Shoulder Turn Golf Drills

These shoulder turn golf drills will help you add more power and control to your golf swing

Shoulder Turn Golf Drills
(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Making an effective, technically sound shoulder turn in the golf swing is essential for both power and control. In this video and article, Top 50 Coach John Jacobs reveals exactly how its done.

Shoulder Turn Golf Drills

The extent to which you turn your shoulders has a big effect on your swing path into impact and beyond. A lack of turn creates a two-horse race – if the shoulders don’t rotate enough on the way to the top, they’ll get a head start on the way back down, and the body will get back to impact too quickly. 

The swing path then becomes more out to in, leading to that classic over the top golf swing and a big slice. To keep your connection in the golf swing and help the clubhead return to the ball on a better swing path, the shoulders need to rotate fully. 

Closed stance drill

The first drill to try is to set your trail foot back at address. So take your normal stance and move your right foot away from your ball to target line by about a foot. This will close your stance and set your right hip back, aiding the rotation of the shoulders.

You’ll really get the feeling of your back facing the target at the top of the swing, as it should. This is all about returning the clubface square to the ball regardless of your toe line, and using this drill in practice will give you a better feel for what a full shoulder turn feels like

Open stance drill

If the closed stance drill is so good, how can an open stance drill possibly be of any benefit, you may well ask. Well, adopting an open stance in practice is a great way to really feel and appreciate the stretch required between hips and shoulders in a full turn.

Opening the shoulders and stance and trying to make a full shoulder turn is hard work, so the more you can work against that extra resistance, the easier you’ll find it when you revert to a normal square stance.

Split hands drill

Split hand drill

(Image credit: Kenny Smith)

Take your normal golf grip, then pre-set the wrist cock with the club roughly parallel to the ground. Now move your lower hand down the shaft of the golf club. Halfway back you’ll get to what feels like your maximum turn.

Then rotate to the top by turning the torso a little bit more. You can only go so far with the amount of hinge you can create, so you’ll have no choice but to rotate your body if you want to complete the backswing.

To get the club all the way back gripping it this way, you’ve really got to work the upper torso beyond the point at which it’s comfortable, and then turn the shoulders fully. This is a great golf stretch exercise that will really help both your flexibility and the rotation of your shoulders.

John Jacobs
Top 50 Coach

Location: Cumberwell Park

John has been Head Professional at Cumberwell Park in Wiltshire since it opened in 1994. He gets as much pleasure teaching beginners as he does county players, although being Wiltshire's Head Coach, Boys Coach and Girls Coach means he's always in demand. He also works with England Golf, and was England Coach Of The Year in 2020.

He's had the pleasure of working with many top players over the years, and has fond memories coaching the likes of Tommy Fleetwood, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Tom Lewis before they made the leap into professional golf. John specialises in swing analysis and short game development.