Correct Shoulder Position is the Key to a Good Golf Shot

In many ways, your shoulders are the engine that drives a good golf swing. Without proper use of your shoulders, you will struggle to get the club in the right position, or swing it with any power. Understanding how your shoulders should work both in the backswing and the downswing is critical to improving your game.

As every golf swing is different, and every golfer unique, it is impossible to say exactly what the shoulders should be doing at each point during the swing. What works for one golfer might not be successful for another. However, the tips below should help you better understand how to use your shoulders and how they can help you hit the powerful and accurate shots that you are looking for.

  • Fully rotated at top of backswing. When you reach the top of your backswing, your shoulders should be fully rotated and ready to unwind into the downswing. Your personal level of flexibility will determine how far back you can rotate, but getting your lead shoulder to point down toward the ball when your backswing is finished is a good goal to have in mind.
  • Back shoulder down through impact. A common mistake that amateur golfers make is moving their back shoulder up at the start of the downswing. This puts the club over-the-top of the proper plane coming down into the ball, and the usual result is a slice. Try feeling like your back shoulder is staying down as you start your downswing, and let it rotate under your chin as you come into impact. If you are a slicer, this could fix a big portion of your problem – but it might take some time to get comfortable with before you see a change in your ball flight.
  • Square to the target at finish. When your swing is all done and you are holding your finish position, your shoulders should ideally be square to the target. If you aren’t rotated enough to get into a square position, you have likely not released your body fully through the shot – and may be leaving some of your power potential untapped. Work on using your lower body more aggressively in the downswing, and that should help you rotate your whole body through into a balance finish position that has your shoulders square to the target.