Improve Golf Swing – Shoulder Function & Swing Performance

To improve golf swing performance, a golfer must know the proper function of the shoulder girdle within the swing pattern.

Many student golfers misunderstand and misuse the shoulder girdle in the swing pattern. Golfers have a tendency to translate the left shoulder downward during the backswing and the right shoulder downward during the downswing.

This is simply incorrect.

To improve golf swing performance golfers must learn that excessive and unnecessary translation of the shoulder girdle is detrimental to swing performance – causing, among other things, losing sight of the target – i.e. THE BALL!

It‘s no surprise that keeping your eye on the ball is critical to improve golf swing performance.

In the book, “On Learning Golf”, author Percy Boomer dispenses some professional advice to help golfers improve golf swing performance. He explains the true function of the shoulder girdle and the important role it plays in a successful swing pattern.

Boomer goes on to write;

“Let us get back to the visualizing of our swing. We have laid our foundation by getting the feel of the pivot from the hips. This movement goes up through the body to the next control point—the shoulders. And here I believe that wrong imagination does a great deal of damage to many people’s swings.

We think that in the fine swing we see the left shoulder come down as we come back and the right shoulder come down as we come forward; so we feel that this shoulder movement is right and tend to encourage it— to the detriment of our swings because it is wrong. And I say it is wrong, cheerfully certain that it is wrong in spite of its almost universal acceptance. How much the shoulders actually dip depends upon how erect we stand when addressing the ball. We should stand as erect as possible and I contend that we should not feel our shoulders go down but should feel that we are keeping them fully up.

As we address the ball we look at it a little sideways —we peep at it. The head is fixed (because you “keep your eye on the ball”), and the movement of the shoulders is not an independent movement of the shoulders at all, but is due to the shoulders being moved around from the pivot. We can only keep the shoulder movement in a fixed groove and make it repeatable time after time, by keeping the shoulders at the limit of upness in whatever position the turn from the hips may have placed them. Any excess of upness (that is, actual shoulder lift) will result in the ball being lost sight of. In short, the fixed head determines the limit of lift and dip of the shoulders.

You will see that this is why you must feel you keep the shoulders up to the same degree with, say, a driver and a full swing and a mashie (a more upright club) and a half swing. The closer you stand to your ball the more upright the swing and the more directly downward your sight of the ball . . . also, the less extensive the swing you can make without losing sight of the ball.

Now try this conception of the shoulder action without a club, and link it to your feel of the pivot from the hips. Feel how the two become connected. This is the first connection in our building up of a controlled swing—and a very important one. You cannot take too much trouble in understanding it and building it up.

From the shoulders our power travels down through the arms, and as to arm action also, I believe, the common conception to be erroneous. Most people think they lift their arms to get them to the top of the back swing. With a modern controlled swing they do not lift them . . . the arms work absolutely subjectively to the shoulders that is why they are controlled.

But, you may say, if I do not lift my arms how do I get them up to the top of my swing? To find the answer, think this out. As you stand to the ball with the wrists slightly up, there is a straight line practically from the club head up the shaft and along your arm to the left shoulder, and as your hands are already waist high it needs only the inclining of the shoulders as we turn (on the pivot) to bring them shoulder high, without having altered their relative positions at all. They have not been lifted; they have gone up in response to the shoulder movement. This accounts for the curtailment and the control of the modern swing.

Naturally, the more flexible we are the more we can get our hands up without breaking up this connection, that is, without moving the arms independently. The triangle formed by our arms and a line between the shoulders should never lose its shape . . . it should be possible to push a wooden snooker triangle in between the arms and to leave it there without impeding the swing back or through.“

To improve golf swing performance, golfers must have both a working knowledge of the shoulders and a clear understanding of their true function in the swing pattern.

Try implementing Boomer’s advice into your golf swing practice routine.

Check back soon for more posts and tips to improve golf swing performance!

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