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Fix Your Chicken Wing: Master Wrist Mechanics for Better Shots

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Fix Your Chicken Wing Golf Swing with These Tips and Drills

The chicken wing looks terrible. It causes poor shots and makes you lose distance and accuracy, but the real reason most golfers can’t stand the chicken wing is because of how it looks.

If you want to start striking the ball (and looking like) the pros in your golf swing, you need to move away from the golf chicken wing.

We will show you some of the main causes of this move and, most importantly, how to fix it.

Here’s the good news: fixing the chicken wing could be easier than you think. If your wrist positions are correct and you have the right mindset about where the club travels, you can reach a powerful and mechanically sound release position.

Stop the Chicken Wing (Key Takeaways)

The golf chicken wing has to go, but if you don’t have time to go to the range and work on it right now, here are some tips you can take with you.

  • The chicken wing move can be caused by poor wrist action in the golf swing, and an extended lead wrist causes an open clubface and a steep angle of attack.
  • Leaving some tension in the arms behind should help you rotate and turn the club through the golf ball.
  • All great golfers keep the golf club extended and away from them as they go into impact, and after they finish hitting the ball, if your club is moving closer to your body, you are going to struggle with the chicken wing.
  • Shorter swings, with the ball on the tee, can help you see, feel, and fix the chicken wing. When you feel confident, increase your speed and see if you can incorporate the feeling into your game.
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What Causes the Chicken Wing in Golf?

One of the most common causes of the chicken wing in golf is an out-to-in club path. This movement of the club causes the lead arm to move away from the body in the follow through because it has nowhere else to go.

A few other causes include:

  • Too much extension in the lead wrist.
  • An open clubface.
  • Too steep on the downswing.
  • A misunderstanding of what the proper golf club path should be.

How do You Fix the Golf Chicken Wing?

These solutions, drills, and fixes will help you eliminate the chicken wing in your golf swing for good.

You may have more issues with one fix than another, but all of these will lead to sound golf swing fundamentals. Work through the list until you start releasing the club like a professional.

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Drop the Hands Down – Don’t Move Them Out

At the top of your backswing it is common to want to move the arms out away from your body. This move feels powerful and as if you can use the arms and shoulders to strike the ball from here.

This is not the case.

Real power and consistency happen when you drop the club into place at the top of the backswing. You’ll get the club to the top, and instead of moving the arms and shoulders out or over, they simply fall down.

Now, you can rotate, and the club comes from the inside. Your lead arm has no room to move away from your body.

To practice this, you can swing to the top of your swing, feel the club drop, and then return to the start and take a regular swing. Essentially, you will rehearse what this move feels like and then try to repeat it.

Eliminate Wrist Extension at the Top of the Backswing

At HackMotion, we have analyzed more than 1,000,000 swings of professional and amateur golfers. It’s incredible how many of the great players have a flat or even slightly flexed lead wrist at the top of their backswing.

Why is this position so important?

It sets everything else up for the rest of the swing.

If you can get to the proper position at the top of the backswing, the club will fall into place naturally. Most importantly, you can be as aggressive as you want when hitting the golf ball.

When you watch golfers who struggle with the chicken wing it’s easy to see they are not aggressive when coming through the golf ball.

They have to slow down because the clubface is open and it ends up causing shots to go to the right of the target.

Reduce Tension

The simplest fix on this list is simply reducing some of the tension you have in your arms. Some golfers are so rigid in moving their arms that they simply can’t release the club and roll that lead arm over after impact.

If you need to see a golfer who looks tense (but actually isn’t – and still releases perfectly), look at Bryson. You’ll see his arms look quite stiff and tense, but when you move through the ball, he releases the club beautifully and certainly doesn’t have a chicken wing position.

What does this tell us?

He has great extension and a straight lead arm through impact but is not tense. He’s letting natural rotation happen.

Know Where the Club is Going

Do you know where the club is supposed to go or what it should look like when you swing through the golf ball?

Some golfers have no idea. In this video you can work on learning some muscle memory of the proper positions after the golf ball.

One of the ways to do this is to simply practice the position of your lead arm through the ball while you only have one hand on the club.

All of the mistakes that lead to the chicken wing happen in the backswing.

However, if you can learn where the golf club is supposed to go after the ball, you’ll get on the right track and start coming up with some solutions based on your feelings.

Allow the Chest to Rotate

If the chest does not rotate, you’ll have a hard time avoiding the chicken wing.

Think about this concept for a second. If you stand with your chest facing the ball and try to release your hands properly and swing the club around you, you’ll run out of room.

You will have to rotate your chest through the ball at some point.

It’s best to do this with your arms staying in front of your chest. As soon as they move past your chest, you end up letting that chicken wing come into play.

Instead, feel the arms in front of your chest throughout the swing and rotate the chest through impact.

Keep the Lead Elbow Closer to Your Side

Another great way to fix the chicken wing is to think about keeping the lead elbow a little closer to your side.

As you swing through the ball, as soon as that lead elbow separates, you’ll end up in a chicken wing position.

Some players put a glove or a towel under this lead arm, and as they get through the ball, they want to keep it in place just after impact.

Try this for a few swings and get that feeling of staying connected through impact.

Drills to Fix the Golf Chicken Wing

Although we gave you a few of our favorite drills to fix a golf chicken wing, here are two more worth trying.

The good news about any of these drills is that even if you don’t have a severe chicken wing motion in your swing, you can learn to make more consistent and solid strikes by learning these motions.

Pull the Lead Arm Into the Body

This drill from Kerrod Gray Golf is interesting. He shows you how to take practice swings that pull the left arm into place.

You’ll feel the arm locked in as you rotate, and it will give you the position of the lead arm, staying more in front of the body.

Push the Butt End of the Club Away

When you make the chicken wing move in golf, the butt end of the club gets closer to you through the impact position and just after.

To avoid this, try this drill from Durland Golf School.

You can simply put the ball on a tee, take small swings and push the butt end of the club away from you at impact. It’s a simple move that helps fix this quickly.

Final Thoughts

Fixing a chicken wing in golf can be worked on with the use of training aids or simply by improving the feel of the golf swing.

With HackMotion, you can get some real data on what is causing that chicken wing action and then check your progress to see if it’s working.

This type of insight, where feel and data are combined, is quite rare to find in golf, and it makes finding the perfect swing just a little bit quicker.

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