Does Shrugging Shoulders Cause Loss of Power in Golf Swing?

One of the most common golf swing faults we see at our golf instruction academy in Orlando, FL, is when the golfer “shrugs” or “elevates” his shoulders during the backswing.

When you do this in your backswing in golf, you’ll find that you will tend to not only swing across the line, but lose a lot of power as well.

This very common swing fault puts the golfer in a very weak position, as can been seen in the picture below:

golf backswing
Elevated shoulders in the golf backswing.

The image on the left shows where the scapula is elevated and effectively “disconnects” the golfer from the core muscles, requiring a very “armsy” downswing. The key to preventing this is to understand precisely how the arms work during the golf backswing.

Your Drill to Stay More Connected

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the movement of the arms, another swing drill that will help is learning to shrug and depress your shoulders. This will help you learn what it feels like to elevate your shoulders vs. keeping them depressed so that you are connected to your core.

This swing drill is pretty simple and can be done right there in your chair:

Simply sit up in good posture and “shrug” your shoulders as high you can and begin to rotate back and forth. Note how you feel your shoulders moving independently of your core.

Now, keep rotating but pull your shoulders down in a military, but relaxed, posture. Note how you feel more “connected” to your core with your arms and shoulders.

Fix the Flying Right Elbow

Once you’ve learned the arm movements, the backswing in golf is pretty simple, but a lot of golfers still struggle with the flying right elbow.

Fortunately, we have a golf instruction video specifically for the flying right elbow here.

With the scapula depressed and the elbow in front of the body, you’ll be in a much more biomechanically connected position at the top of your golf backswing and be able to apply a lot more power from your torso in the downswing.

If you still struggle with the movement of the arms, take a look at our top selling golf instruction book, the Rotary Swing Certification Manual.


fix your flying elbow

Chuck Quinton

is the founder of the RotarySwing Tour online golf instruction learning system. He played golf professionally for 8 years and has been teaching golf since 1995 and has worked with more than 100 playing professionals who have played on the PGA, and other major tours around the world.

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