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True or False: Hips Slide During Downswing.


True of False? The hips should slide laterally toward the target during the downswing.

“True?”... “False?”…

Golfers fear “sliding” or “swaying their hips toward the target to initiate the downswing… and rightfully so! Many golfers overdo the lateral movement leading to problems! Such as:

LOWER ball flight (as in too low!)…
LOWER BALL flight that GOES RIGHT (for a right handed golfer)…
TOPPED shots…
DIVOT that happens TOO FAR FORWARD of the ball…
POOR ball contact...
STEEP divots...
LITTLE or NO BODY PIVOT… translated: DISTANCE LOSS!
(ugh!)

As an instructor, I see this quite a bit in juniors and long-ball hitters, often caused by the obsession with distance (none of us adults obsess about distance… do we!?!?). In effort to get more distance they slide their hips aggressively toward the target… sometimes overdoing it and resulting in one or more of the shots mentioned above.

BUT…

The hips DO slide! Limiting forward hip movement limits a key power move. Try throwing a ball by just rotating your hips with no forward movement and you’ll see what I mean.

Check out this quick video by Jim McLean commenting on Ben Hogan’s hip movement:


Check out the pictures below. The white lines indicate where the hips were at Address…

Aaron Baddeley at Impact with Hybrid
Freddy Couples at Impact with Driver

Ted Eleftheriou at Address
Ted Eleftheriou at Impact
(For those of you who don’t know who Ted Eleftheriou is… sigh…)
  
Here’s another video this time of Luke Donald… you know… the World’s Top Ranking Golfer! Check out the drill he’s performing. I’m guessing he’s working on a bit of hip “bump.”


Wow! As in WOW!!

So…

Allow the hips to move laterally toward the target and toward the left heel as you transition from the top of the swing to the downswing.

Try this:
At address position, place a bag stand, umbrella, club shaft, or something that’s about hip high… outside of your target-side hip (left hip for right-handed golfers). The position should be right up against and outside of the target-side foot. If placed correctly, you’ll have about three to four inches of space between the object and your hip.

Now… without a ball… take the club to the top of your backswing… and like Luke in the video above (maybe not as exaggerated… then again… maybe so!), s-l-o-w-l-y start the downswing by laterally moving the hips and “bump” the object before pivoting to impact position. Do this several time.

Now remove the object (so you don’t impale yourself and up in the Emergency Room!), hit some half shots. Hold the finish position and check to see that your hip is over the target-side leg and you can feel your weight transferring to heel of your target-side foot.

Eventually work this move into your full swing.

When doing this drill… although the hips move laterally toward the target… the head should remain back and over the ball at impact position. Review Luke Donald’s video. Notice how his head doesn’t move forward? If your head moves forward past the ball at impact… you’ll most likely experience one or more of the miss-hits mentioned at the beginning of this post.

If done correctly… you’re shots will start a bit lower but then climb to a nice trajectory (known as “tour flight”). You’ll also probably gain a few yards! Yay!

Let me know how it goes!!

Peace… Love… Golf!

Ted

BTW… the answer to the “True” or “False” questions is… “TRUE!”

11 comments:

Thanks for the information. I learned quite a bit from your article.

Golfers

But how to intiate this hip slide? I have difficulty doing that. Is there any drill?

In any sport or game, there is always that most avoided move, you know, cause for sure it'll ruin the whole routine. It's, I think, a fact rather than a hearsay cause I also tried several shot without considering that it'll affect my overall golf experience but then, I learn how to coordinate and to somehow mix it up to better my shots. The same as playing some casino games, you need to have some techniques to keep yourself alive in the game.

this was awesome tip... i was driving the ball around 290 my first year golfing and this was just shear luck that i had this kind of power swing. i didnt realize what was causing my distance at the time until now. its been 4 yrs now and i am hitting it 250ish where as i use to lick my chops when i seen a 300yd par 4! But i read this article and went to the range and it all fell back into place. BAM the good ole days r back. thank you very much for this tip. i am 5'5 so you dont need to have a really wide arch to pound it 300yds although it does help make it easier. ;)

I'm quite not sure about the "should-be" stance they've got to make the right shot in golf. But whatever it is, the golfers just have to make sure that they not hurt themselves upon doing so, it's for their own sake and safety too.

I had a bad experience with golf 2 years ago, that was the time when I’m still learning how to play the game and I was injured; good thing our family doctor was available that time. That incident made me more eager to learn the game, and I will definitely keep these tips in mind.

Yes, the hips slide during downswing, it’s the reaction that our body produces and we can’t do anything to avoid that; my father taught that to me. He became my instant coach in golf for he loves playing golf so much and he even contracted someone just to make his golf themed activity area in our basement.

Hi Ted, This is an intereting subject. I love the picture above (Aaron Baddeley at Impact with Hybrid) which really shows where your body needs to be at impact. DO you know what I believe to be the culprit of so many golfers suffering this affliction? Badly written books and magazine articles. How many times have you read an article (including a page in Tiger Woods How I Play Golf!) where it is written that at impact you should return to the set-up position. I think this is why you see so many golfers holding back and 'casting'. I once watched a video with Tony Jacklin, on golf articles he says, "I've never seen so much twaddle written in my life". So I think golfers really need to be careful about what they read. Cancel the subscription and get a one on one lesson with someone like yourself. Best Wishes. Steve

When I hit good shots, it starts with setting up in the reverse "K" address, hands ahead, head behind the ball. I think of it as the final impact position, with both feet flat on the ground. I simply move away from this starting point with hands, arms, shoulders sequence, and return to the ball using the same sequence, hands, arms and shoulders. I don't consciously do anything with my hips, but let momentum of the swing pull my body, and not the other way around. I feel that I am swinging with grace and ease. Everything flows from the weight at the end of the stick. The left hand and arm are always in command.

This is very true.....I got back into golf last year after a 25 year hiatus. Thought age had turned me into a short knocker. While at the range the other day it occurred to me that my swing felt stiff and mechanical, so I decided to not think about anything and just swing away. I then noticed my hands were in line with the ball at impact.......what to do? I started experimenting with different things and then tried sliding my hips before starting my downswing. WOW!!!!!! Talk about an eye opening experience!!!! Everything in my swing fell perfectly into place, providing muscle memory I haven't felt in 25 years! Every shot sounded louder, went higher, went substantially farther, and laser straight! I found I could "stand on it" for more distance and could work the ball left and right like I used to. And best of all, it made the game fun again as frustration was beginning to set in. Don't listen to the so-called teaching pros on TV or read the golf mags for this tip, you won't hear or see them teach it. They'll tell you to rotate......well, you will rotate automatically with the slide. As soon as you reach the end of your backswing just do a little forward "bump" with your hip. It will clear space on the rear hip which allows room for your hands to come thru with an inside-out swing, as you also strike down on the ball, then your hips will rotate to clear the way for your hands on the follow thru. It really works!!!! Try it, you won't believe it.

Thanks for the comments everyone! Greatly appreciate them!

Yes... amateurs and even some instructors say to start the downswing by rotating the hips first. The rationale is that in order to generate club head speed… a golfer must unwind his hips toward target as soon as possible. This engages the bigger muscles of the body.

However… this type of thinking is flawed. If the hips rotate too soon in the downswing… the hips and shoulders will cause any angle created between the arms and clubshaft (lag) to expand too soon and before the clubhead gets to the ball. This is known as “casting” or “clubhead throw-away.” Both translate to: Poor, weak shots.

While true... the "engine" to our swing is the mid-section of our bodies... good golfers shift their weight to the left hip joint (right handed golfer) prior to rotating the hips. The move is commonly called the "shift-pivot."

Thanks again and Peace... Love... Golf!

Ted

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