There are many different elements of proper body positioning in a golf swing, and it is hip rotation that seems to be the most important. There are a couple of reasons why this is true. First and foremost, hip rotation is responsible for creating more power and speed.
Additionally, it is an essential element of swing tempo, which is considered vital in order to put out a repeatable golf swing. Not only this, but with proper hip transition, you will also be able to achieve full control over your motion and improve your accuracy.
Last but not least, it plays a role in keeping the clubhead square and thus avoiding the chance of an unintentional slice or fade shot. The most common side effect of improper hip rotation is pushing the ball forward or pulling your arms in. Both will hinder the chance of efficient impact with the golf ball.
If you want to avoid inconsistency and use your hip rotation to the best of your ability, you will need to ensure efficient rotation motion. Keep in mind that the idea is not to sway your hips. In order to help you, we have prepared a couple of handy tips, as well as hip turn drills for golf swing. Without further ado, let’s get right to it!
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The Importance of Proper Hip Rotation
There is no sugar coating the fact that golf is a complicated game. Bearing this in mind, focusing on the important aspects, such as using your body in unison, is a must. The main idea is that your hips and lower body should lead the arms into an effective golf swing. One of the best methods of understanding the difference between proper and improper hip rotation is by measuring the low point and the hip sway.
Looking at a couple of different studies, we can see that the average for a tour professional is 3.9 inches of hip rotation towards the target. This point seems to be close to ideal when it comes to coiling up for power and generating more speed.
On the contrary, most high-handicap players and beginners have a hip rotation that is just above 2 inches. This is a huge difference. It doesn’t only result in a swing with less speed and power, but it also creates issues getting ahead of the ball.
We will be discussing what happens with your hips during the backswing and downswing a bit later. For now, it is vital that you understand the cause of fat and thin shots. In most cases, it is allowing your hips to move away laterally from the target. This is not what you are looking for during the backswing.
In order to prevent it, you will want your hips rotating at a low point and towards the target. This way, you will need to invest less effort in hip rotation during the downswing. Plus, you can avoid making the extra movement that is usually required if you are further away from the target line.
Why Improper Hip Rotation Happens
Later, we will discuss how hip rotation should work and what some of the best hip turn drills for a golf swing are. Before that, though, we want to address the lack of awareness of this matter. There is a large percentage of golfers, including more experienced ones, who simply don’t invest enough time in proper hip rotation. There are a couple of reasons for this.
Firstly, there is simply so much advice on how to create a repeatable golf swing that someone who is not educated is unsure which source to believe. Asking two different golf instructors may very well leave you with completely opposite responses.
Another reason is because of improper body positioning in the first place. Thus, instead of working on their hip rotation, golfers try to move away from the target in order to keep the ball on its path.
Last but not least, there are certain players that know about the matter and think that they are making progress. However, they are doing the complete opposite. Here, the source plays a key role. Considering this, we have done our research and prepared some drills for you.
These are not only easy to perform but will also ensure steady progress towards optimal hip rotation.
Tips on Proper Hip Rotation
Now that we have settled the matter of why hip rotation is so important, it is time that we move on and discuss a couple of helpful tips.
First and foremost, you should stay away from a swaying motion. This is one of the most common beginner mistakes and comes in the form of sliding instead of turning your hips. There are a couple of side effects to this. The main one is that it creates a specific angle in your spine that is neither pleasant nor efficient for your golf swing. What will happen is that you will not be able to fully rotate and clear out your hips during the downswing motion.
In short, the chances of the outside-to-inside swing are dramatically increased. In order to prevent this, you will want to rotate your hips and thus ensure optimal stability. Turning instead of sliding is the first and most important piece of advice that you will find.
As we have mentioned above, you shouldn’t be swaying away from the target line. On the other hand, during the backswing motion, you should ensure that your shoulder and chin are level. Make sure at this point that you have distributed the weight towards the right side of your body.
A flexed right leg will allow you to generate more power and speed and enjoy smooth hip rotation. A proper backswing position will help you get through the downswing turn with less effort.
Hip rotation should be happening throughout the whole swing movement. Thus, instead of cutting it short and decreasing the chance of getting optimal speed and power, you will want to rotate through the impact. Still, keep in mind not to force the movement.
The best way to ensure a proper hip turn is to relieve any tension and stay relaxed as you go through the downswing and make contact with the ball. Proper hip rotation will ensure a square club head and thus reduce the chance of an unintentional slice or a hook.
The idea is that, at the end of the movement, your hips are out and open towards the left (if you are a right-handed golfer).
Helpful Drills for Hip Rotation
The aforementioned positioning tips are sure to help you get off to a better start. We have also prepared a couple of effective exercises that will get you closer to optimal hip rotation.
The basic drill
This is the type of exercise that you can do on the golf course or in the comfort of your home. It is as simple as placing the golf club at your right shoulder (holding it with both hands) and engaging in a pivoting motion. The idea is not to simply engage in weight shift, but rather to slowly rotate your hips.
You should start to feel that most of the power is being generated from the rear leg. Throughout the movement, you will be able to experiment with the pressure and the weight that is put to the right leg. We suggest that you start doing it in slow motion.
Then, slowly accelerate as you get more comfortable with using your hips for shifting the weight and guiding your body slightly forward.
The easy drill
This is another method that can be easily performed in your backyard. You can start by putting your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms out in the air. Make sure that your arms are not in front but rather at your side in a lateral position.
Once you are ready, swing your dominant arm towards the other one and clap your hands together. The idea is that, as a natural result, you will be rotating your hips in an adequate form. Do this motion until you feel comfortable rotating the hips through.
You can make it a bit more complex by holding a club in your right hand and then swinging it with your arm until your left hand gets a grip on the club, as well. The hip turn that you will be performing in this drill is what you should have on the golf course, as well.
Here, the idea is to focus on the adequate angle maintained during hip rotation, as well as rotating your torso and shoulder simultaneously. You should perform a full turning motion during the takeaway and backswing.
Meanwhile, ensure that there is also a rotation of the left shoulder throughout impact if you are a right-handed player. Try this with short swings and move forward as you get comfortable with the drill.
In the end, it all comes down to being aware of hip rotation and investing your effort into turning instead of swaying. We have done our best to provide you with helpful tips and effective drills that can be done in the comfort of your home. Now, go out and make us proud!