In the golf swing, your right arm is a major power accumulator. What we’re talking about here, essentially, is the bending and straightening of the right arm.
The term ‘power accumulator’ comes from the book The Golfing Machine by Homer Kelley. He explained, back in 1969, that there were four power accumulators and four power pressure points - and they all married up to each other. Let’s run through how some of this works.
Swing like you punch
This is power accumulator No.1, which marries up with pressure point No.1, where your right hand touches your left hand on the golf club.
When the club goes back the right hand extends the left arm, which keeps the leverage, so your right arm accumulates the power and starts to straighten on the way down. This pushes your left arm into a straight line at impact, with a flat left wrist.
You release the power into impact by straightening your right arm on the way down. A lot of people run out of right arm, which means it is straight before impact. That’s more of an over-the-top move, where you’ll see the right shoulder pop out.
Storing your power
At this point in the swing, you are accumulating the power. Two-thirds of the way back, I flex my right arm.
You want to keep your left arm straight at this point to maintain the radius of your clubhead and your left shoulder. You want to keep that down through impact.
As soon as you lose it - by bending your left arm, for example - you lose the radius of your swing, which leads to problems. If you do that, you’ve got no power to work with.
At this point in the swing, you should be fully loaded. That means the right arm should feel as though you’re about to release a punch. You’re set to go.
The power has now been accumulated and you now want to release that power on the way back down. I have full leverage at the top and my left arm is straight.
For that tour player look, you’re looking at creating a kind of ‘L’ shape between club shaft and left arm on the way back. But what’s interesting here is that this happens because of what you do with your right arm, not your left arm.
How to release
As you come back down, you should feel as though you’re releasing all the power in a straight line with your hands, as shown.
Because my body is turning and releasing at the same time, it feels like my hands are going in a straight line down towards the golf ball. My hands will then shallow out as my body is turning.
We talked about the pressure point earlier, pressure from your right hand on the shaft of the club will keep the left arm stretched and the left wrist flat.
At impact, my right forearm and club shaft are in one line. But because I’m bringing the club down and straightening my right forearm on the way down, I’m forcing the ball on an in-to-out swing path.
If I swing the club on an incline plane, I hit the ball on the low point, which means ball then turf. That’s exactly what you want. This stops you from sheering across the ball and improves your ball striking.
Steve Johnston is the PGA professional at Peebles GC. For lessons, call Steve on 01721 720197. Follow him on Twitter @mrstevejohnston.