Stop Casting the Club: Keep the upper body together

One of the common swing faults is casting the club.  When that happens a golfer loses all of the leverage they they have developed, and the throw away their power.

The left arm begins to separate from the chest and then the club gets on a steep and out to in path causing the golf ball to slice.  What is a golfer to do?

Many training aids encourage a stronger connection between the arms and the upper core.  What does that mean exactly?

Build a stronger connection between arms and chest

A stronger connection simply means that the arms don’t move separately from the chest.  The chest and arms work together as one unit.  Sure, the clubs momentum may cause it to move after the shoulders have stopped turning, but if you can minimize that movement, you can begin the downswing with the arms and chest working together, rather then letting the arms race down to the ball.

A perfect example of the feeling you want to get is Steve Stricker.  When you watch his swing, it looks a bit tight.  It’s not super fluid, he doesn’t hinge the wrists very much.  The most important thing he does is to bring everything down together.  This allows him very solid contact, which sends the ball a long way.  He is not the longest hitter on tour but he is long enough to be the number 3 golfer in the world and you can’t argue with his results.

So how do you keep the arms and chest together.  Take some practice swings and swing slowly.  Keep the thought in mind that the arms and chest are working as one unit and focus on keeping them together.  At first it will probably seem stiff.  You’ll feel as if your movement has become a bit limited which it has, and that’s a good thing.

Feel them working as one unit

As you begin to feel this sensation and really integrate it, you’ll start to hit the ball more solidly.  You’ll see a straighter ball flight, and your accuracy and distance will increase.  It’s a strange thing to feel at first because your body will be telling you that you can’t hit the ball as far swinging like this.  But you need to trust that keeping the upper body together will improve your swing and your ball striking.  It is even more important that you keep your focus on this as the club gets longer.

The longer the club is, the more the club head will want to keep moving after the shoulders have stopped turning.  You need to be aware of this so that you catch it early.  Stop the club head moving as soon as your shoulders have stopped rotating.  Then on the downswing move everything together making sure that your arms don’t outrace your chest.

Benefits to keeping the upper body together

It will be tricky at first, but the benefits are tremendous.  You’ll be able to retain the angle in your wrists on the downswing, you’ll be less likely to flip the club, and in general you’ll hit more solid and straighter.  Give this a try and let me know how it works for you.

6 thoughts on “Stop Casting the Club: Keep the upper body together”

  1. What do you suggest to do to stay connected better without feeling stiff, the towel drill or the glove under the arms? Are they better grills not to feel stiff and more fluid?

  2. @Eugene: The glove under the arms is a good drill. But whether you use the glove under the arms or another drill, the feeling that you want to have is that your entire upper body is working as one unit. Back together, and through together. So while the glove under the arms is a good drill, it, to me, makes me only concentrate on the glove rather than the feeling that my entire upper body is connected. The other thing that works is that once you reach the top of the backswing, keep your hands the same distance from the right shoulder for as long as possible. That also creates a good feeling of connection.

    As far as feeling stiff or fluid, as you begin to get this feeling of connectedness, you will be able to maintain it and still feel fluid. Part of that comes from the lag that you can create through the softness in the wrists. It will only feel very stiff at first, if you are used to casting. Once you begin to see how it helps you ball striking, you’ll be able to trust it more and it won’t feel as stiff.

  3. The other thing that works is that once you reach the top of the back swing, keep your hands the same distance from the right shoulder for as long as possible.

    do you mean throughout the downswing so my hands and arms move a one unit until impact or trying to delay my hands from starting the downswing so that my solders>arms> hands>club move>

  4. @Eugene: The reality is that you won’t be able to do it for the entire downswing. Your arms will start moving from their own momentum close to the point where they reach hip high. As your lower body turns, the hands move a little faster and the club and club head follow. But the feeling that you want to have is that your arms are staying the same distance from your right shoulder from the top of the back swing and down. I think it’s better not to think of it as delaying your hands because focusing on the hands too much can be problematic. If you think about maintaining the same distance between your hands and your shoulders, the rest of the swing falls into place. Try it and let me know what you think of it.

  5. I’ve been reading your advise to Eugine and I think is helpful to a lot of golfers since most of us tend to bee very stiff and cast the club instead of releasing it with the momentum of gravity.

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