3 Tips to Finally Get Rid of Your Chicken Wing Golf Swing

The chicken wing golf swing has never really been a great look.

To be honest, when you see golfers chicken winging, it’s really difficult to even say “nice shot” or “looks great.”

Although this common flaw does not keep all players from hitting a good shot, it’s important to start to get rid of the chicken wing, as it generally means there are other problems in the swing.

To fix the chicken wing, we have to rewind a little and look at what is causing it.

 

What Is a Chicken Wing Golf Swing?

The chicken wing golf swing (for a right-handed player) is when you swing through the golf ball, and your left arm creates a chicken wing type motion. The arm does not rotate as it should, and it certainly falls out of position compared to the right arm.

 

What Causes a Chicken Wing in a Golf Swing?

Many golfers think the chicken wing in a golf swing is created after impact. Of course, this is where it is visible, but it is not necessarily what caused the issue to come up.

Instead, problems like hips swaying on the backswing, poor movement toward the target, and arms losing their extension through impact are significant causes.

Arms Losing Their Angle

You know the old tip to keep your left arm straight? It’s never explained correctly, and most professionals will shake their heads when a beginner comes to them with this left arm that will barely even move.

However, there is something to be said for keeping the left arm straight through the impact position. If your arms start to bend and get a little too loose, the chicken wing is the mistake you will see come up.

Arms through impact should stay strong and extended.

Swaying on The Backswing

Swaying in golf is never good.

To get the proper performance, you need to make a pivot, not sway. Golfers that have trouble rotating and shifting their weight will often find themselves in a position where they need to catch up or manipulate the clubhead so that it is square.

The last thing you want to think about as you get towards impact is the angle of the clubface. Make sure that you pivot correctly and that there is much less thinking that needs to be done.

Lack of Weight Shift and Hip Rotation at Impact

Great players can turn their hips toward the target at impact. The weight shifting is crucial as it will create power in not only the swing but also consistency in how the club is delivered.

Great players have their hips shifted more toward the target at impact. This move allows golfers to rotate their arms more effectively. The hips start to rotate, creating room in the swing for the arms to rotate through as they should.

Without this weight shift and hip rotation, players can feel stuck. Of course, the stuck motion only makes it more challenging to get your arms into that final position, and the dreaded chicken wing shows up.

It’s a good idea to narrow down what is causing your chicken wing golf swing before you attempt to start fixing it. The fix that you choose should be something that is directly related to the cause.

 

3 Tips to Get Rid of Your Chicken Wing Golf Swing

Now that you have the reasoning behind your chicken wing, it’s time to eliminate it. This is not a swing fix that can happen with just one shot. I would highly recommend heading to the range with the ability to video your golf swing.

Sometimes the visualization of what the chicken wing golf swing looks like prior and what it looks like after you make your changes will help you ensure these fixes stay in place the next time you hit the golf course.

1. Improve Arm Connection

One of our favorite drills that will help fix quite a few swing flaws is one that allows your left arm to stay a bit more connected. You can use this drill if you are also struggling with an over-the-top motion on the downswing.

The first part of this process is to just take your typical setup. Then you will put a golf glove or even a golf towel under your left armpit (for a right-handed player). This will need to stay in place as you do this drill.

Next, you can start taking some half swings where you don’t even hit the ball. Just make a move back and through that ensures that the glove or towel does not fall out.

I would then try to hit a few shots like this. Stick with something like the 8 iron or pitching wedge, so you don’t have to worry about forgiveness or launch in the club. The shots are not intended to go far. Instead, they just teach the importance of connection and what that feels like.

2. Follow Through Only Drill

Another great drill for getting rid of the chicken wing golf swing is one that works on the follow through only. Instead of taking a backswing, you will start at your setup position and then just go to a full follow through.

To do this, you must push your body a bit and almost force it to get into the proper position. The follow through only drill ensures that you don’t take a chicken wing golf swing, as you will feel the arms rotate correctly up to the top of the swing.

With the follow through only drill, you want to make sure that you are also transferring all of your weight to the left side.

I would do this about 4 to 5 times, then take a full swing and hit a shot. You should feel the muscle memory start to develop and push your body into the proper position.

3. Alignment Sticks to Help

We talked about the bigger problems related to the chicken wing golf swing. Things like swaying on the backswing and not rotating your arms. However, there are also issues with the basic setup and stance that can cause problems in the swing.

When practicing at the range, make sure to bring some alignment sticks with you.

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To fix this problem, in particular, make sure that your stance is not closed. Set up alignment sticks for both stance and ball position.

In addition, if you are comfortable with your alignment sticks, you can also set one up behind your right hip. The hip needs to rotate, not slide or bump into the alignment stick that is secured into the ground.

Alignment sticks are very versatile, and they help with a variety of swing issues. If you have a chicken wing golf swing and are tired of hitting shots with an open clubface, or those that lack distance, take some time to learn different drills with an alignment stick, and you will likely find it easier to perform on the course.

Some players are finding that an alignment stick holder is easier for them to use when practicing on mats. For the hip rotation drill, this is undoubtedly the case. You will need to be able to place the alignment stick in the ground for it to be effective and create that wall of support.

 

Brittany Olizarowicz

Britt O has been playing golf since the age of 7. Almost 30 years later, she still loves the game, has played competitively on every level, and spent a good portion of her life as a Class A PGA Professional. Britt currently resides in Savannah, GA, with her husband and two young children.