Main Cause Of Shoulder Turn Too Short, Golf Swing Tip

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.

Increase Flexibility

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.

Main Causes of Shoulder Turn Too Short

Main Causes of Shoulder Turn Too Short

One of the keys to a powerful, controlled golf swing is an excellent shoulder turn. The shoulders are crucial in the golf swing because they allow the club to get into the right positions from start to finish. Without a good turn, you will be left to 'throw' the club at the ball with just your hands and arms – and that is not a recipe for a powerful strike. If you have not yet learned how to use your shoulders correctly while swinging a golf club, now is the time. You will be rewarded with added distance and improved accuracy almost immediately upon improving your turn.

In this article, we are going to address one very specific mistake which is commonly seen in the amateur game – a short shoulder turn. Any turn which is cut off in the backswing before it reaches its full potential can be thought of as a short turn. Of course, that will mean something different for every golfer, as no two players are exactly alike. You probably have more physical flexibility than some of the people you play with, but less than others. In this case, you should only be comparing your turn to the best that you can do individually. If your turn is not living up to its potential, it is time to make a change.

There are a number of mistakes you can make in the golf swing which will cause your turn to be too short. These mistakes come in both physical and mental forms. Later in the article, we will look specifically at some of the issues in each of these two categories. Physical mistakes are usually easier to fix than mental mistakes, believe it or not, but any issues you have in your swing will need to be resolved before you can make improvements. The process of improving in the game of golf is not always a quick one, but it certainly is rewarding when you see your game begin to take steps forward.

While you do want to prioritize your shoulder turn since it is one of the keys to playing good golf, you don't want to lose track of other key elements. For example, your great shoulder turn should not come at the expense of solid balance. Remaining balanced during the golf swing is one of the biggest keys in this game, so trading out balance for a bigger turn would be the wrong decision. Everything is a give and take in golf, and you are trying to 'walk the line' in terms of your swing mechanics. Make sure to work on making an excellent shoulder turn, but also make sure that those efforts don't undermine other things you do with your technique.

All of the content below is 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 Physical Mistakes

The Physical Mistakes

Before discussing the mental mistakes you can make which will lead to a short shoulder turn, we should first think about the physical errors that can get in your way. In this section, we have identified three key physical problems which may be leading to your poor shoulder turn. The tricky thing about these problems is the fact that they might not even show up on a video recording of your swing as being obvious mistakes. They generally look pretty innocent within the grand scheme of your swing, but they are actually preventing you from making a useful turn.

Review the list below and think carefully about whether or not any of these issues is present in your game.

  • Keeping the right foot square to the target line. This is not necessarily a 'mistake', as it is perfectly fine to play golf this way – if you have great flexibility. Most people don't possess the flexibility of a professional athlete, however, meaning they will struggle to complete a full turn due to the position of their right foot. If you keep your right foot square, your entire right leg is going to resist the turning of your shoulders, and you will likely wind up with a short turn in the end. To correct this problem, simply turn your right foot out by a few degrees at address. Doing so will relieve some of the tension in your backswing, and you should find it much easier to get all the way through a proper turn.
  • Pushing your chin down into your chest. This is another common mistake, but unlike our first point, this one truly is a mistake which should be corrected. At address, you need to have your chin up away from your chest in order to make room for your shoulders to turn away from the target. Many golfers push their chins down, however, thinking that they need to do so in order to get a good look at the ball. With your chin in the way of your left shoulder, your rotation back is going to be cut short. When you take your stance, make a point of checking on the position of your chin before the swing starts. As long as there is space between your chin and your chest, you should be able to make a nice turn.
  • Changing the angle of your shoulders. You are going to establish an angle with your shoulders when you set up over the ball, and you should work hard to maintain that angle throughout the swing. In other words, the tilt in your shoulders should not change while you swing the club. Some players allow the left shoulder to dive down toward the ball as they swing back, while others lift up and away. Both of these moves are going to make it harder for you to complete your backswing properly. When you keep yourself on plane, not only will you be able to turn your shoulders farther away from the target, but the club will stay in a better position as well.

There are plenty of things that you can do wrong which will result in a short shoulder turn at the top of your swing. Golf is a hard game in large part because there are so many ways to get off track. As you work on improving your turn, focus on making things as simple as possible. Your game will be more consistent when you use a simple swing, and you will have any easier time making corrections when something goes wrong. No matter what aspect of the golf swing you happen to be thinking about, simplicity is always your friend.

If you believe that a physical mistake is leading to a short shoulder turn in your game, be sure to check for one of the three errors listed above. It is possible that there is something else causing you to make a short turn, but these points are the best place to start because they are so common. If you don't manage to find anything within your technique that you think is the cause of a short shoulder turn, you may want to consider the possibility that it is a mental mistake which is getting in your way. In the next section, we will highlight some of the common mental mistakes which wind up in short shoulder turns.

The Mental Mistakes

The Mental Mistakes

Working on the mental side of your golf game is often more difficult than improving your physical technique. When you address your actual mechanics, you can see what you are doing wrong, and you can work to fix it. As you make changes, you can look for those changes on video, and you can know that you are making progress. It might not be easy, but it is certainly more objective.

With the mental game, you are dealing in a far less defined space. Your mindset and attitude on the course can change from round to round – and even from hole to hole. Despite the inherent challenges in trying to improve your mental game, it is still worth your time and effort. If you can improve the way you think on the course, you will improve your play as a whole.

The following tips should help you get your mind out of the way when trying to make a proper turn with your shoulders.

  • Not allowing yourself enough time. This is one of the most common mistakes in the game of golf as a whole, yet it is frequently ignored or overlooked by the average player. When you start your swing, your mind may be sending your body a message to get the swing over with as quickly as possible. Maybe you are rushing through the swing because you are nervous, or maybe because you want to hit the ball as hard as you can. Whatever the case, rushing is going to cause you to make a short shoulder turn in the end. You need to take your time during the golf swing to produce a quality turn, and that starts with your mind telling your body that there is no need to rush.
  • Not using enough club. You might think that this point is a little counterintuitive, but it actually makes sense when you think it through. It is a common mistake for amateur golfers to not take enough club when trying to attack the green. For instance, if you hit your seven iron 150 yards one time, you may suddenly think that you can do it every time – even though the six iron is the right club for the job. When you aren't holding enough club, you will be feeling like you need to swing as hard as possible in order to reach the target. In the end, you will rush through your swing because you are trying to create tons of speed, and your shoulder turn will be cut short as a result. To avoid this problem, simply be realistic with your club selections. Instead of basing your club choice on a best-case scenario, pick the club that is likely to go the right distance with a 'decent' swing. This will take the pressure off of your execution, so you can relax and make a comfortable, smooth swing toward the target.
  • Losing focus. Sometimes, failing to make a good turn through the ball can come down to something as simple as failing to focus on the task at hand. Lost focus is a common problem in golf, especially in today's world. Most people don't have to focus on one task for very long these days, thanks to smartphones, the internet, etc. However, a round of golf lasts more than four hours in most cases, which can feel like an eternity to stay focused on the same task. So how do you manage to keep your mind engaged for that entire time? You don't. Instead, you switch in and out of 'golf mode' as the round progresses. When it is time to hit a shot, you focus on the task at hand, prepare, and make a great swing. Then, while you are walking to your ball, or while you are waiting for the group in front of you to play, you can chat with friends and generally let your mind wander. This way, you can avoid trying to focus on just golf for the entire round, and your mind will be fresh when you need to 'lock in' on making a quality swing.

It could be argued that the mental challenge in the game of golf is even greater than the physical challenge. Yes, there is a lot to learn about this game from a physical perspective, but getting cooperation from the space between your ears can be even more difficult. If you are going to reach your goals on the golf course, it is critical that you pay just as much attention to your mental game as you do the physical side.

Finding Your Own Timing

Finding Your Own Timing

As you gain experience in golf, you will begin to understand more and more about the importance of timing. You don't want to copy the timing of another golfer, however – you need to discover your own timing which you can use to produce a reliable swing over and over again. Not only will good timing make it easier for you to strike the ball cleanly, but it will also help you finish off your shoulder turn.

So how do you work on discovering your own timing in the golf swing? The first thing you can do is resist the temptation to imitate other players. Even if you are impressed with the swing that another player possesses, don't try to duplicate their action in your game, as the results are not going to be pretty. You need to stay true to yourself, and find a timing which is your own creation. This is likely going to take some trial and error on the driving range, but the process will pay off when it is complete.

While working on your timing, keep your personality type in mind. It is a good idea to have the timing and tempo of your swing match up with the personality you have away from the golf course. Are you someone who is always on the go, constantly talking and keeping yourself busy? If so, a quick tempo is likely to serve you best. You don't move slow anywhere else in life, so why would you try to move slow on the golf course? As you might expect, the advice would be just the opposite for someone who has a laid back, relaxed personality. If you are never in a rush away from the links, you shouldn't be in a rush when it comes time to swing the golf club.

Working on your timing can be tricky because you aren't going to learn much from watching a recording of your swing on video. This is a point that you are going to have to 'feel' more than anything else. How does the timing in your swing feel currently? Are there any changes you think you could make to cause your timing to be more effective? Trust your instincts, pay attention to this point as you practice, and work steadily toward a better golf future from a timing perspective.

Great timing will make it easier for you to finish your shoulder turn because you will know exactly how much time you have available when you start the swing. If you are going to use a slow tempo, you can turn your shoulders away from the target at a modest pace, taking your time up to the top. On the other hand, if you will be making a quick swing, it will be necessary start your shoulders turning aggressively away from the target. When you match the pace of your shoulder turn to the pace of your overall swing, great results should be right around the corner.

Other Points

Other Points

To wrap up this article, we want to share a few miscellaneous points related to making a full shoulder turn. Keep these points in mind as you work on this important part of your golf technique.

  • Don't force it. Yes, you want to make a full shoulder turn in your golf swing. However, you do not want to force your shoulder turn to the point where it makes you uncomfortable. If you are trying to hard to twist to the right that you lose your balance, or you feel like you are straining in some way, your swing will be negatively impacted. Make the best turn you can make without forcing the action, and start your downswing as soon as that backswing turn has finished.
  • Pay close attention on pressure shots. When you face a shot on the golf course which is particularly pressure-packed, be sure to take an extra breath before you start your swing and think closely about your turn. It is during these pressure moments when you are most likely to lose track of your turn. By giving yourself just an extra moment prior to starting the swing in order to remember that the turn is essential, you will have a better chance of finishing that turn correctly. If you have had trouble hitting good shots under pressure previously, it is likely that your shoulder turn is to blame. Learn how to turn well even when feeling the heat and your game will be better prepared for all situations.
  • Shoulder turn is important throughout the bag. You may currently be thinking about your shoulder turn mostly as it relates to your driver swing. While you do want to make a great turn with the driver, of course, you also need to turn well with the rest of your clubs. It is easy to look past the importance of this point when swinging a wedge, for example, but that would be a mistake. The timing and tempo of your swing depend on a good turn, so finishing rotating to the right even if don't need to create a lot of power. For every full swing shot you hit during a given round, do your best to make a great turn and your results will improve.

It is easy to see that a full shoulder turn is one of the most important aspects of your entire golf swing. With a good turn, you will generate plenty of power, and you will put your body in the right position to deliver the club accurately to the ball as well. To make a good turn, it isn't necessary to get as far back as other golfers you seen in your group or even on TV – you just need to maximize your own personal turn, and match that turn up with the timing of your swing. Once you have your turn optimized and under control, you can then move on to worrying about other areas of your technique. Good luck!