Keep shoulders turned longer
By Kim Jeong-kyoo
To get the club to slot into its proper downswing path you'd better let the hands and arms drop down, with the shoulders remaining turned as long as possible. The sole purpose of the shoulder turn in the golf swing is to complement the arm swing. The shoulder turn in the downswing helps the arms and hands continue to swing freely to the finish, assisting the clubhead in staying squarely through impact and on the proper path.
To swing the club down on the correct path, it's as well to focus on the hands and arms falling rather than on the shoulder rotation.
Yanking the club down with a premature shoulder rotation causes the club to come abruptly off line, ruining the shot at the start of the downswing. When the right shoulder juts out toward the ball-target line at the initial stage of the downswing, you are left with no chance of swinging the club along the ball-target line through impact. That breeds an over-the-top move.
At the moment when the ball is hit, the shoulders need to remain square to the ball-target line, which means you need to avoid precipitating shoulder turn in the early point of the downswing.
The club tends to work along the shoulder line and with the shoulders staying overly open prior to impact it cannot meet the ball squarely. For solid strikes it's necessary to turn the shoulders after impact.
You need to be clear about the sole aim of the shoulder rotation, which is to allow the hands and arms to swing freely on the correct path before and after impact as well as during the follow through.
That is, the shoulders should not function as the initiator of the downswing. You need to avoid a shoulder rotation, let alone an undesirable arm swing that is contingent on the shoulder turn.
The downswing needs to be started by the hands and arms, supported by the feet and legs. Otherwise, it's hard to hit the ball solidly and swing into a full finish in an unrestricted fashion. For a proper, powerful downswing it's essential to let the arms swing down freely, independent of the shoulders, which should unwind after impact, never before it.
Failure to let the arms swing down independent of the shoulder turn tends to allow the upper body to rise up or go with the club to the left toward the target through impact. This is a fatal fault that invites disaster. Without keeping the head and upper body quiet during the downswing you cannot swing the club on the correct path and plane.
That also hampers a correct, free swinging of the arms and hands, impeding a balanced finish. An unbalanced finish indicates a failure to swing the club on line through the ball, also leading to all sorts of weak, poor shots.
What has to be done first to swing the arms and hands independent of the shoulders is to apply a light grip and swing smoothly with about 75 percent of your potential power.
That also facilitates a solid strike in the centre of the clubface, which is one of the two major power sources. The other is clubhead speed.
To get the clubhead to approach the ball from slightly inside the ball-target line and travel along the line through the ball it's essential to avoid too early a shoulder turn. A good way to accomplish this is to let the hips shift laterally slightly to the left toward the target before swinging down the arms and hands. A slight lateral hip move to the left at the initial stage of the downswing allows the arms and hands to fall down to waist-height, thus dropping the club down into the slot.
Yanking the club down to hit hard from the top with the right hand or turning the hips without a sufficient lateral shift to the left precipitates too early a shoulder turn, forcing the club to swing off line. That will see dismal shots thrust upon you.
After all, an arm swing that is contingent on improper shoulder rotation deprives you of every chance of accomplishing the ultimate goal of the swing: maximizing distance to its limit and hitting the intended target with pinpoint accuracy. For solid, powerful strikes it's always best to hold the shoulders at the top-of-the-backswing position as long as possible on the downswing, at least until the hands drop down to hip-height.