Golf Swing Pivot Explained – Side Bend, Forward Bend, Rotation

Golf Swing Pivot Explained – PGA Professional Robin Symes explains how the body rotates, bends and tilts during the swing.

Hi Robin here. I am going to try to explain in a little more detail how the body works in the back swing. It’s quite a difficult subject. So if you have any questions, leave a few comments. Any particular part of what I have explained that you don’t understand, leave a comment. I will try to do another video explaining that part in more detail. There are three main components to the back swing; 1. Rotation 2. Side bend 3. Forward bend.
In your back swing body movement, body pivot is made up of a combination of those three things. What we will do in the golf swing is we will start with about 40 degrees of forward bend, perhaps about 10 degrees side bend, depending on the club you are using. Then as you make the back swing, your forward bend will decrease and your side bend will increase. See this position at top when you are looking from the front. The position of the upper body is the forward bend movement. From behind, keeping your posture at an angle is the side bend movement.
Many people think that if you have a tilted look to your swing, and you’re reverse pivoting, I’ve done a video on this before, It is because you are putting too much of this movement in your swing. Well actually because your forward bend is straightening too much.
You see, If I was to highlight this forward bend with the stick standing up straight, that’s zero degrees and I was to go forward into that forty degree position– If I was to keep forty degrees all the way through to my back swing, my upper body would get outside my right foot. It would be a very difficult position to smack the ball solid from. That forward bend must decrease to just below zero. If I take it to a good position at the top, you can see now that would be just be below zero. People who go above zero into minus that’s when you start to see the tilt. That’s you. Very good exercise. Just take the stick, stand up straight, get in at zero forward into your posture, and just try to rotate keeping the stick below horizontal. Perhaps some of the players get too much over the right side, you have to learn and try to bring that stick a little bit closer to zero keeping you more central on the ball.
If you are somebody who tends to lose their postural angles during the swing that’s more because of side bends, not because of forward bend. So you need to try to learn to keep your left shoulder a little closer to the ground, increasing your side bend, your right hip will feel a little higher, your left hip will feel a little lower, your left shoulder will feel lower, your right shoulder will feel higher. Keeping your posture angles come from increasing your side bend in the back swing.
I know that’s a little bit more detailed and perhaps a little more complicated than how you have had the pivot explained to you before but sometimes, things are not as simple as they seem. When you really know the real truth, it gives you a chance to start improving. Perhaps, even if you are having a lessons and you don’t quite understand what you are doing wrong, this video might help you understand the concepts a little better and help you start improving in your own practice.


Rising Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Reblogged 3 years ago from


  1. You are great robin…i am a bigger man a bit barrel chested i cannot do the pivot as you descibe….please help me with a pivot

  2. Great Drill, this fixed my backswing and where my chest should be, when I tried this with my normal swing I was doing, I realized why my ball striking was so inconsistent, the stick in the chest showed that I was actually leaning too far back and the stick was pointing way above horizontal. When I changed my chest position and the stick was horizontal or lightly below I was striking much better. Thanks for this great tip, it gave me instant feed-back, to something I couldn't see or had no idea that I was doing even though it felt fine right at the time. This is another piece of the puzzle that is building the bigger picture for me..  

  3. Robin, could you please do the same analysis for the downswing as this video concentrates only on the take away. This is a major problem for me and the lack of side bend on the downswing and through impact makes me feel like I am coming over the top and so stuck that it is impossible to get a full release of my arms after impact. Thank you.

  4. Great explanation robin and this has made the breakthru from 3 years of trying to understand my shoulder turn. My whole game has changed including chipping and putting 9in an essence)THANK YOU for your great vids!!