The Shoulder Pivot

The Set Up for the Shoulder Pivot Drill

The Start of a Flat or Level Shoulder Pivot
The Start of a Flat or Level Shoulder Pivot

One thing I have been seeing in my lessons recently has been a tendency for golfers to rotate their shoulders on a flat plane (like a merry-go-round!).  This is, I believe, in an effort to extract as much turn as possible from the backswing.  By doing this you create a situation where the arms are too wide (stretched), the upper body is 'pulled' off the ball by the turning of the shoulders (the lead shoulder runs into the side of the jaw) and due to the flat pivot action the right forearm is visible below the left when the left arm reaches parallel (for right-handers) - all elements that none of the top golfers employ in their swings.

Here is an excellent drill that will provide you with the appropriate feel for a correct shoulder pivot:

This drill is designed to help convey the feel of getting your body into the correct position at the top of your swing.  Assume your address as if you are preparing to hit a 7 iron. (It is best executed with a ball in position.) Place an iron across the tops of your shoulders and cross your arms to support. Be sure to have the grip end off your lead shoulder and the clubhead flat against the opposite shoulder. During the pivot action of your swing, try to get the butt of the club to point at -- or slightly above -- the ball. Feel how the lead shoulder moves down as

The "Top" of the Shoulder Pivot Drill

the shoulders wind into the backswing. This drill will also illustrate how the lower body needs to free up in order for the shoulders to pivot on a steeper plane. Sure, this drill is slightly overdone, yet it is rare for someone to get the shoulders to pivot on a plane that is too steep.  As you do this drill try to feel how the shoulders are now tilting more like a ferris wheel than the flat, merry-go-round plane from before.

 - If your swing tends to get too long, the steeper pivot actually creates more tension in the backswing and this will serve to tighten/shorten the backswing.

 - Due to improved shoulder action, the upper body is now more inclined to stay centered, positioning you properly for a sound impact.

 - If you have a difficult time taking the correct divot, a steeper shoulder turn will enable you to be in a position where you are now able to deliver a more descending blow to the back of the ball.

Try this simple standby drill - I believe it will help you to make better contact more often.  Remember  - Ball first, divot second!