The golf swing is all about rotation.

Why Should Your Swing Have A Rotational Action?

If you are going to hit good shots, you are going to need to know how to rotate properly. Many amateur golfers fall into the trap of thinking that they need significant lateral motion in their swings, but that is simply not the case. Find a way to rotate back and through in a powerful manner and you will be a big step closer to hitting great shots.

One of the best ways to improve your rotation is to focus on the way your chest moves during the swing. In this article, we are going to discuss exactly this topic. How does your chest rotate away from the ball in the backswing, and how does it move through the shot on the way forward? If your chest is working correctly, you will have a big piece of the puzzle in place. If not, it is always going to be a struggle to produce any kind of meaningful power. We hope by the end of this article that you have all the information you need to get to work on this part of your swing technique.

Of course, while we do believe that your chest plays an important role in the swing, there is more to consider than just chest rotation. You will also need to think about the way your hands and arms work to move the club, and you’ll need to make sure your lower body is holding up its end of the bargain, as well. In the end, only golf swings which get positive contributions from a variety of parts of the body are going to be successful. This is a big part of what makes golf such a difficult game. You don’t get to just put one or two fundamentals in place and head out to the links for a great round. Rather, you have to build your swing gradually, one piece at a time, until it eventually all comes together properly.

The content in this article has been written from the perspective of a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

The Basics

The Basics

To kick off our discussion of the importance of chest rotation in the golf swing, we are going to start by outlining the basics of how this part of the swing should work. With a high-level understanding of this concept in place, we will be able to move on to some more specific instruction later in the article.

As was mentioned in the introduction, the golf swing is a rotational action. You should be turning away from the target in the backswing, and you should be turning toward the target in the downswing. While the golf swing overall can be pretty complicated, you will be off to a good start if you keep that basic concept in mind. Turn yourself to the right in the backswing and to the left in the downswing. There will be a little bit of lateral movement that comes along with the rotation, but that lateral movement should be secondary to a great turn.

Another important thing to remember is that the rotation of your chest – and your shoulders, by extension – should be the main driver of the backswing. Many golfers use their arms to move the club back away from the ball, but that is actually a mistake. By letting your chest take control, you will put your entire body in a better position at the top of the swing, and you will have a better chance at achieving a quality strike. To get the swing started, simply feel like you are turning your chest to the right while your arms just come along for the ride. It might be a little hard to trust this style of takeaway at first, but you will get more and more comfortable with it as you practice.

At the top of the swing, you should feel like you’ve turned fully away from the target – although what that means is going to vary from player to player. You don’t need to force yourself to reach a specific point with your backswing rotation, and flexibility is an individual thing. You might have great flexibility and be able to turn incredibly far on the way back, or you may be limited in this area and have to rely on a shorter turn and swing. Either option is perfectly fine. A shorter backswing is going to make it a little harder to generate power, but that’s okay. Your top priority should be creating a reliable, consistent swing which delivers the club into the back of the ball the same way time after time.

To help complete your understanding of how chest rotation should work and what it is good for in the golf swing, we have created a list of important points below.

  • Establish timing. One of the key roles that your chest rotation can play in the golf swing is to establish the timing and tempo of the swing as a hole. Again here, this is a job that most players seem to give to their arms, while it should really be the middle of the body that does the work. By turning your chest back and through at an even pace, you can establish a nice rhythm for your swing, which will help even out your ball striking performance.
  • Build consistency. It is easier to move your big muscles in a consistent manner than your small muscles. So, when using your chest rotation as a key ingredient of your golf swing, you should be able to create a more consistent action that will serve you well round after round. Every golfer would love to be able to play more consistently but doing so is easier said than done. Once you have the right chest rotation in place in your swing, you should find that your shots are more repeatable.
  • Carry power through the hitting area. When you think about power in golf, you probably think about how far you can hit your driver from the tee. That is one measure of power, sure, but it is not the only one. You can also think about power in terms of your ability to carry the club head through the ball cleanly in a variety of lies. For instance, if you find your ball sitting down in some rough, will you be able to move the club head through the rough well enough to hit a decent shot? Making a good chest turn will help you do just that. Rather than having only your arms and hands to use for power through the ball, you will have momentum from your entire upper body to help carry the club through the shot.

The chest rotation is one of the main keys to building a great golf swing. This fundamental does not get the same amount of attention as many of the other fundamentals in golf, but it is important just the same. By spending even a little time at the range working on this part of your technique, you will quickly see just how important it is to the overall performance of your swing.

Two Simple Checkpoints

Two Simple Checkpoints

When working on a specific part of your golf swing, it is helpful to have some checkpoints in mind to make sure you are on the right track. Without a way to check up on your progress, you really won’t know whether or not you’ve managed to move yourself in the right direction. It would be a shame to work hard out on the range without anything to show for your efforts, so do your best to monitor your progress as you go.

In this section, we are going to discuss two key checkpoints which will help you evaluate your performance with regard to chest rotation. Those two checkpoints are the top of the backswing and the finish position. The top of the backswing is defined as the moment when the club transitions from moving back to moving forward. Your finish position is just that – the position that you finish in when you are done swinging the club. Both of these positions are going to tell you a lot about the quality of your chest rotation and how you may be able to improve.

At the top of your swing, you want to make sure that your chest is facing away from the target for the most part. If you can’t quite turn that far back, that’s okay – just make a turn which is comfortable and natural for you. However, you do need to make sure that your chest has at least turned to the right significantly from the position you occupied at address. Some golfers simply lift their arms to make a backswing while their chest stays in place – that isn’t going to be a very successful plan. Turn away from the target based on your physical capabilities and get into a position that will let you swing down powerfully as you take the club toward the ball.

To check your position at the top of the swing, you have a couple options. For one, you could simply make some practice swings and stop yourself at the top to see how you’ve done. This is actually easier and more productive than you might think. During your next visit to the range, try swinging up to the top of the swing and stopping to hold yourself in place. Take a look down to see how your chest is positioned. Are you turned sufficiently away from the target? Do you feel like you’ve done a good job of reaching your potential, or could you have turned back a little farther? Evaluate your performance, think about any changes you might like to make, and move on.

On the other end of your swing, you can also use the finish position to evaluate your performance. This is an easy task, of course, since your swing naturally stops at the finish position anyway. When you are done with your swing, you want to find that your chest is facing out toward the target you had selected for the shot. If your chest is still pointing down at the point where the ball used to be, you’ll know for sure that you didn’t move your body through the shot properly. Even if you can’t quite get all the way to a point where you are facing the target, you should strive to get as close to that point as your physical capabilities will allow. A full, balanced finish is one of the surest signs that you’ve committed nicely to your golf swing all the way through the hitting area.

Bringing It Together

Bringing It Together

So far, we’ve talked a lot about chest rotation in the golf swing and why it is important. However, as we mentioned in the introduction, there are other parts of the swing to be considered as well, and a good chest turn alone is not going to be enough to hit quality golf shots. In this section, we would like to talk about how the other parts of your swing can come together with your chest rotation in order to produce a nice finished product.

  • Chest on the way back, legs on the way through. One of the most important distinctions you can make in your swing is the difference between the backswing and the downswing. Other than the fact that the club is moving in opposite directions, the big difference here is how you are propelling your swing. On the way back, it should be your chest that is leading the rotation away from the target. When you change directions and head toward the ball, however, the story is different. In the downswing, it should be the lower body leading the way, with your legs and hips initiating the rotation toward the target and the rest of the body following along. Yes, you still want to make a good turn through the ball with your chest, but your chest should not be leading the way. Let your legs go first and allow the lower body to begin to create the speed which will let you hit a powerful golf shot.
  • A slight pause. This point goes along with the previous point on letting your lower body lead the way in the downswing. When you get to the top, think about letting your chest just ‘pause’ in that position for a moment while the lower body gets going. If you allow your upper body to immediately unwind toward the target, your legs might not have the time they need to get started. This is a point which gives many amateur golfers a significant amount of trouble. Many players feel that they need to rush through the swing, so they are unwilling to take a moment at the top to let everything come together. To learn how to perform this move properly, start by hitting some short wedge shots on the driving range. Swing your wedge back to the top of the swing, fell that you are pausing your upper body for just a moment, and then swing down. While this is sure to feel uncomfortable and awkward at first, it should come together quite nicely before too long. As you gain confidence, reach for longer and longer clubs until you have mastered the time of this move even with your longest clubs.
  • Feel the connection. Keeping your arms in the right position during the golf swing is essential. And, one of the best ways to keep your arms in position is to make a full shoulder and chest turn both back and through the ball. One common mistake made by amateur golfers is letting the arms ‘run away’ from the chest at the top of this swing. What does that mean? It’s actually pretty simple – instead of the arms stopping when the chest stops turning at the top, the arms will keep going, carrying the club back even farther. Some amateur golfers get into this habit because they think that making the longest possible backswing is a good thing. But that’s not really the case. This would be something of a ‘fake’ long backswing, because your chest rotation would not have changed – you’d only be swinging your arms back farther. Instead of falling into this trap, do your best to keep the relationship between your arms and your chest the same throughout the swing. Keep the club in front of you by not letting the arms run away at the top, and your swing will be much better off in the long run.

As is the case with nearly everything in golf, it is going to take some hard work before you see your efforts pay off with regard to this part of the swing. Don’t get frustrated if your progress seems to come slow – most everything comes slow in this game. Keep working toward improving your chest rotation and you should gradually see better and better shots flying off your clubs.

Your Chest and the Short Game

Your Chest and the Short Game

We didn’t want to wrap up this article without touching on the important topic of the short game. The short game is overlooked far too often by amateur golfers, as it seems to be the swing which gets most of the instructional attention. Of course, the short game is essential to posting low scores, so you can’t afford to overlook this part of the game if you hope to improve your level of play moving forward.

Let’s take a look at a few key points relating to how the chest plays a role in the short game.

  • Get out over the ball. When putting, one of the best things to do with your chest is to use it to get yourself into a comfortable position over the ball. It is not going to be directly over the ball, of course, but you should be tilted enough from your hips that your head can be positioned over the ball with just chest just slightly to the inside. When you tilt yourself forward from the hips, with your chest facing down toward the ball, it will become much easier to make a smooth, flowing stroke back and through.
  • Make a good chest turn for bunker shots. When you step down into the sand for a greenside bunker shot, be sure to turn your chest much like you would when hitting a full shot from the grass. You need to generate plenty of power for the average explosion shot from a greenside bunker, and that power is going to need to come from your chest turn, at least in part. Take enough time to turn back away from the ball and then rotate through aggressively toward the hole.
  • Stay down. As you are hitting chip shots, pay attention to the position of your chest as the club swings through the ball. Are you staying down nicely, or are you pulling your upper body away from the ball before contact has been made? Many golfers think about keeping their head down on chip shots, but it is just as effective to think about keeping your chest down and over the shot. If you can avoid pulling up and out of the shot early, there is a much better chance that you’ll make clean contact.

While you may not have thought about it much previously, the chest plays an important role in the golf swing. You probably already knew that you needed to rotate successfully in order to hit quality golf shots, but you may not have thought about how your chest plays such a key role in that task. We hope the discussion in this article will help set you on the right path with regard to this key golf swing fundamental. Good luck!