The Bucket Drill - Golf Shoulder Turn

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The Bucket Drill is one that provides a very simple and clear picture on how to rotate correctly in the backswing and how to avoid tilting and the dreaded right hand above the left during the takeaway.

Video Practice Points
  • Use the Bucket Drill to learn how to turn correctly in the backswing
  • Hold an empty bucket between your hands, and imagine it is full of water
  • Keep the bucket level as you turn back, to avoid spilling the "water"
  • If you feel strain in your back, check to make sure you're not leaning toward the target

This is a very powerful yet simple golf swing drill that will help you learn how to turn your shoulders properly during the golf backswing. All you need is a box or bucket and an imagination! You can also use a medicine ball as the extra weight helps you to engage your core as you begin to turn your shoulders.

                I have in my hands a simple box here, but this drill that I'm going to describe to you's actually called the bucket drill. I don't have a bucket lying around, but I've got plenty of boxes. You're going to get the same idea here. One of the things that's really common in the golf backswing is for people to not really understand how to turn their shoulders versus tilting them, how to move their arms. They start making things overly complicated. They start tilting their shoulders this way or they start turning really flat this way, or they start rolling their arms in, and they don't feel this stuff.

                If you're smart about working on your golf swing, you know that you've got to take a lot of these simple drills and do them over and over again to really develop the feel so that it translates into when you're actually swinging the golf club. This drill is probably one of the most invaluable ones that I can teach you to understand how to actually make that simple move in the backswing, because a lot of people really over complicate this and they mess things up and they end up off from this first instant they move the golf club.

                A simple box or bucket can show you everything you need to know about how to understand how to rotate. Here's all we have to do. Assume your set up position. Hold a box up and imagine that it's full of water. That's why I call it the bucket drill. It's a bucket holding water.

                As I have this here, holding, imagine I don't want to spill water, obviously, I'm not going to tilt it and move it around. All I need to do is turn back and imagine that that's full of water and I wouldn't spill it. If I do that correctly, you can see that I'm turning back and that bucket's not tilting back where I would spill it, it's not rolling in this way. My shoulders aren't tilting this way. All these things, if you just imagine turning and handing this to somebody, handing a pail of water to them, you can turn back correctly every time.

                You're going to notice if you're not doing this correctly, the instant you grab this, if you have a tilt, which is really common, when you start doing this, you're going to feel a lot of strain in your back. When you start doing this, all that strain's going to go away. This is how you rotate. Notice that my spine's leaning away from the target slightly. I'm not tilting this way, getting my arms on top of each other.

                I don't want you to be able to see inside of my bucket either. I don't want it this. That's now my right hand on top of my left. I've spilled my water out and now you can see it in front of the camera. You don't need to be able to see in here. It needs to be level as I go back. As we go down the line, we can see the same things.

                Here's me tilting it. You can see water'd be spilling out here. Water's not spilling out here. As I keep going back, if I just keep that bucket pretty level, you start to get the idea of how your hands and arms and everything work back in sync. Also imagine if you had a pail literally full of water, it'd be pretty heavy. Again, you wouldn't just start swinging your arms across your body. You're going to actually turn, because you're going to use your big muscles in your core to support moving this back.

                It's a great simple drill to teach you how to turn back correctly without doing anything goofy. The rotation in the back swing is really a pretty natural move, if you just imagine turning, shaking somebody's hand, turning and handing them something, or use this bucket drill, you'll finally start to understand how to create true rotation in the swing without doing anything to mess up your movements going back, and it'll really simplify things for you in the take away.

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