The 9 Best Shoulder Turn Drills to Improve Your Golf Swing
Written by Matt Stevens

Matt Callcott-Stevens started playing golf at the age of 4 when Rory Sabattini's father put a 7-iron and putter in his hand. He has experienced all the highs and lows the game can throw at you and has now settled down as a professional golf writer. He holds a Postgraduate in Sports Marketing and has played golf for 28 years. Current Handicap: 8

Updated on December 13, 2023

Golf Digest suggests that professional golfers rotate their shoulders an average of 60 degrees during their swing. Amateurs turn their shoulders between 10 and 30 degrees less than the pros.

When your shoulders rotate in sync with your hip turn, you are rewarded with optimal power at impact for explosive ball speed and consistent distance.

So I’ve put together the 9 best shoulder turn drills to improve your swing and increase rotation. The drills in this guide help you activate your full shoulder turn to help you achieve results you never thought were possible.


1. Arm Band Drill

This Swing Correcting band keeps your arms and shoulders in sync during the swing. The band creates resistance to restrict you from releasing your arms too early in the swing. As a result, it forces you to rely on shoulder turn to guide the clubface back and down.

Place the band over your arms until you feel enough tension for your arms to create a V-shape. Once your left and right arm are straight, you can begin your takeaway.


2. Top Down Drill

This is a simple setup to help awaken the shoulders when you are on the range or warming up for a round. Move into your address position and commence your backswing. When you reach the top, hold your position. Then, initiate your downswing and feel the full shoulder rotation.

Your back shoulder should feel as if it is slightly lower than the front. At this time, you should pull out of the shot before your clubhead reaches the ball. Then repeat this process three times.

The final step requires you to take your stance and have a full swing implementing the technique you have just practiced. This drill aims to help you get used to the motion of the accurate shoulder turn.


3. Skipping Stones

ball at the wickets. This instruction proved handy on the golf course by ensuring I optimized shoulder rotation. My coach would give each lad a stone and request us to pretend that we were skipping them across a lake.

If you eradicated upper body rotation, you lost speed, and the release angle was all over. The same lesson applies to golf; with no sufficient torso rotation it is difficult to maximize your power, ball speed, and accuracy.

Grab a stone or a ball, and set up as you would for your standard golf swing. Start your backswing with your chosen object in your right hand, and when you hit the top of your swing, pause. Lower your left hand and pay attention to how much tension is on your right shoulder.

It is imperative to rotate your shoulders and hips and shift the weight to your left shoulder and leg. From the top of your backswing, pretend like you are skipping a stone across a lake and then shift your weight front shoulder and lower body.

You will notice that the object travels further and straighter when you achieve optimal shoulder rotation. But when you get it wrong, there will be a loss of speed, distance, and accuracy.


4. Club Across The Chest

This is another basic drill that you can carry out anywhere with a wall nearby. Take out an iron and place it across your chest, with the grip pointing towards your trail leg. Cross your left and right arm to secure the club and ready you for the drill.

Rotate your torso until your front shoulder is brushing the wall, then shift the weight to your front shoulder. When executed correctly, the grip should gently touch the wall. If it does not touch the wall, you have produced insufficient shoulder tilt, sending the club off your desired swing path.

This training exercise gives you an idea of the impact that rotation has on your plane. When you produce an adequate shoulder turn, you enjoy improved accuracy.


5. Swivel Chair Drill

The swivel chair drill can be carried out from your office as long as you have a swivel chair. Martin Hall teaches you to keep your knees and legs stable while turning your shoulders as far as possible:

Your browser does not support iframes.

Maintaining stability on a swivel chair is difficult at the best of times. However, if you can rotate your shoulders without moving the chair, you improve the control of your core muscles. As a result, you enjoy a better tempo and rhythm, leading to superior accuracy and consistency.


6. Takeaway Drill

Another drill that you can do at home or the driving range is the takeaway routine. All you need is a golf club. Get into position as if you were about to hit a shot. Make sure that your feet are stable and that there’s no movement from your left or right knee.

Use the momentum of the shoulder rotation to take the club head back while resisting with your front shoulder and leg. This is a simple exercise and specifically aims to give you the feeling of a big turn.

Initially, it can be awkward to execute, but over time, a supreme shoulder rotation should be the norm in your swing.


7. Medicine Ball Side Twist

The medicine ball side twist is not a direct golf drill, but it refines the muscles needed for superior shoulder turn. When you go to the gym, get three to five sets of fifteen repetitions with the medicine ball.

Sit down with your legs stretched out and place the medicine ball on your right side. Lift the ball up and use the turn of your shoulders and upper body to maneuver the ball to your left side and repeat the process for fifteen reps.

Not only will this drill increase your core and upper body strength. It will also improve the flexibility of your torso.


8. Hands And Upper Body Synergy

Top Speed Golf explains that your hands, and arms, should reach the top of your swing simultaneously with your upper body. That means that you have achieved a consistent tempo up to that point. When you are in that position at the top, it encourages a full turn from your right hip and shoulder to your left side.

This drill intends to get you focused on bringing your hands and arms to the top of your swing, in line with your upper body.

If your hands are too early to the party, it could cause you to overextend the clubhead and send it off plane. Conversely, if your upper body arrives first, your clubhead may end wide of the body and leave you at risk of hooking your shot.


9. One Handed Swing

Grip a short iron or pitching wedge with your strongest hand, and place your weakest hand across your chest. Set a ball up, and get swinging. This training drill is designed to force you to rely less on the leverage of your arms and more on your shoulder turn.

Naturally, you will not strike every shot cleanly, which is not the point. When you swing back with one hand on your club, you will feel weak, causing you to activate other muscles in your upper body to enhance your power. Plus, over time, this drill will increase your ball-striking abilities.


Golf Shoulder Turn Drills: FAQs

Why Is A Full Shoulder Turn Important In Golf?

A full shoulder helps golfers maximize club head speed. Plus, it increases your chances of getting the club on plane for superior accuracy.

Without a full shoulder turn, you reduce the energy transfer from your trailing side to the front, leading you to a loss of power and distance.

Overall, a full shoulder turn delivers two necessary elements that golfers need for success, distance, and accuracy.

How can I improve my shoulder turn in golf?

If you undertake any of the above drills on this list, you can improve your shoulder turn in golf. However, I recommend starting with three basic drills, the top down, skipping stones, and the club across the chest.

The skipping stones set up gives you a simple drill to practice the transfer of weight from during your backswing through to impact. Plus, the top down drill trains you to shift your mass from your right shoulder to your left on your downswing.

Finally, the club across the chest exercise is a simple way to replicate the motion of shoulder turn throughout the swing.

However, some golfers do not have the physical ability to maximize shoulder rotation. For those players, I recommend learning about the closed coil golf swing.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Matt Stevens

Matt Callcott-Stevens started playing golf at the age of 4 when Rory Sabattini's father put a 7-iron and putter in his hand. He has experienced all the highs and lows the game can throw at you and has now settled down as a professional golf writer. He holds a Postgraduate in Sports Marketing and has played golf for 28 years. Current Handicap: 8