Is your right shoulder making your golf swing worthless and weak?

Can your right shoulder in the downswing really maximize your club head speed?

golf right shoulder in downswing
Clay Ballard showing the "power" of the right shoulder. But how does it affect club head "speed"?

In this article based on our recent "Right Shoulder Golf Swing Drill" video, I'll break down the usage of the right shoulder in the golf swing and how it might be destroying your club head speed.

Testing your club head speed with just rotation!

Instructors around the world have always passed along the notion that "You must rotate the body as quickly as possible to maximize your power." Wrong! What you should know is that club head speed can be increased drastically when leverage (commonly known as "levers") are built into your golf swing. Want to test it? Try this... Grab a golf club and take your setup, then keep the arms very straight and rotate your body as quickly as possible. Are you are making that whoooooosh noise with the club head? Probably not!

right shoulder rotating in the backswing
Clay Ballard trying to produce as much club head speed as possible with just body rotation

how to use the right shoulder in golf
Clay demonstrates the follow through position when keeping the arms straight and just rotating

The right shoulder in the downswing can create power when rotating, but it cannot create the club head speed that you need over time. You must use the right shoulder properly for leverage.

The big levers you must have in your downswing

The first one, probably the more obvious of the 2, would be weight shift. Shifting your body back and forth with all that rotation will certainly generate more power but is it enough? The second lever, which you may not have heard mentioned, is lag and release. What is this lag and release phenomenon that I speak of?

golf right shoulder and lag position
Showing what lag is and how it can be used for leverage

right shoulder function in golf downswing
The Lag Doctor showing the release from the lag position

The simplest definition is that during the downswing a sharp angle between the right forearm and the club are formed (above left) so that just before impact the release of this angle creates massive club head speed (above right). Take note of the right shoulder in the picture on the left, with a fully built lever known as lag. Then take note of the picture on the right. The lever has been released creating a ton of club head speed, and the right shoulder stayed put.

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Let's build your lever

Warning: If you're serious about maximizing your club head speed, then you must get an impact bag for the upcoming drill. What I'm about to show you is a drill that will help increase club head speed but can also cure your over-the-top swing...BONUS! Drill: Place the impact bag just in front of the bottom of your swing arc and assume the lag position as seen below

golf right shoulder in downswing
Here Clay Ballard sets the club in a great lag position

Then keep your right shoulder very still and extend the right arm while letting go of the club as seen below. Do 50-60 reps of this and make sure that your right arm is fully extended.

golf lag drill with right shoulder
The release of the lag with the right hand coming off the club and smashing the impact bag

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Once you have performed enough reps with the right hand coming off the club, then try the next 50-60 reps with the right hand staying on the club. You will be amazed at the feeling of this new and improved club head speed added to your game! Now you need to start powering your golf swing with more drills like this one. Check out our FREE membership and you’ll get instant access to 25+ Rotary Swing Tour (RST) videos and full access to over 150 articles.

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Chris Tyler

RST Certified Instructor - Level 1 See my complete bio here.

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