Here’s how every golfer can boost their shoulder turn
Perhaps, like me, your most limber days are behind you. When it comes time to play, your muscles ache and your bones creak … and that’s just your warm-up! But trust me: A stiff body doesn’t mean you can’t rotate like a millennial.
You — yes, you! — can turn your hips 45 degrees and your shoulders 90 degrees at the top, just like a Tour pro. Terabytes of data GOLFTEC has gathered over the years support this claim.
Where most self-proclaimed or misdiagnosed “inflexible” golfers go wrong is in their “flex” — the extension that should be utilized from their ankles upward. There’s a long-standing golf myth predicated on “coiling like a spring” to magically turn more open on the downswing. That myth lacks scientific evidence and objective data. In truth, the more inflexible you think you are, the more harmful the myth becomes.
Recently, GOLFTEC debuted its new OptiMotion swing analysis software. This new digital platform has state-of-the-art high-speed cameras that allow us to break down a golfer’s swing into thousands of measurements and discover clues to what fuels powerful, efficient motions. One thing we discovered is that even with limited flexibility — a burden for most players — you can load up as you did in your youth with a very simple and effective move.
The secret? Trail knee flex.
Check out the photos below.
Here, we have one of our high-handicap students, a self-described “inflexible” golfer. Subtle changes to his address position aside, you can see, with the help of OptiMotion, that decreasing the flex in his trail knee from setup to the top by 8 degrees (as in 8 degrees straighter) created 32 degrees more shoulder turn, a boost of over 40 percent! Not-so-fit golfers who don’t change their knee flex as dramatically or for as long typically result in low shoulder turns and grounders. Basically, the lack of extension from the ankles to the hips makes turning too difficult. It’s the equivalent of being in a body cast from the waist down; you have to get out of the cast to move the segments of your body above your hips.
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How do you break out of the cast? Like our example here, by improving your knee flex. It’s a tweak any golfer can do, regardless of age or fitness level. It might take some time to learn the proper way to handle knee flex toward the top of your swing, but here’s a tip: Copy what you see here to help you get the basic pattern of movement.
I’ve yet to meet a golfer who can’t turn their shoulders 90 degrees. Ever. In fact, most of my lessons involve teaching people how to turn less, not more. If you’re still not sure, stop by GOLFTEC and we’ll have you flexing your way to flexibility in no time.
Nick Clearwater is based at GOLFTEC’s headquarters in Denver, Colo.