In a good golf swing, the entire body works together as one cohesive unit. It would be a mistake to say that any one part of your body is the ‘most-important’ when it comes to the swing, as all parts of the body are important.
However, some parts certainly demand more attention than others.
Golf instruction is often focused on shoulder turn, for instance. The hands and wrists get plenty of attention as well, as does head position. However, one area of the body that is often overlooked by the average golfer is the hips, and that is a mistake.
When used correctly, your hips are a tremendous source of power in the golf swing. Your hips are obviously located in your core area, meaning they have the ability to energize both your upper and lower halves when put to use.
Sadly, most amateur golfers fail to use their hips at all in the swing. Without the help of the hips, it is nearly impossible to generate a powerful, effective golf swing. Most amateur golfers struggle to hit shots with anywhere near the same kind of power as their professional counterparts, and this lack of hip involvement is largely to blame.
It’s All About Timing
The key to using your hips successfully in the golf swing is finding just the right time to put them to use. If you use your hips too early or too late, they will not be able to provide you with any benefit at all.
So when should your hips come into the picture?
As soon as the backswing is completed – or, more accurately, just a fraction of a second before the backswing is finished.
As you swing up toward the top of your swing, your hips should be relatively quiet and stable. In fact, your entire lower body should be doing nothing but supporting your upper body as it turns away from the target.
When your shoulders have just about finished their rotation to the right (for a right-handed golfer), it will be time to bring your hips into the equation.
Their job is simple – to turn to the left as quickly and aggressively as possible. The best way to execute this move is to think about turning your left hip open to the target.
When done properly, this hip motion will seamlessly turn your backswing into a downswing, and you will be able to continue on through impact and into the finish.
One of the important keys to keep in mind is the need to separate your upper body and your lower body during the transition.
With your back turned toward the target and your hips turning toward the target, you should have a great deal of separation between your two halves. This is a good thing, so you should not be trying to ‘catch up’ with your upper body right away.
Allow your lower body to lead the way and let your upper body (and the club) trail along behind. Once your lower body clears the hitting area, the club will begin to pick up speed and you will be on track for a powerful strike.
It is often true that the most powerful players in the game are those who are able to create the greatest amount of separation in the swing. If you can get your lower body turned well out in front of your upper body, you should be set for plenty of long shots with your driver and the rest of your clubs.
Want a great example of this? Take a look at Dustin Johnson’s swing:
It is hip action that makes this separation possible, so put this point at the top of your golf swing to-do list.
Rotating your hips toward the target is a relatively simple action, however it can still go wrong.
One of the common mistakes made by amateur golfers is the tendency to come up off of their left heel as the downswing develops. This move may be in an effort to generate more power, but it actually does just the opposite. If you let your left heel come off the ground in the downswing, your rotation will be slowed and your swing will lose speed as a result.
During your next practice session, focus on the behavior of your left foot (for righties) while working on hip rotation. Does it want to come up off the turf as you approach impact? If so, make it a point to pay attention to this issue until you are confident you can keep your heel on the ground swing after swing.
This key will not only help you hit the ball farther through added rotational speed, it will also help you to make solid contact a greater percentage of the time.
Finishing Your Turn
It is a great thing to make an aggressive hip turn in the downswing. With that in mind, you have to be careful not to get so excited about starting your hip turn that you wind up cutting your backswing rotation short.
You need to give your shoulders plenty of time to turn away from the target, so make sure your hips are waiting their turn before getting involved.
If you jump the gun even by a fraction of a second, you can throw off the timing of the entire action.
To keep your timing under control, pay attention to your left shoulder. Don’t let your hips start until your left shoulder has moved completely under your chin. As long as your shoulder does indeed get under your chin, you should be in an excellent position to create a powerful swing.
One Final Note
The hips can play a powerful role in your golf swing, but only if they are deployed at just the right time. Hold them steady in the backswing and then turn them loose toward the target as the club is arriving at the top.
It will take some time to learn how to execute this move correctly, but your ball striking will be vastly improved once the adjustment has been made.
Here’s to plenty of powerful drives in your future!