Error in Description of Back Arm at Impact?

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  • Error in Description of Back Arm at Impact?
  • #602979

    I am writing this in large part because the exercise of articulating my thoughts helps to clarify things in my mind. My mission has been to determine why my daughter’s impact position is so weak. In doing so, it appears that that check list item number 8 under Movement 6, Moving Energy Strength Building, Face-On is incorrect or perhaps not suitable for swinging an actual club if performed as stated – When movement is completed, are both arms straight? Below is a photo of Alex demonstrating the finish position.

    Alex at Movement 6 finish position

    I can appreciate if this movement is to help those who may have a propensity to have back “chicken wing” through and out of impact. If this is the case, it might be helpful to have a cautionary note.

    In our case, my daughter had a very structured back arm coupled with wrists that had “released too early.” To avoid hitting the big ball first, she would rise up AND send her shoulders to ear height. I’ll drag these photos out when boys start coming around!! lol

    As we work to correct the early release of the wrists, I see that the photos of the Greats from chapters one and two reveal a slightly bent arm at impact. Also, the photo below shows Alex swinging an iron and at about the finish position of ch. 4, movement 6. It appears to me that his arm is not straight.


    Next is a photo series, which shows the positions of Alex’s arms at various points in his swing. The front arm is solid and straight or mostly straight through the downswing. The back arm, however, is moving from bent to straight, but this doesn’t seem to occur until just after impact.

    Alex photo series

    I have watched every video and read every discussion on the forum about hitting fat shots. The link below leads to a video where Bryan touches on the back arm movement and references the baseball throw. However, the description and photos for this movement gives me, perhaps incorrectly, the impression that the back arm should be straight before impact.

    Student Q & A: Hitting Shots Heavy

    My conclusion is that Alex and the (other) Greats model for us the proper movement of the back arm, which is bent and straightening through impact but does not become straight until just after striking the ball.

    I would love to hear feedback about whether or not I’m in the ball park (or fairway) on this. Overall I am a fan of Tathata but there are a few areas that I struggle to make sense of. Once I do, I have a feeling golf will be exceptional. We’re sooooo close!!!!



    I think the intention of straightening the right arm into impact is just to reinforce the feeling of pushing the club handle down through impact. As with any striking motion, having a straight arm prior to impact robs one of speed and strength. If the arm is straight at any time prior to or even at impact you are being robbed of acceleration through the strike. When I trained in martial arts (tae kwon do) I always wanted my arm or leg to be extending through the target, not extended at the target. That gave me drive and force as I powered through the target.

    I also think anatomically that the only way the right arm can be extended prior to impact is if you cast the club for the club head will have to pass the hands when the right arm is straight. Basically straight arm prior to impact means you have thrown the club off your body and the hips have stalled out at impact – a common symptom of early acceleration. The one cure I know that works for this is to practice going slow motion into the strike then full speed after the strike. I know Bryan wants pressure to be at a 5 or 6 coming into the strike but maybe for removing early acceleration that pressure should be a 3 or 4. Slow and deliberate – then explode out of impact up to finish as hard as possible.


    Les – I really appreciate your feedback! Perhaps I’m wrong and I welcome input, but it seems to me that there is a timing aspect to the back arm/hand movement. If I understand your comment correctly, one really can’t apply pressure at a 4, going to 5 pre-impact, to the back arm pushing away from the body or else it extends too early driving the club into the big ball of dirt absent other compensations. Also, as you noted, there is a huge power loss in this type of strike. The only way I can make any sense of what I perceive Bryan is saying is if the pressure in the back arm is a way of describing how much it is straightening through impact. Having it go from 4 to 7.5 through the impact zone seems to be close. In reality, the straightness is probably reaching 8.5 to 9.5 just after impact.

    It does seem that applying the Tathata pressure scale to the front arm, especially to triceps and lats, is beneficial.

    I welcome any additional comments about how each arm should work and pressurize from the backswing through impact.



    I don’t think I am quite saying that you can’t go from a 4 to a 5 in pressure during the downswing. What I am more saying is that if you aren’t driving the lower body through the strike the arms will loose their connection to the body and the club head will work ahead of the hands and body. So, to properly train the sequence I like to keep the pressure purposely light and the speed during the downswing slow so as to train the arms to wait before they apply all their pressure.

    If you are not used to what a 5 or 6 in pressure really feels like pre-strike then I believe it is easy to apply too much pressure with the arms and not enough with the lower body. Most of us adults learned to swing with a casting-throw from the top arms swing and it takes drilling like I described to break that motion. And modern, light weight clubs don’t help in learning that.


    Les – Can you recommend one or two training exercises that would help ingrain proper hand, arm, shoulder, and body action before and at impact? We made a lot of progress today correcting casting and shoulders at ears. I’m concerned that I’m not knowledgeable enough to modify the movements for just before and after impact. Once I allow for a bent but straightening back arm it just throws me off…or creates a LOT of self doubt.


    I think the drills in the program do a pretty good job of that. I especially like the drills where you drag the handle of the club across the ground as you move through impact. It is really important that once you do the surf to level the arms are locked onto the body and it’s the driving of the legs that power the shot through impact.

    One key feeling I have is that I want the face closed just prior to impact. From there it is just the body drive that gets the club through impact. The push-away from the top really follows the arc of the club as it comes down so that prior to the strike you are really pushing the club into the ball rather than into the ground.

    I think the advantage I may have there is that in my other program I did years of taking an open club face at the top of my backswing and through forearm rotation delivered it square at impact. It takes a lot of forearm strength to do that move with lots of pressure at the strike. When Bryan shows how the hands work into the body through the strike, part of that move is rotation of the forearms – although it is being driven by the surfing of the lower body and pushing the hips back and up.

    I’m not trying to promote other instructors on this site, but this video really helped my when I was trying to cure my early acceleration issues:

    How NOT to hit at the ball


    Hi David,

    I’ve linked over to here from my own thread.

    It is of course difficult to diagnose anything without a picture of what’s happening, but the only thing that I can relate to from my own experience is the rising up and lifting the shoulders that you mention above.

    Here is a photo of my DTL from a few years back where part of my issue was getting really cramped through the ball and having to lift everything to avoid hitting lots of planet Earth:

    I have no idea if that is similar to what you are talking about?

    I’m afraid I have no drills or anything that I have used to resolve this. Instead, for me, it turned out to be a flexibility issues – particulary in the calves and ankles. I simply could not stay back and remain in my posture in my lower half because of this and found myself with everything moving forward towards the ball – leaving only one way to make contact – lift everything and get out of my own way.

    The above was a classic case of what’s called early extension – and is almost always a flexibility issue so I believe. However, you daughter I assume is a young girl and I would be surprised if this proved to be relevant to her, but it is worth considering perhaps.

    Look up info on the squat test for golf flexibility and see what it say.

    Ultimately I worked on a TPI program to improve my flexibility and at the same time worked hard on staying back into my glutes through the ball. There was never any one drill or thought for impact itself for me.

    I still suffer from it – a bit more lately as I haven’t been able to excercise as much – and these days causes me to come up off my right foot early on the way down and throw my right knee out in front a bit on the way down so I can keep my left hip back. It’s not great but I do think Tathata’s stretching regimes will help a lot with that.

    Sorry I can’t be of more help…



    Les – Thanks for your feedback. We’ve done the upside-down club drills until the cows gave beer – and her movements looks flawless even in super slow-mo – however, flip the club back over and it all falls apart. With that said, I may try the club drag (club head down) after performing downswing movement to impact slowly to see if that helps. Several phrases you used have given me ideas to work on, including the push away at the top.

    I’m looking forward to practice this afternoon! I appreciate your suggestions very much!!


    Thanks Barry. I’ll take a look for that video. With respect to your back heel, below is link to a video that Bryan made that may speak to that issue for you.

    Student Q & A: Right Heel Coming Up Early with Driver

    As for my daughter, we’ve certainly struggled with early extension. From best I can tell, early release (almost corrected) combined with back arm extending too quickly have resulted in these undesirable compensations. One thing I’m trying to figure out now is how to modify correctly some of the Tathata pre-impact movements that prescribe a straight back arm prior to impact. We spent a great deal of time learning the feel of straight arms coming into and going out of impact that it will require a bit of effort to correct the early straightening of the back arm pre-impact.

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