Role of Left Shoulder in the Golf Swing

High angle view of a young woman playing golf
A woman is swinging a golf club. (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Developing a consistent swing is the goal of most of those who take up the game of golf. After hitting a couple of solid shots, you may become obsessed with the game and will work on improving your swing almost any chance you get. For right-handed golfers, the role of the left shoulder cannot be overstated in developing a repeatable swing. For the left-handed golfer, it's the right shoulder that plays the crucial role.

Initial Shoulder Turn

If you're one of the many golfers who starts a swing by pulling back on their club with their left shoulder; take note. The left shoulder is heavily involved in the backswing, but it should not be the initial move -- the first part of the body to move should be your hips. Turn your hips to the rear of the tee box, then draw the club back with your left shoulder. Make sure your hands reach shoulder height when you reach the top of your backswing.


After you have completed your backswing, it's time to make your move into the ball. Once again, the left shoulder plays a vital role. However, your initial move is back to and through the ball with your hips -- then driving into the ball with your left shoulder. After you rotate your hips to the target, use your left shoulder to drive into the ball to create maximum power on your swing.


If you're a new golfer and high-handicap golfer, you're probably anxious to see the results of your shot immediately after contact. As a result, you stop your swing and don't follow through all the way. You'll stop before your hands have gotten to hip level; this costs distance and accuracy. To get the most out of your follow-through, keep your head down and keep driving and turning your shoulder. Your hands should be at shoulder height. If you are stopping before you get to that spot, you are not getting maximum rotation from your left shoulder.

Distance Tip

If you tend to slice the ball off the tee or your tee shots don't give you the distance that you desire, check the distance between your chin and your left shoulder. As you make your turn on the backswing, your left shoulder will be almost directly under your chin. At that point, you will probably move your upper body and lunge toward the ball; that is the wrong move. Instead of using your upper body, just rotate your left shoulder into the ball and try to get back the same distance between your chin and left shoulder that you had at your set-up.

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