Golf Drill – The Correct Right Arm / Shoulder Movement

Hi Robin here. If you’ve videoed your swing,
you’ve seen the club crossing the line at the top, or you’ve seen that your club shaft
is getting very steep coming down. You heard lots of shots of the toe of the club, you’ve
heard toe shots, high weak cut shots to the right. You’re probably not setting your right
arm in the correct position during the swing. You’re probably not rotating your right arm
and keeping your arm in front of your body. Your elbow will be flying, causing the crossover.
Your elbow will be coming down too much behind you with your forearm almost parallel to the
ground. That’s probably quite an easy fault to see,
and when I see people with this fault, often they’re really focusing on how their elbow
is working. I’ve mentioned this as well in another video about flying right elbow. But
they are focused on how their elbow is working, trying to keep their elbow in front of their
body. But in my lessons and in my experience I’ve had better success when I’ve tried to
encourage people to understand what they’re feeling in their shoulder. What their shoulder
is doing when they’re setting their arm into the right position. Now you can do that to your hitting balls
in practice swings, but if you’re really struggling getting the feeling, something I encourage
is add a little bit of weight. Get a dumbbell. It really depends on your strength level,
what kind of weight you’re gonna use, but it doesn’t have to be particularly heavy.
And what I want you to do is work on first of all, I want you to feel like your shoulder
is open at [inaudible 00:01:37]. You’re pulling your shoulder back. You’re feeling like your
shoulder blade’s working. Down and back, you’re packing your shoulder. And then simply during
the swing I want you to keep that feeling. So yes, your elbow will be in front of you,
but you’ll feel your shoulder blade down and back. Your shoulder stays open. Rather when
your elbow will fly, your shoulder will get forward, your shoulder blade would raise up.
You can feel your shoulder blade down and back. It’s quite a packed feeling for me,
and that little bit of weight when I’m swinging, increases my awareness of that movement. Just
a great drill you can do on the driving range, at home, in the gym, to teach you the feeling
of setting your right arm into the right position. The movement of that right arm, the position
of the right arm and the swing is a very crucial part to a good golf swing. So really, once you started to sense what’s
going on in the shoulder, keeping that shoulder open, keeping that shoulder blade down and
back, you can put away the dumbbell. Take your club and just try to sense the same things
during your swing. Now if you can create that at the top, it’s sure to fix your club crossing
over. If you can keep that same feeling coming down in the shoulder, shoulder blade thing
down and back, shoulder staying open, that will keep your elbow in front, and that will
shallow out your sink path. So say a good drill for anyone who’s crossing over, feel
like you’re getting the club steep at any point in the swing. Someone’s told you your
right elbow is flying, or your right arm is not working correctly, give the dumbbell a
try. Try to become aware of what’s going on in your shoulder, rather than so much what’s
going on in your elbow.

52 thoughts on “Golf Drill – The Correct Right Arm / Shoulder Movement

  • Hi Robin, I must say that all of your videos are excellent but as someone who constantly struggles with my right elbow position in the backswing, this is some of the best advice I have seen. Many thanks / excellent work!.

  • Robin—  I so needed this drill— I'm right handed and I have a right shoulder injury …  This drill with help with my flexibility with my flying elbow..  Thank you!!!  Awesome advice—

  • Hi Robin,Perhaps you could answer this question. I have asked many pros but no one seems to give me a satisfactory answer. When I film my swing it appears that my club shaft is parallel but above the original address shaft plane on the down swing. But yet the ball goes straight. I shoot around eighty. Thank you.

  • Thank you Robin .I got a shock when I saw the D plane explained. The relation between the plane and the club face is infinite. Crazy game which we all like to master but never do.

  • I feel this is a misconception. look at all pros and their right forearm is parallel with their spine angle,and their hand is right of their elbow at the top of their backswing on dl view

  • Thank you! I now understand why my right elbow does not stay tucked and in front of my body in the downswing and why my shaft is steep coming down.

  • Wow, this blokes knows his business, one of the best I have seen. Great drill and well explained – thanks Robin!

  • This tip is priceless, and I firmly believe this problem is one of the biggest of all medium to high handicap golfers. I have been working on this in practice and have also applied this to the delicate short chip; the results are extraordinary. This shot has previously destroyed my game over the years and playing on the sandbelt courses of Melbourne it a shot you have to have in your repertoire. I could never get the feeling of throwing the ball up with the right arm. This has changed now.

    Thanks again Robin, hope to have you as my guest on one of the sandbelt course one day.

  • Quick question for you, do you find that people's elbows are in the wrong position because they try to go too far in the back swing? I only ask because it seems like doing this has a more intuitive stopping point. I noticed my bad habits have me wanting to further my back swing by swaying or turning my hips too far right.

  • Never seen a pro tucking in that right arm/elbow like that. Most get it behind them out above and past their right buttock stretching away from the body to create the room between handle and ball that they need to get back down on an inside path… suppose it's a good exercise for those that chicken-wing, but your swing's not going to be as wide and behind as it needs to be… 😉

  • This is really great.    Just recently in fact, I have been working on getting that left elbow in front of shoulder on way down in practice and sometimes I can do it and feel it, but when practicing a regular swing I seem to lose it.     Sitting in my office now and just simulating and trying to copy  what you described and the "feel" seems much more "intuitive", if that makes sense.    Thanks much.


  • I think what's most important is to do what works for you. I could never swing like this. It's a power loss. You won't see any long hitters on tour doing this.

  • The Correct Arm Position is Think of a Waiter Carrying a Tray. 90 Degree arm and a flat hand pointing Down. Bingo Bango!

  • I ve done it less than 2 years. But now i will do it with your drill to connect the muscle even better. This is very useful for weekend golfer…
    Many tour player done the opposite like flying elbow etc… because they practice 8 hrs a day and they already got the "click" with their swing, so any swing will do for them (ex. furyk).
    I believe this drill will help my backswing position even better.
    Btw, I am 8 hcap 44 yrs old and love to see your vids Robin… keep up the good work. Greeting from Indonesia.

  • If there is a magic move for mid-handicappers, this is it, folks. In the opinion of this struggling 65-year-old 15 hdcp. It does help you find the slot and defeat the over-the-top move that plagues every guy on the course.

  • Good Video Robin, for me its about sequencing,starting in the right back/shoulder then elbow then wrist rather than whipping the club away with the hand wrist elbow.So you do still load the elbow but get the right side out of the way and still keep the arms in front.
    Obv right arm only drills hitting sponge balls is good, but practice topspin forehands with a tennis racquet first.
    Strangely Ive found the right arm harder to train, prob due to more moving joints than the left arm even tho im right handed!

  • Thank you Mr. Symes for your videos. Did not realize how much my trail shoulders were closed. Now I understand why it has been so difficult to get my right elbow in front of me on the downswing.

  • I ve been working on my backswing with Jeff ritter video. Working just fine for couple of years and things go wrong when my friend show me his swing… He's swing just like Rory with flying right elbow and he can score high 70's easy. I am a bit confused and try to change my swing since i have to struggle hitting high 70's.

    After watching this video now i am convinced that Jeff Ritter and you are one of the best coach in Youtube. IMO. Now I have my self esteem back and try to hit 70's by practice short game harder…. coz i know my swing working just fine. LOL.

    thank you Robin. Greeting from Indonesia

  • A retracted shoulder blade is a good a idea, but will not help a shoulder joint that lacks enough external rotation. The fix is to stretch the shoulder to add external rotation. This not only helped me with a flying right elbow at the top of the back swing. It has allowed me to incorporate a downcock move during transition as I lead with my right elbow towards my right hip.

  • Thank you, Robin.

    Golfers should heed this savvy advice.

    Firming-up the right shoulder — the joint linking your torso and your powerful right arm — is one of golf's best kept secrets. Simply put, build firmness and resistance into your hyper-mobile, right shoulder. However, strike the proper balance. Avoid an overly flaccid AND an overly rigid right shoulder. Mechanical joints that are either too loose or too tight are useless.

    Banish your illusions. Your right and left shoulders don't function bilaterally or identically. They function unilaterally or separately because they perform different functions at different times.

    Learning the proper exterior-rotation of your trailing shoulder — which ascribes a hidden tear-drop obit — allows expert golfers to re-route the club, flatten the shaft, tuck-in the right elbow and form the desired hand (i.e. "waiter's tray") in the forward swing.

    To own your swing, discover and master how your right shoulder functions.


    James Ragonnet (author of GOLF'S THREE NOBLE TRUTHS, 2010)

  • Interesting you waited until 3:10 to point out the need to slide the elbow around front in the downswing to shallow the club. So essentially when you begin the downswing the right shoulder drops down shallowing the club automatically because of the position of the right arm and its angle.

  • Many people, especially as they age (or for those who have undergone R shoulder surgery) cannot externally rotate the shoulder as much as Robin advocates. It would be better to specifically state how and where the R elbow should be on the initiation of the downswing. Jack Nicklaus managed to function pretty well with a flying R elbow … largely due to his first move in the downswing … a simultaneous weighting of the L heel and tucking the R elbow into his side (then moving it in front of his R hip) on his initial swing movement.

  • Robin- once in a while, my swing breaks down all because I start to obsess about getting my right elbow bend to 90 decrees. Then, I start picking the club up or heaving it and then my transition and lag is all messed up I never reach a proper top. Your tip is very important for me, to not focus on my right elbow, but rather feel what the shoulder is doing. Thanks!!

  • thank you so much! the open right shoulder and focus on the right shoulder is such a powerful aspect of the swing…my golf swing has improved tremendously! thank you again

  • This might be the best advice I've come across, regarding the golf swing, on youtube. I've tried more swings than I can count, and they each seem to work for awhile then break down. This methodology is so simple, there is very little that could go wrong. Perhaps you'll lose some power, but I'd rather know where the ball is going than hit it further but offline. For me, I don't necessarily point the rear elbow frontward, but instead try to maintain the set-up position of my upper rear arm through the swing, and think about opening the shoulder. Seems to allow for a very consistent strike.

  • I'm pretty sure I'm struggling with this exact problem. I play off 4 and I'm literally hitting it everywhere. Thin, pulled, pull hook, block slice. I started putting a head cover under my right arm pit and hit balls on the range, can you tell me is this a good exercise or could it give me bad habits. Great video by the way. Thanks

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