16 Dec 2004
Learning to use your hips properly in the forward swing is one of the most important parts of developing a motion that promotes power and a straight golf shot.
The correct action is for the hips to make a small lateral move towards the target, which allows the weight to shift to the front leg, and then turn all the way through so that both hip sockets finish facing the target.
It is important the shoulders do not start to uncoil while that lateral move with the hips happens because you want the shoulders to stay closed to the target as long as possible to allow the club to start down on the inside path. Turning the shoulders and hips together causes an inside/out swing path and creates a slice.
There are two major mistakes most golfers make on the forward swing. One is to open the hips too quickly (we call this spinning out), creating the outside in path and slice. The other is to slide the hips laterally to much, which can cause the whole body to move past the ball. This would require overusing the hands to try and square the clubface up.
I have been working with Sam, one of my students, for several weeks on changing his swing to eliminate his slice and create more power. Some progress had been made, but neither of us was happy that it was not more. The Bump drill (described below) really helped Sam understand this motion and start to feel it in his swing. He progressed much faster with the help of this drill.
Sam turned his hips too quickly in the forward swing. This action created the major reason for both his slice and lack of power because it caused a very outside/in downswing path. He was under the impression that he should turn his hips to the left (he is right handed) as quickly as he could in the forward swing. I explained the correct motion his hips should make is a small lateral action first.
I had Sam take his normal stance and placed a shaft in the ground outside the middle of his left foot. He then made his backswing and paused before starting his forward swing. I asked him to move his hips laterally until they bumped the shaft to start his forward swing. At first he had a hard time bumping the shaft because of his tendency to turn his hips to the left to quickly (spinning out).
I suggested that Sam practice this drill at home, without hitting balls, to help him break this habit. After a couple of weeks of doing this, I saw a very big change in his swing path. The lateral action of the hips was allowing the club to start down inside and eliminating the slice. If he starts to overdo the lateral side he would not only bump the pole, but slide through it and push the pole over with his hips.
Learn to use your hips correctly and you can eliminate your slice as well.
You can view this drill (the correct way and the two wrong ways) on my website www.golflessonsorangecounty.com.