A full shoulder turn during the back swing is one of the key fundamentals to a powerful swing.
Coiling and turning the upper body during a big, wide back swing builds up power and speed waiting to be unloaded into the ball. However, some golfers struggle to complete a full back swing which severely limits the amount of power and club head speed achievable.
If you are a golfer struggling to turn the shoulders fully in the back swing so the left shoulder rotates underneath the chin and the middle of the back faces down towards the target, there are a couple of things you can try.
Being unable to fully turn the shoulders could indicate a lack of flexibility, not only in the upper body but also the lower body as well (particularly in the lower back, glutes and hamstrings). To help increase the shoulder turn, a range of stretches and exercises should be completed. There are a number of different exercises a player can attempt but medical advice should always be sought beforehand. Here are a couple of exercises which could help.
Sat down stretch:
1. Sit on the floor with both legs out straight in front, flat against the ground.
2. Bend forward, extending the arms reaching forward towards the toes as far as possible while keeping your knees straight.
3. Hold this position for 10 seconds before relaxing and repeating. With each repetition the amount you can stretch should increase.
Cross legged stretch:
1. Stand up and cross the right foot in front of your left.
2. Slowly bend down keeping the knees straight reaching down towards the toes.
4. Hold this position for 10 seconds before relaxing and repeating. With each repetition the amount you can stretch should increase.
Let the left heel rise
If you cannot complete a full back swing with the left heel is planted on the ground, you could allow the left heel to rise off the ground. This can help a golfer achieve a full turn. It’s something which many of the great players have done throughout the years including Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Gary Player. Its popularity has diminished with modern superstars like Tiger Woods keeping the left heel glued to the ground. However, the average golfer should understand that great athletic players like Tiger spend a great deal of time in the gym working on their flexibility.
Allowing the left heel to rise will improve shoulder turn, however, too much lifting of the heel can result in an over rotation and a loss of coil. Players should make sure there is still some flex in the right knee.
If you are struggling with turning the shoulders fully, improve the flexibility in especially the lower body and give lifting the heel in the back swing a go.