What You Should Know About Forearm Rotation in a Golf Swing

Swing mechanics are a complex matter which many amateur golfers fail to grasp. That is why amateurs struggle to identify mistakes within their golf swings, producing erratic results and endless frustration.

This post zones in on your arms. I will explain what you should know about forearm rotation.

In addition, I assess why forearm rotation is necessary and how it impacts your golf game. Plus, I provide tips on how to prompt better forearm rotation.


Should Your Forearms Rotate During Your Golf Swing?

The simple answer is yes. Your forearm should rotate during your swing. Amateur golfers often limit the rotation of their forearms in their backswing. They aim to keep the angle of the clubface square to the ball for as long as possible.

As coach Kerrod Gray explains, this makes logical sense. However, it restricts your ability to swing freely, which reduces your clubhead speed and prompts a steep angle of attack. This can cause you to hit behind the ball and duff your shot.


What Is Forearm Rotation?

Forearm rotation refers to the quantity that your left and right arm revolve on your backswing and downswing. Without rotating, your clubhead would stay square to the ball for your entire backswing and restrict your ability to clear your club on the downswing for maximum velocity.

Grab a golf club and set up as you usually would. Then take it back without rotating your forearm or wrists. Feel how restricted you are and how little control you have over the golf club. That restricted feeling is why you need forearm rotation in your golf swing.


How Can I Tell If I Am Not Rotating My Forearms?

Restricted Backswing

Coach Gray highlights what it looks like when you do not rotate your forearms on the backswing. You put yourself into a tight spot and cannot launch the golf club from the top of the backswing.

Your right elbow is effectively positioned like a chicken wing, whereas your left arm is practically straight. The placement of your left shoulder leads to your chin resting on it if you are right-handed.

This position does not feel comfortable in the slightest because it creates tension. Without the space to swing freely and release the club on your dowsing, you lose clubhead speed, coefficient of restitution, and ultimately distance.

Swing Plane

3 elements need to combine to deliver a quality golf shot. These are optimal rotation of the forearms, hips, and shoulders. These features help you optimize your swing plane for improved consistency and power.

However, when you fail to rotate your forearms, it limits your ability to induce supreme upper body and hip gyration.

As a result, it prevents you from bringing your club shaft on plane when parallel to the ground, leading to an open or closed clubface. These positions at impact cause you to push and slice shots.

Steep Downswing

Based on the position that you get your club into at the top of your backswing, it prompts you to deliver a steep downswing. This causes you to hit behind the ball and duff your shot. If you had rotated your forearms, you would have been able to deliver a flatter angle of attack for a cleaner strike.

Loss Of Clubhead Speed

Added to the woes of a restricted backswing is the loss of clubhead speed. The inability to launch your golf club from the top of the backswing through impact reduces your clubhead speed.

A loss of clubhead speed lowers your COR, which generates minimal ball velocity. Therefore you experience a weaker launch and a loss of carry distance.


How Do I Produce Forearm Rotation?

Controlled Grip

Most swing issues start with a bad grip. When you hold the club incorrectly, you struggle to get the club into the desired position on your backswing and follow-through. If you operate with a weak grip, the clubface opens through impact, and you are likely to slice your golf ball.

Conversely, a strong grip prompts you to close the clubface through contact, sending the ball hooking into the woods. A neutral grip suits the average golfer as it helps deliver straighter shots for added accuracy.

Employing the correct grip enhances your control over the golf club and allows you to get the clubface to where it needs to be.

Those players struggling in this department should study our 8 simple steps to a better grip.

Toe Parallel To Your Spine Angle

You need to get the toe of your golf club facing parallel to the position of your spin. That keeps your left and right hand ahead of the clubface and forces you to rotate your forearms. This helps you get your club into a neutral position at the top of your swing.

Once the club is in a normal position at the top, it is easier for you to get the face to square up at impact.

Neutral Position At The Top Of The Swing

At the top of your swing, your club should sit in a neutral position. Gray explains that a neutral top of the swing occurs when your clubface mimics your left wrist and arm. Getting your club into that position allows you to launch it from the top and maximize your clubhead speed.

Optimal Rotation

Now that you have employed forearm rotation, your final step is to induce maximum shoulder and hip turn like tour players.

Rotating your hips and shoulders helps you accelerate your clubhead speed and keep your golf club on plane for the entire golf swing. Therefore you produce maximum clubhead speed and strike the ball with a square face.

As a result, you enjoy consistent distance and accuracy around the golf course.


Related: If right and left forearm rotation is not a problem, your issue may lie in your grip, hip, or shoulder turn. Learn about the 9 best shoulder rotation drills to improve this area of your game.

Matt Stevens

Matt Callcott-Stevens started playing golf at the age of 4 when Rory Sabattini's father put a 7-iron and putter in his hand. He has experienced all the highs and lows the game can throw at you and has now settled down as a professional golf writer. He holds a Postgraduate in Sports Marketing and has played golf for 28 years.