Thoughts on Shoulder Turn and Rotation

Turning the shoulders flat is really just turning them on their true axis, right angles to the spine. It’s a power move for the angle hinger.

The concept here is that the farther the left shoulder moves away from the ball after impact, the more the body, #4 is engaged. Since the arms and hands are all attached there at the left shoulder, the faster the shoulder moves in actual distance from the ball, the faster the club head moves… and if you can really rip the left hip through impact (delayed hip action) you can actually get the body to accelerate through impact… which I believe to be the ultimate objective of the golf swing. This is why there are little guys like Ian Woosnam who can just bomb it. The flatter your rotation the faster the left shoulder moves away from the ball. Tall players tend to use more upright clubs, and swing with steeper shoulders, they have an advantage with swing radius, but not rotational speed.

I’ll say it again, acceleration puts lag pressure on the shaft, and that pressure puts feel in the hands against the pressure points, and that pressure you feel in your hands is FEEL… and that feel is what educates your hands. Golf is a game of FEEL from tee to green.

Lag, I am confused by your language and use of “flatter” is flatter:

  • Stood more upright with shoulders turning parellel to the ground (carousel)



  • Bent over more with shoulders parellel to target plane (big wheel)



But then this would involve being stood more upright? However on the pictures (down the line) everyone seems more bent over towards the ball (squashing there belt with their waist/ribs)

I do like the idea of getting your torso fairly erect… and ideally I like the shoulders turning at right angles to the spine.
The axis tilt of the spine moved over our right leg allows freedom for our arms to come down into P3. So some bend at
the waist is necessary.

Mac O Grady once offered up a concept that we line up from a DTL view our shoulders, knees, and the balls of our feet …
in a straight line… this keeps our gravity centers of our body more inline so that as we rotate or turn, we can turn faster
like a figure skater would pull everything in as they go into a spin… it’s a nice concept and I think it has validity.

The shoulders do have an ability to move somewhat independent of the torso… they can go steep, but I don’t encourage that they do…

Are you hitting balls from directly off your deck? Is this just so that you don’t have any margin for error when it comes to contacting the ball before the ground? Also, I imagine this must force you to approach from a fairly shallow angle, yes? Whatever the reason, it’s mighty impressive!

Right off the deck… it’s real wood so there still is some give… it sure helps you find your low point in a hurry!
I like my impact shaft flex to be created by acceleration, not pork chop divots…that way I can play more off my true low point, which we will be covering here in the ABS class.

I really like to feel that my body is dragging the clubhead even after impact, especially after impact. To do this, I need to have some body left over though… so that from impact to the 4rth parallel, I still have room to straighten my left knee, clear the left hip, and continue to rotate the torso… when all that is spent around the 4rth parallel, I then make one last ditch effort to keep the hands ahead of the club by raising the upper arms off the body into a high finish. This is what I call the 5th power accumulator.

I like to “feel” as if I finish the swing with the clubshaft pointed straight up at the sky, never letting the clubhead get past my hands… so what I try to do is sustain the force on the club with every effort and possibility I can muster. The extreme acceleration and velocity of the clubhead I try to achieve does usually have the club finally passing my hands at my finish, so the wrist do fold once everything is finally spent… but I do everything within my power to resist that feeling.

I was actually browsing the whole, big www for shoulder turn when I stumbled on this thread. There is a rhythmic element between the shoulder turn and the arms swing that I haven’t figured out yet (or so I think).

I like the knee angle of mr Knudson. While it’s deep by golfing standards, it is probably closer to perfect for a powerful jump in any direction than we see in most golf strokes. I don’t have 30-40 extra yards in my when I want extra distance. But whenever I try to pour on a little extra I bend me knee. It seems to support a stronger weight shift as well as more Acc #4 lag through impact.

Also, there are some flat shoulders here. Which I like too. They are even flatter than the spine tilt overall. Possibly a sign of lumbar lordosis. Kelvin Myirahira thinks lumbar lordosis in the back swing creates better ball striking and I think he is on the money. When I get that one right, it feels like I’m shooting from the right hip. And that is a mighty good feeling.

This thread reminds me to bend my knees properly and to raise my chin a little. Those two things have never harmed my ball striking. Sometimes it’s like the shoulder turn and the arms swing blend perfectly and suddenly timing is just about how hard I want to hit it. Besides, I’ve never had any problem reaching the ground anyway. :laughing:

Maybe some of our MD’s here can chime in on their thoughts on lumbar lordosis. Before we jump into a conversation here, let’s try to define this term so all here can follow with clarity, before we start pushing our backs around to and fro on the backswing.

For starters, by setting up, and bowing to the 4:30 line creating spine tilt from a caddy view, this would tend to increase or decrease lumbar lordosis?

From there, if we rotate our torso and our shoulders basically at right angles to the spine on the backswing, just thinking about it, I feel it then doing the opposite as I move toward a full turn at the top of the backswing…

Lordosis is the natural inward curving of the lumbar (lower spine) and would be maintained by pushing your butt out when you bowed down so that you actually bow from the hips. This is the natural position of the lumbar spine and from a bio mechanical point of view the strongest. The other way to bow would be to bend at the lower back keeping the butt from protruding backwards. This would cause a flattening of the lower spine or kyphosis and is generally a much weaker position. It is probably advisable from a health perspective to maintain as natural a bend in the spine as possible

I’m by no means an MD, but I’ve got some info from
In short, lumbar lordosis is an S-shaped spine; people with desk jobs are more susceptible to it.

pvalue, I posted the last bit before I saw your post.

I think it’s important to distinguish between the natural amount of lordosis and an unnatural curve in the lower back (as in the picture to the right).

IronOfZion, You are correct, degree of curvature is important. The normal healthy spine when “straight” has a natural gentle curvature with 2 areas off lordosis, the lumbar and cervical regions. I was suggesting that one should avoid the c spine (picture 2) where the lumbar region is actually straightened or concave (in kyphosis). As for picture 3 that looks awkward.

Interesting topic…

I would question wether the flatter lower back would necessarily be a weaker position. This would be based upon what muscles are involved in creating that situation.

I know there are Tai Chi instructors who would say that a stronger inner core or chi would be created by a cupping (from a front view) of the abdominals, and that this would be a more powerful and balanced position to strike from with a pre loading of the abdominals
which would tend to flatten the lower part of the back.

I know Mac O was talking along these lines also in his early MORAD studies, at least back in the 1980’s.

One supportive argument would be that you are essentially lining up your weight distribution more in a post form from a DTL view, and this should aid in increasing rotational speed from the inner core muscles supplying the torso with post impact pivot thrust.

This not only makes sense, but I find it works very effectively, not just from my own application, but I believe it to be historically supported by great ball strikers.

Although I picked up this technique from a Tai Chi master, it was completely opposite from the objectives of Hatha Yoga, which I was exposed to at the same time. I came to my own conclusion that the outward stretching of Yoga, was not necessarily a parallel objective to mastering the striking of a golf ball.

However, I do believe there are a few general points of flexibility that are beneficial to top notch ball striking.


Here’s for reference to what I have in mind: … dosis.html

Please note that I was referring to the position at the top, when the shoulders are turned approx 90 degrees. Some of the most powerful ball strikers increases lordosis in the back swing. (and I try to do some of the same) To me it’s the advanced alternative to the stack & tilt tilting, that enables you to strike downward and forward. A motion that enables you to turn around without getting off the plane line.

According to Kelvin Miyahira, the added lordosis locks the spine in a way that gives a better connection between upper and lower body. To me it feels like the whole swing effort moves towards the spine - and hence more power, better balance & less effort.

But this is at the top and early part of the down swing. Impact is different and I think Lag is spot on there.

Thank you for the article and explanation. I definitely feel more “connected” when increasing lumbar lordosis. In fact, when I don’t increase the arch in my lower back I tend to not only feel unconnected/armsy despite the attachment of my upper arms to torso, but I have problems seeing the ball from my backswing position when I don’t do this properly. It’s also very easy to accomplish.

Excellent and thank you again.
Captain Chaos

When I said that maintaining a slight lordosis in the lower back is stronger position I meant from a load bearing perspective. You can for instance damage your back by lifting a weight if your spine curves are not maintained but since there is not much of a vertical load on the spine during the golf swing I dont know if this point is moot
From a power generating perspective things change. I am new to ABS (only on mod 1) so cannot really comment on the timing but I assume at some point just prior to, at impact or just after we would want to access the gluteus muscles as these are immensely powerful. This can only really occur by curling the hips under so straightening out the lower back. (Try tightening your butt muscles while maintaining lordosis ). This causes a powerful forward thrust of the hips and is certainly a major power source in the martial arts and judging by the mod 1 video a major power source in the golf swing.

Glad to add a little value to this “premier league” forum of golf ball striking.

I heartly recommend everything that Kelvin has written in his blog. I believe he is onto something important and I haven’t seen anything like it in any books remotely associated with golf.

Edit: I also have a draft paper that he has written about the “spine engine”. Anyone interested in it can PM or mail me their mail address.

I found the article a bit confusing, due to the initial discussion about lower back curve (inward) but then a series of photos that seem to focus on mid back curve at the top of the backswing from a caddy view rotated.

The different options for leg work, such as keeping a flexed right knee on the backswing or straightening the right leg would seem to have an effect upon the lower back to some degree, or even quite significantly.

Another thought I had when reading the article was whether this is geared toward a power move only, or for precision ball striking. Player vs. Long Drive Champ. Very different types of swings generally speaking.

I tend to be a bit skeptical about an article that is focusing on everything about turn, coil, and loading up the muscles like a spring to unleash an assault onto the golf ball with no discussion about what is going to happen after impact. If misinterpreted, this can often lead to massive over acceleration issues, loss of shaft flex, and inconsistent ball striking.

I did see the mention about the unnamed tour pro who was faulted for driving his legs toward the target, causing a hip stall…
however, I think this has more to do with improper ground pressures which inhibit active torso rotation post impact. The player in question clearly loses spine tilt, and fails to properly load into the right foot on the downswing, blocking off the arms from getting to a flat entry along the 4:30 line.

A lateral movement of the knees through impact can be very good biomechanically, if done like Tony Lema. Tony had fantastic torso rotation ontop of firm and braced knees through impact.

Lema’s left knee is like a rock… right through the frames, establishing low point quickly with the torso grinding actively on top, combined with fantastic hand action… ultimately holding shaft flex… top stuff… Lema won the British Open in 1964, coincidentally at St Andrews.

I disagree that a lateral leg drive is bad methodology, even though I don’t employ that significantly in my own swing. I probably should.

Fully rotated shoulders on the backswing, turning around proper spine tilt, should put the weight over the right ankle, and see the player in a good transitional pass through at the top of the backswing. This should encourage what the author is getting at.

From there (the top), cupping the mid or lower back could be beneficial, but only if the torso is working properly post impact…
otherwise, we likely have another long hitter reaching for another golf ball… and not a pure striker like Lema holding shaft flex.

Kelvin is a speed trainer. So he is primarily conserned with how to create speed. Personally, I dont’ believe there is a significant difference between a reliable stroke and a powerful stroke. When you get all the counter productive parts out of the way, and get positioned to drive the club with lag and pressure and without flipping through impact, the tradeoff between power and consistency should be a matter of % effort. Track sprinters are the ones with the best running step, short distance speed skaters are the ones with the best skating technique etc.

As everything I read about golf and most other knowledge subjects, I read selectively and disregard the pieces that doesnæ’t make sense to me. And I am not convinced about the spring effect that Kelvin talks about either. I think it’s there, but it doesn’t make sense to let it go before impact, IMO.

Tony Lema’s chi line is quite similar to Lag’s in the top left corner of this excellent forum. It is easy to be fooled by those relatively sharp knee angles if you don’t know what to look for. If Lema had straightened his left knee it would ruin his geometry. But I’m sure it took up the vertical force that it’s supposed to. And that his left food didn’t run away from his left hip!

In his spine engine paper, Kelvin compares the golf swing with walking. Two steps: Transition is a step from the right to the left foot. Impact is the start of the step from the left foot. In walking (and running), the upper and lower part of the spine rotates in opposite direction. And for the two steps it’s right foot driving right hip forward then left foot driving left hip forward.

In his last blog he gives the “planeologies” a hard time, and looks at the difference between a plane shift caused by a lateral bend and a more artificial plane shift caused by the dropping of disconnected hands. The club can be on plane but the motion can still be an OTT motion. Bottom line to the blog is: The degree of lateral bend and the steepness of the back swing must match to prevent trapping and OTT. It easily explains why I am most comfortable with high hands in the back swing.

Thanks for clearing that up…

I would just say that there is a difference between power golf and precision golf, and although they very well can go hand in hand, the don’t necessarily have to…

Holding shaft flex can be a 15 foot chip shot… or even a 2 foot putt. But I can assure you, the long drive champs are much more interested in 150 MPH clubhead speeds at impact, that are not necessarily holding shaft flex… there is not always a correlation… so we need to understand this… very very very important.

I’ll take a Corey Pavin holding shaft flex over the latest long bomber who is losing shaft flex at P3 any day.

I would imagine there are long drive guys that can do it going all out… but might not be able to do it on a 3/4 wedge shot or be able to hold flex on a controlled low punch shot.

Holding shaft flex is the lifeblood of the master ball striker (hitter).

Velocity is king for the long drive guys… and if I am correct, I think they get 3 or 5 balls per bat to hit their 50 or 100 yard wide fairway.

Personally, I would like to see a long drive contest where they only have to hit a 180 degree half circle… that would protect the gallery, and they could just go at it as hard as possbile with no concern for direction… why bother really… what is the point of them having to hit a fairway if they get multiple tries? A simple laser radii from a specific point would serve the purpose fine. Just my two cents.