By: Paul Devore For a number of players who have worked hard to improve their swing, eliminating residual or “leftover” faults can be a frustrating process. One such fault or tendency is the dreaded “chicken wing.” Of course, “chicken wing” refers to that uncomfortable post-impact feeling of the lead elbow (the left for right-handers) separating from the body and pointing skyward in the follow through. This is usually accompanied by a cupping or flipping of the left wrist in order to square the club face. This “chicken wing” move, inevitably, leads to an inconsistent face angle at impact, costing the player accuracy, and deceleration of the clubhead; costing the player distance. One remedy to this devastating fault is downward extension through impact. Ben Hogan used to say he liked to take “two divots” – one divot with his clubhead, and a second divot “with my knuckles” a few feet in front of the ball. This feel of taking “two divots” promotes a longer, more connected left arm through impact, allowing the forearms and clubhead to rotate more naturally through the hitting zone, resulting in maximum speed and accuracy. If the left arm is extending downward through impact, then it stands to reason the left elbow will be less inclined to work upward and away from the body. To ingrain this move, have your students practice making full swings with a 7- or 8-iron, focusing on extending a relaxed left arm (knuckles) toward a spot about two feet in front of the ball as you move through impact. You can have them use a tee or even another golf ball as an aiming point on that spot. They should make no conscious effort to pull the left arm upward as they move through impact. The speed generated (along with irrefutable principles of physics) will naturally see the rotating left arm extend outward and upward into a full finish position. If the “chicken wing” is impeding your students’ progress, give this tip a try next time you go to the lesson tee.
Copyright © 2023 United States Golf Teachers Federation, All Rights Reserved
200 S. Indian River Drive, Suite #206, Fort Pierce, FL 34950
772-88-USGTF or 772-595-6490 -