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Shoulder Turn in Golf | Learn How to Turn With the Bucket Drill

Online Golf Instruction By: Chuck Quinton, Master Instructor • FULL BIO •

Shoulder Turn in Golf | Learn How to Turn With the Bucket Drill
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The Bucket DrillMaster shoulder turn in golf with The Bucket Drill

The bucket drill is an exercise we use to help people understand shoulder turn in golf. If you don't have a bucket handy, no worries, a box will work just as well.

One problem a lot of people have is understanding how to turn the shoulders rather than tilting them in the golf backswing.

They're not sure how to move their arms and they end up making things more complicated than they need to be.

If you don't have a feel for the correct movement, you may end up tilting your shoulders, turning really flat, rolling your arms in, etc.

Drills, Drills, Drills

You know by now that the way to improve your golf swing is to learn these simple drills and repeat them over and over again to teach your brain the new movement patterns.

When you practice the drills until the simplified movements are second nature, then your body knows exactly what to do when it comes time to combine the simple movements into an actual golf swing.

This drill is probably one of the most valuable ones we have, because it teaches you how to make that simple turn in the backswing.

A lot of people really over complicate shoulder turn and end up messing up the whole swing. Do this wrong, and you're off track right from the very first move.

Pick Up a Bucket and Give It a Try

Don't spill!Don't spill!

Fortunately, a simple box or bucket can show you everything you need to know about shoulder turn in golf.

Here's all you have to do. Pick up a bucket (or box) and get into your golf setup position.

Hold up the bucket and imagine that it's full of water. That's why we call it the bucket drill - you're imagining a bucket of water.

Now you're going to perform the shoulder turn, being careful not to spill the water.

You can't tilt the bucket and move it any which way. Keep it level as you turn back. Your shoulders should turn to the right without tilting forward or rolling back.

Don't spill!Don't spill!

If you simply imagine turning and handing the bucket of water to someone behind you, without spilling of course, you'll turn back correctly every single time.

If you're tilting toward the target like in the photo above when you grab the bucket, which is very common, you'll notice a lot of strain in your back when you do this drill.

As soon as you straighten up and start doing it correctly, all that strain will go away.

You should look like the photo at the top of the article, with your arms even, your shoulders straight, and your spine leaning slightly away from the target.

Don't tilt off to the side like the photo at left, getting one arm on top of the other.

People around you should not be able to see into your bucket, because that would mean you're spilling your water.

Keep the bucket level as you turn back.

Got It? Now Repeat It!

The Bucket Drill done correctlyThe Bucket Drill done correctly

As you become able to turn back, keeping the bucket level, you'll feel how your hands, arms, shoulders and back are working in sync.

This is the movement pattern you want to teach your brain. Repeat it over and over again to groove the correct neural pathways.

Also consider that if you had a bucket that was actually full of water, it would be pretty heavy.

You wouldn't just swing your arms across your body to pass it to someone else. You would turn your body to support the weight and keep from spilling.

You would use the big muscles in your core - which is exactly what we're looking for in the golf swing.

It's a great, simple drill to teach you how to turn back correctly without getting crazy with your arms.

The rotation in the backswing is really a very natural move, once you've got it down.

Practice the bucket drill to perfect your shoulder turn in golf.

When you're doing it, Imagine turning to shake someone's hand, pretend you're turning to hand someone something, and you'll start to understand how to eliminate incorrect moves and rotate correctly back in the swing.

It will really simplify things for you in the takeaway.

Checkpoints for Practice

  • 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

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