Golf Hip Rotation, Proper Swing (Video)
Golf Hip Rotation, Proper Swing (Video) So now let's look at your hip action and how that relates to building and releasing power in your golf swing. For a lot of sporting activities that you'll see, the hips and how the hips turn create power. Just think about picking up a ball and throwing it down the fairway. You would move back, turning your hips away from target slightly and then you would turn through with the hips towards the target, the belt buckle would face forwards leading the way, and then the hands and arm would come through to finish. We want to create the same feeling in a golf swing. So, I have my good address position. Your hip should be level and facing forwards, not tilted or twisted or twisted or off angle, but level facing forwards. Now, during the backswing, your shoulders will turn to about 90 degrees if you can manage the full shoulder rotation and your hips should follow to about 45 degrees. Try and think of a two to one ratio. I really like that feeling of turning my upper body, double the amount to my bottom half. And, don't worry, if you can't manage the full 90-degree shoulder rotation due to lack of flexibility or an injury, just let the hips go half the amount of the shoulders. So, shoulders go to, let's say, 70 degrees, hips would follow to 35 degrees, the two to one ratio. And that's a good way of creating and building power in the backswing. Now let's work on driving those hips back towards the target. A nice feeling here would be to let the belt buckle spin from the right side across the target this way. The more the belt buckle goes that way; the hands will get pulled down and are forced to impact. So, create power to the top, drive the hips back to the left hand side, and feel like the belt buckle is aiming left at impact. Remember, the belt buckle doesn't point at the ball at impact that would be too static, not dynamic enough. Point the belt buckle left at impact, big turn through to a finish where actually your hips should now be 90 degrees in relation to where they started, fully facing to the target. And if you can control your hips in that fashion, you'll hit longer and straighter golf shots. 2012-03-28

There is a lot of rotation that needs to take place in the golf swing.

Golf Swing with Proper Hip Rotation

While many amateur golfers make the mistake of focusing on lateral movement as they swing, it is really rotation that should serve as the engine to drive your club back and through. If you rotate properly, you can produce an impressive amount of speed while maintaining good balance from start to finish. Part of proper rotation is using your hips correctly, and that is the topic we are going to address in this article.

It’s easy to overlook the role your hips should be playing in the golf swing. After all, you have plenty of other things to think about while trying to hit a shot. Whether you tend to focus on your grip, your stance, the position of the club, or any of countless other points, golf is a game which can easily overwhelm you. The best way to avoid that outcome is to work on one piece of the golf swing puzzle at a time on the driving range. It’s important to bring things together on the range so you can simply focus on executing to the best of your ability when on the course.

No matter which club you happen to be holding – other than the putter – your hip rotation should work in basically the same way. Sure, you are going to make a more aggressive move when swinging a driver as opposed to a wedge, but the basic idea remains the same. If you can time your hip rotation correctly, and you can commit to it all the way through to the finish, you should be pleased with the results you achieve.

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.

A Two-Phase Process

A Two-Phase Process

Golf is a complicated game for a number of reasons. For instance, you will often hear golf teachers say that it is best to keep the golf swing as simple as possible, and that is true. But here’s the thing – the golf swing is complex by nature. There are a few different moving parts, the club moves in an arc around your body, and it swings through the hitting area at a high rate of speed. Something so dynamic really can’t be simple, so how do you keep it simple? It’s a challenge, to be sure.

One of the best ways to simplify this game is to break down your swing into components. Rather than thinking about the swing as a whole, you should try to think about specific segments which you can master one at a time. Then, as you check off those segments, your swing will start to come together into a cohesive unit. It’s not going to be easy, and it is going to take some time, but you can make significant progress when you break your swing up into manageable ‘chunks’.

Getting back to the topic at hand in this article, we are going to break down the role of your hips during the golf swing into two distinct phases. By understanding – and practicing – each of these two phases, you can take yourself quite a bit closer to an improved level of performance.

Let’s take a look at the two phases that are going to account for the role of your hips in the golf swing.

  • Phase one – from address to the top of the backswing. At address, your body should be still, of course. You may wiggle the club back and forth a bit, just to stay loose, but the majority of your body should be holding still in a comfortable position. Then, as the swing begins, your shoulders are going to turn away from the target, allowing the club to move up to the top of the backswing. So, what do your hips do as the club goes back? Almost nothing at all. Their role during this first phase of the swing is one of support. They are going to remain in a steady position, roughly square to the target line. You may need to allow them to rotate a bit to the right along with your shoulders, but don’t let this rotation go too far. Minimal hip movement in the backswing is ideal, as it will help you stay balanced and well-positioned for a powerful and accurate downswing. For many players, it takes some time to get used to this kind of backswing. It is common for amateur golfers to use too much hip action on the way back, and those players get badly out of position as a result. We’ll talk more later in this article about how you can work on the way your hips perform during the swing.
  • Phase two – from the top of the backswing through to the finish. As you might suspect, this is where the hips are going to jump into action. During the downswing, your hips are going to play a starring role – without the proper use of your hips and the rest of your lower body, hitting powerful golf shots would be extremely difficult. You are going to turn your hips aggressively to the left as you swing down, which will encourage the rest of your body to follow suit. In the end, the entire body is going to need to turn to the left, and it is the hips that are responsible for getting things started. If you are a player who likes to have a specific point to focus on during the swing, try thinking about your left hip turning open to the target as the downswing gets going. Making a decisive move with your lower body is a great way to start the downswing and carrying that move through to the finish will give you a good chance to hit powerful shots time after time. In the next section of this article, we are going to talk about how you can time the hip turn at the top of your swing to promote a smooth, reliable rhythm.

It might sound a bit complicated to have two separate phases in your golf swing, but the idea behind this concept is actually quite simple. You are going to turn away from the target while keeping your hips very still, and then you are going to turn toward the target while using your hips to drive the action. It won’t necessarily be easy to implement in your game, but you should have no trouble understanding the concept. As we move forward, we’ll talk about how you can put this concept into practice and actually improve your swing by using your hips properly.

Timing at the Top

Timing at the Top

Timing is a huge part of the game of golf. You might not think that at first, since the ball isn’t moving when you are trying to hit it. In a game like baseball, it’s easy to see why timing is important – the ball is moving very quickly across the plate, and the batter must time the pitch perfectly in order to make contact. There is no such challenge in golf, yet timing remains extremely important. In this case, the timing in question regards the connection of all of the various parts of your swing. Not only do you need to make the right moves in your golf swing, you need to make them all at just the right time in order to find success.

One of the more important pieces of this timing puzzle is the start of your hip turn at the top of the swing. We’ve already established that you need to turn your hips through the downswing in order to generate power and position your body correctly for a clean strike, but when does that turn start? In a game as precise as golf, you can’t afford to be off with the start of your turn, even fractionally. The following points should help you determine exactly when your hip turn needs to begin.

  • Don’t wait too long. You do not want to wait too long to let your hip rotation get started, or you will never be able to catch up before the moment of impact arrives. If the club has already started down toward the ball before your hips have begun to turn left, it’s too late and there really isn’t anything you can do to recover. Waiting too long to start the hip turn is a mistake which is made over and over again by countless amateur golfers. Players who wait too long to get started with their lower half often never manage to get started at all, as they just use their shoulders and arms to push the club down toward the ball and through to the finish. It’s possible to hit some decent shots this way, but your swing will never live up to its potential. If you can iron out your timing and manage to start your hips before the club has changed direction, you will be able to tap into power that you never before knew was available.
  • Better to be too early. In a perfect world, you would time your hip turn just right swing after swing, starting your hips toward the target just a fraction of a second before the club changes directions. Of course, perfection is not an option in golf, so you are sure to have your timing get out of whack from time to time. Rather than waiting too long to get the hip turn started, you will be better off if you start it up a little early. By starting your hips early, you will still gain the benefit of using your lower body to generate speed in the swing. You may wind up pushing the ball out to the right a little bit when your hips start early, but you should still wind up with a shot that is playable (in most cases). With a little bit of practice, you are likely to find that you can start your hip turn sooner than you would think while still achieving good results.
  • You have to commit. You can’t afford to have any doubt in your mind when you start your hip turn. The action of turning your hips toward the target in the golf swing is something of a ‘no turning back’ moment. You are committed to the swing, so you might as well give it everything you have and see how it goes. If you allow doubt to creep into the picture, you will hesitate when getting started and the results will speak for themselves. Even if your timing isn’t perfect, do your best to commit to the swing and be confident that the results are going to be positive.

Ultimately, it will be the practice time you invest in this process that is going to determine how well you are able to time the start of your hip turn. Reading instructional articles such as this one is a good start, but there is nothing that will replace getting out to the driving range and practicing for yourself. Don’t let yourself get too frustrated if you struggle with the timing of your hip turn early on, as this is sure to take some time to work out. Stick with it and look for better results to come along as you go.

Working on Your Hip Turn

Working on Your Hip Turn

One of the worst things you can do as a golfer is to head out to the practice range without a specific plan in mind. Sure, some practice is probably better than none, but that practice isn’t going to do you much good if it doesn’t have direction and purpose. You need to know what you are going to work on – and how you are going to work on it – if you are truly going to make meaningful progress.

So, with that in mind, you’ll want to head out to the range sometime soon with the intention of working on your hip rotation. That’s a good start, but it isn’t specific enough to count as a practice plan. How are you going to work on your rotation? What will you do to take steps in the right direction? You are free to craft your own plan, but we’ve provided some points below to help get you started.

  • Start small. This is good advice for just about any part of your game that you wish to practice. While it might be tempting to reach straight for your driver, the better plan is to start out with some wedge shots, which use smaller and slower swings. Going this way will permit you to work on your hip rotation without having to keep up with the speed and power that comes along with a driver. It may be hard to remain patient and work on small swings for a period of time but doing so is in your best interest. Build confidence in your improved hip turn by hitting plenty of shots with your wedges and gradually work your way up into the long clubs.
  • Stop and go. If you are having trouble with the timing of your hip rotation, try taking a break at the top of the swing to completely divide the action up into two sections. In other words, swing up to the top of your backswing as normal, but then stop completely and hold for a second. After a second or two has passed, go ahead and initiate your downswing by turning your hips toward the target. You don’t want to hit balls this way, but you can use this simple drill as a great practice swing trick to figure out how the timing of everything fits together. As you start to get comfortable, gradually reduce the amount of time you are holding at the top until you are back to making a normal swing.
  • Check your finish position. One of the best ways to check on your performance with regard to hip rotation is to evaluate the finish position of your swing. After you have struck your shot and watch the ball sail toward the target, take a moment to check on your finish position and evaluate how you’ve done. Is your entire body facing the target, with the majority of your weight on your left side? If so, you have almost certainly done a good job with your hip turn in the downswing. If you are hanging back on your right side, however, or if you haven’t turned far enough left to face the target, you may have some work to do.

Do your best to establish a practice plan for each session before you even get to the range. It’s easy to waste time on the range if you don’t have a plan, as you’ll probably wind up just hitting a bunch of drivers or trying to hit various targets out on the range. While there is nothing wrong with just having fun from time to time, those who are serious about getting better will need to put in the work required to make progress in this difficult game.

Common Problems

Common Problems

We’d like to tell you that it will all be smooth sailing as you work toward an improved hip turn, but that almost certainly will not be the case. There are going to be struggles, and you are going to become frustrated on occasion. To hopefully help you through those issues, we are going to wrap up our article with a discussion of a couple common problems in this area of the swing. If you are struggling with one specific mistake, you may find that it is listed below.

  • Coming up onto your toes. As you turn toward the target, you want to do your best to keep your left foot down flat on the ground. It is common for players to lift up onto the toes of their left foot while turning, probably in an effort to generate more speed. The problem with this move is twofold. One, it will raise the level of your entire body, making it more difficult to achieve clean contact. Second, it will interfere with the quality of your turn, causing you to lose swing speed through the hitting area. If you can stay down on your left foot through impact, it’s almost certain your ball striking will improve.
  • Too sudden at the top. This one is tricky, as we don’t want to talk you out of making an aggressive move through the ball. With that said, you need to be careful not to allow your hips to move too suddenly toward the target when your backswing turns into a downswing. If you rush the start of your hip turn and basically spin your lower body out from under your upper body, the swing is quickly going to fall out of sync. Your upper body – and the club by extension – will be way behind and may not be able to catch up before impact. Golfers will sometimes refer to this mistake as ‘getting stuck’, since the club is basically stuck behind the player and can’t square back up in time. Stuck swings will usually result in pushed shots out to the right of the target, but they can also produce hooks if your hands are fast enough to close the club face. Either way, the results aren’t pretty. You do want to make an aggressive turn through the ball with your lower body, but make sure that turn starts smoothly and picks up speed from there.

We hope this article has helped to shine some light on a topic that doesn’t get as much attention as it should within the golf swing. Sure, there is more to hitting good golf shots than making a nice hip turn, but this piece of the puzzle does need to be properly addressed. Improving your hip turn can make a big difference in your game, so get out there and get to work sometime soon – good luck!

So now let's look at your hip action and how that relates to building and releasing power in your golf swing. For a lot of sporting activities that you'll see, the hips and how the hips turn create power. Just think about picking up a ball and throwing it down the fairway. You would move back, turning your hips away from target slightly and then you would turn through with the hips towards the target, the belt buckle would face forwards leading the way, and then the hands and arm would come through to finish. We want to create the same feeling in a golf swing.

So, I have my good address position. Your hip should be level and facing forwards, not tilted or twisted or twisted or off angle, but level facing forwards. Now, during the backswing, your shoulders will turn to about 90 degrees if you can manage the full shoulder rotation and your hips should follow to about 45 degrees. Try and think of a two to one ratio. I really like that feeling of turning my upper body, double the amount to my bottom half. And, don't worry, if you can't manage the full 90-degree shoulder rotation due to lack of flexibility or an injury, just let the hips go half the amount of the shoulders. So, shoulders go to, let's say, 70 degrees, hips would follow to 35 degrees, the two to one ratio. And that's a good way of creating and building power in the backswing.

Now let's work on driving those hips back towards the target. A nice feeling here would be to let the belt buckle spin from the right side across the target this way. The more the belt buckle goes that way; the hands will get pulled down and are forced to impact. So, create power to the top, drive the hips back to the left hand side, and feel like the belt buckle is aiming left at impact.

Remember, the belt buckle doesn't point at the ball at impact that would be too static, not dynamic enough. Point the belt buckle left at impact, big turn through to a finish where actually your hips should now be 90 degrees in relation to where they started, fully facing to the target. And if you can control your hips in that fashion, you'll hit longer and straighter golf shots.