Shoulder Turn

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    Jimbohaw Jun 11, 2014

    The last couple of times I have golfed I have been thinking about pulling my right shoulder back behind me instead of moving my left shoulder forward during rotation (I’m right-handed). This seems to help. It is really just a different way of thinking about the shoulder rotation, but it seems to keep me from shifting my weight, allowing me to stay with 60% on my left side. I just think about rotating my right shoulder behind my head – so to speak. Any concerns about this?



    Ross Jun 23, 2014
    Hi Jim
    No, as long as when the back shoulder moves, the front shoulder moves too. You do not want a separation where the back shoulder moves first by itself.



    DaveF Dec 22, 2015
    Found this to be very helpful.


    DaveF Jan 12, 2016
    Hi Ross,
    Sorry for the over explanation up front!!
    Please edit!

    Do we feel like regardless of club length that the shoulders turn LEVEL and we are just sitting down MORE with shorter clubs?
    Or can the spine angle be lower as well (tailbone out more)?
    Ie “how much more knee bend vs. how much more spine angle” as the clubs get shorter”? Is it a case of whatever works?

    When I sit down “more” with a wedge with the same upright posture my hands are almost in front of my knees (it feels awkward and “gorilla like”).
    When I bend more at the hips I consequently turn my shoulders more vertically than I would with the longer clubs.
    It works, but am I possibly making an erroneous compensation?

    In case i’m not explaining myself well (likely), for an illustration reference, attached is the mainstream type approach where the stance and hand to body gap doesn’t change, but the wrist angle DOES with each club. We want our arms to hang and keep the wrists in the same solid position with all clubs, so what changes for us with each club?

    Thanks – I would like to schedule a Skype session with you once I absorb your response.


    1. The shoulders setup “level” (as much as they can with the back hand lower on the grip), BUT, they turn around the spine (roughly 90° to the spine). The shoulders don’t turn level parallel to the ground.

    2. Yes we sit down more with shorter club, but maintain the athletic counter balance (so to speak), with the tailbone out more to compensate. There are no specific ratios, it’s a balance thing, keeping your weight over your feet evenly.

    3. Yes the hands are close to the body for wedge. If the elbows are close together and arms are hanging on top of your pecs, there should be no issues.

    4. Yes the swing is steeper for wedge vs. driver. You don’t have to worry about it, just turn your shoulders around your spine at the spine angle you end up with, once you’re when you’re in balance… and for the conditions of the lie of the ball. Setup takes practice and experimentation… but you must always be in balance athletically!

    5. Setup the club with the shaft in line with the front arm, elbows close together and let that hang… then sit down the ball athletically with 60% of your weight forward. You don’t have to think about “changes”. You can’t try to calculate change in spine angle, wrist angle, distance from the body etc. (for each club and situation)… just trust sitting down to the ball once your arms are setup.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by RossRoss.

    DaveF Jan 13, 2016
    Thanks so much. I was afraid I was going down another blind alley. I was getting stuck in the posture that worked for 3i because I was hitting it great, and then having issues with mid-irons.
    I was unconsciously trying to use the same posture and shoulder turn, etc.
    Anyway, overall, I am finally starting to swing and finish in balance.


    forum Apr 01, 2016
    I have found that on my backswing with my elbows pinching I have much better results if my upper arms are pulling my pectorals with them on the shoulder turn. Prior to this change, my arms were sliding over the pectorals. This may be contrary to Ross’s instruction but it has made a huge difference in my consistency.


    Ross Apr 01, 2016
    Great. Nothing is in stone with my method. Different body types achieve different results. If you get good results, use it!

    The one thing I will caution others using my method. Trade-offs can cause other issues. If you decide to “pinch” your pec muscles vs. on top, it is pretty hard to turn your shoulders, without turning your hips, and that can sacrifice other positives in the windup from top down. The shoulders need to start first and get a bit of a head start to create more power… and moving the shoulders first, takes the “slack” out of your back muscles, so the downswing will be connected.


    DaveF Apr 13, 2016
    Once the shoulders return back in front of the hips on the downswing, do you personally feel a substantial difference in the steepness of the shoulder turn between driver and wedges or even 9 iron, or is more of a mid to minor variation where you mostly feel like you are “sweeping” the ball vs. “hitting down” at it with the shorter clubs? Or does it largely feel like the same motion with just sitting down more? Are we trying to turn “as level as possible” with every club? I have had equal amounts of success and failure with either feel maintaining the fundamentals of the method, but not sure at this point what I should be going for. Hard to explain but I hope you know what I mean. Thanks.
    802 posts
    Ross Apr 13, 2016 · Edited
    First… I don’t think I’ve ever said “the shoulders return back in front of the hips”… I say, the body’s rotation brings the arms/club back in front, so they’re not left behind. This is just a “position” so to speak as you’re turning through impact. Nothing happens at impact. There is no feeling difference at impact. The body is accelerating, and the ball gets in the way. There is no sense of “sweeping” or “hitting down” at it. All I feel is my body unwinding to face the target. Nothing has to be done or change, if all was right during the backswing.

    As far as the shoulders go… if you think about them just winding up, and then being unwound, 90° to the the spine, you’ll be in good shape. The “being unwound” is like a total body task… like throwing a ball. You let your body unwind to move your throwing arm through. When I throw a ball, I don’t ever feel like my shoulders take over or help on their own… my entire body unwinds like a rubber band. As far as your “turn level” question goes. You setup with the shoulders essentially “level”, but they turn around the spine at 90° on what ever “tilt” angle your spine is on (for the club and lie you have). So, if you have a short club, they still turn 90° to the spine, and that will cause a steeper angle of attack… BUT, you don’t have to worry about this.


    Should the upper arms stay attached to the pecs in this instance?


    The arms “ride” on top of the pecs but are not attached. The arms are being pinched at the elbows which keeps them working towards each other, but the arms on top of the pecs are free to be moved by the shoulders turning.

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