Perfecting your golf swing shoulder turn will assist you in lowering your final score. The golf swing is a physics masterpiece that involves your entire body in a synchronized motion that amplifies power.
Learning to coordinate all the parts of your body into a smooth motion focused on the point of impact (when your club face hits the ball) will lengthen your drives and increase your precision on shorter fairway shots.
Importance of the Golf Swing Shoulder Turn
The importance of getting a full shoulder turn in your golf swing cannot be stressed enough. Most people don’t have much trouble on their downswing, but achieving full shoulder rotation on the backswing is more difficult.
The shoulders are at the top of your body and guide the rest of your body through the physics of a complete golf swing.
To make sure you get a full shoulder turn in your golf swing, start by imagining your body as a cross. Your spine is the vertical shaft and your shoulders are the crossbar. As you are setting up your stroke, your body should be facing the ball, with you non-dominant side facing the target. To properly address the ball, align it with the inside edge of your leading (non-dominant) foot, or the logo on your golf shirt.
When you begin your backswing, your upper body will shift, with your shoulders turning away from the target. As you start your downswing, your hip begins the thrust, almost pulling your arms and shoulders around. When you reach the point of impact (where your club head connects with the ball), your body will be past center and turning toward the target.
In completing your follow-through, your shoulders will be almost turned completely toward the target. As your swing progresses from backswing to downswing, your dominant shoulder will naturally drop.
This video shows how the physics of this works:
Achieving a Full Shoulder Turn in Your Golf Swing
The best way to achieve a full shoulder swing is to practice your consistency. Watch videos of the professionals. Watch instructional videos. Have your friend video you making your normal swing.
Your body works like a coiled spring. As you wind it up on your backswing, it is tensing and preparing for the uncoiling during your downswing. It should be a natural twisting, not forced. If you are forcing the shoulder swing, look at where your twist is originating. It should be mostly in your dominant shoulder, with your non-dominant shoulder coming along for the ride.
You can practice this movement without your golf club. While standing in an open area with a little bit of arm swing room, assume your normal swing stance, but keep your arms at you sides. Your knees should be slightly bent, hips rotated slightly forward, and your back straight. Swing your arms around and upward, rotating your shoulders, torso, and hips with the movement.
Keep your eyes forward (on the imaginary ball in front of you). The idea is to loosen your body up while maintaining your normal swing posture. Later when you add your golf club for a practice swing, the motion will be more natural and less forced. Golf is a whole body sport, so don’t try to keep parts of your body rigid during your swing. The only part of you that should be remaining straight is your non-dominant arm, which should remain mostly straight throughout your entire swing.
We found this video to be extremely helpful:
Correct Shoulder Turn in Your Golf Swing
The best way to see if you are achieving a full shoulder turn in your golf swing, have someone take a quick video of you during your swing. Take the video from a couple of different angles. This way you can view your body, see how it turns, and watch your entire rotation.
Once you have determined what your current rotation is, work on increasing that during practice. There are several drills to help with your shoulder rotation.
1. Closed Stance Drill
Starting in your normal stance when addressing the ball, drop your dominant foot back a few inches from your usual alignment position. This closes your stance, practicing your swing in this position has advantages. You will improve your feel for rotating around and having your back facing the target. This “cheat” stance allows you to “feel” a complete shoulder rotation. However, it is not a recommended stance to use during regular play.
2. Bucket Drill
This drill is most easily performed with an empty bucket, but you can also use an empty box, or even an alignment stick. To begin the drill, pick up your bucket (or a worthy substitute) and get into your normal stance for addressing the ball. Hold the bucket out in front of your body, in a relaxed position between your waist and shoulders. Imagine that the bucket is full of water or golf balls and you must not spill it.
Using your normal shoulder swing rotation, move your body into your backswing, keeping the bucket level as you turn. Your non-dominant shoulder will drop slightly during the turn. However, this drill keeps you from allowing your shoulder to drop too much. If you experience more than an inch or two of drop, or your back feels strained, straighten up.
This drill can also be used to correct a slice. You can also stop hurting your back while golfing, this drill will help alleviate the strain on your back caused by an improper backswing. The improvement from using a correct shoulder turn in your golf swing will be instrumental in lowering your overall score.
This video describes the bucket drill and the end results that are achieved with this drill:
With Great Practice Comes Great Consistency
As with all things in the game of golf, the end result of practice is to increase consistency in your swing. The more consistent your golf swing shoulder turn is, the more consistent your game will be. Spending time at the driving range is never wasted. But if you can’t always make it to the driving range, practice drills in your house, your driveway, or wherever you have enough space to swing your body. With, or without a golf club.
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