19. Larry Rogan December 26, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    I enjoy all your comments and analysis but
    I would like you to comment on what right hand/palm pressure points are doing
    coming into impact. As I am left handed but play golf right handed I always struggled with pulling the butt of the club and sliding the hips to much and then flipping through impact. I took a lesson from a pro almost 30 yrs ago and from that I tried to throw sidearm with my right hand but was always limited because of being left side dominant. I found that I could pick up a left handed club and make the move but not interested Mac O’Gradying myself and learning to play from both sides. I also wondered if Hogan was ambidextrous and understood that motion. Also squeezing the gluteus makes keeping the arms connected easier. That tension is necessary but you can’t disrupt the flow of the body. After almost 50 yrs of golf I’m beginning to understand the body/arm/hand release. Old dogs can learn new tricks just not enough hours in the day to practice.

  20. Larry Rogan December 29, 2013 at 7:32 am #

    This is the second time I have watched this video. I am in AWE. This is the essence all players need to aspire. This is why it makes membership to this site so valuable. I have been working on this in the basement where I can rehearse the feel without a ball and can not wait till it warms enough to take this to the range. Thx.

  21. Larry Rogan February 17, 2014 at 9:56 pm #

    The third time watching this vid and I may be way off the subject. Geting to the thought of which hand you are dominant with. I was teaching a jr. clinic and having them to underhand pitch a golf ball to the hole to learn a throw motion. I think if you could watch someone pitching a ball underhand to the hole on the putting green you would learn about
    their ability and which leg they lead and which eye is dominant. If someone can work a natural throwing motion directed from a golfers posture it would be imeasureable for their sucess. Wayne D, keep up the good work. Thxs.

  22. Jesse Cavanaugh March 1, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    After I watched this video, my goal ask Wayne if he was familiar with the Advanced Ball Striking guys (Hughes and Erickson) due to the similarities. Glad to see many others had the same idea as me. Wayne, did u get the chance to check them out?

  23. Larry Rogan May 7, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

    Okay. So I go back to this video again and again. You could write a book on this one move. I have been working hard on this move with downward rotating compression into my left foot and getting better shaft lean. Trajectory on all shots have been lower. Also I have been able to squeeze off a small fade with my mid to long irons. I love it. As I get to my driver, 45.75″ it
    definately is harder to get the release I want

  24. Larry Rogan June 25, 2014 at 9:14 pm #

    Here I go again. Commenting on one of my favorite vids. I am sensing just from watching that the hands are well educated, attached and releasing in front and around with pressure being maintained. From the ground up body transition is crucial so to allow within the door jams of the hip rotation, not going to slide out of but stay inside the jams as the right arm, shaft and clubhead release down through and continue rotating left to a finish. I was in seminar where Mike Malska he seen that Russian and Japanese athletes would do slow motion drills. Hurdlers would practice making a lead foot plant and bring the trail leg up as though they were crossing a hurdle and it would be done over several minutes. Malska also mentioned taking maybe 10 minutes to complete a practice swing using the same motion your talking about to train the muscles. Even a well conditioned golfer might be in a full sweat doing this. I will continue the process to tame this beast. Golf is my passion.

  25. L H July 26, 2014 at 5:39 pm #

    I am a lefty playing righty and commented on this in another forum. Once upon a time I was lefty pitcher/1b and right shot in hockey. Wayne, this video on the right arm move is opening the door for me to set my right arm up to “do the right thing”. By combining your “punch shot drill” with the laying off of the club (is that the right term? by letting the right wrist open to the sky (my image that seems to make it happen for me) thereby flatenning/shallowing the shaft and bringing the elbow in– this sets up the arm to come through 3/4 submarine ball style and it is then the the hips that pull it through (this is where the punch drill is so help for me. Paul Azinger used a phrase during the Open that was pure gold for me: “The arms and the hands are just the messengers– the legs and the hips send the message”– or he said something like that several times. It gave me the ticket to let me legs and hips lead the arm through– just like a RH pitcher would do. By flattening the shaft at transition, the right arm is in position to come through in its proper motion. Whether I ever get to drive hard with the right arm I do not know, but with proper body pivot and proper arm/elbow / hand path, the ball goes with power and distance just fine. I cannot say enough about what your site has done for me in two months in terms of learning and being able to have an idea of what on earth I should be trying to do. I just have to get these 60 year old hips and back in shape!!!! I just spent two hours to hit 100 balls at the range and actually had a working session with a purpose!!! Thanks to you and those who commented.

  26. John Neeson August 2, 2014 at 3:19 am #

    We’ve all heard WD talk about driving the hips ’45 degrees left’.
    All you have to do is to point the shaft in this same direction at the moment of transition.
    This momentarily rotates the left forearm, gets the right palm facing the sky and flattens the shaft. Then you’re in the slot. Easy to say – hard to do.
    .

  27. John Neeson August 2, 2014 at 3:27 am #

    We have all heard about WD driving the hips 45 left. You just have to point the club in the same direction in the moment of transition. This rotates the left forearm, gets the right palm facing more upward and tucks in the right elbow to the ribcage. Now you are in the slot.
    Easy to say – hard to do.

  28. Carlo Alberto Acutis February 25, 2015 at 5:41 pm #

    Had a couple of years of work back in the 80s with David leadbetter when he came over to Italy and then at grenelefe. He used to call this move ” over the top from the inside”. Not many teachers understand or focus on This but it feels great just to look at it….when I forget I get worse. Your web site is great,wish I had found it sooner..I will definitely take the time to come down and see you even though it s a long trip from Milan . Tks W D

  29. Tom Hurst June 20, 2015 at 9:14 am #

    Wayne,
    How critical is it on the back swing to twist around your vertical axis? Should the left shoulder point move slightly downward toward the left shoe —(Carl Lohren) —his claim was that Hogan’s first move on the back swing was slightly forward just as his first move on the forward swing is slightly forward. Would you comment on this????? tom hurst

  30. David W September 25, 2015 at 9:10 pm #

    The light bulbs are brighter. Can’t wait to get to the range to practice and feel this. Thanks again Wayne. This one should be mandatory reading and viewing.

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