Improve contact by working on something you’ve likely never thought of: shoulder tilt

By Jonathan Staton

Since 1995, GolfTEC has taught millions of lessons worldwide using a proven platform of fact-based instruction. That means we’ve seen A LOT of golf swings in the past 22 years.

As evidenced by our SwingTRU Motion Study, we’ve taken advantage of all this incredible golf swing data accrued to create an unprecedented study noting how the best golfers swing compared to those less skilled at the game.

One key difference the study found was how much the golfer’s shoulders are tilted at impact. As illustrated in the image below, a typical 30 handicap has 16 degrees less shoulder tilt at impact compared to the professional.

While that may not seem like much, it means a world of difference when it comes to hitting solid shots compared to fat and thin ones.

common swing fault shoulder tilt impact

How shoulder tilt influences contact

How much a golfer’s shoulders are tilted at impact greatly influences where the arc of the swing bottoms out. We call this aspect of the swing “low point.”

For high handicappers who average very little shoulder tilt at impact, we tend to see the low point occur before the ball. This often happens because the club’s angle of attack is far too steep, and the hips are positioned too far away from the target.

This is a common cause of those ugly fat and thin shots, as well as an overall inconsistent swing which leads to slices and duck-hooks.

When compared to professionals who have a much higher degree of shoulder tilt, however, their low point occurs ahead of the ball with a shallower angle of attack, and their hips are positioned more toward the target at impact.Golf Instruction Terms: Scooping/flipping at impact

The SwingTRU Motion Study also illustrates varying degrees of hip position at impact, which you can see in the image above with the professional’s hips nearly 2 inches more toward the target at impact compared to the high-handicapper’s.

The Tilted Club Drill to increase shoulder tilt at impact

A drill I often use to improve shoulder tilt is a simple one you can do at home, in the office or at the range in between shots.

You’ll need two clubs – one to be held across your chest, and the other on the ground between your feet to represent ball position. Each club will play a part to visually exaggerate the feeling of tilting your shoulders at impact.

Here’s how it works:

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Once you feel comfortable with this new motion and feeling, start hitting real shots with smooth, controlled swings in this fashion, then speed up to full swings as you notice an improvement in contact and ball flight!


Three must-haves for better impact

Trail Foot Down Drill for more power

Not sure if this tip right for you? Find a GolfTEC near you and talk to a Coach who can help today!

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