The shoulder turn in a golf swing is crucial. If your form is off even by a little, you could end up with a slice that sends the ball off in the wrong direction. So, how do you ensure that you get the right swing? It takes plenty of practice. To make sure you’re practicing correctly, try out these tips.

Why the Full Turn is Important

In golf, every little movement of the body can make a difference in where the ball lands. When it comes to the full shoulder turn golf swing, the difference can be huge. The good news is that that means that just a little adjusting can vastly improve your game.

How can getting a better should turn make your golf game better? First, it helps maintain the momentum of your swing. After all, if your shoulders don’t go far enough back, they will hit parallel with the ball before the rest of the body is ready. This positioning slows momentum and takes power away.

Worse yet, improper shoulder placement in golf can lead to what’s known as the “over-the-top” slice. This slice means that your swing isn’t optimized.

What Is the Turn

Before you can expect to perform a full, 90-degree shoulder turn with every swing, you must first understand exactly how that looks and feels. Have a more experienced golfer watch you take a few swings as you try to achieve the full turn.

Perpendicular Spine

Tom Watson says that golf players should keep spines and clubs perpendicular through the swings. At first, this may sound impossible. However, with lots of practice, you can begin to feel when it’s right.


Follow these steps to ensure that you are turning your shoulders correctly when you swing:

  1. After taking your position, focus on the right shoulder.
  2. Slowly do the backswing.
  3. Stop when you reach the top of your backswing.
  4. Focus on the position of your left shoulder.

By step four, your left shoulder should be nearly in the same spot as your right shoulder was in step one. If not, you are either turning too far or not far enough.

Feel When It’s Correct

A full, 90-degree shoulder turn may not feel right at first. Take it slow, if you need to. When that person tells you that you’ve done it correctly, try to think about how it feels. Keep doing the swing until the correct shoulder turn in a golf swing starts to feel natural.

Small Adjustments

If you feel like you understand the basics, but something still isn’t quite right, you may just need a few small adjustments. Check out the tips below to see if there’s a little change you can make to improve your swing significantly.

Keep Your Chin Up

It’s important to keep your chin up metaphorically, but even more vital to do so literally. If you keep your chin low to your chest, your front shoulder will not be able to pass through, as it should. Then, you would end up with an incomplete turn.

Balance Your Hands

If you’re right-hand dominant, you may be relying too heavily on your right hand for your swing. It’s natural for people to favor one side over another. However, doing so could limit your golf game.

Try giving equal strength to both arms and hands as you swing. This can give your stroke some much-needed balance and may eliminate a slice.

Warm Up

In golf, as in any other sport, it’s essential to warm up before playing. Many players make the mistake of thinking that they can skip this critical pre-game ritual. While you don’t need to be particularly flexible to complete this turn, your muscles should not be too tight.

If you are just starting to play or if you have stood still for a while, do some basic shoulder warm-ups before you swing. Not only can this help you get a better turn on your swing, but it can also help you avoid an injury.


They say that practice makes perfect, right? Well, there may be no such thing as a perfect golf player, but great practice can make you a much better player. Lousy practicing, on the other hand, can make your turn and swing much worse.

The difference is in the drilling. If you’re still not where you want to be with your 90-degree shoulder turn, try out some of these drills on a regular basis.

Drill the Right Arm

As important as it is to get the left shoulder correct in a turn, it’s equally vital to move your right shoulder just so. This drill can help:

  1. Put the head of your club in front of your left foot.
  2. Your left arm should be completely extended and parallel with the ground.
  3. While keeping your shaft straight up and down, swing your right arm as if you were completing a back swing.
  4. As you swing your right arm through, as if driving, make it go under and through your left arm.
  5. Repeat several times.

This drill teaches you to hit far past the ball, a motion that is necessary for a great swing. It’s also a great warmup to complete before you go a few rounds.

Ditch the Club

Even if you’re not near your clubs, you can practice your swing. All you need is an empty box or bucket that you can comfortably lift. The key to this drill is to imagine that the bucket is full of water and that you must keep from spilling it.

  1. Place your hands on either side of the bucket.
  2. Stand in your normal golfing stance.
  3. Imagine that you must hand the bucket to someone behind you without moving your feet or spilling the water.

If you tilt too much, which is common, you will spill the water. This movement also causes strain in your back. However, if you keep the bucket upright, you will feel your shoulders and back take the right place. Once you have figured it out, repeat as often as you can.

Pivot Only

Sometimes it is not the shoulders that are the problem, but the core. To fix this, you can do a drill that only requires some imagination and movement:

  1. Pretend to set up a ball and aim your imaginary club.
  2. Cross your arms in an X across your chest, touching each shoulder with the opposite hand.
  3. Keeping your hands in place, pivot your upper body for a backswing.
  4. Continue to pivot until your left shoulder is under your chin.
  5. Still keeping your hands in place, move your body as if to downswing.
  6. On the downswing, unwind starting from your lower body and moving up.
  7. Notice how it feels and repeat as necessary.

You can complete this drill anytime, anywhere. However, it may be most effective when done in front of a mirror. Looking into the mirror can help you see what a proper pivot looks like for you.

If you’re ready for a better shoulder turn in a golf swing, consider these tips and drills. You can achieve the swing you want with persistence and smarts.

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