One of the most important parts of the golf swing is the shoulder turn. This is a skill that can sometimes take years to develop properly. Let’s face it, most golfers slice the ball. And one of the biggest reasons they slice the ball is because they’re not making a proper shoulder turn. When we make a good shoulder turn, sometimes called a pivot, we put ourselves in position to hit the inside part of the golf ball verses the outside. A good shoulder turn can produce an inside path to the golf ball resulting in very solidly hit golf shots that can hook, fade or go straight. It’s up to you.
The good news is that you can learn a great shoulder turn at home during the winter months, by just using a good three step system to stretching and producing a better shoulder turn. As a matter of fact, I think this is one of the best ways to learn the turn. It’s difficult to think about the shoulder turn while hitting the golf ball. Now once you learn how to do it and what it feels like, you’ll be able to think about and feel it during the golf swing. But we’ve found the most effective way to learn it is without a ball. Learn how to make the proper move in the mirror at home. So let’s learn how to create a good shoulder turn during the off season, and begin the New Year with a stronger more effective golf swing.
Stretch One – Cross your arms around your chest. Your finger tips should be close to your shoulders. Stand tall with your chin up and shoulders pulled back. You’d be amazed with the number of golf swings that have been fixed by getting the chin out of the chest. Keep the spine as straight as possible. And this doesn’t mean you have to be tense. Relax your body once you’ve gotten in position.
Bend slightly from the hips with your feet about shoulder width. Get into your golf position and pretend you’re holding a club. But your arms are still crossing your chest. Remember to stand tall. Now turn your upper body around your spine. Your left shoulder (for righties) will move under your chin and your right shoulder will move behind your head and very slightly down. Don’t worry if you cannot turn the full 90 degrees. The key is to feel a good turn around your spine and keep your muscles relaxed. And the amount of turn can and will increase in time.
Make sure you’ve stayed in your golf posture and feel your weight mostly on your right heel. Your hips have turned around 45 degrees and your left heel is still on the ground if possible. The key checkpoint here is to feel the weight of your upper body over your right hip and over your right foot. We call this stacked up or in our “A” Position. Remember this when we get to Stretch 3. Make sure no weight is on the outside of the right foot and that your head remained in the same position. Stay as relaxed as possible. However you may feel a little compression in the chest area due to the turn you are making.
Stretch 2 – We’re going to add a little weight shift practice here as well. With most all good golfers the weight transfers to the left (forward) side even before the club finishes going all the way back. Now lean ever so slightly forward to the left (target) side and transfer your weight to the left side. Your shoulders are still turned the full 90 degrees or at least where you had them on the backswing. But your weight is now on the left side. Your head may move just a little bit forward, but do your best to keep it still. This is not as easy as it sounds. Practice this in the mirror as much as possible. As we mentioned, the head may move just slightly forward on the lean forward, but we always try to keep our head still until we hit the golf ball and then the head will have to move forward a bit in order to make a full finish to the swing.
Stretch 3 – Slowly turn your body through as if you were hitting a golf shot. Keep your head in the same position and feel your right shoulder coming under your chin and your left shoulder moving around your body. Do your best to stay relaxed and turn all the way through to where your chest is facing the target. Most of your weight is on your left side and your right heel may be off the ground a little. There will still be a little weight on your right foot. Once again, feel the weight of your upper body over your left (forward) hip and the left foot. Your body is now in that stacked up position again. And you should feel comfortable in this position. Your chest is facing the target, your belt buckle is facing the target and your right heel is fully off the ground. You’re in a position similar to throwing a ball. Your weight is mostly on the left (forward) side and there is almost a straight line coming down from your chest to your feet, with the weight of the upper body directly over the hip and directly over the left foot.
Study the pictures and go see your PGA Professional to learn how to do this stretch properly. This is a muscle memory exercise. Therefore, you can learn how to do it right and wrong. Learn how to do it perfectly! You can also do this drill with a club for a little extra leverage or you could use a heavy bar for some strength building. Make sure your form in looking and feeling good before moving to a heavy weight bar or something.
Good luck with your practice, and as always, feel free to contact us if you have any questions at all. We’ll see you on the links…
Andy Loving, PGA