By Tom Clarke
Golf Monthly Top 25 coach John Jacobs explains the importance of a good shoulder turn and has some drills to help you achieve one.
Why you need a good shoulder turn
The extent to which you turn your shoulders has a big effect on your swing path into impact and beyond.
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’ cut or slice. To keep things in sync and help the clubhead return to the ball on a better swing path, the shoulders need to rotate fully
Closed stance drill
Setting up with the right knee and right foot set way behind the normal line is a great way to help you rotate better and generate a tremendous amount of shoulder turn.
You’ll really get the feeling of your back facing the target at the top of the swing, as it should. I have one pupil who won nine events in 12 months actually playing this way, despite me having concerns about him using such an extreme set-up out on the course.
I wouldn’t recommend that to everyone, but ultimately it’s 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 shoulder 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
Take your standard grip, then pre-set the wrist cock with the club roughly parallel to the ground. Now move your lower hand a few inches below the grip. 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.
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