Welcome to YOUR Swing Support Center, a blog with tips to help you transition to your new straight leading arm back-swing. This blog allows us to share information which we find in articles by golf professionals or success stories submitted by GOLFSTR users. These tips have helped me and I hope they help you too.
Bill Curry, inventor of GOLFSTR
Did you ever wonder why 80% of golfers can’t break 90? [I mean legally break 90 – – without tipping the ball out of a hole or “magically” finding THE ball or using the foot wedge or taking those 3 foot gimmies or taking that second shot with another ball – “anyone can hit the second one”.]
Think back to when you were a kid. Did you take up baseball, cricket or golf first? Yup, baseball is the reason why you have a natural tendency to bend your leading arm in the back-swing. You swing a golf club the same way you swing a baseball bat. Why not rest you club on your shoulder while you are at it? Shake your head or as they say today “shut the front door”: THIS IS NOT BASEBALL. It’s time to change those baseball habits and learn the proper swing. Why not Swing Like a Pro? Bent arm is not the way to go.
Ben Hogan said “the golf swing is totally unnatural”. If you are comfortable with your old swing, get over it. You really have to WANT TO CHANGE. Nothing comes easy. If you really want to improve your game and break an honest 90, then you need to commit to understanding the basics and change your old habits. I bent my leading arm in the back swing for 50 years. Of course I saw the pros with their straight leading arm and wanted to do the same thing. Of course I could occasionally swing with a straight arm but my mind always knew better and said “Hit it like a baseball, belt it out of here!” My baseball swing seemed to always take over and out came those banana balls and duck hooks or left pulls.
You can change your bad swing habits if you can change your muscle memory. You need to re-program your thoughts. Who knew that this was a mental game. (Those who don’t play the game agree, they all think we are mental — I digress.) The key to your success is using a reminder to keep focused on the right swing. That’s why GOLFSTR was invented as the PORTABLE PRO. Playing with a reminder like GOLFSTR is a lot better than tying a string around your finger to help you remember. When it lifts off the back of your arm, you instantly know that you are bending your arm or trying to take too much back-swing. You need a constant reminder by playing 18 holes with your portable pro. She is always there to remind you.
It takes time to change from that baseball swing to a golf swing. Focus and you can make the change with your golfing buddy, the portable pro: GOLFSTR.
“GOLFSTR’s an unfair advantage so you can’t use it while playing in a competition.
Imagine what it will do for your game.”
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I mentioned in my last blog that I wanted to help you understand the “feeling” of the lag, wrist release and follow through. Rory is a great example who we can all learn from.
The golf swing happens within a few seconds. You can’t possibly plan each component of the swing as your mind can’t think that fast. While reading Percy Boomer’s historic book “On Learning Golf”, I noticed that he describes the swing as knowing the right feeling for the swing. This reminded me of the wonderful impression and feeling that we get when we watch a successful golfer in slow motion. Understanding what the golfer is trying to do and then watching the motion really helps you feel the effort in the swing.
I found an amazing slow motion video of Rory’s swing on YouTube. [Slo Mo of Rory’s swing] Of course Rory, like most pros, swings with a straight leading arm in the back swing. 80% of the golfers in this world who would like to break 90 are wondering why they are not hitting the ball consistently. That straight arm is just Rory’s starting point for consistency. Rory does not need GOLFSTR as he learned the straight arm swing in his youth. If you don’t have this natural feeling for the swing, GOLFSTR is a great Brain Trainer to help you make the change.
What Rory does so well in his downward motion is lagging the release of his wrists and moving the club head from inside to the outside (across the face of the ball) as he releases his wrists. It’s like skipping a flat stone on water. The wrist lag causes the burst of speed as they whip though the bottom of the swing and accelerate the club head to extreme speeds through the impact zone.
Practicing the swing to feel the lag and whip of the club head from the inside to outside is so critical for your success. You can’t think it through. You need to feel the motion that you want to achieve.
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GOLFSTR is also the perfect stocking stuffer. The Portable Pro is easy to carry in your pocket, wear it as you play and see results. It’s like having a reminder from your pro every time your swing. Our Golf Channel ads says: “GOLFSTR is an unfair advantage. Imagine what it will do for your game.”
Passionate golfers marvel at the power and distance professional golfers hit their drives. That’s what keeps us glued to the Golf Channel and weekly tournaments on TV. So where is all of that power coming from?
Professional golfers are athletes. They train a lot more than recreational golfers so don’t expect to hit those amazing long shots like Ernie Els or Rory McIlroy or John Daly. Strength, flexibility and technique are all major factors in their success in generating speed and distance. Technique is the only component where this blog will be focusing today. And GOLFSTR is designed to help you with muscle memory as well as technique.
So why does Ernie Els seems to swing with so little effort? Straight leading arm in the back swing is a key starting point. Rotation of the shoulders gives him added torque in his back-swing. Length of the back-swing is so important.
But the real reason why his swing looks so effortless is that his power comes from the rotation of his wrists as his arms reach the bottom of his swing. His wrists are accelerating the club from horizontal to the ground, through the ball and up to horizontal to the ground with very little movement of his arms. The club head is moving 95% further than his hands. You are seeing the effortless motion of his arms and losing sight of the whipping action of his hands and club head accelerating though the ball.
If you want to Swing Like a Pro (and Ernie), don’t release the hinge of your wrist until your arms start to approach the bottom of the arc in your swing. Ernie, like all great golfers, delays his wrist release. Others refer to it as lagging the release and snapping the wrist as if you are trying to throw a side arm pitch or skip a stone across water (more on this in the next blog). No matter how you want to visualize this just make sure that you don’t start your forward swing by releasing your wrist at the top of the back swing. Keep your leading arm straight and delay the wrist release. You will be amazed at your improved distance.
Many golfers limit the power of their swing by limiting the hinge of their wrist in the back-swing. The takeaway and back-swing must include a straight leading arm, lagging elbow near the ribs and a flat hinged wrist to generate power in the swing.
If you are having a problem hinging your wrist in the back-swing, you may want to try what we see in Dustin Johnson’s takeaway. As he starts his takeaway, he rotates his wrist to the right and hinges or cocks his wrist so that the club face is open (pointing vertical to the ground). By the time that his leading arm is horizontal to the ground his shaft is already cocked at a 90 degree angle to his leading arm. By doing this you don’t have to think about cocking the wrist at the top of the back swing.
I’m only suggesting that you try this to understand the ideal position at the top of your back-swing. Straight arm, club face open and shaft is 90 degrees to the arm. I’m not talking about a John Daly back-swing. Just limit your back-swing to the point where you still keep a straight leading arm or where GOLFSTR just starts to release off the back of your arm. You will be amazed by the power and results.
In time you need to incorporate the cocking of the wrist into your swing as a smooth motion in your back swing. The Dustin Johnson example is not for everyone as it can create other problems.
As an exercise for a beginner golfer using GOLFSTR, I encouraged her to open her club face and just rotate her club to 90 degrees before she started her back-swing [YouTube video]. This is an exaggeration of the Dustin Johnson takeaway but it will help you see how it helped her.
I am not a golf pro but much like Bubba Watson, I have developed my own swing. What was I thinking? Sure I have had lessons but I always fell back into my old habits of bending my leading elbow in the back swing and then coming over the top resulting in disaster.
My lesson at the end of 2010 (shown on the GOLFSTR website) clearly showed that I would never improve my game unless I put some real effort into making changes in my complete swing. Yes, I developed GOLFSTR to force me to pay attention to the straight arm in the back swing and this was a key starting point but I quickly recognize that the swing is a chain of events. There are so many things that can go wrong. I dropped my handicap when I realized that my swing is a work-in-process.
Introducing: YOUR SWING SUPPORT CENTER
GOLFSTR is just the starting point for your new and improved golf swing. This BLOG ( which we will soon be changing to: Your Swing Support Center) will provide supporting ideas to help you change your swing. Improving your swing requires much more than keeping your leading arm straight. Have you seen the tips in my blog about bent lagging elbow and wrist hinge (see Sergio Garcia) for more consistent hits and power? This blog will share the successes provided by others who are changing their swing to incorporate the STRAIGHT LEADING ARM.
It took me time to figure this out. Shooting wonderful golf on many holes is only a starting point. You need consistent golf for 18 holes for great scores. GOLFSTR just helps you focus on one KEY component but you need to be committed to making changes in your overall swing to “Swing Like a Pro”.
Aging bodies will never swing with the flexibility of a young pro but it is in your best interest to swing LIKE a pro. We will cover topics about the stance, swing plane, swing cadence, swing thoughts, swing lag and follow through.
Return to this site for your weekly fix and a chance to win a GARMIN APPROACH S3 GPS Watch.
October 30, 2013 Dan Beaubien asked: I’m inquiring about your “Straight Arm, Straight Shot” ad in Golf Magazine. Please describe this product. Is it a device that actually keeps the left arm straight (therefore probably not legal in competition) or something that trains the body to keep the arm straight?
Answer from Bill Curry: You are right on both counts Dan. GOLFSTR is used as a brain trainer to remind you to keep your leading arm straight in the back swing. It does not restrain your arm in any way. You just feel it come off the back of your upper arm if you bend your arm. The wonderful benefit is that GOLFSTR builds muscle memory by wearing it as you play 18 holes and see your score drop.
On our User Guide and on our retail package we state: “ It gives you an unfair advantage so you can’t use it when playing in a competition.”
Why not use this “unfair advantage “ to learn your new swing and then enjoy your new and improved swing without wearing GOLFSTR. If it was easy to change to a straight arm in the back swing you would have done it long ago. I’ve had the bent arm problem for too long and finally decided to do something about. If the pros can do it why can’t I? Must be the steel plate lodged between my ears. GOLFSTR was my solution and I hope it will be your solution too.
Your straight leading arm in the back swing is the key ingredient to help you correct your swing.
To help you change from an over the top swing, you may want to try positioning your feet for a draw swing with a closed stance [point your leading foot directly at the hitting line (not flared) and your lagging foot shifted 1 or 2 inches back from the hitting line]. Keep your lagging elbow bent near your side. Sergio Garcia points out that this helps you swing from inside to out (to eliminate those crazy slices).
After getting the feel for your new inside to out swing, your swing pattern will change and you may want to eliminate the draw stance or minimize it. Just change back to a normal in-line stance but keep your club coming from the inside instead of over the top.
To overcome the bent leading arm in your back swing you need to learn a NEW swing.
Correct stance (possibly a draw stance for extreme over the top hitters, see October 15 BLOG), light grip and keeping your eye on the ball are all required. Each person will have their own problems remaining from their existing swing and a lesson may be required. I’m also suggesting that you try the approach that I learned from the pros and Sergio Garcia. You need to put some effort into learning your new swing and then focusing during every swing. Repeating a poor swing will never solve your problems.
To help with your swing cadence ( and to block out all external thoughts ) I find it helpful to say the same phrase during each swing. By doing this you think of nothing else during your swing:
“Straight Arm . . . . . . . . . . Sweep in aaaand Finish”
Start your swing at rest with a reminder of your practice with GOLFSTR to keep your leading arm straight through the back-swing by saying to yourself: “Straight Arm” (as you breathe and relax your shoulders and grip).
Then say the following as you complete your swing:
“sweep” as you start the takeaway by rolling and hinging your wrists to point the toe of the club up,
“in” as you keep your lagging elbow into or near your side (Power Plane by Sergio Garcia),
“aaaand” during the smooth transition at the top aim at the inside back portion of the ball (swinging from inside to out),
“Finish” [at the point of impact] as you swing to a photo finish with your belt buckle pointing at the target.
“Straight Arm . . . . . . . . . Sweep-in-aaaand-Finish”
This is just a suggestion as it has helped others during their transition to their new swing. Saying these words will help you slow down your swing and smooth out the transition at the top of the swing.
Changing your golf swing is not easy. GOLFSTR is an important aid to help you get there.