Shoulder stretch to improve mobility

Your slices might be the result of shoulder mobility. Try this test to help improve it.

Fault: ‘Flying’ trail elbow, steep attack, loss of posture 

Fix: Improve shoulder mobility

Today, we understand better than ever just how profoundly our golf swings are affected by our physiology. Contributing to this body of knowledge is the Titleist Performance Institute, which has been gathering data on ef cient swing movement since 2003.

As a TPI-certified instructor I regularly use the TPI’s 16 standard physical screening tests to assess a golfer’s ability to move through the range of movement demanded by the golf swing. In this series we’ll look at six of them. Try each test… and if you fail, there’s a drill to help you improve. Your body – and your scores – will thank you for it.

Test your flexibility

Fitness test

1. Set your trail arm

Stand upright, your arms by your sides. Raise your trail elbow to shoulder height, opposite the shoulder joint, and set your forearm horizontal, the palm facing down.

2. Rotate the forearm up

Now rotate your forearm upwards through its full range of movement, pivoting around the elbow. Your goal is to get your forearm at or past your spine angle – in other words, vertical.

3. Repeat in posture

Take your golfing posture and repeat the test below. Feel your shoulder joint stretching backwards as you approach your full range of motion. If you can get your forearm at or past your spine angle, you’ve passed!

How this relates to your swing 

Fitness shoulder mobility

As you complete your swing, your trail shoulder is increasingly asked to rotate backwards. Golfers with any kind of shoulder restriction won’t be able to do this; instead, they will tend to straighten up to complete the backswing, creating loss of posture and inconsistency.

1. Flex Appeal

The flexible Tour pro gets to the top with the trail elbow pretty much under the handle – a position that supports the club and keeps the arms and body connected.

2. Improve shoulder mobility 

Grip the club in your trail arm only. Cup the back of your lead hand around the tricep of the trail arm. Now swing to the top. This stops the trail elbow splaying and helps stretch out the trail shoulder. Even if you passed the test, work on this drill from time to time to keep that trail shoulder mobile and stable.

NEXT: 5 Minute golf warm-ups 


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