Use your football moves to work your right arm into a pure power position

October 28, 2018

Your right and left arm move in unison when you swing, but they have very different roles and motions. The left gets off easy: It swings across your chest in the backswing, loads a little in the transition, then returns to impact without ever really losing its basic shape. Hey, even a pure novice can make a fairly respectable left-arm-only swing.

The right arm? It’s trickier. It needs to go from relatively straight at address to noticeably bent as you swing back — so that your right arm and hand can position themselves under the club at the top — then work even further under the club during the transition so that, eventually, your right elbow can lead your hands toward impact. Tricky stuff, like I said.

Luckily, if you have any athletic skill at all, you can pull it off. You’ve thrown a football, right? Copy the same right-arm load-and-throw motion you use when tossing a pigskin in your backyard and you can launch powerful drives and iron shots on the course.

Brian Manzella
Moving your right arm correctly to keep the club on plane and power in your swing isn’t always easy. Pass the test by simply passing a football.


When you toss a football, you instinctively lift and bend your right arm, getting the nose of the pigskin behind your right ear. That’s the ideal L-shape you see Tour players make at the top of the backswing!

Brian Manzella
While in your golf posture and holding a football in your right hand, rear back as if trying to complete a pass to an imaginary target just forward of the ball’s position in your stance. Because you’re familiar with throwing a football, your right arm will naturally lift and bend. Perfect.

Brian Manzella
Trade the football for one of your irons. Swing to the top, repeating the same right-arm movement you used above. Let your right arm bend to create some width between your elbows and to position your right hand “under” the club.

To hurl the football forward, your natural motion is to lead with your right shoulder and elbow — nobody throws passes by merely flicking their wrists. Same goes for your swing.

Brian Manzella
To complete the pass, start forward by moving your right elbow and shoulder toward the target. It should feel as though your right hand is “lagging” behind. That’s good. It means you’re locked in and loaded.

Brian Manzella
With your elbows farther apart at the top, it’s much easier to lead with your right elbow and shoulder and get your right arm and hand even further under the club as you start down, as I’ve done here. From this position, you can’t miss.