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How the direction of turn influences your swing

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Understanding the direction you turn in the backswing will help identify your swing pattern. To start, turn is simply a word for something going around or moving circularly. When teaching, the term turn is very broad. The spine, shoulders and pelvis can all move in different directions.

So what direction should you turn? After an efficient setup (How Posture Influences Your Swing) I want players to coil around their original spine angle. This gives players an efficient “shape” to the body at the top of the backswing. Shape is the relationship between the upper and lower half of the body. Shape retains body angles from the setup, which also mirror impact. The relationship between the upper and lower body are highlighted in the pictures below.

When in this shape, the downswing can become a reaction towards the target. The club and body can return to impact with efficiency and minimal timing required. The body doesn’t need to find the impact position. This impact position is a common look to all great ball-strikers.

An important concept to understand is the direction of turn is more important than the amount of turn. Think of throwing a ball towards a target. You don’t turn more to throw the ball further or for more accuracy. Your body coils the correct direction to go forward and around towards the target. The golf swing and direction of turn is similar to a throwing position.

A great drill to get the feeling of this coil is what I call off the wall on the wall. Start by setting up with your lead side against a wall. Make sure your trail shoulder is below the lead shoulder with a tucked trail arm. From this position, swing your arms to the top of your swing. Note the backswing position.

When doing this drill, note how your upper body moves off the wall, and the lower body stays on the wall. An important note to make is the hips and glutes don’t stay stagnant against the wall. They go around, sliding against the wall as the upper moves off.

The beauty of the golf swing is there is more than one way to do it. Many great players turn with lead side bend in the backswing. This is where the upper body tilts towards the target (lateral trunk flexion). However, these players will have to change their spine angle to find impact. This pattern isn’t incorrect, just needs more recovery in the downswing to find the impact position.

I do not prefer players having to recover in their downswing. I define recovery as having to re-position the body in the downswing to find impact. Think of a baseball player having to throw a ball to first base when his body starts in a contorted position. I the golf swing, this requires more talent and timing and can lead to inconsistency unless precisely practiced and trained.

Educating yourself on how your body coils in the backswing is critical when working on your swing. Remember, there is no one perfect swing and people have different physiologies. However, coil in a direction that will give you the most efficient swing and prevent injuries.

www.kelleygolf.com

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Kelvin is a Class A PGA golf professional in San Francisco, California. He teaches and has taught at some of the top golf clubs in the Bay Area, including the Olympic Club and Sonoma Golf Club. He is TPI certified, and a certified Callaway and Titleist club fitter. Kelvin has sought advice and learned under several of the top instructors in the game, including Alex Murray and Scott Hamilton. To schedule a lesson, please call 818.359.0352 Online lessons also available at www.kelleygolf.com

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Robert Johansson

    Dec 31, 2020 at 6:23 am

    All players show compensational impacts positions

  2. geohogan

    Nov 4, 2020 at 5:36 am

    Muscles do not stretch or coil.
    Bone and muscle create levers.
    The kinematic sequence explains how acceleration
    of the clubhead is result of deceleration of proximal
    to distal in sequence;
    not uncoiling of muscles, as if coil springs: an absurd, incorrect
    image, leading to many injury.

  3. geohogan

    Nov 4, 2020 at 5:31 am

    We stand on two legs, supported by two hip joints.

    A turn is around a central point. In golf swing we pivot first in BS, on the right hip joint(right hand swingers) and left hip joint in follow through.

    Attempting to rotate or turn is cause of injury to knee and lower back.

  4. PSG

    Sep 27, 2020 at 11:38 am

    This is a great article.

    That said, avoid words like “all”. There are great ball strikers – Henrick Stenson – who come off the wall with their lower body. In golf, somebody has probably made it work somewhere.

    But other than a few “all”s that should be “most”s, this article will help a lot of people and is great knowledge.

    • Tyler Durden

      Sep 27, 2020 at 12:58 pm

      He said, “ This impact position is a common look to all great ball-strikers.”
      But thanks for your comment, it made me read the article a few times to more understand what the author was trying to say.

      • Paulo

        Sep 27, 2020 at 4:16 pm

        Hi Tyler. Thanks for your valued input. Keep up the good work from all of us here.

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