Shoulders In The Downswing

By | on June 3, 2016 | 36 Comments | Array


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Paul Wilson is the creator of Swing Machine Golf and founder of Ignition Golf. Paul's golf swing technique is based on the Iron Byron swing machine. YouTube Channels: Paul Wilson Golf and Ignition Golf Tips. Please Join me on Google+

36 Responses to “Shoulders In The Downswing”

  1. December 22, 2012


    Absolutely right. Since I have been following your method, I “keep my shoulders passive”. Whenever I don’t, I produce a hook.


  2. December 22, 2012


    At the top of the backswing I feel like I pause momentarily, long enough to transfer my thoughts to straightening the left leg. This may increase the torque created in the torso, before the arms and shoulders follow the legs. That’s when I get it right, I might get a pull or a push depending on how well I time the downswing trigger. I’m getting more consistent and will persevere, the swing will probably never be perfect but my handicap is dropping.

  3. Hi paul,

    My main problem is when i start my backswing and i tend to drop my shoulder and that resulted club face open at the impact, poor shots- extreme slice to right and hit fat shots.

    Please advice me on how to cure this problem and perhaps the best drill to practise. Many thanks.

    -albir nordin-

  4. Thanks Paul

  5. Hi Paul:

    I am sure you talk about it in your vast library of tips and if so, I would appreciate pointing the way to the video.

    When I make the swing based on your coaching, it feels (based on years of arm swinging) like my shoulders are lagging waaaay behind my lower body and the ball contact occurs far later in the swing than what I am used to. When I do this, the results are great BUT fighting against that “loss of control” causes me no end of problems as my arms kick in to “catch up” yielding disastrous results.

    Breaking years of bad habits are hard and the brain works against you in those circumstances. Could you also point to the videos where I could get a slow motion view that will show this “lag” in your swing as viewed face to face during your setup?

    I love your program.


  6. November 2, 2013


    Thanks for this and others. Like a lot of things, it’s drill, drill, drill, and then one day–voila! I had this moment last week when I had a shot from some fairly thick rough, a shot I would have thought two months ago the only way to get the ball out would be to muscle it with my hands, arms, and shoulders. Instead, I took a couple of leg-powered practice swings, noted how cleanly the club was ripping through the tall grass, and stepped into the shot, which I put three feet from the green. Once you get the feel, it is easy.
    Thanks again.

    • November 3, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      Convincing yourself that not hitting with your arms is a huge factor. I think you are now seeing it is possible to generate even more power with your body. Now that you ave seen and felt it keep trusting it for all of your shots. If you do, you will see more and more great shots using the body and one day you will give up completely on trying to hit with the arms. Keep at it.

  7. November 20, 2013


    I am currently trying to ACTIVELY NOT engage my shoulders in the start of downswing. Is that reasonable? Thx for everything Paul.

    • November 21, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      You do not need to be thinking about the shoulders in the downswing. I could be wrong but I am assuming you got this from a recent tip on another website. If so, quit watching that other site so you end all confusion. Watch this tip to clarify the shoulders in the downswing:

      Shoulders in downswing:

  8. March 23, 2015



    Question answered.

    Much appreciated

  9. October 27, 2015



    Is there any trigger I should know to start the down swing other than shoulder tightness? Anything in my left side or feet too feel to help start the down swing?


  10. Hi Paul,
    I understand that at the end of the coiling the body is loaded with tension, like a spring. Would you recommend to actively support the uncoiling with the right leg pushing? Especially after hitting many balls I am getting problems to reach the toughing legs position. So I am wondering if the right leg might help.
    Thank you.

  11. Paul,
    Doing what you describe in this video lesson works marvels ffor me .As you say ,I never think about uncoiling m’y shoulders ,this happens by itself ,automatically .When you are coiled to the utmost ,you do feel it in your back,you can’t go back any further ,and THE uncoiling occurs on it’s own.You CAN also help THE turn with THE inner right insole pushing ,but it’s not a must .To ingrain THE proper move ,I train with two alignment rods : one is placed inside THE right foot ,touching it ,THE other is in front OF THE left foot ,directed at right Angles to THE first one ,parallell to THE target Line .In THE drill you turn your upper body untel THE left shoulder Gets past THE ROD inside THE right foot ,then you unwind THE upper body past THE other ROD in front OF THE left foot must be careful not to Sway backwards when you turn and keep your axis on THE right leg ,not outside it .
    This givres you tremendous Power ,Also keep THE hips parallèll to THE target Line as long as possible to create maximum torque .

  12. The personal touch you apply to your teaching and site is amazing and appreciated.

    You must have a ” time machine” and stop time, so that you can do all the things that you do for your site and you followers.

    Thank you.

    • John,

      Glad you like the tips and the site. It takes a ton of work but we have it down now so it is manageable. I’m so glad I started it. It’s all about helping people and this allows me to help anyone in the world.

  13. Paul,
    I think that getting the shoulder turn to the tightest position is key to making this work. if I make my backswing and it is not tight as you describe, then when I turn my hips there can be a real lag between my hips and my shoulders. You show this separation when you demonstrate rotating your hips and your shoulders aren’t moving. I think that may be a reason for the ball going right. What do you think?
    – ter

    • Terry,

      Well, you certainly need to coil. No spring-like effect and you will hit with arms.

      The ball is going right because you are firing the lower body way too hard. This is getting ahead of the release. Did you not watch this tip?

      DRILL: Golf Swing Timing For More Distance:

  14. Paul,
    I think I have some trouble explaining myself. I realize I need to coil and I do, in fact my mantra is “coil and uncoil” during my swing. You are probably right, it is just that I feel my hips are separate from my torso. I had not seen the video you suggested, so I will do so.

  15. You talk about moving the shoulders on a flatter plane when you coil and uncoil. You certainly do that with your left shoulder as you make your backswing. On the other hand as I watch your downswing your right shoulder makes a definite downward movement, it drops, it is not flat. When instructors in the past tell me to shift first it is to drop the right shoulder which then will get the club coming in from the inside, if you don’t you come over the top. A slight dropping of the right shoulder seems to bring the club down plane better. I am also doing this while trying to keep my hands and arm loose.Is that drop in your left shoulder due to your hips moving forward and your head staying back which increases your tilt.

    • Don,

      It drops due to the tilt of your body in the downswing.

      Illustrating Why A Divot Is Taken:
      Shoulders in downswing:

      I don’t want your shoulders level on the way down. This is a backswing thought.

      • Hi Paul. Flat shoulders in the downswing would send the club over the top?

        • Stian,

          Flat shoulders coming down would swing the club too much inside out. If you are over the top the shoulders would be steep coming down. Not sure why you would think otherwise.

          • May 30, 2018


            Hi Paul.
            I do Get that a steep left shoulder (going down?) means you are over the top?
            Flat shoulders for me gets me spinning out the shoulders too soon.
            Right shoulder down gets the plane from the inside and correct?
            Am I wrong?

          • Avatar photo

            May 31, 2018

            Paul Wilson


            The right shoulder would go down in the downswing due to the body tilting right in the downswing. If you tilt left the right shoulders would go up. So yes, it should go down.

          • May 31, 2018


            Ok. I meant shoulders level to the ground swinging through gets me over the top and spinning open too soon. The trail shoulder should go down in response to the uncoiling?

          • Avatar photo

            May 31, 2018

            Paul Wilson


            It would because your body tilts back in the downswing.

  16. Paul

    when I start my down swing using my preferred trigger which is to straighten my left leg (Right handed golfer) and turn my lower body I feel as if I let the weight of the club drops to about waist height (Shoulder at 90 degrees to where I’m aiming – starting position direction) then I’m pulling back on my left shoulder before my hands release and rehinge. Knees touch in the process and club shaft ends up touching my head in the finishing position.
    If I don’t feel I’m letting the club drop down before twisting the wrists whilst turning my body at best I get push/push fades or other inconsistances – Any comments?

    Thanks Clive

    • Clive,

      The dropping of the club is keeping you tilted behind the ball in the downswing. This can also be done by just watching the back of the ball as you hit the ball but whatever works. I do give leeway so long as the person is getting it. If so, keep doing it. I prefer you to not think about the arms in the downswing other than not hitting but like I said if it works, keep doing it.

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