The Front Shoulder – Where It All Starts

For a Large Muscles controlled golf swing, you start by using the Front Shoulder to push the arms and club to the top of the backswing. Your shoulders wind up around your spine and because of a slight tilt at setup, this wind up pushes your arms and club up to the top of your backswing. Also, as your shoulders turn on the takeaway, your arms stay if front of your body (so to speak) or at least in front of your shoulders. This is where many golfers get into trouble by letting their arms take over and move on their own (pulling the club to the inside or lifting). The more the arms can stay in front of the shoulders/body, the easier it is to return in back in front of the body at impact.

What about the hips? Once the shoulders have wound up as far as they can go, the shoulder turn, will also turn the hips over too a little. The hips do not move on their own. They are wound up via the shoulder turn.

* Hint: The front shoulder does not push “Down”. The front shoulder feels like it moves straight back, but it is actually moving in front of you as the back shoulder moves behind you. This move winds 90 degrees around your spine, on the tilt angle you setup with.

3 thoughts on “The Front Shoulder – Where It All Starts”

  1. Ross,
    I read every one of your words very carefully. I fully appreciate that the hands/arms stay ‘in front’ of the body and not pulled to the inside on the back swing. I am a little unclear on the vertical movement of the arms – I ‘think’ they separate in a vertical sense to some extent towards the end of the back swing and re-connect soon on the downswing. Am I on the right track as you infer above there should be no lifting? This is a great topic and the more you can give us on this the better – keep up the good work, Dave

    1. Dave
      First to clarify something about the golf swing, if the front shoulder pushes straight back, what happens is the shoulders wind around the spine, on an angle, based on the small amount of tilt that is created when the golfer “Sits Down” athletically. In this sit down, there is a “Counterbalancing” that takes place, that is an equal amount of tilt forward (towards the ball), offset by an equal amount of the rear end extending out behind. This keeps the golfer “Centered and Balanced” and activates the thigh muscles to be ready. Now as the shoulders wind around the spine, the arms and club are carried up along that angle. They stay within the width of the shoulders and chest or “still in front of the chest”. You do not want to let the arms break away on their own leaving the confines of the shoulders and chest, or you’ve created another variable for unreliability and have gained nothing. It is the downswing where all the power is created. Having a long, sliding, many levered backswing, is where all the problems are created. We do not want to disconnect the athletic continuity on the backswing. A quarterback takes his arm back a bit using his shoulders mostly, then unwinds, unleashing the arm and lets go of the ball. If he slid all his weight to the back foot and allowed his hips to over rotate and wrapped his arm around his back, there would be no torque for the forward movement. So, in answering your question, not actively letting your arms separate will add more power and consistency.

      Also, when in doubt, forget the wrist hinge. Most golfers hinge by the top of the swing, with a bent in front wrist that has severely opened the club face that will have to be fixed on the downswing and they GAINED NOTHING. When you turn through impact instead of throw the club head at the ball, a wrist hinge only messes things up. Look at Steve Stricker. He has almost no hinge and a lot of turn on the downswing. We want a straight line with the front arm at impact anyway (as we are turning).

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