How to keep the arms passive in a golf swing

Written by robert lee
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How to keep the arms passive in a golf swing
Passive arms can lead to an effective golf swing. (Golf image by Vanessa van Rensburg from

Keeping the arms passive during a golf swing means keeping them free of tension as you execute your golf swing. When kept passive during the swing, the arms will freely work in unison with your hands, shoulders, legs and knees to create a smooth swing and balanced finish. On the other hand, tension-filled arms or swinging wildly using mostly the arms likely will result in poor, frustrating shots.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Golf clubs
  • Towel
  • Practice area

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  1. 1

    Develop the proper grip pressure. The pressure should be strong enough to control the club as you swing but loose enough to allow your hands, arms and shoulders to move freely. According to the website Free Golf Swing Tips, tension causes a golfer to grip the club too tightly. The result is a tightening of muscles all through the upper body, eliminating any opportunities for keeping the arms passive.

  2. 2

    Check your grip pressure while addressing the ball. According to the instructional book, "The Complete Encyclopedia of Golf Techniques," you should feel your forearms to make sure they are supple, soft and relaxed. Imagine holding a small bird in your hands and not allowing it to escape. That amount of pressure---enough to contain the bird but not enough to harm it---is about the same pressure you should apply to your clubs.

  3. 3

    Learn to swing with your entire body and not allow the arms to dominate. Using the entire body will help your arms remain passive. Start preparing for this by hitting shots with a towel securely under your arms. To keep the towel from falling to the ground you will have to depend on all parts of your body, including the legs, knees and feet, as you swing through the ball.

  4. 4

    Remove the towel and begin taking regular golf swings while keeping the arms soft and supple. Accomplish this by addressing the ball with the correct posture, the proper ball position for the club you are using, and the correct grip pressure. Waggle the club a bit to remove any remaining tension. Move the club away from the ball with a one-piece takeaway---the shoulders, arms and club move away from the ball as a unit, without the presence of tension. Your upper body will coil as you bring the club up and around. The coiling of the upper body and extension of your arms will naturally pull your left knee toward the ball (if you are right-handed), according to The Encyclopedia of Golf Techniques. At the height of your back swing, your back should be facing the target and your left shoulder will now be positioned where your right shoulder was at address.

  5. 5

    Focus on remaining loose and relaxed as you transition through the down swing while again allowing the shoulders, arms and legs to work as a unit. Swing through the ball for a balanced finished. Keep repeating the towel drill and continue practicing swings with a light grip pressure and soft forearms as you perfect the art of swinging with passive arms.

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