Understanding How The Body Affects The Golf Swing: Shoulder Bend by Scott Yurgalevicz

the golf swing shoulder bend 01
Generally speaking, in all sports, if the head is moving the body is moving with it.

In football, if you grab someone’s face mask and pull their head, the rest of the body tends to follow. So it would be of the utmost importance in a sport where the ball is not moving to eliminate any excess head movement in the backswing to prevent the body from moving excessively.

To better understand why this happens, we need to have a better understanding of what is causing it. For that, I introduce you to what is called the “shoulder bends.”

the golf swing shoulder bend 02

Above: Shoulder bend will always read in degrees.

In the photo above, the golfer on the left is currently standing straight up and down withNO shoulder bend. That’s why number on the image reads 0 degrees. The golfer in the middle is bent over and has 47 degrees of FORWARD shoulder bend. The more he leans forward, the more degrees of shoulder bend he will have. Finally, the golfer on the right is standing tall and leaning back and his shoulder bend reads 21 degree BACKWARD. The more he leans back, the more backward shoulder bend he will have.

Now that you understand basic shoulder bends, let’s talk about how they relate to golfers who moves their head off the golf ball and golfers who do not move off the ball.

In the golf swing, all golfers will start in a position of FORWARD Shoulder Bend as seen below.

the golf swing shoulder bend 03

As the golfer starts their backswing, they are slowly losing their FORWARD shoulder bend and will eventually make it to the top of the backswing and a point which ideally will have ZERO Shoulder Bend forward.


the golf swing shoulder bend 04

Golfers who move their head off the golf ball will start in forward shoulder bend, make their backswing, and by the time their club is up to the top of the backswing they will maintain some or the majority of their forward shoulder bend, looking like the image below. The more forward shoulder bend they have the more they will move off the golf ball.



the golf swing shoulder bend 05

Maintaining too much forward shoulder bend at the top of the backswing not only moves the head off the golf ball, but it creates a variety of other miscues such as fat shots, a lack of distance and directional problems.


How To Fix The Problem

Without a golf club in your hand, stand next to a door frame with your left foot nearly touching the left door jamb.

the golf swing shoulder bend 06

With your arms crossing your shoulders, turn and begin to simulate a backswing. This backswing shouldn’t allow your shoulder blades to move farther away from the left door jamb. In fact, feel like they are moving closer to it!

If you notice that your shoulders at the top of the backswing are farther away from the left door jamb, you have maintained too much forward bend, which is a problem. From this position, take your shoulders and begin to move or push them closer to the left door jamb. This will take your head and move it back over the golf ball and create the feeling we call “extension.” Repeat until this feel more natural.

If you can do this drill properly, you will eliminate your excessive head movement during the backswing and most likely hit the ball more solid!