Re: Shoulders at Address - Rounded or Back?
Originally Posted by Gordon McTavish
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.