How to avoid the Fake Golf Shoulder Turn…

Just a quick note on this rainy morning here in the Northeast.

If you caught any of the Valero Texas Open this weekend you saw an emotional Ben Curtis nail down his 4th PGA Tour victory and 1st in 6 years.

Ben is an accurate driver of the golf ball (not overly long) and strikes his irons well.  He hits a lot of greens and fairways and putts great under pressure.  He’s not flashy but gets the job done.

Both Ben and runner-up 21 year old John Huh (who won the PGA’s Mayakoba Golf Classic) have similar looking motions with full, deliberate back swings.

They both avoid what I call the “Fake” golf shoulder turn and you should too because it is causing a lot of problems in your swing. Let me explain.

The term “shoulder turn” can be a bit misleading and lead a golfer to weak driving and accuracy problems.

You see, the shoulders are rather flexible relative to the core or center of the body.  They are really “independent operators”.

If you stand erect and shrug your shoulders forward and then pull them back (as if at “attention”), that range of motion in the shoulder joints can be up to 35 degrees!

Now translate that to a golfer’s back swing.  Since the arms are attached to the shoulders, a golfer can move those arms and therefore the club a great distance in the back swing without engaging the core!

This leads to arm “run off” from the body, and even though the club may be near a traditional looking top of the back swing position, it is essentially a “Fake” shoulder turn.

Hence, the chest may be still facing the ball, the back and core haven’t participated in the turn, and there is no true coiling into the trail leg (the right for a RH golfer).

The Fix: Instead of making a “shoulder” turn, think about making a back turn or coil. This applies to every club in your bag.

Focus on rotating the Sternum Area and the area between the Shoulder Blades in the back swing, instead of the shoulder joints.

Start slow at first.  You will immediately feel your whole core engage as you are making a true back swing coil into a deep set of your trail leg.

You’ll also feel your hips engage and rotate to accommodate this motion.  Now you have truly made a weight transfer and can explode in to the downswing.

One last thought, let the inner part of that chest and back move the shoulders, not vice versa.  This will also reduce the tension in the outer shoulders and arms.

A powerful, uncoiling down swing with tension free shoulders and arms is a feature of a pro caliber golf swing.

It worked for Ben Curtis this weekend and won him a British Open Championship too!

Best Regards,

Robert Cotter
Instant Golf®