In this golf swing video tip we are going to discuss how to rotate your body correctly during your golf swing so that you rotate rather than slide during your golf shot.
Sliding occurs as you swing through impact and your hips move laterally to the left, with your left hip moving over and outside your left foot. You can clearly see a sliding action in your body if you hit shots with your golf bag next to your left side (for right handed golfers). If your body slides as you swing through the golf shot, you will feel your left hip move into the golf bag. To move more correctly during your golf swing, your body should rotate to the left as you are striking the ball without hitting the golf bag. On your downswing, you should turn towards the bag and finish with your pelvis next to and facing the bag. Your upper body should also rotate and finish with your chest towards the target or even to the left of the target. If you slide during your golf swing, the seam of your trousers down your left leg will bump into the golf bag. If you rotate, the zip on your trousers will turn towards the golf bag and finish flat to it.
If you struggle rotating your body during your golf swing, try the following drill. Stand with your back to a wall and take up your golf stance, keeping your backside against the wall. Make your backswing and as you do this you will notice that the left side of your backside comes off the wall but the right side stays on the wall. This is correct. If you now slide during your downswing you will do exactly this, your backside will slide along the wall.
To rotate correctly, make your backswing and then work on replacing the left side of your backside back on to the wall whilst allowing the right side of your backside to now move off the wall. Keep turning so that the seam of your left trouser leg moves on to the wall and allow your weight to move 95% on to your left foot, letting your right heel move up from the floor and the shoe laces on your right foot to rotate towards the target. From a golf stance with your backside against a wall, make a backswing and allow the left side of your backside to move away from the wall whilst keeping the right side on the wall. Now replace the left side of your backside back on to the wall and keep the movement going so that your left leg trouser seam finishes against the wall.
This will give you the correct movement for rotating rather than sliding during your golf swing. If you would like to try a drill that will encourage you to rotate your body whilst hitting golf balls then try the following. Place your golf bag to the left of you so that your left hip is next to the bag. Swing back and as you swing down and hit through the shot, turn your hips towards the bag without bumping into the bag.
With some hard work and practice doing this you will improve your movement and start rotating through your golf shots rather than sliding.
How to Rotate Your Body Without Sliding During a Golf Shot
The unfortunate reality in the game of golf is that the average amateur players makes several mistakes during their swing. The golf swing is complicated, as you already know, and the typical weekend golfer is not able to invest the time or effort into refining their technique properly. Therefore, when walking along the tee line at your local driving range, it is easy to spot all kinds of swing mistakes as you watch the practice shots of one golfer after the next. Of course, with that many mistakes taking place during the swing, the shots that are being struck usually wind up taking a flight that is somewhat less than ideal. In order to improve going forward, the average golfer needs to make an effort to remove the technical mistakes from his or her golf swing one at a time.
One of the most common mistakes you will see at any golf course on a busy Saturday morning is the dreaded slide. A slide, in golf terms, is a lateral move from right to left or left to right. Ideally the golf swing will be a rotational movement rather than a lateral one, but many amateur players fall into the habit of sliding through the ball. The slide is harmful to your game for a number of reasons. First, it is rotation that allows you to build speed in the swing, so sliding is only going to serve to slow down your overall club head speed. Also, it is hard to keep the club moving down the target line properly when you slide, so you will find that hooks and slices become far more frequent. If you have been sliding within your swing for a long period of time, this is a habit that could take some significant effort to break – but your effort will be rewarded in the end.
If you take a moment to watch some golf on television, you will notice that a sliding motion is nowhere to be seen in the swings of the best players in the world. Instead, they are focused only on rotating aggressively back and through, which is why they are able to generate such impressive club head speed in their swings. Have you ever wondered how professional golfers are able to swing so hard and hit the ball so far without falling off balance in the follow through? It is because they are rotating instead of sliding. When you rotate, your weight stays nicely in the middle of your stance and you have an easy time holding your balance. That is not the case when you slide. To achieve that beautiful balance that you see demonstrated by the best golfers in the world, your swinging action should be focused completely on a rotational move.
All of the content below is based on a right handed golfer. If you happen to play left handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.
Setting Up for a Rotational Swing
The address position that you use prior to starting your golf swing has a lot to do with the shots that you will eventually hit. A solid address position sets you up for success, while a poor stance over the ball is going to lead to failure most of the time. With that in mind, you need to understand how to build a stance that is going to encourage you to make a rotational swing. Some of the address position mistakes that amateur golfers make actually promote a slide, which is something you obviously want to avoid.
If you can manage to hit on the three address position points listed below, you should be well on your way to an excellent rotational golf swing.
- Feet slightly outside of shoulder width. One of the leading address position mistakes in the amateur game is standing with the feet too close together. If you keep your feet close to together when starting your swing, your body will naturally want to slide away from the target as you won't have a good enough base to maintain balance comfortably. With your feet just slightly wider than shoulder width apart, however, it will be relatively easy to stay on balance and prevent the slide.
- Knees flexed. This is another crucial point within your stance. It is easy to fall into the bad habit of standing over the ball with your knees locked out straight, and this is another error that you will commonly see among average golfers. Without flex in your knees, it will be hard to support your upper body rotation in the backswing, so you may find that your body slides to the right as a result. To prevent that mistake from occurring, bend your knees at address and maintain that bend throughout the backswing and into the downswing. Not only will this knee bend help you to avoid the slide, but it will also make your swing more athletic and dynamic overall.
- Back straight. Good posture is essential in the golf swing. Setting up over the ball with your back straight from your waist all the way up into your neck will promote an excellent rotation in the backswing. You are going to be turning your shoulders as the main form of rotation in the swing, but that task becomes difficult if you are hunched over the ball with a curve in your spine. To make sure your back is in a good position, work on sticking your chest out slightly at address and stick your backside out behind you as well.
You can think of your address position much like you would think about the ingredients you need to cook a meal. Simply having the ingredients on hand isn't going to cook the meal for you, but it is the only way to get started. In the same way, a great address position isn't going to hit the ball – but it is going to put you on the right path toward hitting a good shot. With all of your ingredients in place as you stand over the ball at address, you can then get down to the business of making a great swing.
The Takeaway is Crucial
When it comes to the slide, the takeaway is usually where it all goes wrong. As the club starts in motion, you have to be very careful with how your body moves, or you could get off track almost immediately in your swing. The takeaway is an underrated part of the swing for this very reason – if things go wrong at this point, there will be very little chance for you to get back on track later on.
As you get the club started, your mind should be focused on two specific parts of the body – the right knee and the left shoulder. Each of these two parts of your body have a job to do, and if they both to their job successfully, your swing will be off to a great start. Those jobs are as follows –
- Right knee. The job of your right knee is to do nothing at all. While that sounds simple, it is actually rather difficult for some players to accomplish. You need to be able to hold that knee in place so that it can prevent you from swaying back to the right. If your knee doesn't move to the right, it is impossible for you to slide in that direction – it's just that simple. So, as you start to move the club back away from the ball, make sure your knee isn't moving at the same time. To practice this point, spend some time on the driving range making 'dry swings' (swings where you don't actually hit a ball). Over and over again, work on making your takeaway without allowing your right knee to give up its position. Once you get comfortable with this concept, you should be able to execute this non-move without having to think about it consciously.
- Left shoulder. While your right knee is busy not moving, your left shoulder should be controlling the swing by turning under your chin. Instead of using your hands to take the club back away from the ball, which can lead to a slide later on, use the rotation of your shoulders to get things started. Turn the left shoulder under your chin while keeping your hands quiet to get the swing off to a great start. Of course, your hands will get involved later or, but they should be passive during the takeaway phase. It is important to stay down in your posture as you start the swing, so make sure you are moving your shoulder down and to the right to allow it to pass under your chin. If you lift your head up early in the swing to make room for your shoulder, you will lose your posture and the swing path will be off track.
Many golfers get into the habit of complicating the golf swing and their results are disappointing because of that complication. Keep things simple early in your swing by narrowing your focus down to just the two points of your right knee and your left shoulder. As long as you can master the way these two parts of your body need to move (or not move), you should be able to put your swing in motion the right way time after time.
The great thing about making a good takeaway is that it will usually carry over into the rest of your swing. In fact, if you are able to master your takeaway through consistent practice, you might find that you don't need to work on very many other parts of your swing. When the takeaway goes right, the club starts in the correct direction and your body stays in a properly balanced position. That means that the stage is set for a good shot, and all you need to do is swing through aggressively to a full finish. Of course, not every shot that you hit is going to come off perfectly, but you will be happy with the level of consistency you can achieve simply by nailing an excellent takeaway.
Making the Transition
In the takeaway is the most important part of the golf swing in terms of avoiding a slide, the transition is a close second. This is the other point where things can go wrong in a hurry, so you need to spend some practice time on the range address this part of your technique as well. The transition is what turns a great backswing into a powerful downswing, meaning you won't be able to hit good shots without getting this part right.
So what is it that makes up a good transition? The following tips should help you smooth out this crucial portion of your swing.
- Take your time. A great transition will never be rushed. Even if you are trying to hit the ball a long distance, you always need to take your time to allow the club to change directions naturally. If you try to force this part of the swing to happen faster than it wants to, the overall rhythm of your move is going to be ruined. The golf swing should have a smooth tempo from start to finish, and there should be no sense of rush or hurry at any point. Countless amateur golfers rush their way through the transition of the swing, often leading to a slice when the club is forced up and away from the body. As you are finishing your backswing, allow the club to 'hang' at the top for just a brief moment while you get your lower body rotation started. As your lower body turns left, your hands and arms can then begin to pull the club down into position for the downswing. It can be difficult to be patient throughout the transition from backswing to downswing, but that is exactly what you will do if you want to strike great shots.
- Left hip leads the way. As was mentioned above, your lower body needs to lead the way in the downswing, and it is really the job of the left hip to make that happen. In fact, the very first thing that should happen in your transition is your let hip should turn open toward the target as quickly as possible. Most amateur players start their downswing with the hands and arms, but it is actually the hip that should go first. If you can get your hip starting before the upper body makes the move forward, you will start off a chain of events that will lead to a powerful strike at the bottom. On the other hand, if you start the transition with your upper body and allow your lower body to drag behind, you will lose out on potential power and it will become difficult to make clean contact. When done correctly, there will be a beautiful transition from backswing to downswing thanks to the way your lower body is taking control of the swing.
- Keep your head level. Maintaining the level of your head throughout the golf swing is important to the quality of your ball striking. The transition is a common time to lose that level, as many players will rise up or hunch down as they are moving from backswing to downswing. To keep your head level, focus on the flex in your knees and the tilt of your spine. If you can hold those two elements steady throughout the transition, your head should stay in place and your swing path should stay on track. Holding your head level at the transition is also going to help guard against the slide, as sliding to the left in the downswing will usually cause your head to drop quickly.
The combination of the takeaway and the transition is what is going to be able to allow you to make great swings time after time. A swing that has significant faults in either one of these two areas is always going to struggle to perform at a high level. When you take time to visit the driving range to work on your swing technique, make sure you spend at least a little bit of time on each of these two phases of the swing. Golfers who are able to make quality takeaways and transitions will almost always be able to strike the ball cleanly and powerfully on a regular basis.
Rotation Equals Great Contact
The number one goal of your golf swing each time you put the club in motion should be to make clean contact at impact. Without clean contact, everything else that you have done to prepare for your swing is going to be wasted. The ball is not going to go the right distance if you fail to catch it cleanly, and it will usually fly off line as well. The good news is this – if you are able to make a rotational golf swing time after time, you should have no trouble making clean contact all day long.
Why is it easier to make good contact when you make a rotational swing? It all comes down to your center of gravity. As you rotate back and through in your well-balanced swing, your center of gravity will barely move. That means you can count on making contact in the same place over and over again. If you are sliding, on the other hand, your center of gravity will be moving all over the place – and there will be almost no way of knowing where your swing is going to bottom out. Since you need to match up the moment of impact with the point at which your swing reaches the bottom of its arc, this is a critical point. Master the ability to make a rotational swing and your worries about hitting the ball thin or fat will be a thing of the past.
This is an especially important point to remember when it comes to the short game – specifically, pitch shots of 30 or 40 yards. These are shots that can be difficult to catch cleanly, but that is exactly what you have to do in order to carry the ball the perfect distance. Many amateur golfers struggle to hit their pitch shots cleanly, leading to all kinds of trouble around the greens. To improve on this point, make sure you are staying centered on your short game shots just as you are doing with your full swing. Some players fall into the habit of sliding toward the target on pitch shots as they try to help the ball up into the air. It should go without saying that this is a bad idea. As you swing your wedge back and forth, keep your center of gravity in the middle of your stance and let the club to the work of lofting the ball up into the air.
On final point regarding the slide in your golf game should be made, and it relates to putting. As you would expect, sliding from side to side while putting is just as bad as it is in any other part of the game. This isn't usually a problem when putting from short range, but it definitely can be an issue on longer putts. You don't need to slide or use your lower body at all to roll the ball across the green – simply rock your shoulders back and forth far enough to send the ball to the target. Stability while putting is crucial to your ability to hit the ball with the center of the putter face, which will help you greatly in your quest to hole out as quickly as possible.
As you have gathered from all of the content above, there is no room in the game of golf for a lateral slide. While working on improving the fundamentals of your golf swing, make sure you are focused on rotating back and through the shot. With the slide eliminated from your technique and your rotation going strong, you can look forward to plenty of great ball striking for years to come.