I ask my students to use their shoulders to control the backswing. This means the shoulders will move the arms and club to the top of the backswing. My students ask me, where should my arms go? up what plane? to the inside? I tell them the “Path of least resistance.” I know that sounds non committal, but that is what happens. If the arms were setup properly (shaft in line with the front arm, elbows close together pointing back at the hips), traveling up the path of least resistance will be very easy. Again, the shoulders control the backswing…the arms and hands must not help or lift.
We first need the spine to be natural and athletic. We do not want to have the top of the spine tilted right or left. If the spine tilts to one side, the shoulders get bound and can’t turn freely. The shoulders themselves, need to be level and natural. The spine will also tilt forward a bit, as our rear end counter balances to get into an “Athletic Position”. This is not a lean out, our weight is always straight down to gravity. Our goal is for the shoulders to rotate (at 90°) to the spine.
Now on the takeaway, when the shoulders turn 90° around the spine, the arms/club are moved on the path of least resistance. It does not matter where they go as long as the shoulders maintain control. If we are successful, we can then use the body to control the downswing. As the body unwinds, the body mass will unwind the shoulders/arms/club. Since on the backswing, everything traveled up the path of least resistance, everything will return back down that path, for a solid shot (if not disrupted by the hands or elbows taking over or changing).
One of the best days of my golf swing was, when I figured out I was dropping my back shoulder (a lot) at setup. I had been doing this for years and wasn’t even aware. Once I leveled my shoulders and kept them level (and parallel to my hips) as I sat down to the shot, WOW Hugh difference. Now why it helps.
If you drop your back shoulder, it curves your spine and you can’t turn your shoulders freely. It also make you take the club inside (very bad). It also prevents you from pushing with the front shoulder on the takeaway straight back and up (where it should go as to not get trapped behind yourself). It also makes it more difficult to hold your front knee to restrict your lower body while the shoulders push on the takeaway (a must for the DUPLESSISGOLF swing)
So…At setup…Make sure your shoulders are level, square, parallel to hips, then maintain this relationship as you setup to the ball. Your chest will feel a little more in front of the ball…this is a good thing.
Oh, one last thing. Avoid letting your shoulders setup “Closed” to your hips. If they are natural, they will be in line and parallel to hips…. trust this… Ross
Another essential setup issue is, since the back hand is lower on the grip the golfer feels that it is okay to drop the back shoulder lower than the front shoulder…this is a Big Problem. This kept me struggling for years. Another reason golfers drop their back shoulder is, it is easier to look at the target. This seems like a minor issue but to be consistent, level shoulders must be checked somewhere in the “Routine” and maintained during the setup.
To have an Athletic golf swing, you must setup naturally athletic without any unnatural adjustments. Dropping the back shoulder is a VERY COMMON FAULT. It restricts your shoulders from turning and brings the club inside. THE SHOULDERS MUST STAY LEVEL AS YOU SIT DOWN TO THE BALL. Sitting down helps keep the shoulders level and also keeps you Athletic, Centered and Ready. NEVER BEND AT THE WAIST TO GO DOWN TO THE BALL. Feel like you keep your chest in your knees not hanging out over your feet.