Understanding Shoulder Elevation

At the request of members from the forum, Al Consoli has put together this great video on understanding shoulder elevation during the backswing. So many golfers get their arms buried deep behind their chest during the takeaway and that leads to numerous swing faults. Understanding how simple it is to have an on plane takeaway and just how small the movements really are will be a revelation to many after watching this video. If you've struggled with getting across the line at the top of your swing or getting the club working too deep behind you, this video will change the way you think of the arm movement in the backswing forever.

  • Shoulder elevation does not mean lifting the shoulders!
  • Shrugging the shoulders disconnects you from your core, causing all kinds of problems in the golf swing
  • Shoulder elevation means raising your arms in a vertical plane, hinging from the shoulders
  • Elevation is combined with rotation into a single, smooth movement
  • Go back and review the Bucket Drill

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Joe
Hello Steven, My last review stops playing part way through. I've tried different computers and it just won't play all the way through.
October 24, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Joe. Email Customer Service. They will be happy to help fix the issue for you. Use the help link at the top right of your screen. Apologize for your error.
October 24, 2016
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GC
Hi Craig, on my video review, although it looks my club is coming inside, when I drew the club angle to my hand and in the back turn, I was only inside by a few cm - pretty much on plane?
August 1, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello GC. Draw a little vertical line on the front of your hands (close to the lower end of the grip). Check to see how much your hands move away from the line from setup to the completed takeaway position. Compare to one of the model swings. It should relatively stay about the same. Not move too much inside that line.
August 2, 2016
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GC
How to get a model swing?
August 2, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello GC. Upload a swing to the Self Analysis Section. Once you upload the swing and the page refreshes. You will be able to compare to number of swing models.
August 2, 2016
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Gary
Quick question Al. Does arm elevation start IMMEDIATELY in takeaway / weight shift? i.e. Does the shoulder turn and arm elevation start simultaneously? Or does it occur a fraction after weight shift, shoulder turn?
May 26, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gary. You will start to elevate after you start rotating. Even if you use the weight shift as a trigger to start the swing. You will want rotation to occur just before starting to raise the arms.
May 26, 2016
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gary
Great job Al! Arms are attached to the shoulders. Simply elevating your arms 2-3 inches while using the shoulder glide will get the job done. Shoulder glide without a little elevation will get your club way to deep causing you to elevate and then the compensation game is on!
February 5, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gary. Thanks for the compliments on the video.
February 5, 2016
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Robert
Do you think moving a little farther away from the ball would help at setup. I tend to keep upper arms tied to my sides. When I practice I find it hard to get arms away and have trouble starting the swing and keeping the club in front of my chest.
November 15, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Robert. You don't want to get too far away from the ball. The arms hanging directly underneath the shoulder joints should be sufficient to allow the proper elevation.
November 16, 2015
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Mark
Great video Al! Well explained and now saved in my favorites
October 11, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Mark. Thanks for the compliments of our video.
October 12, 2015
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Lance
Thanks Al Great explanation
September 21, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Glad you liked the video Lance.
September 21, 2015
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Peter R
In keeping with Allen's comment of May 12, 2015 about the importance of terminology in effective communication, I'm left confused by Al Consoli's saying at around 5:52, "the pulling of this right shoulder blade behind us" and at around 6:02, "we have to make sure that shoulder blade is pulling behind us." It's clear that Al Consoli really means shoulder, not shoulder blade. However, this merely points out how EASILY the terminology is misused.
September 8, 2015
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Paul
Great video - it confirmed something I only just stumbled upon the other day myself ! Something wasn't adding up as I went through the 5 mins rotary drill, my arms kept ending up way too deep with my hips having to overcompensate, and I couldn't understand what I was doing wrong. This video explained it nicely and helped me, thanks !
June 29, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Paul. Great. Get that much needed elevation.
June 29, 2015
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GARY
Hi I am loving the videos. At the moment I have a suspected SLAP tear , type 2, in my right shoulder. I am a right handed player. I do feel that I can't elevate my shoulders 100% and the right arm rotation is also difficult. What would you suggest? Many thanks.
June 10, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gary. Are you going to be operated on? I had my entire right (trail) shoulder rebuilt. SLAP - Labrum - Cuff -etc.. I have anchors all over my shoulder. It was tough for me before surgery to achieve the perfect elevation, but now don't have an issue after months and months of therapy. If you can't achieve maximum elevation it is ok for now. It can be relative to flexibility. However, work hard on the right arm external rotation and flexion. Take a look at the Fix the Flying Elbow in this Section to see if you can get at least the amount Clay describes.
June 10, 2015
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Allen
Good video, but referring to the "arm" elevation as "shoulder" elevation is very confusing. It's the arms, not the shoulders that elevate. Terminology is critically important in communicating the details of the golf swing. Thanks for the great videos, but the swing is confusing enough without adding to it through inconsistent use of terminology. Thanks.
May 12, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Allen. Thank you for the post. We understand that the term can be misunderstood. Chuck released another video called Understanding Arm Elevation in the Backswing Advanced Section to help. Apologize for the confusion.
May 12, 2015
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Allen
Thanks Craig. I viewed Chuck's video as well. Both are excellent. Just saying I have been confused by the term shoulder elevation for some time and would guess others have been as well.
May 12, 2015
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Richard
I am one of the "others" that you refer to Allen. It is clearly arm elevation and not shoulder elevation. Shoulder elevation would be a shrug.
August 25, 2015
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Peter
Thanks, RJ. I've got to get better. Got a new set of forged Calloways and Taylor Made Power-Killer 'woods' sittin' in the bag. They call out to me in the night. Right now I'm looking at another year of recovery time, but I'm getting compression on 40-yarders I never had before Rotary. Thanks for your kind words. Gettin' old is not for sissies. In my youth, I was a little man playing big man's games. (Ice hockey in h.s. and at Harvard). And each day, or month, or year, some old injury bites my butt and reminds me of my stupidity. But we persist. The alternative is neither productive nor profitable. Golf mimics life in that it demands that we 'strive' towards something, whether it be a low score, or a sweet ball flight, of just a contact that opened your heart. Without striving, without effort, everything loses purpose. Thanks again, pk
January 14, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
It's never too late to get better, that's for sure. R.J.
January 16, 2015
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Peter
Thanks, R.J. But you've got the wrong guy, or at least your computer system does. Nevertheless, your statement makes supremely good sense, especially for us old guys who often think we're as supple as we were when we were 20. So I'll thank you twice, once for Peter, and once for me.
January 12, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Peter, You're welcome. Yes, I think the system had you confused with the other Peter. All I did was reply to his message. =) I'm glad you found the information useful regardless R.J.
January 13, 2015
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Peter
Please note that I do think that my swing is better being connected using your techniques. Many professional backswings are longer than you demonstrate and I can achieve with your techniques. How can you explain their position at the top?
January 12, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Peter, The pros are very athletic and talented players with a lot of time to practice. It's very difficult to get that deep in the backswing and still get the arms out in front of the body leading into impact. It's an unnecessary movement. You can achieve the same swing speed, if not more and be much more consistent by keeping the arms in front of the body during the backswing. The two plane swing position at the top feels like a really short swing, but that's just because we're so used to getting really deep with our clubs. We should be thinking about getting width from the face on prospective not the down the line prospective. That's how we generate consistent club head speed. R.J.
January 12, 2015
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Peter
Is there an inexpensive club head speed analyzer that you would recommend to monitor my progress?
January 12, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Peter, The one that I use, which I think is very reasonably priced is the 3Bays GSA Pro. It's $199, very accurate next to a launch monitor (of course it has some limitations) and it's practically weightless. This recommendation is that of my own thoughts and opinions and in no way reflects the opinions of RST or its staff members. R.J.
January 13, 2015
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Darren
Hi is the elevation in the takeaway ie 45 degrees to belt height then continue elevation to chest height whilst turning to 90 degrees thanks
December 11, 2014
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Darren, You got it! Now you just have to do the reps so that you can do it without thinking about it. Good luck and we will always be here if you need us! R.J.
December 11, 2014
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nathan
I have read most of these comments and have two questions. 1.) Is it possible to elevate to much? 2.) What issues if any would you see with too much shoulder elevation. Love the website.
December 2, 2014
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Nathan, Yes, you can elevate too much. If you elevate too much, you'll have too steep of a swing plane, get disconnected from your core, be severely off plane, and have to make a huge compensation to get back to the proper positions. R.J.
December 3, 2014
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William
Chuck did mention this in his video '5 minutes to the perfect takeaway' and I must admit your 'patting your head and rubbing your belly' analogy fitted perfectly with the way I felt! Maybe I'm lucky, but once I got my head round the two motions of turning and lifting at the same time it just felt so good. I've been playing golf for many years and have never experienced real 'freedom' in my swing - the drills and videos have made a massive impact on my action, but I'm taking the lessons one at a time. Next step 'the backswing' but only after my latest swing review. Cheers! William
November 30, 2014
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
William, Congrats, we all look forward to your progression R.J.
November 30, 2014
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Peter
You've done a nice job. But your Anatomy Professor would flunk you. What you do in your demonstration is to ELEVATE THE ARMS, using the anterior belly of the deltoid and a little bit of biceps. I know it's hard to change what's been a basic tenet of the RSW, but it's the truth. Think about what a golfer feels when he makes a partial and full backswing. It's hard enough to separate rotation from elevation. 'Hands in Front", coupled with the hinge action at the right elbow (It can't do anything else) gets my weary old arms to the right place at the top.
November 19, 2014
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Peter, The lessons are designed for the average golfer, who isn't a medical practitioner. The instructors do know about the anatomy of the human body, especially the instructors in the videos. However, getting too specific about the anatomy will confuse most people. It's about trying to relate to the audience so, describing how it feels with base muscle group description will assist people easier than getting too in depth. So, I appreciate your expertise but I just wanted to let you know the aim of the videos so that you don't discount the knowledge of the swing based on terminology not being displayed on your level. Thank you for watching and good luck to you in your improvement! R.J.
November 19, 2014
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Peter
Easy, my friend. When I began sparring with you guys, I was still in a hospital bed, and Rotary was...well, less than Rotary is today. Today, and perhaps for the rest of what I've got left, I AM an average golfer. Lest you thiink, that I think, that you...Phooey! I'm outta here. Hence forth, I'll keep my big mouth to myself. pk Please say hello to Chris for me. I've admired his earnestness, articulate presentations, and good common sense in the past.
January 12, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Peter, There was no venom in my words on that day. I was just speaking frankly. My comment was more a compliment of your knowledge than it was a sleight of understanding. Many times those of superior intellect have a difficult time relating to those who are not so gifted, thus I was clearing up any potential misunderstandings between your medical expertise and the goal of the instructing presented in the video. It was also more of an affirmation of Al's knowledge base of the game and the human body as well. I promise you that he knows his stuff, but he was simplifying the information for the general audience. We appreciate your presence on the board, Peter! Don't stop posting. R.J.
January 13, 2015
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Peter
Dear RJ Thanks for responding. You may not know my history; I'm an old, very old golf nut who learned from Hogan's book. I even got to play 9 holes with him in a pro am before the old Kemper Open, held annually in St. Paul, Minn. I'm so old I even caddied for George Bayer, first of the Bombers. (He couldn't putt a lick!) Now retired from Medical Oncology because of an auto accident in 10/08, I've gone from a Handicap of 4 to one of infinity. Neuropathy due to my post op management made it tough to balance during a swing. More recently, had my 4th lumbar surgery to correct progressive paralysis in my legs. So I sit, mope, and think about the golf swing while I heal up. I found you guys, liked hell out of your system, and have been an ardent follower and sometime contributor. Right now, most of my practice has been done while seated. I spend a lot of time fooling with stuff that pops into my head. One of these was "shoulder elevation". I had some concerns about this label, because as a little guy with too much chest, I'd fought "disattachment" of my shoulders with predictable results. My comments about "flunking anatomy" or whatever were said in jest. I'd come to like the guy I'd been communicating with, I think it was Chris, and I got too "cutesy". I was in error. I know of no way to "speak" with you instructors except through this forum. It's probably inappropriate for me to do so, but I spend a fair amount of time thinking about the golf swing (I once wrote a book on "Golf with a Bad Back", but couldn't find an illustrator. 20 years later, Doug Tewell popped up exhorting the stuff I'd written about.) What impresses me most, not just about RST, but about all you folks in Florida, is that yours is an earnest work in progress. I can see the wheels turning in your heads as you consider new issues of muscle kinetics, anatomy, etc. And you present your data in a highly-articulate, discliplined, professional, and yet easy to understand and follow format. I've never met Mr. Ballard, never spoken with him, but I've been teaching all my professional life, and I'd sit in his audience any day. Case in point: Shoulder elevation controversy led to further explanations, videos, and definitions like, "This is a shrug. The shrug has NO place in the golf swing." Thanks for taking time out to respond to me. Sorry if this was long. But I'm glad you're on board. Every once in a while, you might trip over an old f---t like me. But remember, even a blind pig finds a truffle once in a while. Regards & Admiration to you all, Peter Kennedy, M.S., M.D.--armchair golf addict
January 13, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Peter, My condolences for the adversity that you face everyday. We all do appreciate your contributions and I hope that you stick with the game even when your body fails you. I do agree though, everything in life is an ever growing process. We're always trying to improve ourselves as instructors. Never let the flame of your love of the game burn out, my friend. R.J.
January 14, 2015
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Grant
I've watched this video as well as Chuck's video on "how much shoulder elevation" numerous times. What is constantly confusing me and has from the start is the fact that you're saying shoulder elevation but in reality your arms are elevating 2 to 3 inches in front of your sternum, correct? Please help clarify that my shoulders are not elevating but my arms are, or am I completely in the dark on your terminology?
November 19, 2014
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Grant, What shoulder elevation means is that your shoulder muscles are flexing to raise the arms in elevation. Your actual shoulders you want to keep low and connected to the muscles in your back. If you allow your shoulders to raise, then you'll become disconnected from your core and you'll be forced to swing with just your arms instead of your whole body. Let us know if that clears things up for you R.J.
November 19, 2014
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Richard
This is precisely the reason for the confusion. You call it shoulder elevation when you mean something entirely different. In fact you state, "if you allow your shoulders to RAISE..." Elevate is good. Raise is bad. ???? New terminology suggestion, "raise your arms from the shoulder."
August 25, 2015
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Mike
Can someone describe the position of the arms at address, and what to do or fell to get them there? I'm gathering they shouldn't be manipulated to set the upper arms on the chest, as another instructor told me. This at times has seemed to help me, but now it feels like it rounds my shoulders and is inconsistent with the in the concept in the "in the box" video. When I try to follow the set up routine, my upper arms seem more connected to "the box" than the chest (rectangle), and my elbow pits are lightly touching the forward side (abdomen) of my torso. These feels different, and before I do a thousand practice set-ups I'd like your thoughts. Thanks.
November 11, 2014
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Mike, Your arms should hang naturally under your shoulder joints from the down the line view and your shoulders should be in line with your spine, which can be hard to tell based on your body size so, if your shoulders are between you ear hole and your hips, then they are in the box. If you want to know how that should feel, watch the 5 minutes to the perfect golf setup video. From the face on view, you want your left arm to over top of the ball and your right arm is pulled over to the left by our hip bump and axis tilt. If you have a very large chest from either being a large man, very muscular or just have a huge ribcage, you will have some slight internal rotation of the forearms in order to get the arms in the proper position while remaining in the box. So basically, don't come out of the box just to get your right elbow pit facing away from you, which is what you would be doing if you're laying your arms on your chest. Your arms should be hanging naturally. There shouldn't be much struggle. I would watch all of the setup videos to be honest, because those videos will help you better understand how your arms hang in the stance. R.J.
November 11, 2014
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Jackie (Certified RST Instructor)
I agree with the fact that the shoulder blade glide should be the driving part of the golf swing, however I am unclear about when to actually start elevating. If I elevate at the same time as I glide my shoulder, I wind up outside the elbow plane due to the early elevation. It's almost as if the elevation occurs right after the glide. When I blend the two in slow motion it also feels like the shoulders don't start elevating until after the club gets passed my right leg. Is there ay specific checkpoint when to start elevating?
October 8, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Jackie. There isn't a specific check point to say when to elevate. It is gradual in the takeaway. Not a whole bunch. As you begin to pull back make sure you are rotating. Then add the elevation. Blending is the key. Don't over do it from the start.
October 8, 2014
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Hai
I sort of agree with Jackie. If I rotate to start the takeaway and at the same time elevate, they I will get a very "above the plane" take away. On the contrary, if I rotate but at the same time not to elevate, and I only elevate at some point after rotation, the back swing can be on the plane.
October 12, 2014
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Tim (Certified RST Instructor)
Hai, You have to be very aware of exactly where your elevation is coming from. If you initiate from the hands it will move your arms up and away from your body and get you disconnected and above the plane right from the start. If you elevate from the front of the shoulders only you should be able to blend the two motions together. I almost always have a heavy medicine ball with me on the lesson tee to help my clients feel this proper blending. Any object over about 4 lbs will help you to differentiate between elevating and "lifting". The bucket drill is great also, especially if you actually add water to the bucket. In my opinion it is much easier to learn to blend two motions together at the same time. If you are trying to add the elevation in after the rotation starts, you introduce a timing variable that could be difficult to sync when pressure is added...
October 12, 2014
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Lee
Rightly or wrongly I seem to have synchronization between my hips and my should elevation, what I mean is I continue to rotate my hips for the same amount of time that I bend my right arm, hard to explain but I think I may be putting my lower back under too much strain, just my opening the hips too much. I see a lot of pro slow motion swings and the hits seem to stop rotating at a certain point and shoulder elevation continues. Can you shed any light on this?
October 2, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Lee. The hips rotate as a function of pulling the shoulder blade back. As your shoulder rotation start to slow, the pull of the will diminish. Therefore, the hips will stop rotating. While adding elevation you still want to be rotating the shoulders. Most pros try and inhibit the extra hip rotation in an effort to create more x-factor. Torque between the upper and lower half. Storing more power. But, also adding some strain.
October 2, 2014
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Peter
Steve, contrived simply means that you're consciously UNdoing what your muscles have learned to do however long ago, and they're screaming, "Not that way, this way!!" It helped me to concentrate on rotating (from the waist up) till my left arm is almost horizontal (to my axis). The right elbow is trying to bend. If you don't let it happen, horrible things will happen to your shoulder joint. But the Rotary guys want you to not allow it to collapse against your chest wall-that's how you go inside. I've suggested doing this motion sitting in a chair. DON'T FORGET THE ELBOW "PIT" IS POINTING DIRECTLY AWAY FROM YOU AT ADDRESS. The "pit" is really the antecubital fossa. You have to internally rotate your upper arm (humerus) to get there. That prepares your elbow bend in a proper relationship to the rest of ur upper body. The only guys I know who don't do that are the Walrus and his son. Works for them, I guess. When the elbow starts to bend, the arms have to elevate. By this time, your shoulders have rotated about 60-70 degrees. In the tapes, they tell you the elevation is 2-3 inches (but when they demonstrate the move, it's always about six.) Again, the elevation is done with the arms, but at this point.it's just completing a full backswing, as the left arm moves across the chest. If it's done right at this point the right elbow should point straight down, and the back of the left wrist is flat. It sounds weird, but the other elevation they talk about is caused by the angle of your upper body at address (the amount you bend over at the hips). As a little guy built like a barrel, I feel a lot of stored energy on the inside of my right arm at the top. It's itching to "go". But it has to wait till after your weight begins to shift leftward, and your hamstrings and butt, in turn, store much of the power of your rotation. This is where you're anchored into the ground, and you start to leverage (hate that word!) As for the controversy, fuggetaboudit! Hope this helps a little.
September 24, 2014
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steve
dear guys, the rst is really helping me. one area i need some help in is getting to top of backswing. i used to get wicked inside but getting in better position now. i feel as though i have to place my hands,arms and club in the correct position at top. this feels a bit contrived on my part although it is sort of working. right shoulder glide turn is a huge help because i golf right but naturally left handed and very left side dominant. any advice on hitting the correct position at top more easily? thanks steve
September 24, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Steve. Concentrate on the shoulder blade and supporting the swing plane with the right arm. Use the 3 Functions of the Right Arm in the Advanced Backswing Section. Drill the right arm position and support the plane. Simple and effective.
September 24, 2014
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Peter
Thanks very much. That was good, concise, and easy to visualize pk
September 12, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Thanks Peter for the good feedback!
September 12, 2014
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Tom
Why not call it arm elevation instead of shoulder elevation. Shoulders do not elevate, they maintain their plane. It seems it would be less confusing terminology.
September 12, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Tom. I understand where you are going with the terminology. I'm sorry for the confusion.
September 12, 2014
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Giampietro
The only two things i can not understand: 1) when the arms should get starting to elevete? When im i suppose to starts the club levation? 2) Then, when i start the elevation, should i also start cocking my wrists (i mean at the same time)? Sorry if you have already anwered about it but haven't read all previos comments
August 23, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Giampietro. The arms elevate slightly in the takeaway. It will be a gradual blend once you initiate rotation. A little elevation and little wrist set. Take a look at the 5 Mins to the Perfect Takeaway about 22-23 mins in Chuck will discuss.
August 24, 2014
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Eric
Reading the older comments it's easy to see how one would get confused with shoulder elevation. The are elevated through the shoulders is the way I think of it. If I thought arm elevation then I would want to just lift and extend the arms...which I used to do..which leads to disconnect and out of the box into the triangle...which is what I was doing. For me shoulder elevation is a great mental image leading to the proper physical motion. Trying to move I should say.
August 14, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Eric. Sorry for the confusion. From your notes, it sounds like you are on the right track now.
August 14, 2014
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Ron
videos very slow to load & start,when started stutters,choppy,stops,when out on pause to load,takes forever.when started runs for 30/40 secs then screen goes black,error sorry .have had your system since 05/30/14 have not yet been able to finish any videos! if videos wont play i dont need your system!------Thank You ,Ron Brown
June 10, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Ron. I'm sorry you are having difficulty playing the videos. Our Tech Support team would be more than happy to assist you in getting the videos to play correctly. If you click the Contact Us link at the bottom of the page and contact customer support they will get you going.
June 10, 2014
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Peter
I missed seeing Tim's comment about arm elevation in my first read-through. Twelve thousand lessons made him a wise man. As a little young guy, I played well by holding my hands high at address. (?Norman style? I learned it from an old Montreal pro.) But as I moved on in life, the right shoulder separated from the chest wall, and I couldn't hit a lick. Took a long time to recognize and fix it. For the rotary concept to work, there has to be SOMEthing that allows all that stored energy in the back to w-a-i-t. There are left knee proponents, hand-dropping proponents (which may be part of the arm elevation Tim suggests; as you get better at the "pause" and use your shoulders, arms, & wrists still more effectively), etc. You recently suggested a wrist bowing event. All these and others are different keys to doing the same thing: elimination of a downswing starting uncontrollably at the upper back. Coordinated weight transfer and use of upper and lower body to maximum efficiency have been in our muscle memory since we were 5 years old; they only await being transferred to a new set of planes and levers. pk
May 23, 2014
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Jesse
This video was extremely helpful. Thanks so much.
May 22, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
No Problem. It is a must in the golf swing and commonly misunderstood.
May 22, 2014
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Peter
My pal Bill is correct; there is no shoulder elevation. They're just sitting there on top of your ribcage, as they should. The apparent shoulder TILT is caused by tilting the thoracic spine anteriorly. I'd opine that shoulder "elevation" is a misnomer. Just erase it from the lexicon!
April 12, 2014
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Tim (Certified RST Instructor)
We could debate the terminology used to describe this move, but there is absolutely no debate in the necessity of elevation in the back swing. In the 12,000+ lessons I have given I have never seen a player with too much elevation, I have seen very few with the correct amount and I have seen thousands of players with no elevation. The arms must elevate to stay connected and in front of the torso in the back swing. This elevation MUST occur from the action coming from the front of the shoulders. This is why it is called shoulder elevation. The most common error made when trying to elevate the arms is the player doing this by picking the club up with the hands. This action of using the hands to control the motion also tends to stop the body from rotating. You must learn to blend rotation with elevation along with right arm flexion to have a proper back swing, It's critical that the elevation comes from the front of the shoulders. Practice this very slowly with the aid of a mirror or a properly placed video camera for feedback. I would also add that body rotation is far more powerful than most players realize especially when you make a swing at full speed. Once you have the concept and feel of arm elevation you will have to exaggerate it far more than you think to achieve the proper blending.
April 13, 2014
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William
I get the point of this video, but I do not understand why it is referred to as "shoulder elevation". The simple meaning of that term is that the shoulder moves up. But the key point here seems to be that the arms have to move up as the right shoulder rotates back - so nothing spills out of the pitcher/bucket. In rotating back, the right shoulder does move up a bit (as the left shoulder moves down) but the objective here is to rotate the shoulder rather than elevate it.
April 11, 2014
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Dennis
You do realize that the shoulder can elevate in several different planes,right? If you were to shrug,you are not using your shoulder muscles to do this.That would be the job of the trapezoids. When you use your shoulder muscles,they lift the arms forward,sideways,and to a more limited degree,rearward. So,even though it's confusing,the term is technically correct.
August 18, 2014

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