In swinging, use right shoulder as a rudder

Very little attention is paid to the right shoulder by the teachers and theorists. Yet it is in a sense the more important of the two.

Train the right shoulder to behave properly and you'll never go far wrong.

The most common fault in the amateur swing is bringing the right shoulder round on the throughswing. This is the major cause of slicing. Even of shanking. And it is common because the belief that the right shoulder can be controlled by the left -- that they both work in absolute unison -- is erroneous. The right shoulder cannot be controlled by the left.

Left-side control will work once, twice, three times, and maybe four. But it won't work every time. And for easy, natural golf one needs things to work every time.

Train the right shoulder (if right-handed) and it will work properly every time.

That's a promise.

But what is ''properly?''

Many years ago a Mr. Haggerson, then president of the Links Golf Club, USA, made a sage remark. ''The left side may control the swing but the right shoulder becomes a sort of rudder as you swing through the ball and out to the target.'' That's a very fine picture to have in mind. Let the right shoulder be the rudder of the swing.

Homer Kelley in ''The Golfing Machine'' stresses that the right shoulder swings down ''on plane''; that is, it starts down along the same line as the club shaft. But it doesn't go all the way: it stays ''back and down'' until after the hit.

The feeling must always be that the right shoulder comes under. It comes under the chin, which can then come up so you can follow the flight of the ball. If it comes round instead, you'll inevitably raise your head and ruin the shot. Just as a boat will turn if you swing the rudder round.

This then is the feeling to practice until it's second nature - the right shoulder as a rudder, staying (naturally) back and down.

Indeed one could probably key the whole swing to the right shoulder and have a fine simple secret. Try it and see.

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