The Magic Triangle 

Tom Velarde
Golf Professional
Black Mesa Golf Club
La Mesilla, AZ

More Information

Recently, one of my lessons was having a tough time getting the ball airborne. As teachers, we many times know when it’s time for a change and if we are lucky. I introduced my student to the magic triangle and maybe it’s time for you to try this.

On the forward swing, I love to have my students get the lead arm under the shoulders coming through and have the lag or trail arm bend so the trail elbow is close to the trail hip joint. If you view this from either down the line or from face on this triangle is clearly seen. Please do not get in front of a player hitting balls as you may never get to see the triangle dodging oncoming golf balls.

While grip has significance on shot shape, I have found that the relationship of the Radius and Ulna bones have more impact on what happens during impact. If you’re reasonably aligned correctly and have made a reasonable forward movement the only remaining variable would be these two bones. If the bones point to the right of target line a ball that ends up right becomes highly likely, converse if the arm aims left of target line. 

I like to have my forearm or Radius and Ulna both perpendicular to the target line and this makes the back of my lead hand face or bow towards the target line. I have read that Hogan found this to be very desirable, so if it is good enough for him it is fine for my skill level. 

The importance of getting the lead arm under the shoulder is to get the face of the club on the ball quickly. If your arms are moving away from your body during the forward motion look out, the shank of the club is now leading the forward swing. This not highly prized trick shot will cause anxiety and severe cases of doubt for all shots. It is highly improbable to shank a ball if your arms are returning back under the original address position. This forces us to lead the forward swing with the face of the club head and also forces the bottom of the swing arc to be on line and moving towards the target line.

Do I worry about the hip turn and the leg movement? To some extent ‘Yes’ but I have never seen a student who had excessive movement with the lower body, I have seen many that were not sequenced for a forward swing and this leads to countless lessons and practice.

So let’s just do this easily, form your triangle through impact. Have your hips at impact turned towards the target line with your lead shoulder over the lead foot instep and the trail shoulder over the ball of the trail foot. The shoulders should mirror the hips through impact. Sounds easy? Actually it is! Try the Magic once.  

Tom Velarde is the Manager at Black Mesa Golf Club in Espanola, New Mexico, just northwest of Santa Fe. For more information or to reach Tom, email