Shoulder Move in Golf Swing – Downswing Golf Lesson by Herman Williams

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For more lessons & tips check out In this video golf swing lesson, Herman demonstrates the downswing shoulder move in the …


gmonkey808 says:

Ok so the right shoulder drop is done by the left shoulder rise. I have heard others talk of driving the right shoulder at the ball. Your move would be more natural to me. But I have concerns.
What takes you round then? Just the pivot power catching up with hips?

This move has got me scared of hitting right and high.

Heath Triffett says:

Hi, I have a couple of questions if you don’t mind Herman. I keep hearing that the upper arms should be connected to the chest throughout the golf swing and that the arms and club together should be somewhat taught during the swing as well. I was wondering what your take on this was and what you feel in relation to this during your own swing. The last one was, I tend not to rotate my lower body during the swing, is there a drill you would recommend to help with that? Thanks 😀

talk2jwu says:

love the instruction…but you might want to re-make it w/ better “focus’ w/ the camera…. 🙂

hermanwilliamsgolf says:

Thanks … yes I screwed this one up by accidentally filming in macro mode on camera. Sorry for that but can’t edit it and probably won’t have an opportunity to reshoot it.

hermanwilliamsgolf says:

That’s a lot to respond to, but I like the lead arm definitely riding high on top of chest as you see in my setup video. I’m not sure I want “taught” arms but I like the lead arm firm to maintain wide swing arc in backswing. Brace your trailing leg inward on backswing to easily push off. This should help with clearing. Otherwise you might consider working on core rotation exercises in gym environment.

hermanwilliamsgolf says:

Your concerns are valid, and this move may not be necessary for you unless you fight going over the top. assuming you are a good candidate for this shoulder move think of the right shoulder first moving down, then out and finally forward. You are never in one position very long. Hips should pull everything around anyway, but I don’t mind sending the chest and shoulders once the hands have dropped down to hip area.

rsjim says:

Great video and has helped me a lot. Am i right in thinking that this only applies to a one plane swing? Or is most effective with a OPS?

johnstone610 says:

If I am having the opposite problem (coming to far from the inside) could I feel the opposite were I would turn my shoulders more horizontally rather than vertical?

Larry Whitaker says:

Wow! Herman, that is a big conflict with what my teaching pro says. He wants me to bend over the ball like you do, start my backswing by pushing my lead shoulder down, and then KEEP IT DOWN through impact, my butt moving BACK away from the ball as my hips shift toward the target, a “squatting” move we see in all good players.

You seem to be demonstrating instead a “stand up” move through impact and losing your spine angle. You would fade it right or even slice!


hermanwilliamsgolf says:

Thanks for commenting Larry. I like most of what you mention here, but if you look closely at Tour players you will not see the left shoulder down at impact. But this may be a good idea for someone who tends to stand up early and back up. The physical move I describe here with right shoulder down at impact will generally lead to a lower spine angle with the butt pushed back and yes, a squat, not standing up. But you can’t squat forever. The whole left side will rotate and straighten to finish.

hermanwilliamsgolf says:

Certainly. This is really where you have to match your situation to the message and do the opposite of your individual problem. In your case it’s likely ok to imagine coming over the top. Let your right shoulder go toward the ball as downswing starts and make sure your finish exits low and left. Good luck.

hermanwilliamsgolf says:

It is a little more applicable to one-plane swings, but will help any player who fights going over the top due to shoulders spinning outward. A 2-planer should try to hold the chest back or face the ball longer as the arms drop in downswing if this shoulder move described here seems too awkward.

Dennis L says:

Thanks Herman, having had 2 hip replacements on my right hip and one on the left you have given me a great move to hit from the inside. I am one that has everything moving together in the downswing so this move makes it much easier for me as I play my best golf when the shoulders drive the swing. My question is when do I start rotating the arms with this move? I wish you had a golf school in Sydney Australia.

hermanwilliamsgolf says:

Thanks Dennis. the answer may be different for each person but let the golf ball tell you based on direction. I’d say start rotating the forearms half way down into downswing for most average players, particularly if you’re fighting a slice. If I can get it hooking then I want to see if a player can lag a little deeper into the downswing before the arms rotate. Good luck. – Herman

John T says:

Can you tell me how avoid hitting fat when your left hip bumps forward and the right shoulder drops downward. I tried this on the range and found I was hitting about half my shots a little fat. However, my shot pattern was fairly straight, with just a few hooks, so overall I was happy with ball flight.

hermanwilliamsgolf says:

Once you are in the pre-impact position you describe here, it obviously feels like your right side is closer to the ground and the club naturally approaches from a shallower, more inside angle. The 1st time you try it likely will create fat shots. You next need to learn how to keep the right arm bent at the elbow and wrist longer, which is really just holding “lag” longer. Then you may also need to check to be sure you are turning or clearing thru impact – you don’t want to stall after the bump.

John T says:

Thanks so much for the quick response.
So does keeping the right elbow bent mean just delaying the straightening of the right arm maybe a fraction of second longer. Also, does the straightening of the right arm occur just after right shoulder has dropped to its lowest point?

hermanwilliamsgolf says:

That’s an accurate way to say it. Visualize skipping a rock across a pond throwing sidearm with right arm. You want that rock to first hit the water just past where the golf ball sits. This should give you a feeling of storing the delay in the wrist and elbow as the right arm drops to your side. Then feel the arm fully extending just past the ball. I’ve even had students pick up a golf ball in right hand and practice throwing it down along the target line just past the ball they intend to hit.

Alan Baker says:

Sorry, but a 18+ such as you isn’t qualified to critique the swing of someone that much better.

As an actual (ski) instructor, I understand there are times one will tell a student to FEEL as if he is doing something that will not actually be so, because what feels like a large change to a him (keeping your shoulder down through impact) is actually a smaller change in reality (just keeping it down longer into the down swing before it starts moving back up).

I hope you’ve learned something.

IceKellymoore says:

Herman!!! about 2 years ago a local pro told me not to “back into the target” but to fire those hips asap. It hasn’t worked, when watching your video I was so angry/happy cuz the last two years hurt my game, but i know this is something I have always wanted to do!!! I trust you and i’m going to go back to this “back into the target” :), but my question is with mostly the longer clubs, with this move, how do you know your not “sliding” to much? Thanks 2 handicap from Utah!!

hermanwilliamsgolf says:

It’s unlikely you’ll overdo it too much if this is a foreign move to you. But i recommend looking for the left side of your body to “post up” tall in the finish, not sagging with excessive knee drive too long in the finish. Also try to keep your head steady on downswing … just let mostly your lower half move targetward. Good luck. – Herman

brofun says:

this sounds like good advice..I am having trouble with my swing..and it’s because I am turning my shoulders..opening up my chest..I’m going to try hard to put this to work this weekend…

IceKellymoore says:

Thanks so much. !!!! Is there a tour player we could watch that best describes this move????

watertonrivers says:

I am a student of the game so you can take my info or leave it. Most instructors will tell you to either swing straight back and straight through. Here’s something you can experiement with; Take the clubhead slightly to the outside(don’t over do it). As you do this, it’s usually instinctive to move the clubhead back to the inside, creating a slight loop in the swing…That’s the easiest way I know of to create the proper swing path and that’s roughtly what Trevino did…Experiement!!

hermanwilliamsgolf says:

Dustin Johnson, Paul Casey … there are plenty more, but they stand out just trying to come up with a few quick names off the top of my head.

Chris Byrne says:

thanks for the tip, Herman. I’m very comfortable with this move but I find it difficult to come down on the ball. this move makes me feel as if i’m hitting up on the ball. this move is especially useful to keep my drives nice and straight but i tend to struggle hitting the ball off the fairway. any tips on how to master this move along with hitting down on the ball?


talk2jwu says:

I would love to see this vid in the “clear” version…. 🙂

hermanwilliamsgolf says:

Agreed … wish i hadn’t screwed up the focus settings but can’t edit once published.

hermanwilliamsgolf says:

This shoulder move coupled with the new inside path definitely creates a shallower, sweeping type of swing. If you think you’ve mastered it, then you will want to look at feeling a little more clearing to the left in the finish with both the hips and the torso. Armswing doesn’t truly continue to swing outward after impact. Ideally we approach the ball on an inside path and exit on a path that comes back to the inside thru the finish. This brings back the ability to pinch the ball on the turf.

Hank MoHank says:

Hello Herman – Thanks, very interesting way to explain the right shoulder movement in the downswing, I think this is just what I was looking for to help me out. One thing, Tom Watson has something about shoulder rotation & downswing & swing plane, he calls his big secret- he found out in 92′ or 93′. Is what you explain here compatible with Watson’s move ?

hermanwilliamsgolf says:

If I remember correctly, Watson had the opposite problem so I don’t think this is what he was talking about. I’m not sure what he has said recently on the topic. This shoulder move would not be something most Tour Players would focus on as they likely already mastered it and would tend to overdo it to some degree. It’s one of those things where the cure has to fit the illness, otherwise it’s no help and potentially harmful.

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