Learn To Use Your Hips In The Golf Swing
By Amber Gazzolo, GBB Contributor, Grip it Girl Golf
We have heard this great line many times before from the hilariously entertaining movie Happy Gilmore. Humor aside, this could not be more accurate and less understood when it comes to the golf swing. Let's break down this ever so famous quote to extricate the true advice that is there.
The hips are effectively the most utilized, yet most underrated, part of the golf swing. That being, the hips are the most essential part of hitting a golf ball but the least practiced or focused part of the swing. Hips, working in conjunction with the strongest muscles in our body, our glutes, give us our power, speed and distance. The hips, when used properly, also keep us moving around our center body line without swaying and help keep our club on the correct swing plane without needing to force it.
Plain and simple, the hips are the driving force of the golf swing. The hips start the swing with taking us back, around and through; they generate power and speed to create distance; the move in conjunction with our arms to allow us to hit the golf ball; and they turn us around towards our target to finish the swing. They are literally the beginning middle and end of the golf swing.
Why Are They So Underappreciated and Underutilized?
Many golfers, especially beginner golfers, focus on their arms and how they are moving the golf club. Understandably so as the club is what is hitting the golf ball. I will admit the first ten years of my golf practice was focused on my back swing and keeping my club on plane during the takeaway. This is great to practice and understand, but it's like trying to learn how to swim by only focusing on moving your arms through the water. Without those legs kicking, you are not going anywhere.
The same goes for the golf swing. Without a hip turn, your ball is not going anywhere. Often times golfers, especially beginners, hit the ball with all arms. They take the club back and through with little movement from their lower body. Raise your hand if you have done this before. Most of us have. And I am sure you did not like the results. Usually in this case an instructor might say you are "hitting at the ball, not swinging through the ball". What they forget to stress is that through motion comes from our hips.
To borrow from the great words of Shakira, "Hips don't lie". You know when your hips are being utilized and when they are not. There is no hiding behind this truth. When Shakira dances, she focuses on her hips, they move her body and are the driving force behind her moves.
The Hips Are the Driving Force of the Golf Swing
The glutes are the strongest muscle in our body and the hips are meant to utilize them to create power, speed and flexibility during the golf swing. Don't believe me? Check out the swings of the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour players and watch their hip rotation. You will probably notice, "It's all in the hips"!
So next time you are out practicing your golf swing, focus on moving with your hips. Let your hips take you back, turn around your right side (left side for left handed golfers), bump forward and turn you around your left side and towards your target.
Front Hip Bumps Out Slightly On The Downswing Without Moving the Upper Body Forward
A great drill to practice and feel this essential hip rotation is setting up in your golf stance, giving yourself a nice big hug and then practicing moving around your center body line with your lower body. Turn your hips around your right side as far as possible then turn them around and through towards your target. Add this drill to your pre round warm up and practice routine to ingrain in your mind and body the importance of the hip rotation. When the hips are working correctly, everything else falls into place.