Drill 205. Takeaway: Turn with Shoulder Flexion
Once you are adept at turning your chest independently of your hips, from your perfect address position, while at the same time shifting your weight, which you have been working on in Drill 204 – Takeaway: Turn with Weight Shift, this drill builds upon that movement by lifting your arms and rotating them slightly as you turn.
You’ll note that we’re not yet introducing a golf club into the takeaway drills — you’re learning how to move your body, how to turn correctly while shifting your weight, and now how to lift your arms while keeping your hands in front of your chest. The best way to learn how to move correctly, to build the required neural pathways so that you can ingrain the proper movement and perform it automatically, is by building the movement a piece at a time, and by isolating each piece so that you can learn what the proper movement feels like. Once you can do this properly, the golf club will almost automatically move along the perfect path, as we’ll see shortly.
You will probably find this drill surprisingly difficult to perform perfectly, at first. But it’s well worth taking the time to master it, it is the crucial first move away from the golf ball, and it will set you on track for a beautiful golf swing.
Once again, apologies to the lefties out there, but for simplicity these instructions are given for a right-handed golfer.
Figure 1. Turn with Shoulder Flexion Video.
- Start by standing with the perfect stance width and spine angle. See Drill 102 – Perfect Golf Stance Width and Ball Position and Drill 103 – Perfect Golf Spine Angle.
- Now move your hips towards the target in order to tilt your spine, as described in Full Swing 105 – Setup: Spine Tilt at Address, maintaining good posture and alignment, and keeping your weight balanced between your ankles.
- Let your arms hang freely under your shoulders, as described in Full Swing 106 – Setup: Distance from the Golf Ball and Arm Position.
- Put your hands together very lightly, just barely touching, with your right hand slightly lower than the left, your left thumb along the life line of your right palm — a similar position to when you take your grip, but with your hands open — see Drill 104 – Taking Your Perfect Golf Grip.
- Without moving your pelvis or hips, smoothly turn your upper torso (chest and shoulders) 45 degrees to the right. Make sure that you maintain your spine angle and spine tilt.
- The primary sensation, throughout this drill, is of pulling the right side of your upper body behind you, using your obliquesYour oblique muscles (side abdominals) help you to bend from the side or twist your torso. Strong obliques support the lower back, warding off back pain and posture problems., rotating your torso around the tilted axis that is your spine.
- As you turn, lift your arms in front of your chest by flexing your shoulders, so that your hands lift by about 6″ (15cm), and your thumbs are at the same height as your right trouser pocket and level with your toe line — see Figure 2.
- Your shoulders should remain passive, and your arms and hands should not move across your upper body, they will be moved laterally only by the turning of your chest. It is crucial that you keep your hands directly in front of your sternumThe sternum (or breastbone) is an elongated, flattened bony plate, forming the middle portion of the thorax (chest). throughout the movement — see Figure 3.
- As you lift your hands, keep your right arm straight and externally rotatedFor your right arm, external rotation means rotating your upper arm clockwise.. The upper bicepsThe biceps brachii (biceps) lies on the upper arm between the shoulder and the elbow. Its main function is to flex the elbow and supinate the forearm. Both these movements are used when opening a bottle with a corkscrew: first the biceps unscrew the cork (supination), then it pulls the cork out (flexion). of your right arm should still be touching your upper chest, and you should feel like the inside of your right elbow is pointing up at the sky — see Figure 3.
- You should feel that your hands are wide, out away from your body. You will feel your left arm reaching, and your left shoulder will protract very slightly, but make sure that your left shoulder stays down (depressed), not lifting (elevating) even a tiny bit. Your right shoulder should remain firmly in posture.
- Rotate your forearms slightly as you turn, pronatingPronating your left wrist will turn the palm of your hand clockwise. your left wrist gradually throughout the movement, so that, when it reaches the height of your right trouser pocket, the back of your left hand is facing forwards, towards the target line, and the back of your right hand is facing directly behind you — see Figure 2. Feel that your thumbs are reaching away from the target.
- As you turn, feel your weight shift onto the inside of your right ankle.
- Hold that position for a second, then return to the address position, pause to refocus, and repeat.
Be careful to include everything that you learned in Drill 204 – Takeaway: Turn with Weight Shift:
- As you turn, shift about 70% of your weight onto the inside of your right ankle — never shift your weight to the outside of your right foot.
- Your spine (hips and neck) may shift very slightly to the right as you shift your weight, but with practice this should only be a very slight movement — ½” (1cm) at most. There should never be any sense of leaning further to your right, only of rotating around the axis of your tilted spine.
- The heels of your hands must remain directly in front of your sternumThe sternum (or breastbone) is an elongated, flattened bony plate, forming the middle portion of the thorax (chest). throughout the movement.
- As you return to the address position, make sure that your weight moves back to 50/50 over the front of your ankles, and that your hands hang back down below your shoulders.