I know that I keep harping on about it, but the hips really are very important in golf performance – not just in terms of speed and power development, but in the ability to time, sequence and perform a coordinated, repetitive and consistent golf swing.
In practically all sports, our power comes from the hips, whether it be a throwing, hitting or kicking action. The golf swing is no different and if you are looking to get more out of your body to better improve your golf performance, then you need to mobilise and strengthen your hips.
There isn’t one way to swing the club effectively, as we know by looking at the array of swings out on the European and PGA Tours – they all pretty much get the job done.
However there are fundamental movements of the hips and lower body that are needed if you want to swing the club as efficiently, safely and quickly as you are capable of.
So I’ve created these two golf fitness videos to ensure you’re getting it right every time.
Golf fitness tips: Hip mobility
Golf fitness tips: Hip stability
Typical characteristics that we see in a swing, when you are restricted in your ability to rotate your hips include…
Excessive pelvic lateral sway
If you struggle to load into your trail hip, either through limited rotation or lack of stability and control, we often see a sway away from the target on the backswing. This can lead to a number of compensations needed to recover and get the pelvis moving back towards the target.
You will need more time in the swing to regain the position, which can throw off timing and sequence, and less consistency in ball striking as you move away from the ball, meaning fat or thin strikes, as well as less load into the hip, which makes it more difficult to create elastic tension in the hips and core which can help with a powerful drive in transition, and increase in clubhead speed.
Ever feel like you don’t have enough space?
Among the best golfers, we generally see the pelvis moving a little further away from the ball during the backswing – and even more so as we come into the downswing.
Having the ability to coordinate the rotation of the pelvis around the hips while maintaining posture is key to creating space for your arms to come down onto the ball. Too much forward movement and early extension leaves us feeling trapped and then relying on quick hands to square up the clubface and drive the ball forward.
This, of course, leads to inconsistencies with every shot as the varying movement of only millimetres means that we have to adjust with every swing.
Utilising ground reaction forces
A golfer’s interaction with the ground is important for generating clubhead speed during the downswing.
Having the ability to rotate through the hips and coordinate the pelvis allows better use of the ground. A little squat into transition then gets you into a good position to push down into the floor and this allows the golfer to create vertical force. Utilising the floor can contribute to greater distances with each club.
Of course some of these changes come down to development in technique and work needs to be done with a coach. But if you are unable to move appropriately around your hips and pelvis, this is to the detriment of your game and progress.
If these are areas that you struggle with, then you may need to look at developing and improving these physical qualities:
- Mobilising of the hips in rotation, flexion and extension.
- Developing lumbo-pelvic stability.
- Strengthening of the hip and legs; such as glutes and hamstrings.
About Rachael Tibbs
Rachael Tibbs is a TPI L2 certified golf fitness professional based in Leeds, specialising in golf-specific strength and conditioning.
She is currently offering FREE online TPI assessment when you sign up to three months of her online coaching.
If you want to find out more, visit the Dynamic Golf website.
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