By Travis Fulton, Director of Instruction, PGA TOUR Academy
Not a bad start for Russell Henley, who in his first week on the PGA TOUR won the Sony Open in Hawaii and was just terrific down the stretch on Sunday, birdieing the last five holes to win by three.
One of the things that Henley has worked on over the last year is making his golf swing less "armsy." This can be a very common habit for many players resulting in bad timing and loss of power through impact. The fix lies in the ability to tie the arm swing more to the movement of the body -- both during the backswing and through impact.
Many times this week you could see how Henley kept his lead arm attached to his chest. It almost appeared as if his left arm couldn’t move unless his torso turned. When a player gets armsy or disconnected you will see the lead arm come off the chest and move independently of the body.
A good drill to help feel and exaggerate this is to make a straight line with your lead arm and club shaft at address. From there, attach your lead arm to the side of your torso creating a bit of pressure in the armpit. Maintain this pressure point and straight line and hit some half to three-quarter shots off a tee with what feels like very passive hands. The lead hand is really the key because it allows the lead arm and club shaft to stay in line. You may notice if the lead hand becomes overly active it will disrupt this straight line immediately sending the club head around the trail hip with no shoulder turn. When kept in-line, the shoulders will have to turn in order for the club head to travel around the body.
This is a simple way to feel the body more as the engine of the swing. Once you accomplish the smaller swings, then allow for a bigger swing where the wrists fully hinge during the backswing and re-hinge after impact. A good wrist hinge will allow the club head to work more up and down but again, you will notice how the club shaft and lead arm maintain a sense of alignment and tied to the body.
Travis Fulton is the Director of Instruction at the TOUR Academies at TPC Sawgrass and the World Golf Village. For more information on the TOUR Academy, click here.