The hips are the center of power in practically every athletic endeavor, including golf.
Get your hips working properly during your golf swing and you’ll improve the distance, accuracy and consistency of your shots.
Here’s what good hip action looks like:
• The hips should be level at setup.
• For a right-handed golfer, the hips begin turning right just behind the shoulders as you take the club back.
• At the top of the backswing, the hips are turned 45 degrees to the golf target line (assuming the shoulders have turned 90 degrees). Not all golfers have the flexibility to reach these points, so try to achieve a 2-to-1 ratio between shoulder and hip turn.
• The downswing starts with the raised left heel returning to the ground, which triggers the hips to rotate left.
• When the club reaches impact, the hips should be cleared, or slightly open to the golf target line.
• The hips should directly face the target at the finish.
One simple step to promoting hip rotation is to flare both feet out slightly at address to avoid restriction.
Why Stabilization Will Help Your Golf Hip Turn Backswing
In nearly every sport that requires an implement (baseball bat, tennis racquet, golf club, etc.) hip rotation is needed to create power. The golf hip turn is a little different from most sports because you aren’t reacting to the movement of the ball. The ability to create power from a static position isn’t one of the easiest athletic motions. In order to have an explosive swing, parts of the body needs to support while others need to be active. The backswing should help build momentum so that you can reach maximum transfer of power in the impact zone. If too many body parts are active in the backswing then you can lose your momentum.
In recent years the term core has become mainstream in golf. Core means primary and in
anatomical terms the core is all parts of the body accept the arms and legs. In golf, most consider it to be the abs, back, butt and hip muscles. These core muscles are your primary stabilizers, allowing the arms and the club to have more movement than the rest of the body. If you have difficulty controlling your primary stabilizers your balance will suffer and your swing speed will be impaired. The body will always seek to balance itself. By keeping your swing between your feet, it will make stabilizing your swing much easier and take a little bit of pressure off of your core. Additionally, having your hip turn stabilized will allow the upper body to turn more than the lower body. With this in mind, it is also important that your core creates enough space for your arms to swing. It doesn’t help to have a good hip turn if your arms have no place to go, because you don’t hit the ball with your hips, you hold the club with your hands.
Your goal with your golf hip turn backswing should be to turn against an axis. Your hips, spine or the three together can give the hips a place to turn around. Once the hips begin to turn, it gives your arms more space to swing.
How far your upper body turns after that is dependent on flexibility in your muscles and joints. The variance in the amount of lower body versus the upper body turn is called differential. Ideally you would like to have the upper body turn twice as much as the lower body.
Many golfers lose differential when they are unable to stabilize their lower bodies and core during the backswing. One of the results of this is that the posture, or more specifically the spine angle, changes on the swing back. Loss of posture will prevent the right hip from turning around its axis and as a result, diminishes swing speed.
If you are finding it difficult to plant turn your hips over your axis, then it could be because your hips are moving incorrectly (i.e. not rotating), your flexibility in one or more places doesn’t allow you to rotate or you have a bigger upper body that inhibits rotation and arm swing. Just remember to swing between your feet and don’t try to get more out of your swing than your body will give you.
One of the best and most versatile drills in golf instruction is a perfect drill to help you determine the
state of your hip turn stabilization. Simply hit balls with your feet together. If you are unbalanced
then you have a hip turn stabilization problem. Hit balls with just your arms until you can stay balanced
and then in small increments widen your stance. If at any point you feel unbalanced again, then start
Try to remember that even though the hips and lower body contribute to the power of your swing, it’s not because your hips are moving more. In fact, your lower body moves much less than you’re upper body. The job of the lower body is to stabilize.
Stabilize your golf turn backswing to add consistency and power to your golf game!
For Limited Golf hip Rotation Use a Different Strategy
Your swing should be different from mine. Learning which swing tips that work for you
is a frustrating process if you don’t acknowledge this fact. As a teacher I was always told
there was something to learn from everything I read and every lesson I watched. As a golfer you
can do the same, but you need to know your limitations in order to prevent injury and to
ensure that what you hear and read will really help improve your game.
One area of the swing that all golfers struggle with is hip rotation. Each golfer has a possible of three points to rotate around; the hips and the spine. Only the hips are joints however, and because the spine is attached to the hips, golf hip rotation can be an inflammatory motion on your backin the golf swing. When you have back problems or other deficiencies associated with the lower body, your brain knows enough not to load your weight onto the side that is injured. You weight will automatically be transferred over to the side that can more easily bear the weight and rotation. When you are unable to create a customary axis to create rotation, use the strengths you do have and change your pivot points.
If your lower back is an issue, your body can use just your hips to rotate and your spine becomes a
floating axis that goes along for the ride. Not everyone can or should turn around your spine because
it causes a separation of sorts between the hips and the spine, creating stretch on the muscle
By floating along the spine and the hip become one unit, minimizing the separation and pain. During the backswing the spine drifts over with the right hip until the right hip is over your right heel.
Then on the downswing it drifts with the left hip until the hip is over the left foot. You do have
some lateral motion that occurs while the hips float, but in the end you still get rotation around
both hips. To facilitate this type of rotation it can be beneficial to turn both feet out slightly to reduce the stress on your back even more and to facilitate the floating motion .
If you have had a hip replacement or a knee or ankle injury that doesn’t allow you to plant your
hip over your heel, you can use the opposite hip as your fixed point. For instance, let’s say that you
had surgery on the left knee that left the joint weakened? You would set up with 60% or more of your
weight on the right side and make a simple turn over your right hip and heel. While swinging down,
your weight will remain primarily on the right side with the right hip remaining over the right heel.
You are still able to rotate the left hip, but with the majority of your weight on your right
side while the right hip rotates on the downswing. In this instance you would have a one axis swing.
Your swing will be abbreviated, especially on your follow through so make sure you move the ball back
in your stance to accommodate the earlier release of the club.
If it is the right side that hampers your rotation then you do the opposite. Set up with the ball more
forward in the stance and start with the majority of your weight on the left side. It’s not a reverse
pivot unless the left hip moves from its position over the left heel. You will want to feel your weight
rotate to the inside heel of your left foot on the way back and then the outside of the toes during the
downswing. This is also considered a one-axis swing.
Injuries can threaten to put an end to your golf game, but if you are willing to change your concept of
hip rotation and implement an unconventional strategy I think you will find the game as enjoyable as
you would without your limitations.
Don’t let injuries limit your golf hip rotation!
Finding Your Own Perfect Golf Hip Turn
Although a pretty swing is appealing to look at, an ugly but efficient swing will work just as well.
Everything that you do during your swing is to ensure that when the clubhead comes in contact
with the ball your clubface is where is square and your body is in a position to provide the
power needed to hit the shot. You can accomplish this in a lot of ways so don’t get hung up on
the beauty of your swing unless having a picturesque swing is the reason you play golf.
First, in order to find out how your hips are working right now in your swing do this simple golf hip turn drill:
Get into your golf posture and using the back of a chair, couch or similar, let your right hand hang and place your left hand behind your back. Swing back with the right hand down to the couch, holding your impact position after you hit the couch.
Look down at your lower body to discover your hip speed:
1. If your right foot is on the toes and your hips are cleared at impact your have a fast
2. If your right foot is on or close to the ground and your hips are square you have slow hip turn.
3. If your right foot is neither too flat or too high, and your hips are slightly open at impact you
have neutral hip speed.
If you have faster or slower hip speeds, here are some things you can do to ensure your upper body matches the lower body at impact.
SETUP ADJUSTMENTS FOR FAST OR SLOW HIPS:
|Hip Speed||Stance Width||Grip||Ball Position||Foot Position|
|FAST HIPS||Heels Under the Hips||Strong||Back||No Foot Flare|
|SLOW HIPS||Heels outside the Hips||Neutral||Forward||Left Foot Flare|
After finding your hip speed, look next at the length of your backswing and how it effects your
hip turn. If you have fast hip speed, for instance, it would not be advantageous to over-swing
because your hips will always be way ahead of the club on the downswing. If you have slow hip speed it would be detrimental to have a short swing because the club face will not have time to close on the downswing.
This golf hip turn drill will help you to adjust your setup to match the length of your swing and the speed of your hips:
1. Standing like you are addressing the ball, turn back with the left arm only.
2. Hold the left arm where it stops and then bring the right hand up to meet the left. Pull
the left arm slightly to complete your turn.
3. This should be the length of your backswing.
To shorten or lengthen your swing to match your hip speed you can adjust your stance by narrowing or widening the width of your feet, by turning your toes out or by simply checking your posture.
If you are having difficulty getting your right hip back to your right heel after these adjustments then try pulling your right foot back away from the target line a couple of inches. These drills on finding your hip speed and your personal swing length should help you immediately in the timing of your swing. In order for your swing to be productive you have to have a good impact position consistently.
Use these guidelines to ensure you find your perfect golf hip turn!
The Function of the Golf hip Turn
There are five roles of the lower body in the swing:
1. To control the speed of the swing
2. To create power
3. To the motion of the body during the swing
4. To begin the motion on the downswing
5. To provide stability for the swing
Because the club travels the longest way in the swing, the lower body turns the least amount.
The hips are the midway point between where the body coils against the lower body and where
the upper body creates the coil. Having an ill or improperly timed hip turn can cause power leaks
and unwanted influence on the clubface position at impact.
Timing between the arms and hip at impact is really what hitting a good shot consistently is all about. The faster you can swing AND time your impact position correctly the more power you will have. Remember, however, that having a properly timed impact position will many times have a more beneficial effect on your shots than having greater power and poor timing.
On the takeaway and during the backswing the hip are searching for something to turn against in order to allow for maximum turn in the upper body. Ideally you want the right hip to stop directly above the right heel. Some players may use the top of the spine as a stationary point to turn around. The hips need to find reinforcement to stop their motion long enough to allow the arms and club to continue and then finish the backswing. Because the hips help initiate the downswing, hips that turn and never find reinforcement going back will blunder their way through the downswing and follow through, never finding a good location to allow a release.
There is no one hip position that every player should have at impact. Not everyone turns their hips the same amount or at the same rate. A conventional impact position would have the left leg straight and the hips turned anywhere from 25-40 degrees towards the target. When the left leg straightens it forces the club to release down towards the ball more quickly.
If the hips can’t find a place to stop, either because the spine is changing positions or because
of lateral movement, the club face will be open at impact if there are no compensations. For instance, setting up with a wide stance can cause too much lateral motion in the hips because they have to travel further to find a place for reinforcement. A wide stance can also shorten the amount of turn on the backswing so that the right hip never turns over the right heel. If this happens the hips will slide forward quickly on the downswing in order to try and create the power that was lost in the backswing.
A player whose hips naturally turn very quickly can find themselves hitting a lot of shots to the left, with a closed clubface. If you find yourself slowing down the hips in order to get the club down more quickly then you may want to look at the length of your swing. Overturning on the backswing can make it difficult for the club to get down to the ball fast enough to time up with the hips at impact. Slowing the hips down essentially takes the hips out of the downswing, causing the club face to close quickly and with less power.
A correct hip turn is an essential element in the timing of the swing and the creation of power. Without a solid foundation for your hips to rotate around your body will make continual compensations while it tries to bring the body together in the proper position at impact. Recognize that your golf hip turn orchestrates the timing between the upper and lower body and you will discover consistency and power in your golf swing.
Keep your arms in front of you to improve your golf hip turn downswing
How many times have you felt like the club and your arms were stuck behind you
on the downswing? What about feeling like you are holding off the club to wait for
for your hip to start turning?
The truth is, your hips won’t turn until your arms are in front of your chest. But keeping the club in front of you on the backswing and the downswing will provide you the opportunity to rotate your hips correctly. The arms will always follow the shoulders. Sliding the hip causes your shoulders to turn too soon on the downswing, forcing the arms and the club behind you.
Let’s assume you have a simple rotational swing with no slide. On the backswing you overturn your hips and your weight is on the outside of your right foot. At that point, either at the top of the backswing or on the start of the downswing, your arms will be behind you. Your hips will still move, but they aren’t going to rotate until your arms are back in front of you. Unfortunately for most amateurs in this case, the hips don’t rotate until after you have hit the ball.
To feel what it’s like to have your arms in front of you, take your grip and stand tall. Bend both
arms until the club is parallel with your spine. Keeping the club in place, bend from your hips as though you are addressing the ball. Turn your shoulders until you feel resistance and then swing your arms back. The club should still be light and easy to maneuver with your arms are in front of you.
On the downswing, the arms need to extend down to the ball. A common miscue is to try to get the club to swing back out to the target line as soon as possible. All this will do is cause your shoulders to turn early so that the club is now behind you. Your hip will slide until the club finally gets down in front of you.
At the top of the backswing your shoulder line should be pointing to the right of your target line.
The hips will start to move and at the same time the arms should straighten and the club should feel like it is going down instead of around. If your arms are swinging down and along your shoulder line they will force your hips to turn. The arms will stay in front of you and the timing between the upper and lower body will be optimal for impact.
Try it out for yourself. Here is a good way to feel the arms working in front of you on the downswing.
1. Follow the instructions above explaining how to feel the arms working in front of
you during the backswing.
2. When you finish the last step and have swung your arms to the top of the backswing, stop.
3. Without moving the core of your body, simultaneously straighten your arms while
Swinging them down towards the ball. You should feel your hips start to rotate.
A great rule of thumb is to swing between your feet. This will give you the best opportunity to keep
the club in front of you and as a result, allow the hips to rotate.
Keep working on keeping your arms in front of you while you swing and soon you will feel the benefit
of the golf hip turn downswing working in your favor!