Proper Hip Movement For Long Drives

I wanted to post this comment I recently received from Doc as I have been noticing a lot of distance related questions on the blog lately.

Notice the drill that Doc was using when he explains about his hip movement last year versus now. Hopefully after reading this article all readers including Doc will understand why he was hitting it shorter since he started taking these new lessons. Thanks for your input Doc and keep me informed on if this helps you.

“I lost a lot of distance this past year after some video lessons…I was asked to swing around a bent left knee through impact and to start my downswing with my hands and arms dropping down (which I agree with) followed by a “skipping the stone” move thru impact. My thought last year was to let the left hip go straight backwards to start the downswing; this seemed to give me much greater distance. I tried to keep the left wrist in the same position and also used the “skip a stone” move. I am confused and a little frustrated at my loss of power.”
-Doc

hitting a long drive

To dive into this we will need to discuss foot work. Proper footwork is similar to Jack Nicklaus and Long Drive Champion, Jamie Sadlowski. During the backswing both Jamie and Jack lift their left heel and then slam their foot down into the ground, which starts the transition of their weight into their left leg. From this position and through impact their right heel will lead their right foot, which is a perfect example of how the weight is transferred. I like to create the image of your right knee kissing the left knee through impact and follow through.

The proper hip movement of the golf swing works in conjunction with the footwork and is important. It is called the closed hip bump. If you can imagine throwing a baseball I want you to pay close attention to your wind up. As you wind up you will notice that your hips will slightly close before they open for the pitch and your right arm is still moving back as the hips are going forward. This is how speed is created and it is how the body is stretched to create maximum torque. How this appears in the golf swing is very similar. As the golf club is nearing the top of the swing the hips will actually shift left and actually appear more closed than they were a split second before. This is the transition and it is this move that allows the club to shallow onto the correct swing plane. It is this move also that creates the maximum torque and increases the famous X Factor. The muscles in your back are elastic. In other words they are like a rubber band. The more you stretch them the quicker they shorten. This bi-directional movement creates more torque and is evident in all the long hitters on tour. Some tour players that don’t hit the ball as far still do this move but do not have as much lateral bump to the left, but it is still there.

In the comment above from Doc he stated that in his transition he felt as though his right hip went backwards. This is the closed hip bump and the reason why he was hitting it far. Notice that Doc stated he stopped doing this and let his arms lead first. Lets go back to the image of throwing a ball. Now imagine winding up and stopping. From this stopped position go halfway with your arms as you throw it and then fire your hips. If you’re like me this would be very confusing and not natural to any movement of motion we have ever learned or done in our life. Why then would we try to emulate this motion in the golf swing? It makes no sense to me and is definitely a good lesson to hit the ball shorter.

Work on the closed hip bump to hit the ball farther this upcoming year. A faulty transition and starting from the arms or upper body is the number one reason why so many golfers come over the top and hit short shots.

I welcome your comments and feedback on this article.

Happy Thanksgiving,

CJ

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24 Comments

  1. Dermot says:

    I totally agree with you CJ but I think the emphasise should be the lateral movement and rotation of the right hip on the backswing. If this movement is done properly the ‘closed hip bump’ will happen naturally.

  2. Gary says:

    CJ, when driving the ball on Par 5′s, I have a tendency to swing faster which results into a pulled shot or hook. My turn my hands over to quick. Part of it is mental, I think if I swing faster I will hit the ball further. Any tips for this?

    • CJ Goecks says:

      Gary,
      Thanks for the question Gary. I think every golfer has gone through this struggle from time to time. I myself had this problem and once analyzed decided to go with my go-to shot on par 5′s to make sure I found the fairway. Once I did this my scoring improved as well. Long story short, go with the go-to shot and start shooting lower scores.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

  3. Roberto says:

    Hi CJ,

    I got back last week from California where I spent Thanksgiving and played golf at 70 degrees! I practiced the hip bump – together with my left arm attached to my side – and after an initial “awkwardness,” I started to hit the ball 20-30 yards further with my 7 and 6 irons and a good 50 yards with my driver!
    Also, I shot 44 for nine holes – my personal best so far and three and a half months after I started playing golf.
    I will be heading to Florida for the Holidays with the hope to break 90 when I play 18 holes.
    Always many thanks for your insight, I’ll keep you posted. All the best.
    Roberto
    PS I will send Shannon the video she had requested next week.

  4. Margaret says:

    CJ,I am having difficulty over past while with my swing, or part of it, will u be soon going through just before impact and after. I get so confused with the release or turn over of the hands. Enjoy ur emails and look forward to hearing from u.
    Regards Margaret (Ireland}

    • CJ Goecks says:

      Margaret,
      thanks for the great question Margaret. Be on the lookout as I am going to use this question as a topic for an upcoming article. Thanks again and if after the article you still have questions please don’t hesitate to ask.
      Keep em Long and straight,
      cj

  5. paul mcintyre says:

    hi cj from the uk.
    just started to use your your swing and i have to say so far so good.took up your thanksgiving offer and i am real happy so far.practiced the towel drill at home and my grip was way too strong.went to the driving range today and i was flushing everthing i hit.if its this good after just a couple of days i cant wait till i have it dialed in completely.will keep you informed of my progress.

    cheers paul

    • CJ Goecks says:

      Paul McIntyre,
      Welcome to the family paul and congrats on your recent success. Keep me informed and best wishes.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      cj

  6. Jim D. says:

    The great Ben Hogan may have been the greatest golfer in history. And his two books are perhaps the best ever on the subject of how to play golf. Hogan stated that he had only one thought as he was preparing to start the downswing and that was to TURN THE LEFT HIP OUT OF THE WAY! If it was good enough for Ben Hogan it is good enough for me!

    • John Crane says:

      While I agree that Hogan was probably the best golfer around in his time, if you just turn your left hi, it practicall guarantees you will come “…over the top.” In videos I ahve seen of Hogan’s swing, he made an aggressive move forwarward before he turned his hips.

  7. Jacques Després says:

    HI CJ,
    Most of the time my drive, 3&5 woods are straight , but I have a hard time hitting my hybrids straight, i slice all the time. Also, I have a hard time to hit my approch shots from 60 yards of the green, what would be the ideal solution.
    Thanks,
    Jacques

    • N says:

      I had identical scenario. I found a more relaxed take away with focus on the shoulder turn instead of initiating the take away with the hands and arms got the proper momentum and prevented my tendency to come over the ball on wedge shots. Since adopting this I actually slightly draw my hybrid shots instead of pushing them right.

  8. Pierre Lombard says:

    I think it depends whether you are an upper body (torso) hitter or a leg man. I would think that by lifting you front foot, you create less torque through your hips. This should indicate that you are a Torso man and predominantly use your shoulders for power. If you are a Leg man, lifting your front foot dissipates all your stored energy.

    It is important that coaches understand the difference between Torso and Legs to ensure that you maximise your natural strengths.

    • CJ Goecks says:

      Pierre Lombard,
      If you hit the ball well and hit it with distance your both, but the golf swing definitely without question starts from the ground up. The idea of the article and the lifting of the left foot is to plant the left foot while the club is still going back. this does not dissipate any stored energy at all, but creates more due to the body working in both directions. Hope this clears up any confusion you might have.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

  9. matt says:

    Hiya Cj

    handicap 15 was 18 3months ago shot to a ten last week and should have been a 7 or 5

    Ive been a fan of yrs for 3 or 4 months now and my score has been coming back over the last 3 months but i have been playing a lot more as well. I have a huge problem with coming over the top . My divot is on a huge angle and i fade a lot on some ocassions but then if i cock my wrists then it comes good again..What I want to ask is how do we know and how do we get on the right plain with our irons and woods ?? Trying yr method I tend to chop ? Maybe im not turning enough now? Do I need to go back and cover the laser light theory again ?

    Thanks again and I love what you are doing

    Matt

    • CJ Goecks says:

      Matt,
      Thanks for the comments. If your coming over the top remember the steps to get to the top. Club straight back and up the wall. If you take it inside then you lift to the top. Any lifting of the arms and you are guaranteed to come over the top. If you are sure your not lifting your arms then you must start the downswing from the ground up. Very soon We are releasing video lessons where you can upload you swing to me for analysis. Looking forward to seeing your swing.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

  10. gary says:

    poor alignment because that stops you having any chance of doing a good swing

  11. Harry says:

    C.J.Sorry to bother you again, but i had to mention the following.My friend and I golfed 9 holes in the beginning of Nov. ( cold ) at a strange golf course. I decided to concentrate and not overswing ( one of my faults ) due to the cold and not knowing the course. Four times I called the shot I wanted to makes ( where I was aiming ) and was dead on. The third time my friend said, ” now he’s calling his shots.” On a 526 yard par 5 I took three controled shots and was on the fringe on the third. On my home course the longest is 509 yards and i rarely come close in three shots. Because I try to kill the ball. Control does work. Thanks

    • CJ Goecks says:

      Harry,
      Thanks for the comments and good job on taking it to the course. Keep up the good work and best of luck in the future.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

  12. Harry says:

    C.J. I agree with you on the hip turn. but, I have to be careful when doing this. I played baseball for years and in both pitching and hitting yes the upper body does go back as the lower body moves forward, but I think this is a natural reaction of the body. In other words it happens naturally. Most instruction emphasises this so much that I, at times, would start my lower body way before the backswing was finished and be way out ahead of myself and pull the ball way left. To me in fact there is a feeling of a slight pause, not a stop, In the transition. Of course I would also thrust or snap my lower body to start the downswing, where you appear to transfer weight and not thrust. That has helped.I have been trying to relax on the backswing and accelerate, or use the energy on the downswing, and that has helped.
    I noticed that Lyle’s long drive ad. came under your heading.Is his swing similiar to your’s only with more hip turn and lifting the club more vertical? Thanks for your opinion in advance

    • CJ Goecks says:

      Harry,
      Thanks for the comments and keep up the good work. Nyle is a colleague of mine and we worked on the long drive DVD together. It was great for me to be able to study one of the longest hitters in the long drive world. Fortunately I was also able to study jamie Sadlowski’s swing as well to compare and contrast the differences between two of the longest hitters in the game. I learned a ton of information about the body and the proper firing sequence of the muscles. Thankfully I was able to study their swings using on of the best 3d motion capture devices out there. This machine as well as my time with the doctor, trainer, and studyingthe swing is what came to be known as the Perfect Connection Golf Swing. It would be nice to get everyone to hit it that far, but people’s bodies simply won’t allow it, but as I stated the information I gathered from studying the long drive hitters was helpful and insightful. Thanks again for the question.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

  13. Gerald Moss says:

    CJ
    I guess what you are saying is that your hips are square at address. As you move into the back swing, your hips become closed at the top of your swing. As you begin your downswing with the lower body and bump your closed hips, the hips move back toward square and to slightly open when impact occurs.
    Your arms drop automatically after the bump of your closed hips during the start of the downswing. CJ, all this sound about right to you?

  14. BP says:

    Is there a swing thought or drill to help with the correct sequencing of the down swing through impact? Thanks and have a nice Thanksgiving

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