What is a Chicken Wing Golf Swing? And How to Fix It!

What is a Chicken Wing Golf Swing? It's a problem many golfers face, here's everything you need to know!

What is a chicken wing golf swing?
(Image credit: Future)

It is a problem many regular golfers suffer with. The chicken wing golf swing can be seen through impact and in this video and article, we take a look at exactly what it means for your shots and more importantly, how to fix it!

The chicken wing sees your lead arm disconnected from the body, leaving a substantial gap between your elbows. The lead wrist is often flexed through the impact area and it looks like there is a huge amount of effort going into the hitting of that little ball. This position rarely sees a powerful shot, more a look of disbelief that the amount of wallop that went into trying to send the ball has resulted in a shot lacking energy.

The chicken wing happens because the player is trying to create power. And this is because there’s been some sort of power leak earlier in the swing. 

Usually the lower body just hasn’t got involved in the downswing sequence. It hasn’t initiated the downswing. To make up for this the arms start the swing and have either cast or thrown the club 'over the top' at the start of the downswing. This is NOT a powerful move so the chicken wing is a desperate effort to hoof the ball up the fairway and it is far from efficient. 

The reasons for this can be lack of lower body strength and often a strengthening programme will pay dividends and see the “wing” lessen. Stronger glutes can activate the downswing and see that power increase effortlessly and the chicken exit the building. 

Ban the wing by placing your glove under your lead arm, make small swings keeping it connected to your body

(Image credit: Future)

Chicken Wing Golf Swing Drill

Often there is a lack of arm rotation. You can fix this by putting something under your lead arm such as your glove… keeping it connected to your body. Make half swings and feel a gentle rotation. Try this off a tee. Each time checking that the glove has stayed in position in the finish. Your focus here is on the impact position area so half shots are all you need to practice.

Try to extend the club through towards your target. What you'll notice if you're striking these shots crisply, is that you are transferring your weight distribution efficiently. This is so much easier to do in miniature than during a full swing, a great way to make changes is to break the swing down into bite sized chunks.

This is the ideal post impact position. Connected and not a chicken wing in sight.

(Image credit: Future)

The last pointer is to check your fundamentals. One cause of the chicken wing creeping in can be a weak grip or even an open clubface at address.  Resulting in a desperate need to square the club face through impact.

Even the world's best players check to ensure they have a perfect golf grip on a regular basis and so if you aren't doing this, simple errors can lead to to bigger problems in the swing.

It is SO important to find the root cause but also try these drills to help get that better arm rotation. Let’s cleanse the swing of this junk position, you’ll find you hit the ball further and sweeter on this diet. 

Katie Dawkins
Advanced PGA Professional and freelance contributor

Katie is an Advanced PGA professional with over 20 years of coaching experience. She helps golfers of every age and ability to be the best versions of themselves. In January 2022 she was named as one of Golf Monthly's Top 50 Coaches.

Katie coaches the individual and uses her vast experience in technique, psychology and golf fitness to fix problems in a logical manner that is effective - she makes golf simple. Katie is now based at the stunning Hamptworth Golf Club on the edge of the New Forest. An experienced club coach, she developed GardenGOLF during lockdown and as well as coaching at Hamptworth she freelances, operating via pop-up clinics and travelling to clients homes to help them use their space to improve. 

She has coached tour pros on both LET tour and the Challenge Tour as well as introduced many a beginner to the game. 

Katie has been writing instructional content for magazines for 20 years. Her creative approach to writing is fuelled by her sideline as an artist.