Strike The Golf Ball Better, Drive The Hips, Tour Alignment Stick Drill 1

This is a really effective drill that helps to create more power and stability for better ball striking in the swing.

Most golfers, particularly beginners, will mainly use the small muscles, such as the arms and hands, to swing the golf club. This is a natural reaction as the arms and hands tend to be used for almost every action in everyday life. However, the golf swing will ideally be made using the bigger muscles in the back and shoulders, giving more control of the golf club and creating good rotation backwards and forwards through the swing, to create speed through the ball.

When the arms and hands are used in the backswing, the tendency is to move the lower body. Generally, the hips slide or sway towards the back foot as the arms are lifted, and this creates an arch in the back. This group of movements not only lose power and rotation through the shot, but can also create pressure on the spine as this is a very poor position for the lower back, as the pelvis tilts against the rotation of the spine. This is known as the reverse C position or a reverse pivot.

To turn properly in the backswing, practice by using two tour sticks as a guide for how far the hips turn in the coil. The first stick is laid on the floor, pointing parallel to the target, to make sure that the body is aligned and aiming in the correct direction. Once the stance is taken to the ball, stand the second tour stick in the ground, pointing vertically upwards, and positioned so that it is touching the outside of the back foot.

With the vertical stick in this position, practice swinging back but coil the hips in a turn around the spine rather than slide them out to the back foot. At the top of the backswing, correct rotation of the upper body should result in the back, hip and trouser pocket rotating so that they finish behind the standing tour stick. In performing this rotation, use the stick as feedback. Make sure that the hip, back, knee or thigh never touches the vertical tour stick.

The vertical tour stick can also be used to check the amount of shoulder turn. After the turn in the backswing, check that the head and front shoulder turn across the body towards the stick, transferring the majority of the weight on to the back foot. In this backswing position, the head should be nearer the standing tour stick than it was at the set up position, but the hips should have stayed the same distance away.

Use this exercise to not only help the lower back, but also create more power in the swing to drive into the golf ball.

For Better Strike, Drive the Hips

For Better Strike, Drive the Hips

A quality strike is one of the crucial elements in playing good golf. If you can strike the ball solidly swing after swing, everything about this game will become easier. Catching the ball cleanly means you will hit your shots the proper distance in most cases, and you should be able to keep the ball on target as well. This may sound simple but it's true – the biggest difference between professional golfers and amateur players in the pro's ability to strike the ball cleanly. Train yourself to put the club on the back of the ball correctly and many of your on-course problems will quickly disappear.

As you can tell from the title of this article, we are going to focus on using your hips as the method of improving your ball striking. By driving your hips through the shot in the downswing, you can put your body and the club in a position to succeed. A good hip drive is going to help you position the club properly, and it is also going to help you build speed. Clean ball striking is not very helpful if it doesn't come along with power, but you should be able to find both of those elements when you learn how to employ your hips correctly on the way down.

Unfortunately, a large percentage of amateur golfers never manage to get their lower bodies involved in the swing at all. This is, of course, a mistake. Your lower body has the potential to create tremendous power as long as you allow it to work for you. Trying to swing the club with your arms alone is never going to lead to the same kind of power which could be achieved through the use of your whole body. Sure, it takes plenty of practice to coordinate your entire body in a way that will lead to solid shots, but that practice is a smart investment for the dedicated golfer.

Driving your hips through the downswing is one of the key elements to a great ball striking swing. However, there are other elements at work here as well, so we will touch on those as well in the content below. You always want to have a big picture understanding of how your golf swing works anytime you are trying to make improvements. The swing is a complicated motion, so it would be a mistake to think that it can be boiled down to just one important component. You should absolutely work on hip rotation and drive to better your ball striking, but don't allow that work to distract you from the other keys in your swing.

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.

Learn from Your Finish Position

Learn from Your Finish Position

To get started, we are actually going to look at the end of your swing. It would be silly to work on driving your hips if you are already doing a good job on that very task, so we need to evaluate your current lower body motion before taking any action. Only if we find that your lower body is not currently doing its job should we move on to thinking about making a change.

There are a few specific things that you want to see in your finish position as you watch the ball sail into the distance. Those points are as follows.

  • Weight on the left foot. This is one of the biggest keys in the entire golf swing. When you finish your swing, the majority of your weight should be resting on top of your left foot. If that is not the case, you have done something wrong. Most likely, the mistake can be found in your lower body, as the lower body is going to be the main driver of lateral movement in the swing. By rotating your hips aggressively through the shot, your body will move left as it turns – leading you to the classic finish position that you see professional golfers holding when you watch on TV. Check your finish position in a mirror, or ask a friend to check it for you, to make sure your weight is getting all the way onto your left side.
  • Belt buckle toward the target. Before each shot, you should have picked out a specific target. After you hit the shot, your belt buckle should be directly pointing toward the target in question. If you release your hips fully, you will have no probably getting to this point – and your belt buckle may even be pointed a bit to the left of the target (which is fine). What you don't want to see is your belt buckle pointing to the right of the target when the swing has been completed. This is a sure sign that your hip rotation was lacking. As you practice on the range, take note of where your belt buckle is in comparison to the target after each swing. If you are struggling to get all the way around, you will know right away that changes are in order.
  • Right toe on the ground. When the swing is finished, most of your right foot should be off the ground. The only part of your right shoe which should be touching the turf is the toe, while the heel is completely up off the ground and the sole of the shoe is shown to those standing behind you. While this is an important point, it is one that you may not need to think about too much – as long as you are hitting on the first two points on the list. If you nail those first two points, it is almost certain that your toe will be on the ground and the rest of your right foot will have released fully.
  • Head and chin up, watching the ball fly. This last point might not seem like it has much to do with your lower body action, but everything is connected in the golf swing. By keeping your head up, you will be clearing the way for your body to rotate freely through the hitting area. Were you to leave your chin down, your shoulders would be restricted in both the backswing and the downswing. Then, because your shoulders would not be turning fully, your hips would not make their best turn, either. From head to toe, everything you do in your golf swing as an effect on another part of the action.

Don't take your finish position for granted, as it has a lot to tell you about the golf swing. When you check on your finish position during practice, think of everything that you are seeing as a clue. The positions you are in at the finish show you exactly what when on during the swing itself. This is as much information as you are ever going to get about your swing, so use it wisely. If you come to the determination that your hip drive and rotation is not what it should be, you can get down to work with confidence knowing you are about to correct an important swing problem.

How the Hips Should Work

How the Hips Should Work

If you are going to use your hips correctly during the swing, you obviously need to understand how they are supposed to work from start to finish. Without a clear picture in your head of what your hips should be doing, you will have no way to execute the right moves. The good news is this – the proper way to use your hips is actually pretty simple, once you spend a bit of time learning how to execute it correctly.

The step-by-step process below will walk you through how to use your hips during the golf swing. Invest some upcoming practice time in the rehearsal of this technique so you are able to execute on it nicely during future rounds.

  • At address, your hips should be square to the target line, and they should match up with your feet, knees, and shoulders. It is very important to get your body into a square, solid position prior to starting the swing. The way you start the swing has a lot to do with what happens once the swing begins, so never overlook the importance of your address position. Square up your hips to match with the other parts of your stance and then move on to the next point.
  • During the backswing, you are going to do almost nothing with your hips. Keeping your hips still during the backswing is a great idea, as the main focus of this part of the swing is on executing an excellent shoulder rotation. You want to turn your upper body as far back as you can, meaning you don't want to do much of anything at all with your hips. If you watch a slow motion video of some of the top golfers in the world swinging the club, you will see that they have very little movement in their lower bodies during the backswing. You should strive for this same kind of stability. It is okay to allow your right hip to rotate away from the ball slightly, particularly if you have limited flexibility, but that's about it. There definitely should not be any lateral motion in your lower body at this stage.
  • It is at the top of the swing when your hips are really going to jump into action. Specifically, your left hip should get involved by rotating open toward the target. This should not be a passive, or casual move. It should be aggressive, and it should be decisive. As soon as the club arrives at the top of the backswing, you are going to change directions by opening your left hip to the target. This will be the first move you make toward the target in your swing, and it will set up everything else that needs to happen before the moment of impact. While your hip is beginning to turn left, be sure to keep your hands and arms back behind the rest of your rotation. The hands (and the club) should be the last thing to come through the hitting area.
  • During the downswing, you need to simply keep turning your hips toward the target. With the transition out of the way, all you can do is keep on turning. While that sounds simple, it is actually where many people go wrong. If you get a little bit nervous about the results of your shot, you might give up on your turn by slowing down as impact approaches. This is a serious mistake. You need to keep the speed up, and you need to be confident that your shot is going to come off perfectly. One of the biggest overall keys to the success of your golf swing is your ability to keep the hips moving aggressively through the shot and into the finish.
  • Speaking of the finish, that is where we will get to in this last point. As was mentioned earlier, you need to finish by pointing your belt buckle at the target. You should be well balanced, your eyes should be watching the ball as it flies, and you should have turned your shoulders all the way through the shot as well. At this point, the 'hip drive' is complete, and you will have (hopefully) hit an excellent shot.

The right moves with your hips during the golf swing are going to combine patience with aggressiveness. You need to be patient at the start while the backswing develops, and you need to be aggressive on the way down as you turn through the shot with confidence. The player who can best combine these two elements will often come out on top at the end of the day.

Mastering Your Lag

Mastering Your Lag

The topic of hip drive in the golf swing really can't be covered properly without discussing lag. Many golf teachers will steer clear of the topic of lag because it can be difficult to explain, but it should not be avoided if you truly want to improve your play. Lag is extremely important in golf, and it is actually fairly simple once you understand what is going on.

The word 'lag' is used because the golf club is going to lag behind your hands – and the rest of your body – on the way into the ball. Many golfers try to deliver the club to the ball first and foremost, but that is actually the wrong way to approach your swing. You should be trying to move everything through the hitting area before the club arrives, in order to build as much speed as possible. The club should only be allowed to strike the ball after the rest of your body has turned through the shot.

We have been discussing hip drive in this article, and how it can help you to achieve a better strike. That is true, but only if you hold on to your lag throughout the downswing. If you fail to lag the club, your hip rotation won't matter – the strike will be weak, and you shot will likely be off target as well. In order to have all of the hard work you have done with your hips pay off in the end, you need to master the mysterious lag.

So how do you lag the club properly? Lag is more about what you don't do, than what you actively do. In other words, you need to avoid allowing your hands to interfere with the swing if you want to lag the club successfully. On the way down, the club is naturally going to lag behind your hands just because of the forces which are created in the swing. However, you can get in the way if you use your right hand to force the club down faster. As long as your right hand doesn't get in the way, you should be able to ride your lag all the way down to impact. Only at the very last moment should you allow you right hand to apply any force to the grip of the club.

Lag is so difficult to teach, and learn, because it is about being passive. You can't be told to do something specific, because lag requires you to do nothing at all, in a way. Despite the daunting task of teaching yourself to lag the club, you need to take on this challenge because it can unlock a new level of play in your game when you do manage to get it right. Combining an excellent hip drive with plenty of lag is almost certain to lead to the best golf shots of your life.

Other Ball Striking Tips

Other Ball Striking Tips

Great ball striking is going to take you a long way on the course. So far, we have dealt primarily with the topic of using your hips to improve on your striking ability. However, talking about the hips only scratches the surface of this discussion. There are plenty of other things you can do to work toward better, more consistent ball striking performance. The list below contains a few points you may want to consider while contemplating your own swing.

  • Don't swing so hard. If the average golf teacher could give just one tip to the average golfer, it would probably be this one – stop swinging so hard! Most amateur players swing too hard, plain and simple. You don't need to swing hard to play good golf, yet the typical weekend player swings just about as hard as he or she can. If that sounds like you, think about making softer swings in order to quickly improve on your ball striking. It isn't necessary to swing at half-speed or anything like that, but dialing it back to approximately 80% effort can help tremendously with the task of striking the ball on the sweet spot of the club. If you are willing to swing softer, many of the other issues in your swing may resolve themselves without further work.
  • Use a consistent address position. It isn't good enough to just walk up to the ball and swing away. You need to be putting yourself in a consistent address position which repeats from shot to shot. When you stand over the ball in the same manner time after time, you will be able to deliver a far more consistent strike. Some of the key elements to include in your stance are flexed knees, square shoulders, chin up away from your chest, and more. Practice taking your stance in front of a mirror at home until you get comfortable with setting your body in the same place for every shot.
  • Hands in front of the ball at impact. One of the keys to great ball striking is getting your hands into a position at impact where they are in front of the ball. You don't want them dramatically past the ball, but they shouldn't be hanging back behind the ball either. Ideally, you will be able to move your hands just an inch or two past the position of the ball when contact is made. By getting your hands in front, the shaft will be leaning toward the target at impact, and a downward plane will be achieved.

Your hips play a crucial role in the golf swing, as they are responsible for both creating power and delivering the club in an accurate manner. Most amateur golfers fail to use their hips correctly, which is why the typical golfer doesn't hit the ball very far. To improve your ball striking, take the advice included above and get down to work during your next trip to the driving range. It will take a while to master the moves needed to sharpen your ball striking, but you should be able to make at least some progress right away. Good luck!