Director of Instruction
Fisher Bryan Golf Academy at Longbow Golf Club
There are some great golf professionals that have done some extensive research into the golf swing and much of that research has done a great deal to advance our industry and help us make golfers better. However, one downfall of that research is that it is often done with the best players in the world as the subjects and that does not always relate perfectly to the recreational golfer.
One such idea is that it would be optimal for golfers to create a backswing consisting of maximum shoulder turn with minimum hip turn. The idea being that this type of motion would create maximum tension and therefore maximum distance. In theory this is correct. And even in practice with the best players in the world it is correct. However, I see some problems it can create for the everyday golfer.
First of all, most people just aren’t flexible enough to create a full shoulder turn while trying to inhibit the turn of their hips. And a full shoulder turn is necessary when trying to make sure that your arms stay in front of your chest in the backswing. Finally, the shortened and possibly even tilted backswing that can be created by trying to make this move can create a steep and outside in downswing.
For my students I believe it is imperative to create that full shoulder turn that allows them to keep their arms in front of their chest as well as approach the ball from a shallow inside path on the downswing. I tell them that they need to recruit whatever part of their body is necessary to make this happen. And, for most of them that means allowing their hips to turn in the backswing.
As you can see in the picture, I have made a backswing where my shoulders are fully turned and my hips have turned so that you can see my belt buckle pointing away from my target. By doing this I have allowed my chest and arms to be where they need to be in order to make a correct downswing.
If you allow yourself to make this type of turn, or even to allow your front foot to come up to aid in the turn, you will be much better off than you would be if you tried to copy what the outstanding athletes on the PGA Tour are doing. And, by doing this you will help yourself create a more efficient and powerful golf swing.
Jeff Fisher is Director of Instruction at the Fisher Bryan Golf Academy at Longbow Golf Club. Jeff can be reached at 480.414.9330 or firstname.lastname@example.org.