One of the most basic things you can do for your golf swing as a beginner is to be mindful of your SHOULDERS.
All of the force from your swing will come from correctly utilizing your torso’s torque.
Power doesn’t stem from the arms but the upper body rotation. So having a proper shoulder tilt is vital to having better distance in your shots.
Let’s show you a few ways to do this, along with a few drills to help you understand the movement!
What Is a Proper Shoulder Turn?
The two things one should keep in mind when attempting to execute a better golf swing is:
- Shoulder tilt
- The torque of the torso/turn of the shoulder
To create the most power out of your golf swing, you need to be mindful of these factors and body movements while you’re swinging.
How can I correctly be mindful of these things then?
Let’s break down the shoulder plane and shoulder position during your swing step-by-step.
Shoulder Turn During the Backswing
Let’s start with the WIND-UP or the GOLF BACKSWING.
- Start with feet planted firmly onto the ground. During a backswing, your shoulders need to rotate roughly 90 degrees away from the golf ball.
- Once you’ve rotated your shoulders, your chest should be facing the opposite side of where you want the ball to go.
- You should maintain a tilt in your shoulder when you do your backswing. There should be an angled line if you draw a line from one shoulder to the other.
- But at the same time, you would want to have your shoulders be in a perpendicular line in relation to your spine.
At the furthest point of your backswing:
- If you’re right-handed, your left shoulder should be lower than your right shoulder.
- If you’re left-handed, your right shoulder should be lower than your left shoulder.
Your lead shoulder should be pointing down, facing your ball.
This is what we mean by a shoulder tilt. With this backswing form, you can dig into that ball with your club and get that ball flying off the ground!
You should try your best NOT to have a flat shoulder plane. A flat shoulder plane is when your shoulders don’t tilt while you swing.
Having a flat shoulder plane during a backswing will reduce the efficiency of the motion of your golf swing. Keep in mind to keep a diagonal line for your shoulders.
Rotation of the Shoulder in the Golf Downswing
What comes up must come down.
So the next part of your shoulder turn is the DOWNSWING.
Your shoulders should be returning to the address position from your backswing for the downswing.
- The address position is when your shoulder returns to a parallel position, from your backswing to your target line, and your chest is again facing the golf ball.
- The Address would be when the club shaft is pointing right at the ground.
- Keep in mind that your shoulders still need to be in a perpendicular line relative to your spine.
You should also remember that it is the torque from your shoulder turn, core, and the drive from your lower body where you get most of the FORCE for your golf swing.
The rest is just the arms swinging along to the motion your upper body creates.
When the golf club hits your ball, you should have level shoulders. So that means that you’ll have to drop your back shoulder as you go through your downswing.
Doing well in this step will guarantee you straighter shots!
Finally, the last element of a shoulder turn is the follow-through.
- In this step of a shoulder turn, you continue the swing until your chest faces the target.
- Your shoulder line should then be perpendicular to where you want the golf ball to go.
- Here is when you face your target and watch your shot take off towards, hopefully, your target.
If all goes well, your shot will go the distance!
Remember that your shoulder tilt should be at a slightly steeper angle once you’ve already hit your shot.
Don’t try to force this, but you need to understand the feeling of your body going with the flow of your momentum.
In contrast to the backswing, your lead shoulder should be at a downward-facing angle at the end of the swing. The final position will be your shoulders in a parallel position to the ground again.
Why Is a Proper Shoulder Turn So Important for Your Golf Swing?
Properly executing the shoulder turn is VITAL in getting more distance in your golf swing. Mastering your shoulder turn will put you above most golfers.
Getting more distance results from a proper shoulder turn because with this, you can put more strength into your golf swing.
You can create more torque and put more muscle in your golf swing, and with that, you can create enough energy to generate a powerful shot!
It would be best to practice working with your body and its natural movement to generate the most speed energy from your golf swing.
Maintaining the right angle and motion in your backswing and downswing is key!
You use your entire body in a swing. Energy doesn’t come just from your arms but from your hips and feet, all the way up to your chest. A good shot derives strength from the ground up!
REMEMBER: Do not keep a flat shoulder plane! It’s contrary to what your body wants to do to generate the most energy out of your hits.
It can also help you get better direction and control of your shot. Obviously, you want to get as close to your target as much as you can.
It’ll be a struggle if you hit your ball but can’t place it near the cup!
How to Properly Apply Shoulder Tilts to Your Golf Games
How do you properly apply it to your golf swing?
Let’s check on your backswing first.
Golfers Guide to Backswing
For a backswing, you need to focus on moving your rear shoulder.
TIP: Try to imagine moving that shoulder to the back of your head. Your front shoulder should naturally follow.
Your chest should also face away from the target.
The tilt of your shoulders is in a position such that the front shoulder will point toward the ball at the apex of your backswing.
Also, keep in mind to keep a tilt in your shoulder throughout your backswing movement.
A flat shoulder plane would make your swing less powerful. So remember flat shoulder plane is a no-no.
Your rear shoulder would move and face toward the ball in the downswing. You then come back to the address position. ADDRESS is when your club is facing down again.
Your shoulder plane needs to be parallel to your target at the point of impact.
You should bring your rear shoulder towards the direction of your ball. You will notice that it wouldn’t be able to aim at it directly, but that is how you should FEEL out the movement.
Keep that image of the ball having a pull on your rear shoulder, and you can execute a good golf swing and get some distance from it.
At the Time of Impact and Follow Through
Again, it would help if you imagined that the ball had a pull on your rear shoulder. Your rear shoulder should be FOLLOWING the ball as it flies toward the target.
You would notice that most great golfers would also have a tilt on their shoulders at a steeper angle at the instant of impact with the ball.
Drills for a Good Upper Body Rotation and Proper Shoulder Tilt
How do I remember these movements?
The secret is to PRACTICE on and off the golf course!
- Learning how to keep a good tilt
- Learning how to properly rotate your torso
- Keeping a good spine angle
- Knowing how your feet would help in the golf swings
Doing all these well hinges on how much you practice.
On that note, there are a few drills that are helpful in putting these movements in your brain. You can also polish these movements even outside the course.
First Drill: Club Across Chest
As long as you have a golf club, you can practice this drill anywhere.
- Press the club against your torso.
- Fold your arms across it, and the shaft should draw a straight line between your shoulders.
- Simulate taking a golf swing and drill the rotation of your torso.
- When you simulate a backswing, try to direct the end of the club at your lead shoulder to the ball’s direction.
- On a downswing simulation, direct the opposite end of the club towards the ball.
This drill should help get a good tilt and prevent having a flat shoulder plane.
Second Drill: Shoulder Flexibility
The next drill should help get some much-needed shoulder flexibility.
Remember that we don’t want to have a flat shoulder plane, and one of the reasons you get a flat shoulder plane is not enough flexibility in your shoulders.
Rotating your shoulders should be easier if you’re a lot more flexible.
- Stand next to a wall, feet firmly on the ground with the outside of the foot up against the wall.
- Then turn facing the wall with your arms folded across your torso.
- Then you try it again but with the other side.
This will train your shoulders to turn 90 degrees both ways.
If you can’t turn all the way, you can grab hold of the wall to stretch your shoulders.
Third Drill: Observing Yourself
Finally, for this exercise, you’re going to need to observe how you would execute a golf swing. How do you do this?
Have someone record videos of your golf swings!
- Have a friend or a fellow golfer take a video of you from different angles while hitting some golf balls at the golf course.
- Then observe your shoulders, look at the lines, look where your head is placed, draw lines to see your angles, see how your golf club moves, and if your shoulders are aligned well.
- Take a GOOD LOOK at how you hit your golf ball as well.
This exercise should be good not just for wanting to get a better shoulder turn but also a good opportunity to check anything else you might want to improve in your game.
You can check if you’re holding the club nice and square. You can also observe how you take your shot and hit the ball, how you stand and how your head moves.
You can also compare shots and see which works for you, gets the most distance, etc.
Getting a better golf swing should be the basic of basics to golfers.
Having a good shoulder turn is the measure of a golfer who knows their foundation!
Improving this aspect of your game is the first step to getting even more speed and distance with your shot.
Many golfers struggle with it, but the first step is putting in the time and following the instruction here.
Keep it up and have fun on the golf course too!