If you’ve ever heard someone say that a golfer has a chicken wing in their swing you are probaly wondering what that is exactly. In this article, we are going to discuss what exactly a chicken wing golf swing is and how to cure it.
Whether you are a new, inexperienced golfing enthusiast or you are an experienced player, you know that a golf swing is not simple. There are many different elements involved in this movement, including body positioning and choosing the right club. Also, it is crucial to line up the ball at the right spot.
Bearing this in mind, there is a lot of room for beginner mistakes.
Still, this is nothing to be worried about, as every problem has its cause and solution. Among the most common golf swing issues is the so-called chicken wing in your swing. This is not something that occurs during the downswing or backswing.
Actually, the chicken wing comes in the form of a bent left elbow at the moment of the follow-through. Considering its name, it is quite easy to visualize how this incorrect form works. What is the reason for it? Well, in most cases it comes as a result of an outside-to-inside golf swing or a loose connection and improper rotation.
The fact that your left elbow is bent during your chicken wing swing will not have a direct impact on where the ball lands. However, it is the result of an incorrect posture before the ball is sent airborne. During the follow through, your arms should be extended and pointing to the target, with the hips cleared out.
In order to ensure this and prevent further issues, we have prepared a couple of drills and tips on how to eliminate chicken wing golf swing. Let’s take a look!
The Common Chicken Swing Causes and Solutions
In order to fix a certain problem, you need to be aware of what lies behind it. While the chicken wing happens once the ball is sent airborne, the idea is that you address it before impact has been made.
Situation #1 - Bad posture
Among the most common mistakes and causes for the chicken wing swing is a swayed movement during the backswing. This is understandable for beginners, as new golfers aren’t able to maintain a correct posture and seem to be too loose.
How does this affect the chance for a chicken wing swing? Due to the fact that the downward movement will happen under a very steep angle, your logical reaction is to alternate by bending your arms during the follow-through. This is to avoid a deep divot. Unfortunately, this is not the proper solution to the issue.
The best way to treat bad posture is to focus on your core and make sure that your stomach is drawn in. Keep in mind that your knees shouldn’t be too flexed and that you shouldn’t be bending too much from your waist. The most reliable method of ensuring that you are not lowering yourself too much is to keep your arms fully extended.
Try to maintain a posture where your belly button is drawn in towards the spine with your back slightly tilted from the target line. This should be adequate and should cut out any chances of a chicken wing happening during the follow-through.
Situation #2 - Steep downswing plane
As we mentioned above, among the most common causes for a chicken wing swing is incorrect movement during the downswing. Starting from a steep angle, you are forced to make alterations due to the fact that your shoulders tend to turn before the right time.
If you don’t make changes at that moment, the impact will be affected by an outside-to-inside swing, which will result in a heavily sliced shot. If you pull in your arms to avoid having a clubhead that is outside of the plane, you are setting yourself up for a chicken wing.
In order to avoid this, you will need to practice weight transition during the downswing. First, you should focus on your feet moving towards the left side, followed by the knees slowly tilting, as well.
Once that is done, you should clear out your hips and lower your arms towards the ground. This should happen as a natural result of your lower body guiding the downswing motion.
Last but not least, you should be turning your shoulders towards a position that suits you. By ensuring this kind of body positioning, you will be avoiding an angle that is too steep and hitting the downswing with a flatter approach.
Situation #3 - Getting under the ball
There will be situations when you will have bunkers, ponds, or thick trees in front of your target. For most beginners, it seems logical to try and hit the ball upward in order to give it a higher launch angle. However, this does nothing but increase the chance of developing improper posture and producing a chicken wing golf swing.
No matter how illogical it may sound, to send the ball airborne at a higher launch angle, you will want to hit it downwards.
Situation #4 - Cutting the swing short
Finally, we come to a cause that is not only common for beginners but also for golfers with more experience. The main misconception is that, as soon as you hit the ball, the swing is over.
This is absolutely false and will result in nothing but you tensing up and bending your elbows. While the follow-through happens after the ball is in the air, it still affects the overall tempo and success of the whole golf swing.
Bearing this in mind, you will want to prevent any stopping and concentrate on a smooth swinging motion. We suggest that you engage in golf swing drills to improve in this area. You should start in slow-motion and gradually increase the speed and tempo. Do this as much as you can, getting comfortable with swinging all the way through.
Situation #5 - Maintain a soft grip
It is not uncommon for golfers to apply too much hand pressure to the club. Now, a grip that is too loose certainly will not work and may result in a heavily sliced shot. However, you shouldn’t be throttling the club, either.
What you should focus on here is that the soft grip is maintained throughout the whole swinging process. There is no point in applying the right grip during the backswing only to tense up at the moment of impact and during the follow-through.
Situation #6 - Cutting the turn short
There are several reasons why you need to put a significant focus on how you turn and clear out your hips. You don’t only do it in order to ensure a smooth downswing move, but also for better weight distribution.
This is also a method of generating more power and speed. Cutting the turn short will often result in inadequate impact, deceleration, and poor shots, like hooks and slices.
The idea is that you turn towards the left as much as you can. We understand that there are certain people who aren’t able to smoothly perform this move in a regular address position. That is why we suggest that you keep your feet closer and that you open up your front foot by about 15 degrees.
This should give you more stability and flexibility to perform the adequate turning motion. The technique here is of extreme importance. Additionally, you should make sure that the movement continues even after the impact.
Situation #7 - Swinging towards the target
Much like the scenario where golfers hit a ball upward to generate more launch angle, hitting towards the target is a misconception. The main side effect is that you are overly extending your left elbow and sending it too high.
Meanwhile, you are losing the required flexibility and negatively impacting the whole swing. It is impossible to maintain a swing motion towards the target once the ball is sent airborne.
This is why we always emphasize the importance of turning left and getting on with your swing during and after the impact phase. This will ensure a swing that has more speed and power. Additionally, by not swinging towards the target, you will improve your accuracy.
Situation #8 - Lagging
Last but not least is the scenario in which the clubhead moves down before the shaft does. In most cases, this comes as a result of improper coordination.
The best solution for this is that you practice with heavier clubs or simply put some additional weight on the clubhead itself. This way, you will get comfortable with the shaft going first and the clubhead following through.
Fixing and preventing a chicken wing golf swing is not that complicated. As you can see, it mostly comes as a result of improper posture or misconceptions that are common for beginners.
By following the aforementioned tips and drills, you should be able to correct your body posture and swing motion. This will help eliminate any chance of a chicken wing happening during your follow-through. This means you can play a more efficient and accurate game of golf without the frustration of your ball going where it shouldn't.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your golf clubs and balls and get to the club or your back yard to start practicing using the tips laid out above.