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Shoulders at Address - Rounded or Back?

25 posts in this topic

My answer and an explanation to come, of course.
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I keep my arms where they fall naturally, but have done some drills with the arms closer together. Shoulders back feels wrong, losing width. The left arm will have to come around and across the chest in any case, and I think the right arm is better off sitting closer to the chest than the back, so it keeps the hands on plane and don't get stuck behind you.
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Is it even possible to have your shoulders back?

Your shoulders have to be rounded at address don't they?
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Is it even possible to have your shoulders back?

It is. Pinch your shoulder blades together a bit. It's advice you see commonly in magazines.

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It is. Pinch your shoulder blades together a bit. It's advice you see commonly in magazines.

do you try keep the pinch through the whole backswing or just at the start?

I think it gets me to bring the club up slightly steeper. Since a lot of people have problems taking the club up too steeply anyway I don't think it's good advice
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Common in magazines, interesting...

I never pinched my shoulders back, i might have attempted it once to see how it felt, but it draws my arms into to much and my chest blocks any form of extension.

Shoulders rounded,
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It is. Pinch your shoulder blades together a bit. It's advice you see commonly in magazines.

The answer is obviously going to be "shoulders rounded" since this is part of the Stack & Tilt model. I've been advised, by a qualified instructor, to keep my shoulders back because I appear to "rounded and hunched" at address. If "shoulders back" is bad advice, which I presume you believe it is, why is it so popular... and more importantly, why are guys being paid to hand out mis-leading advice?

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Is it even possible to have your shoulders back?

Yes, I did it 2 months ago (not sure why I was trying it??) and I pinched a nerve/tore muscle between my spine and shoulder blade. Burned like a son of a B!@##!! I have since gone to the Dr. and got a couple treatments and now finally ready to get back to it.

It still pisses me off why I would even try it and the obvious out come. One positive....I have since read a certain book while being laid up and I am ready to get back out practicing and play a few practice rounds.
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I've been advised, by a qualified instructor, to keep my shoulders back because I appear to "rounded and hunched" at address. If "shoulders back" is bad advice, which I presume you believe it is, why is it so popular... and more importantly, why are guys being paid to hand out mis-leading advice?

Since someone asked, I'll give my answer. Yes, the shoulders should be rounded, and no, not just because it's part of S&T.; My own swing was incredibly "S&T-like;" before I even began studying S&T.; The only thing I really needed to work on was hand path. My own swing, the one at which I'd arrived independently, was very much like S&T.;

Anyway, here's a geometrical reason why "shoulders back" is bad. For one, you're shortening the radius. You'll swing more slowly with a shorter radius and, if the radius lengthens throughout the swing (as it is likely to do given the forces you're applying to your arms, hands, and the club), then you've suddenly lengthened the swing radius by several inches mid-downswing. That's like the ball moving three inches closer to you as you start your downswing - how can you make good contact? Here's a physical reason: shoulders pulled back is tension. Tense muscles don't fire properly. Additionally, the best players in the game have their elbows fairly close together throughout most of the swing, but particularly coming into impact. Your elbows can't be close together if your shoulders are pulled back. Why are people being paid to give out mis-leading advice? I don't know. I know there's a LOT out there, though, and it pisses me off because it's not helping anyone. It's almost like a global scam to ensure that people keep needing lessons or something. I'd prefer people feel like they keep needing lessons because they keep improving and get addicted to improving, not that they keep needing lessons because they keep "failing" over and over again - but that's virtually guaranteed given the advice that's handed out. Lee Trevino was a great striker of the golf ball. Rounded shoulders, consistent arc (and no, not nearly as S&T; as other players). Again, S&T; is just the study and classification of what makes good players good and bad players bad. The vast majority of good players have more rounded shoulders, and it makes sense physically and geometrically. P.S. Hogan wrote in his book too about feeling really close elbows.
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Based off what I've read from iacas so far, this is what I've learned:

1. slide into the swing, not rotate
2. left arm as straight as possible through address.
3. shoulders rounded, with elbows close together, thereby maintaining a constantly wide radius to my swing

I wish I had a driving range in my own place... or owned my own golf course. $10 a bucket gets expensive.
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I find this thread very interesting because I used to have a habit of "humping" my back kind of like the photo of byron nelson above because i think i rounded my shoulders too much and I was told to "straighten" out the hump on my back by taking a more "athletic" pose but found I could only do it by pushing my ass out and pulling my shoulder blades closer together.

When I watch the pros on tv, it seems as if most have that very straight back. i guess you can achieve that even with rounded shoulders, have to think about it next time i hit the range.
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I think one of the worse things to come to golf instruction in the last ten years is the whole "STANCE" thing. Shoulders back, spine arched, butt out----THING. If you want to study the stance, take a look at Mr. Hogan and Mr. Snead. There is nothing out or in or arched or pinched. They have one thing in common. To me it looks like they're athletes trying to stand so they can hit a ball. Good luck. GDIB
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I think one of the worse things to come to golf instruction in the last ten years is the whole "STANCE" thing. Shoulders back, spine arched, butt out----THING. If you want to study the stance, take a look at Mr. Hogan and Mr. Snead. There is nothing out or in or arched or pinched. They have one thing in common. To me it looks like they're athletes trying to stand so they can hit a ball. Good luck. GDIB

I guess the pro's nowadays don't know how to set up to the ball.....

why would the spine be arched? I thought your meant to have your back straight?
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I think the whole "butt out " thing results in a concave arch in the lower spine
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I guess the pro's nowadays don't know how to set up to the ball.....

Short answer you can try on for size: because your spine is naturally arched. Your spine is naturally an S curve. Why try to force some rigid "straight back, chin up" so your muscles are tense, the radius of your swing changes, and you have to look at the ball out of the bottom of your eyes?

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Short answer you can try on for size: because your spine is naturally arched. Your spine is naturally an S curve. Why try to force some rigid "straight back, chin up" so your muscles are tense, the radius of your swing changes, and you have to look at the ball out of the bottom of your eyes?

Because a person slumped at the ball can't get a proper swing on the ball.

I'm not saying have it perfectly straight but good posture at address has to be better than being slumped over the ball. You don't need to have your chin up, my shoulder brushes my chin on the backswing.
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Because a person slumped at the ball can't get a proper swing on the ball.

Nobody said "slumped" (until your post just now). And if your definition of "rounded" is the same as mine, then Ben Hogan is waiting for you on line two to tell you how lousy what you've just said is.

He sure as heck didn't stand ramrod straight like some guys these days. The first image I could find which helps to illustrate my point: We're not talking about a big difference, but if you tell people to have their shoulders back, they won't be forward. Even Adam Scott's shoulders are rounded a bit here. Not as much as they probably should be, but they're still rounded a bit. Only in recent years has this "straight spine, chin up" thing become vogue. All the old guys looked much more rounded and softer. Even Jack Nicklaus was quite a bit more rounded.
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