Extend Thru, Don’t Chicken Wing It

Extend Thru, Don’t Chicken Wing It

First off let me explain what the term “chicken wing” refers to in a golf swing. It relates to the follow through action of a golfer, usually a slicer of a ball, where the left arm (right handed golfer) has bent their arm into their body in such a way it looks a bit like a chicken wing (see illustration). It indicates that we haven’t released properly through the ball and therefore our arm rotation is poor. This is sometimes described as “loosing connection”. This scenario is often from a swing path that is OUT to IN or/and early extension, where the hips move towards the arms and don’t clear properly.

chicken wing golf

Strictly speaking our follow thru will not directly influence the ball, it has already been hit! Sure it’s a reaction to something that went on before impact but in terms of improving the swing it is often a great area to focus on as it can help you change the pre impact positions without getting bogged down with too many static conscious thoughts.

One of the things we see in good player’s swings is a good extension with the arms after the ball has been struck. After impact, both arms extend toward the target as the body continues to uncoil and rotate toward your front side (left side for right-handers). Notice how the body weight has already pushed off their right side and into the left leg, which effectively serves as a post for the body to continue rotating around, up and through to the finish.
Golf Wicklow

One of the drills I use to try to get the correct feeling is to start with my left hand on the cub only. In the illustration you can see I have attached a “clearance stick” to my belt (small rod about 16 inches long). This helps me focus on a good hip movement. I sometimes place my glove or a tee-peg under my left arm pit to help create the feel of staying connected at this point with my upper arms. I will make quarter swings getting the feeling of my left arm slightly extending along the target line. I will then place my right hand on the club and continue making swing eventually lengthening them to a full swing but still focusing on the sensation of how my arms extend thru to about a 4 o’clock position before my arms begin to fold up and over my left shoulder.

Golf Dublin

Paul Thompson has been the Fellow PGA Professional at Powerscourt Golf Club in Wicklow since 1995. In addition to providing coaching on-site he also is a coach with The Golfing Union of Ireland. Appointments with Paul can be booked via Powerscourt Golf Club Reception: Tel (01) 204 6033 or the Golf Shop Tel (01) 204 6031. Read more about lessons from Paul Thompson by visiting the Powerscourt Golf Club Website.

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