Left Arm Position at Address in PPGS

Fri, 05/31/2013 - 12:00 -- Don Trahan

I recently went over the master setup position of the Peak Performance Golf Swing. Today, I want to focus solely on the left arm position at address. Where your left arm starts in the setup will determine where it ends up when you get back to impact, so it's critical that you're in the right spot when you first stand over the ball.

This subject was inspired by Jerry F., who was looking for confirmation on some advice he had heard from a local pro. Here's what Jerry sent in to customer service: 


Can you comment some time on the placement of the left wrist and arm (for a right handed golfer) on the club? I heard a tip the other day from a golf pro (non-Surgite) and he said that in the setup position, the left wrist and left arm should be aligned with the club shaft. In other words, it should feel as though the left wrist and arm are "on top of" the club shaft such that the left arm does not form an angle with the club shaft. It seems to make sense to me as it should allow for the club head to return square at impact if you maintain that position throughout the swing. What are your thoughts on this?

Jerry F.

When at your sides, your arms naturally hang with the thumbs pointed slightly inward. That's how your left hand should grip the club. One trick that a former student of mine used to do was to grip the club at her left side and then bring the club in front of her. This would guarantee that her grip was always natural and that the club and left arm formed a unit.

If you're not sure where your left arm is at when you address the ball, have a friend take some snapshots with a phone or camera. Technology has come along so far that you could even ask a random person on the range to take a quick photo with your own phone so you could see where you're at. Stop guessing that you're in the right positions and start getting the facts on tape!

Keep it vertical!

The Surge

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CHASTEL's picture

Submitted by CHASTEL on

I feel strongly the grip of both hands should be neutral .
Not more than two Knuckles of left hand showing .looking from above ,long left thumb ,V of right hand Orientated towards the Chin .
BEN HOGAN said it enables the two elbows be close together and the insides of the two elbows look at the sky .
You CAN't Hook with this grip and your short game is easy to Master .
Too many players have a strong grip ,good for long game ,a disater for short game !

Robert Fleck's picture

Submitted by Robert Fleck on

Surge also recommends a neutral grip, but things like visible knuckles and such depend a lot on the size of an individual's hands and the size of the grips on the clubs, and Vs pointing this way and that can get really confusing. Surge simplifies it by saying that the palms need to be perpendicular to the body and the ground when open with the club directly in front of you, and parallel to each other. From there, if you can keep your palms perpendicular to the ground throughout the swing, you should have no trouble returning the club to square.

As for not hooking with the grip recommended by Mr. Hogan, that's likely true unless we're talking about Steve Smith, who I bet could hook a ball just fine that way. ;-) That said, most amateur golfers don't suffer from wild hooks. They suffer from the opposite.

Kevin McGarrahan's picture

Submitted by Kevin McGarrahan on

This is a great reminder and something I am trying to do every time I make a swing.

I played my 6th round of golf today; this time at Lake Guntersville State Park. Except for the lack of trees (lost during the tornadoes the last couple of years, the course is in excellent shape. It took me a few holes to get into "the swing of things." My drives on the first 2 holes were both down the center of the fairway, about 170 yards. On the 4th hole, I drove the ball 192 yards out to the right into the next fairway. Ugh! I had three-putts on holes 1, 2, and 8, and one-putts on 3 and 9. I managed to par both par-3's, along with 4 bogeys and 3 doubles for a +11, 47, on the front. On the back, I also parred both par-3's, along with the par-4 11th. I had bogeys on 10, 13, 14, 17, and 18. I birdied the par-5 15th by sinking a 30-ft putt. I shot a +4 40 on the back for a total of +15, 87. That's a 6-shot improvement over my previous round two weeks ago.

Surprisingly, I played pretty well with a 7-10 mph wind on top of the mountain. I had some trouble putting on the slower greens. In my previous rounds, I had to stroke a 30-foot putt like it was less than 10 feet. Today, I had to stroke the 30-footer like a 40-footer. I hit 9 of 14 fairways, missing 3 by less than 4 feet. I managed 4 GIR. My short game was much better than usual inside 50 yards. I have had a habit of chunking the short chips and pitches. Today, I only chunked one on the first hole. I had two bunker shots; one I made par and the other a bogey.

If I can keep going at this rate, I ought to break 80 within the next 2 rounds.

pvm64's picture

Submitted by pvm64 on

Your lesson on the left arm was great, and it has another great benefit as well. It delofts the club slightly to give more distance. I read about how the original club makers, even with the absence of computers, were bright enough to offset the shaft from the club head. In other words, they built the club so that you needed to align the shaft with your leading arm to develope the proper angle for maximum distance and trajectory of the ball flight. It also develops the lag of the clubhead behind the hands to develop that whiplash speed when the head catches up at impact. Just think about the wisdom of club developers several centuries ago. Amazing!

Keep up the good work Surge. If I can see my way clear, I will sign up for one of your seminars in the near future. In the meantime, keep it vertical.

P.S. The Veterans Administration has me walking 10,000 steps per day on an 1800 calorie diet. Lost 16 lb so far.

Paul Myers
Franklin, IN

Kedick62's picture

Submitted by Kedick62 on

Surge looks like you have a new net in the back yard. How about a picture of it.

dmwheat4@comcast.net's picture

Submitted by dmwheat4@comcast.net on

Thanks Surge, that was a great lesson on griping the club, sometimes I know I don't always do that. My setup is the key, if it is not right, I don't hit well, oh, it maybe a ok hit, but, I know myself I didn't hit it good. IM still learning, I think golf is a life time of learning and it has only been six years for me. Wish I could have learn when I was younger, but!!!

Thanks for all of your help, I'm getting better all of the time!


CharlieY's picture

Submitted by CharlieY on

Several weeks ago, I posted that I was in a bad slump for over two years. One statement from today's video got me out of it almost immediately--it was the tip that the butt should point to the left hip socket for a right hander. I checked where my club was pointing at address, it was pointing around eight inches lower. When I pointed the butt to my left hip, something else came right back to me--how the hands of the pros droop downward at address, like how your hand droops when you grab the handle of a trying pan on the stove. This loosened up my wrists--they were a bit too firm, it turns out, and the geometry caused the to of the club to point upward too much. Another benefit for me when I let my wrists droop in order to grasp the grip (my clubs are all cut down, with driver at 43"), it is very difficult to make the mistake of cupping the left wrist, and I can maintain a flat left wrist very easily again.

When I was in my slump, I would make 12 to 15 bad contacts. Simply pointing the butt to my left hip socket has cut this down to 2 to 5 a round. What a relief. I thought I would never get out of my slump. Two years is a long time.

pvm64's picture

Submitted by pvm64 on

Dear Surge,
I have heard you say time and time again that there is no wrist cock in the PPGS golf swing. You even say that in baseball, they don't cock the wrist and the bat speed is developed just by the turn of the body from back to front motion. In the lesson above on Left Arm Position, I stopped the video at the peak of your back swing and your wrist is fully cocked at 90 degrees approximately. Do you realize you are doing that? You are maintaining the 90 degree lag almost to the point where your hands are pointing at the ball. I honestly don't know how you can avoid doing that when you do the bump. The wrists just about have to cock as the buggy whip reverses it's direction. It is what I call the whip lash effect. Please clarify for me if I am wrong.

Robert Fleck's picture

Submitted by Robert Fleck on

It's an issue of definitions. The wrist flexes to a square position, which is not, according to the definitions in PGA professional teaching manuals, as I understand it, a "cocked" wrist. Cocking occurs when the wrist is flexed beyond it's natural square position to the forearm. It's also an active process. Surge does not actively soften his wrists to create the angle you're talking about. It happens as a natural product of the change in direction, and he passively resists that change.