How do you improve the rotation in your golf swing?
Drills for Rotation
This is one of my favorite topics! Rotation is one of the most basic fundamentals in the game of golf, and I find myself working on it with the vast majority of my students. Enough talk… check out the drills in the video here that are sure to have you rotating back and through better in no time!
Backswing Pivot Sequence for Accuracy and Power
Maintaining your posture in the backswing is key to maximizing power and accuracy. Linking your arms and club in front of your chest allows the club to swing on the correct arc and plane angle.
Setting up with arms crossed on chest, bend forward from hips until shoulders are over toes, add some knee flex.
Maintaining your posture in a centered turn requires the spine to move from forward bend at address to left side bend at the top, returning to forward bend at impact to right side bend on finish.
To accomplish this, the shoulders turn perpendicular to spine (left shoulder turns under chin) then hips turn parallel or same tilt as shoulders (right hip turns back and up).
Legs move in response to hip turn. Depending on the amount of hip turn, the right leg will straighten and the left knee and hip will go down.
Check out the video below. Depending on flexibility, the hips will turn the correct amount needed to reach full shoulder pivot at top.
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Learn to Throw
A golf swing is no different than throwing a ball. Rotation and transfer of your weight from your back foot to your forward foot is what make the ball go. And it works for the golf swing too.
Within this video I published 3 years ago, I use an impact bag as a weighted ball, that I “throw” to recreate the rotation of a golf swing. You don’t need to hit golf balls to learn to rotate. But using resistance to learn this movement can certainly assist with ingraining rotation in your golf swing.
Cross Arm Drill
A lot of players think as they get older that they can’t turn and some are right–however most find with this simple test that they can turn farther than they thought.
Standing straight up lay a club across the chest at the shoulders and turn the right shoulder (backswing turn for a right handed player) as far behind the head as possible. See what angle to shaft is at–most times it’s 90′ or more. Then turn the other way–left shoulder away.
A great way to work on the turn is to get into golf posture and cross the arms across the chest, then make a backswing turn, feel the lower body start to engage, the upper body winding up and the weight getting into the trail heel. From there shift the lower body weight back to the lead leg, then straighten the lead leg and turn the lead hip out of the way. If done correctly the hips will be open about 20-30′, the lead leg fairly straight, weight about 90% into the lead leg, chest facing the ball.
The attached drill starting about the 11:00 minute mark is great helping with turn, weight shift and posting the lead leg.
It’s Great to Rotate
An athletic golf swing needs rotation. But it’s important also to understand a functional way to turn. First, build a wide base, with a wide stance. Second, as you swing back, start loading as much weight as you can on your back foot. Make sure that you feel your hips turn as you keep your knees flexed. Slowly turn your back and your hips at the same time. And here’s the most important thing: stop your backswing at a three-quarter position. Keep your lead arm straight. Feel like you have turned your back and butt away from the target and stop short of parallel. You should be able to lift your front foot off the ground, because you have turned, loaded all of your weight on your back foot and have stopped your backswing at a three-quarter position! Now you are effectively coiled up! Now you have rotated! And, now you have loaded your weight properly. Simply swing down and through! Feel like you are uncoiling like a twisted spring! Let it go! Be graceful and finish high!
Develop Your Pivot By Tossing A Medicine Ball
Students always ask for a good drill or feel for developing a proper pivot in their golf swing. I show them an image while standing in front of a mirror with a basket of balls or medicine ball of what a proper pivot looks like. This requires a person to stand very athletic with their elbows on their rib cage and arms closer to their body. From this setup, they learn to pivot/coil into their trailing foot and then they would learn to unwind by tossing the object towards the target. This motion develops the proper pivot in the golf swing and provides a good workout in the process. This exercise uses all muscles in a coordinated motion similar to the motion used while swinging a baseball bat, tennis racquet or hockey stick. The golf swing is an athletic motion just like these other sports.
Don't Sacrifice Footwork to Gain Rotation
Rotation is dependent upon flexibility, posture (a curved spine, or “C” shape posture over the ball, won’t turn as well), and good footwork. If you’ve lost rotation (I have, due to aging), and you’re working on gaining some back, GREAT! But, a word of caution: many times, to increase turn, a player will lose control of their weight on their swing side (right, for righties), allowing it to move to the outside of that swing side foot(right, for righties again), instead of loading onto the inside. With the weight on the outside of the that foot, it is almost impossible to start the downswing with the legs, arms following. In fact, I find it to be the leading cause of “coming over the top”.
One other word of caution: Don’t work on this during a round. Changing where your backswing ends necessitates a change in timing, but when you don’t have an accurate sense of where you are at the top, or if it’s a little different each time, instinctive timing suffers and it’s bound to be a long day on the course.
Turn away like someone is calling you from the back (stolen from Harvey Penick) …Slide back into the address position…And twist for the finish, hold that position to show you completed your swing…A good rotation will produce a good finish!
Stretching - Rotational Stretches and T-Spine Stretches
One of the best ways to improve rotation in the golf swing is to actually stretch those muscles used during the swing. A great way to do that is to use the Golf Stretching Pole. I’ve been using this device since 2005 and it’s a great way to simulate the turn you make in your shoulders during the golf swing. It’s also important to stretch on both sides – not just the side you take your backswing on.
Stretching your t-spine is also super important to improving the rotation in your swing. If you work at a desk or computer all day, there’s a good chance you’re hunched over for a majority of each day. This means it’s that much more important to open up and stretch your upper back and the areas between your shoulder blades.
The golf stretching pole is probably one of the best ways to go about improving your rotation.
Rotation-It's what everybody wants!
Having players swing with their feet together is a great way to limit sway and instead enhance rotation. Players can also drop their back foot back(severely closing their stance/feet line) to feel extra rotation.
Rotation-Not for Everyone
I am not a huge proponent of rotation for everyone, there are many handicapped golfers and golfers in general that don’t have much rotation in their swings. I think the term rotation should be replaced with separation for those trying to use more lower body. It’s my belief that most of the speed in the swing comes from your hands and your arms and not from your hips. So for those working on this, your shoulders should turn your hips on the back swing and your hips turn your shoulders on the down swing. Create separation on the back swing and keep the separation on the down swing. Most people that I teach try to overturn both on the back swing and on the down swing and follow and miss the important part of unhinging and rotating your hands through the golf ball at impact.
It's your turn for success
On the backswing do what Harvey Pennick said turn to look at the person on the range behind you while staying in your posture. On the downswing after your weight pressure gets to your target side foot have your bellybutton facing the target.