Which do you weigh more heavily: a good looking swing, or good-looking results? If you prefer the latter, focusing on staying connected will probably do the trick. Connection is a term that describes the relationship of the triangle formed by the shoulders and arms relative to the body’s rotational movement. Since amateurs typically disconnect on the backswing and downswing golf instructors use the term, “staying connected,” because it illustrates a tighter relationship between the body and arms throughout the swing. Why should you stay connected? Staying connected can greatly improve your timing and overall consistency. Here’s how you do it.
The distance between your elbows throughout the swing versus setup is helpful to determine if your staying connected. For example, at the top of the swing the left arm is straight and the right arm is bent, yet the space between the elbows is very similar to setup. Amateurs commonly disconnect when the right elbow moves away from the left, called the flying right elbow. It’s not the best position to be in because it can throw the club off plane on the downswing. Impact and post impact are other areas amateurs commonly disconnect when the left elbow breaks down and moves away from the right, called the chicken wing. This can prevent a free release and cause serious inconsistency.
Here’s a great drill if you’re disconnecting through impact with a left elbow chicken wing.
The distance between your elbows and your body is also helpful in determining if your staying connected. You don’t want the elbows separating too far from the body early in the takeaway or early on the downswing. These are two very important phases in the swing and require a tight connection between the body and arms. Amateurs typically over extend their arms moving their elbows too far off the body. If your problem is disconnecting early in the takeaway, try using a towel under both armpits to keep the elbows in. If your disconnecting early on the downswing try using a towel, but also focus on this concept. Imagine your entire body, minus your arms, as the engine of your golf swing. This is your power source. Imagine your arms and club simply as transmitters of power generated from your engine. So when you reach the top of your swing focus on using the engine, the body, ahead of the the arms and club. This will improve your sequence back to the ball and drop the elbows closer to the body, rather than overextending and disconnecting. Amateurs lose connection when the arms dominate, which prematurely extends the right arm and disconnected the right elbow.
Here’s a popular video I posted that demonstrates a drill for improving your connection between your body, arms, and club.
Here’s another popular video by one of the all time greats, Ben Hogan. Hogan demonstrates in simple terms what it means to stay connected.
Long and Straight,