How to Turn the Right Shoulder Correctly Out of the Way During the Golf Back Swing

PGA TOUR - 2005 Honda Classic - Final Round

For a right-handed golfer, rotating the right shoulder out of the way during the backswing is essential to achieving the proper swing plane. Failing to turn the right shoulder can result in a lateral "side-to-side" swing that produces drastic slices and reduced clubhead speed. The golf swing is a complex series of chain-like events, and there are multiple causes for an incorrect shoulder turn. However, one leading cause for an improper right shoulder turn is over-swinging with the arms and allowing the right elbow to flare out at the top of the swing. The towel drill is an effective method for reducing this error and forcing you to rotate your shoulders.

Tuck a hand towel underneath both armpits. The towel should be fairly tight across your chest.

Address the golfball and swing as your normally would. As you take your backswing, the towel should remain tucked under both arms. If the towel falls from the right armpit, you have made an improper rotation with the right shoulder and your right elbow has strayed too far from your body.

Execute the downswing as normal. At no point during the backswing or downswing should the towel fall from its original place. Only during the last state of the follow through should the towel fall softly to the ground.


Practice this drill for 10 minutes each day, and warm up with this drill before each round to promote a solid shoulder turn.

An additional cause for poor shoulder turn is a lack of flexibility. Perform 10 minutes of stretching before each round and place special emphasis on the shoulders and lower back.