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Golf Tips: Shoulders Square

by David Green

    This article is one of our editor's top picks this month.

    Overview

    Golfers who struggle with accuracy should focus on having their shoulders square at impact. Squaring your shoulders means that as contact is made with the ball, the shoulders are parallel to the target line. This is an important aspect of the swing and is one reason that many novice golfers battle the slice and hook. Luckily, several drills exist to help golfers get their shoulders square at impact.

    Slap For Square

    This drill to find a square position can be done at home, at the range, or on the course. Take a stance and extend your arms with the hands together. The palms should be together and the fingers pointed at the ground. Take the right hand back (for right-handers) like the takeaway in a golf swing. Bring the right hand down and slap the left hand. The hands should meet in front of you for a square impact. If the shoulders are open, the hands will meet too far forward in a position that would cause a slice. Practice this drill to gain a better feeling of squaring the shoulders at impact.

    Proper Address

    A key to ensure proper shoulder positioning at impact is starting the swing with your shoulders square. When addressing the ball before a shot, check that your shoulders are lined up parallel to the target line. On the driving range, when you are ready to begin your swing, stop and lay a club on the ground in front of your toes. Step back behind the ball and check to see if your club is parallel to the target line. If not, make your adjustment and address the ball. Beginning the shot with your shoulders square will provide better odds of squaring them at impact.

    Hit the Bag

    If you don’t have access to technology to document your alignment at impact, an impact bag is a good second option. An impact bag is a small, padded bag placed where the ball would be, and cushions the club. This allows for full swings away from the course and instant feedback about alignment at impact. If using a hitting bag, focus on having the front arm and club form a straight line down to the golf ball at impact. This will ensure squared shoulders at impact and solid contact.

    About the Author

    A former sports and lifestyle reporter at the "Daily Nebraskan," David Green is a writer who has covered a variety of topics for daily newspapers. He was selected by the "Los Angeles Times" to participate in the Jim Murray Sports Writing Workshop. Green holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska.

    Photo Credits

    • Nick Laham/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images