Don’t Throw in the Towel

Greg Ellis
Great Golf Academy
Goodyear, AZ

More Information

With the New Year upon us, it is time to examine one of the most overlooked fundamentals in the golf swing. An important part of the swing is keeping your right elbow close to your side during the backswing. It is necessary for the right elbow to stay close to your side to have the club swing on the proper path. There is an easy way to develop this feeling through the use of an accessory on every golfer’s bag…a towel. In this high tech world we live in today, we always forget about the basic tips that are simple and do not require high tech.

The following use of a towel during your practice session will assist you in developing a proper swing path while keeping your right elbow close to your body:

•  Take a large towel, fold it in half and then roll it up so the towel is about 12 inches long. The thickness of the rolled up towel will provide the proper gap between your arm and your body at address.

•  This is a great time to review your other set-up fundamentals. Remember that when you set up over the golf ball, your arms should hang down directly below your shoulders; your feet shoulder width apart; weight is more on the right foot than the left; knees slightly flexed with the lower portion of the legs perpendicular to the ground. Make sure your grip, alignment and set-up are proper during this review process.

•  Take the towel and tuck it under your right arm. It should be placed far enough under the arm that it will be out of the way of your ability to swing the club, but not tucked so far up that it is actually in the armpit. A good guide is 2 to 3 inches below the armpit.

•  With the towel tucked under the arm, make your normal golf swing back and through and see the results of your own swing. If the towel falls out, your arm is moving away from your body too far. This will result in the club not returning back to the impact area, thus the golf ball will not fly toward your target. Initially, it may be necessary to exaggerate the feeling of keeping the towel tucked under the arm.  You may need to force your arm more snuggly against your body and swing. At first this will feel uncomfortable, but ultimately become quite natural after a short time.  

By using the towel under the right arm for your practice sessions, you will develop a compact and sound swing that will result in more consistent and better golf shots during practice and your round. Work on this tip as well as your other basic fundamentals and you will find that this year’s golf will be very profitable in your weekend games against your golf buddies.

If you have any questions about this or any part of the golf swing, please feel free to contact me. It is my goal to have every golfer enjoy the game more so you will play more.

As a side note, I have hung my shingle at Tres Rios Golf Course in Goodyear and started Great Golf Academy. I will be giving golf lessons and helping golfers enjoy this great game. For more information and lesson rates, feel free to email

Be sure to tune in to the Bunker to Bunker Golf Show every Saturday morning from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. on ArizonaSports now on 98.7 fm or on the internet at for more tips and updates on all of the week’s golfing news in the Valley and around the world. Join me, Jim Hill, and Marty Monaghan for a comprehensive look at the golf world for the week.