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Answer Will restricting my hip turn increase my power

My, how those whipper-snappers can move it.

The young bucks of the PGA Tour – guys like Dustin Johnson, Gary Woodland and Rory McIlroy – drive the ball prodigious distances. Sure, modern equipment gets credit for some of those yards. But make no mistake, these kids are athletes, too. And that athleticism translates into outrageous clubhead speed.

In the age of Tiger Woods, most every tour pro has a daily fitness regimen that includes weightlifting and cardio-vascular work. The real focus is on core strength (abdominal muscles, lower back, hips) and flexibility. A strong core paired with supple shoulders, torso and hips allows golfers to achieve a high “X-Factor” – the difference (in degrees) between a players shoulder turn and his hip turn measured at the top of the backswing.

The bigger ones X-Factor, the more power one can generate by uncoiling on the downswing. Hence, pros seek to make the biggest shoulder turn possible while limiting their hip rotation. Sounds simple, right? It is – provided youve got exceptional core strength and head-to-toe flexibility. It helps to have hours a day you can devote to fitness and practice, too.

So, whats the takeaway? While theres no denying the distance-boosting power of a strong coil, theres little evidence that amateurs are best served by trying to limit their hip turn. Whats more, you may risk injury if you do.

Golfers with the requisite physical prowess can limit their hip turn by taking a wider stance, keeping their shoulders closed and keeping the left heel on the ground throughout the backswing. The flat-footed drill is a good way to test and improve your core flexibility and shoulder turn. And starting your own golf fitness routine is a great idea – visit our Golf Stretches section for lots of helpful tips.

If you truly want to max out your power, your best bet is to make the best shoulder turn your body will allow and let the hips follow naturally. Fact is, a huge hip turn powered the swings of Jack Nicklaus and other prodigious hitters. If your left heel lifts a little on the backswing, thats OK.

The idea isnt to emulate what the worlds best players are doing, but to make the most of your own physical ability.

There are many tried-and-true ways to hit the ball farther without purposely limiting your hip rotation. Here are a few of our favorites:

Club Across Shoulders for Full Turn

Leverage Your Power with Downswing Squat

Seniors: Stop Backswing Sway for More Power

Women: Thumbs Up to Groove Powerful Release

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Like we said above, many golfers lack the physical prowess to keep their hips relatively still and make a full shoulder turn (90° or more with the driver). If you can do it, great. If you cant, youll only hurt yourself trying.

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True, achieving a big shoulder turn is a great way to enhance your distance. But its not the only way. Theres ample evidence that golfers with a high X-Factor (shoulder turn – hip turn) generate more power than those with a low X-Factor.

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Originally conceived by noted teacher Jim McLean, X-Factor has been thoroughly tested by actual scientists. While theres a little static in the data, its pretty clear that making a big shoulder turn against a fairly stable lower body positions a golfer to crush the ball on the downswing.