A lot of golfers have been told to keep the trail elbow close to the body on the backswing. I can’t think of a worse driver swing thought. With the trail arm cramped going back, the golfer has a very narrow swing and a restricted body turn—and will struggle to create power and consistent strikes.

Forget that. I want the trail arm (right arm for righties) to be as long as possible for as long as possible. That does a few amazing things. First, it widens the swing arc, which increases the distance the clubhead travels back and, in turn, creates more room for it to accelerate into the ball. A wide arc also pulls the body into a full rotation. Second, with the clubhead moving back straighter, it won’t get stuck behind the body. Golfers who get stuck either swing into the ball from too far inside (pushes or hooks) or heave the club away from the body on the downswing (pulls and slices). Third, it creates space between the club and the body, so the trail elbow can drop down at the start of the downswing and set up a powerful inside path to impact.

You in? Then make this your one swing thought: Trail arm long for as long as possible. You’ll hit longer, straighter drives.

For access to lessons from Breed, sign up for Golf Digest All Access today.

From beginners to pros, what gets golfers most jazzed to play this game is hitting the ball pure. It’s that unmistakable feeling of a solid strike. Now Michael Breed gives us his ultimate video curriculum on becoming a great ball-striker, from the short game to the driver. All the do’s and don’ts, shortcuts to great form and the best drills to practice. Learn more at

Michael Breed is Golf Digest’s Chief Digital Instructor.

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