Avoid the chicken wing and achieve a full extension in your follow-through

12 Professionals Contributed |
Top golf professionals share their insights on a common swing flaw that plagues many golfers: the dreaded "chicken wing." Discover practical tips and strategies to ensure a full extension in your follow-through, helping you hit cleaner, more powerful shots.

A fatal flaw…the chicken wing

The chicken wing is a fatal flaw! If you chicken wing the club head stays behind you and points to the right. With NO club head extension. We want club head extension not just arm extension!

PGA Golf Professional
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Relax arms to avoid chicken wing and improve extension.

Based on my teaching experience, most golfers that struggle with the ‘Chicken Wing’ or not achieving full extension is because they are using their arm strength to move the club and not allowing the natural swing motion to develop their full arc. By lifting the club and arms to control the club, the player will invariably develop a Chicken Wing that is difficult to make for a consistent swing.

As for lacking full extension, this is another bi-product of controlling the arms and club, rather than allowing them to swing. My best advice is to take a golf club (with or without added weight on the clubhead) or use an Orange Whip to slowly, methodically swing the club or Orange Whip back and forth until you develop a swing arc. Once comfortable, you can gradually pick up the pace to develop your swing with full extension and no Chicken Wing! Good Luck golfers.

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Set Up to Extend

Most “Chicken Wings” are caused by 2 main reasons. The first is a closed alignment to the target, forcing your front arm to collapse before, during, and impact to get the club and its face redirected to your target. The second reason is your in ability to feel your arms “extend” through and past the golf ball.

To find out more about how to aim and align properly, check out these 2 videos.
Aim the Club Part 1 – https://youtu.be/JpXZ6VTYEPM
Aim the Club Part 2 – https://youtu.be/OMU7KnvZEGM

And to find out how to feel extension, why not “throw the club” through impact?

John Hughes Golf
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How to avoid the chicken-wing

To avoid the dreaded chicken wing and achieve a full extension in your follow-through, several essential golf swing adjustments can be made. Firstly, focus on maintaining a straight left arm (for right-handed golfers) throughout the swing. Keeping the left arm extended helps promote a smoother, more fluid motion and prevents the elbow from bending prematurely, leading to the chicken wing effect. Additionally, concentrate on proper wrist hinge during the backswing and ensuring an appropriate release of the club through impact. This will help generate power and allow for a more natural extension through the follow-through.

Furthermore, pay attention to your body rotation during the swing. Engage your core muscles and rotate your hips and shoulders to encourage a complete follow-through. Proper rotation helps distribute the force of the swing evenly, reducing strain on the arms and allowing for a more extended finish position. Practicing these adjustments consistently will help eliminate the chicken wing and promote a more robust and fluid golf swing with a full extension in the follow-through.

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Fixing the chicken swing starts in the backswing!

The dreaded “chicken swing” often is a result of an improper backswing. Players in an attempt to “hit from the inside” roll the club to the inside (under the plane) in the backswing. This results in the downswing getting “over the plane” and coming “over the top” which makes the arms come into impact too steeply. This steep path creates the “chicken swing”.

The old saying ….” hands in and clubhead out” in the start of your backswing is exactly right. Feel like the hands stay in close to your thigh and your clubhead stays outside your hands in the backswing, this will allow the arms and club to drop into the proper path and promote the “hitting from the inside” pat. That will eliminate the “chicken wing”! Good Luck!

Links O'Tryon
"Fixing the chicken swing starts in the backswing!" Click to Tweet

Chicken Wings For Dinner

The “chicken wing” is a power killer! A big plate of chicken wings should satisfy you, after a round of golf. But having a “chicken wing” in your lead arm, at impact, is no bueno! Extension is the key! In order to avoid any collapse in the lead arm at impact (a bent lead arm that looks like a chicken’s wing), first reach for the ball at address. Back up and extend your arms more than usual, before you start your swing. Next, keep your lead arm straight throughout the backswing, at the top of your swing and definitely coming down. Then, at impact, feel yourself reaching forward with a fully extended lead arm position, in order to be athletic and avoid the ”chicken wing.”

The Country Club of Virginia
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Stay connected to a full finish!!

In most cases the infamous “Chicken Wing” finish, is a reaction to poor motion. Instead of trying to eliminate the problem, you will have higher success by targeting the root of the problem. This is the easiest way to make long term change, a change that will last, and get rid of the dreaded “Chicken Wing” once and for all.

One effective way to do this is to promote the body and arms to work together before and after impact. If we swing connected and redirect the momentum of the swing efficiently, you will see the club and body will swing down the correct path and fully extended. The lack of extension is just the result of poor motion and no connection.

Golf professional
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Treat the cause, not the sympton.

Chicken-winging is the body’s natural self protection from what could happen if the the club is approaching the ball at an extremely steep angle. The fear (probably sub conscious) is injury to body parts because of such steep impact. The brain compensates by shortening the lever (the left arm) to try to create contact with the ball, not just mother earth. The solution is to diagnose why the player is coming in so steeply and from the outside and correct the swing fault that is causing the issue. The chicken wing usually self corrects or with some explanation and help the student can mechanically correct.

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Better extension

Visualize that you’re actually keeping the ball on the CLUB as long as POSSIBLE ! For that extra nanosecond . It works ! Thanks Chico

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Trail Arm

Keep your trail elbow to the ground on backswing. This keeps the trail elbow in a position to shallow the downswing. While doing this and release club after impact to achieve extension.

PGA Golf Professional
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The chicken wing

The Chicken Wing is very common in golf, and primarily a sequencing issue coupled with a downswing that is too steep. Doing drills and exercises that improve golf sequencing and learning how to properly allow the golf club to shallow gradually during the downswing. The easiest drill to learn how to get rid of the chicken wing is to make short controlled swings with both ARMS LOCKED straight. You will have to rotate your torso with the proper flexion and side bends to make good contact. Good Luck!

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Chix Wing

Just seeing this title is making hungry. I use 2 things a Smart Ball by Martin Chuck and having students swing the club with their lead hand into a 2×4 then put their back hand on the PUSH the piece of wood forward. Hope everyone has a great season.

Fox Hollow Golf Club
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