Rotary Golf Body Drill

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Published: February 18, 2014

As you have learned from the Swing Fundamentals section, the body is the engine of the swing. Understanding how to properly use the body is 90% of learning the rotary swing. It is simple to learn and understand, but it is incredibly important.

To begin, stand straight up with legs spread a comfy shoulder width apart, body poised and relaxed, with the arms across the chest. With your weight evenly distributed between both feet, rotate your body to the right (for right handers) while maintaining your spine angle.

It is important that your spine not tilt away from the target more than a couple degrees and that the base of your spine stay rather stationary. If the base of the spine slides away from the target, your weight will shift more on to your back leg which is not necessary.

The turning of your body to the right will pull your hips back as well. It is perfectly ok for them to rotate around as the upper body pulls them, in fact they must be allowed to turn. The hips will rotate around an imaginary fixed point at the base of your spine as well, with no lateral slide to the right.

It is ok if you cannot rotate your shoulders to 90 degrees without feeling a lot of tension in the torso or without making a large hip turn. During the actual swing, your muscles will more naturally stretch as the body becomes alive and athletic.

For now, simply rotate your shoulders a comfortable turn to the right while keeping your weight fairly evenly distributed and your spine angle constant.

From here, "bump" your core to the left to set your weight on your left leg and simply unwind your body back to the left. Feel as if everything is rotating together, with no one part out racing the other.

In actuality, the hips will lead the way, but you needn’t think about this, it will be a natural response to the coiling of the upper body against the lower as the hips will not turn as far during the backswing. Again, the spine angle is critical. It should remain constant with the base of the spine acting as an “anchor” for the rotation of the torso.

If the hips slide, the base of the spine will move toward the target changing the angle of the spine and thus, changing the shoulder plane that is of utmost importance. The shoulders should rotate around the spine at a 90 degree angle throughout the swing. If the shoulder plane changes, the path that the club will take to the ball changes and you will be forced to make compensations to strike the ball.

Now that you have a feel for the rotary motion the body makes throughout the swing, you need do nothing more than tilt your spine from the hips and make the exact same motion back and through. The only thing that should change here is the angle of the spine tilt toward the ball.

It should not be angled away from the target more than a coupld degrees, but should remain more vertical just as it was before. Make the same motions while the spine is tilted and you have mastered the body movement of the rotary swing.


Checkpoints for Practice

  • The Body Drill seems simple, but it's one of the most most important to ingrain proper body movement in the Rotary Swing
  • Start in your normal address posture, with each hand on the opposite shoulder and weight fairly centered
  • Keep your head centered as you rotate back, keeping weight mainly on the left
  • Use your core to settle your weight on the left side - bump left with the belly button
  • Rotate through to a full finish with the chest facing the target
  • Be sure to keep the head & shoulders perpendicular to the spine - the right shoulder rotates down after the weight shift

Video Transcription: Body Drill

If I had to choose one single drill that was more important than any other drill that I've ever discussed or created to help you learn the Rotary Swing, it would be this one.

This is the one that I refer back to especially for winter golfers who can't get outside because it's cold or snowy. This is a drill that you can do inside, inside your office, wherever, and you can do it 24/7. It's super, super important to helping you develop a good golf swing, and it's so simple to do.

Because of that, I think it's often overlooked. It just seems kind of mundane and boring, and doesn't seem to really do a lot, but it absolutely is the most important drill because it helps you ingrain the proper body movement. We're going to discuss it today.

The Body DrillThe Body Drill: Address position, Turn back, Weight shift, Rotate through

The Body Drill works like this. You take your normal address posture, with your weight pretty centered. If anything, favor the left side a little bit. Put your arms across your shoulders as you take your posture.

What you're wanting to feel is that, as you rotate back your head stays centered. Make a good, full shoulder turn. If anything, like I said, you can keep the weight on the left side or increase it.

It's OK for a little bit of weight to move to the inside of the right foot, but if you're the kind of golfer that lets it move back, you've got to make sure that you have that movement back on the way down, to get that weight to the left side because that's critical.

Incorrect: Throwing shouldersIncorrect: Throwing the shoulders

If anything, I ask the average golfer to favor that left side going back. Keep that weight on the left side, make as full a shoulder turn as you can. You don't have to make a full shoulder turn in doing the drill because when your swing gets dynamic and gets momentum, then you're going to make a full shoulder turn.

Just feel a little shoulder turn here; left shoulder centered back behind the ball. Then this is the key: This is where everything happens correctly or incorrectly for the average golfer. What a lot of golfers want to do is just get here and then throw their shoulders. You can see I'm in a really weak and awkward position here.

I never got my weight fully set onto my left side, and that's critical. As I get to the left, the first move is letting everything start to settle onto that left foot. You notice that my whole body is leaning a little bit. I'm primarily doing this with my core. It's a little bump with my belly and my belly button, back getting it over my left foot.

Then I can rotate. That's the key.

As long as I get a good little turn going back, set my weight onto my left foot so I feel increased pressure, I feel like I'm trying to push the ground - I'm trying to make an indentation in the ground under my left foot - so there's a little bit of flex in my knees to get there, and then I rotate.

Incorrect: Turning everything togetherIncorrect: Turning everything together

What you want to be careful of when you're doing this drill is, what a lot of golfers will do is take everything together and their head will be way out in front of the ball. Of course we never want our head out in front of the ball unless we're hitting wedges or chip shots or something like that.

As I go back, it's a little bit of movement but then my head stays back and my body clears out of the way. It's not a "Set my weight onto my left foot and then just keep moving my head forward."

The whole motion is back, staying centered, set my weight onto my left foot, keep my head back and rotate my body through to a full finish and get my chest facing the target.

This drill is super, super important. You can't do it enough. I don't know if you can see this on the camera, but I've actually made an indentation in the ground by making certain that I'm getting my weight set on my left foot. You cannot rotate when your weight's on your back foot. You're going to spin out and hit it this way.

From down the line, the same drill: Get a little posture, get a little tilt, turn back staying centered, set my weight on my left foot. You'll notice that my right knee will kind of bend forward a little bit. My glutes will kind of move back behind me a little bit. That's a powerful position, setting my weight onto my left foot, and then rotate so that my shoulders are rotating perpendicular to my spine.

The Body DrillFrom down the line: Address position, Turn back, Weight shift, Rotate through

A lot of golfers either go back, they'll do this - their head's moving up - this is a no-no. And then they'll try and throw it back down on the way down.

This head, and your shoulders, have got to rotate very quietly, going back. Perpendicular to my spine, keep that angle, set your weight onto your left foot, and then rotate your right shoulder down.

A good visual is, once you get your weight set on your left foot, you take your right shoulder and you rotate it over your left big toe. I'm feeling like I'm driving down. I'm using my right side of my body to hit hard once I'm onto that left foot, and then rotating through to a full finish.

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