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.”
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.