Right Elbow Leads Golf Downswing

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Focus on the right elbow movement is a well-known technique used by PGA and LPGA superstars. 

The goal being!  Get the right elbow moving tight to your right side or your right hip pocket so to speak to create the triangle effect.  See Image below!

Is it a good practice exercise to focus on your right elbow leading the golf downswing?

Right Elbow Leads Golf Downswing

Is The Right Elbow Good To Key On?


It can be a fabulous practice exercise and moreover right arm focus can be used as a long-term swing thought to build your entire swing around.  When you get your right elbow moving in the right direction leading the downswing.  It can have dramatic positive impacts to your swing plane coming in on line.

The right elbow starts the down swing, move it slightly down to start.  Then directly in towards your side, the over-the-top effect is effectively eliminated. When the right elbow goes directly into your side you achieve the desired arm positioning the PGA superstars are all trying to create pictured below.

In fact the PGA Pros use aids like this one from Amazon to help with this exact move.

The triangle effect between your arms at the mid downswing position!

Right Elbow Position On Downswing 

Triangle Effect on the golf downswing

Notice in the image above at this critical juncture in the downswing. The club shaft has reached approximately parallel to the ground positioning.  When the combination of golf club shaft and your arms reach this or very important checkpoint in the golf swing, notice the arm positioning.

During the downswing you’ll notice in the image the triangle effect that is created.  The straight left arm and right elbow positioned deep in the player’s right side.  Creating this triangle effect can and should be a goal for every player to maximize control and distance.

Use a mirror at home to find this very important position.  Take your backswing then look into the mirror to see if you have the triangle effect in place?

Triangle Effect On The Golf Downswing

When the club shaft has reached this parallel position to the ground on the downswing. Let’s analyze exactly what the arms look like at this critical point. You’ll notice the lead or left arm at full extension being virtually perfectly straight. With the right arm notice how the right elbow has worked its way deep into the golfer right side.

The triangle effect gap you can now see between the two arms is what all the PGA superstars are trying to achieve these days to create ultimate power and control.   This triangle could not be achieved if that right elbow is working more out or down the line rather than in towards the body.

Golf Right Elbow In Front Of Right Hip

Take a close look at the relationship at this critical point in the swing between the right elbow and the right hip. The right elbow and the right hip from this point moved together through the impact area.   There becomes a connection if you will of the right elbow and right hip firing through the impact position.

Golf Downswing Drills

Some great down swing training aids you can find on Amazon to effectively control your elbow joint movement. You’ll see a great pic later in this article of a tour player using an arm sling just prior to teeing off.

Start your downswing drills in slow motion. When the club shaft reaches the end of the back swing start movement with your right elbow directly downward. 

After the initial move down with your right elbow, direct your elbow to move towards your right hip as seen in the photo above.

From that point rotate your right hip and right elbow through the impact position as a unit.

It’s important to do these three movements in extreme slow motion to feel the direction of movement and sequence.

Downswing Drill Review

1) From the top of the back swing start your right elbow movement down.

2) Next, direct your right elbow into right side or right hip area.

3) Now you’ve reached club shaft parallel to ground

4) Rotate your right hip and right elbow through impact as a unit.

5) Do these movements in ultra slow motion to develop proper feel.

Right Elbow Golf Swing Drills

It’s very important to establish a feel for the movement of your right elbow.  At first you’ll be moving your right elbow a section at a time.

From the top of backswing you’ll be dropping your right elbow straight down.

Then the right elbow movement will continue in, towards your right hip.

From that point forward the hip and right elbow will rotate through to impact and beyond as a unit.

Elbow at Golf Set Up

It can be beneficial to start with your right elbow in your set up position slightly favoring you’re right hip.  The connection of right elbow and right hip and set up can help with the idea of the right elbow returning to that hip on the downswing. Be careful however with your right elbow in setup you don’t create too much been in that right elbow joint.

Right Elbow Golf Setup

Notice the arm position of this Tour Player at The Web.com qualifier in Arizona.

The right arm nicely folded at the player side directly up on the right hip. Left arm is nice and straight and the right arm has a fold at the elbow joint.

From the images shown above you can see how the right elbow has a nice fold on the backswing. The right elbow does however stay in very close connection with the right side positioned above the right hip. 

Notice the orange band above the left elbow and you can see a glimpse above the right elbow. This again is the training strap available on Amazon these high level players use to keep their available positioning connected.  

This tour player is moments away from his tee-time.  The use of this amazing training aid speaks to the importance of proper elbow joint positioning.

How The Right Arm Works In The Golf Swing

How the right arm works in the golf swing

Post impact the right arm will straighten at and through the hitting area.  Immediately after impact the right arm will be at maximum extension.  The right arm will continue to be at maximum extension throughout the entire follow-through to a full finish position.

At the completion of the golf swing you’ll notice this player below allows his right arm to be slightly relaxed.  Up to this point however the right arm traveled fully extended at a point just past impact and maintain full extension to a high finish position.

Right Arm Golf Swing

Right Arm Focused Golf Swing

Having good awareness of your right arm and its functions throughout the golf swing can pay huge rewards as far as results go. The function of the right arm in the golf swing is very important and you can certainly build quality golf swing around it. If you were to study and implement the function of the right arm at every point of the swing including set up your knowledge base would be greatly increased.

Arm At Setup

The right arm in your set up position alone when structured properly can put you in a very good position.  Many aspects of your setup will be greatly improved with great right arm structure.

Right Arm In Backswing

The right arm movement away from the golf ball and its function throughout and to the finish of the backswing is fundamental to success.

Pay particular attention to the right arm positioning throughout the backswing. Your golf swing will improved greatly if you follow the correct positioning of your right arm as a hole. The right arm in the backswing includes the hinging of your elbow and wrist at certain points. If you follow the images above and maintain relaxation techniques your elbow joint and wrist joint hinging will happen naturally.

Trail Arm Down Swing And Finish

Learning the in-depth movement of your right arm as it descends from the top of the downswing to impact and through to finish. Your right arm alone can guide you to great successes on the golf course. If you focus on proper right arm movement throughout the swing, many improvements throughout your swing will take place. It can also provide you with a more simple point of focus rather than focusing on to much.

Left Arm In Golf Swing

 Once you have mastered knowledge on the right arm function.  Take a quick look at the left arm functioning as well. You’ll be amazed at the similarities the left arm, your left arm basically works as a mirror image of the right arm.

You can then combine the right arm and left arm function and join them to work in harmony. Once you have a good grasp on the right arm functioning at set up and during the in motion swing. The left arm you will find a breeze.

Right Arm In Conclusion

Focusing on your right arm function at set up and through out the swing can be an eye-opening endeavour.  There is a lot going on with the right arm that can lead to high-level skills.

Having said there’s a lot going on, don’t let that scare you. The right arm function and movement at first may seem complex but in the end right arm function is fairly simple.  Be patient and clear on where the right arm should be at set up, backswing, impact and finish.

Having an effective arm position with your right and left will lead you to many successes on the golf course.

Maintain good positioning and movement with both your arms throughout the set up and swing motion.

Effective arm movement is what will keep the golf club on plane!

Maintaining good structure at set up and thru out your swing is crucial. 

Mix good arm structure with a high-level relaxation technique for golf to maximize your control and distance.

Happy golfing friends!

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